Workers Fight Favoritism

May 21, 2009

May 21, 2009

SAVE SENIORITY – Members of Louisiana Council 17 rally at the state Capitol.

Photo Credit: Scott St. Arnold


Louisiana state employees – members of AFSCME District Council 17 – are fighting efforts to restore favoritism to government.

More than 250 members of Council 17, family and supporters rallied May 12 at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge. They hope to defeat proposed rules that would let employers make compensation and layoff decisions based on job performance reviews.

The AFSCME members, who traveled to the demonstration from around the state, warn that the rule changes are an invitation to political favoritism.

Among those attending the rally was Janice Priest, a technician in Louisiana State University’s biochemistry department and chief steward of AFSCME Local 2649. Before departing Shreveport, Priest explained to KSLA News:

“I feel our job security is at stake. I know changes need to be made, but do not revamp it by taking away our job protection.”

A House panel voted that day to support the civil service changes, which would affect more than 60,000 state employees. But the vote is only a recommendation. The state Civil Service Commission will actually make the decision on June 3.

At a Commission hearing earlier this month, state employees warned consequences of approving the rule changes.

Council 17 Pres. Leonal Hardman told the Commission that state employees are now “insulated from political favoritism and arbitrary treatment in hiring, firing and discipline. Anything less is a politically based spoils system abandoned decades ago.”

For more, read this post from the Louisiana AFL-CIO blog. Also, watch this YouTube video and check out these photos on Flickr.

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