In today’s Ben Column, a “disgusted county worker” claims the entire debacle at the freeholder meeting last week was staged.
“Shoulda been at the freeholders meeting Thursday night.
“Politics running like a well-oiled machine.
“The meeting opens with two sharp rebuttals from Lou Magazzu to Fran Smith, UAW president, that he was out of order after speaking out of turn.
“‘One more time and you’re escorted out.’ Magazzu said.
“Smith stayed silent until the portion of the meet ing for public comments on the recent round of layoffs county workers are facing.
“He apologized to Magazzu and the board about speaking out of turn.
“Smith gave his speech about how UAW bargaining unit workers are the ones to take the biggest hits, but, that only about roughly half are affected by the furlough days because the other half work in 24-hour operations.
“He explained that, for years, county workers worked for peanuts and now that a decent wage is being made, with a rate progression in place, the county wants give backs.
“‘With all due respect, if your ‘brothers and sisters’ of the UAW had done what we asked originally, the other unions would probably have followed suit and there would not have been any layoffs.’
“There was even a page shown with the timeline of communications between the county and the unions all the way back to November when all this started.
“What wasn’t said was that the list of names of the workers who are due to be laid off in this round of layoffs was leaked and most of the workers whose names are on that list already know, without being notified officially by the county, that they are getting laid off.
“Whether it was the union or the county who let the names out is a point for debate.
“Point being, if the UAW goes back now and has another meeting, which will be the third one, how do you think those workers whose names are on that list are going to vote?
“Fran Smith admitted in his speech that the vote was close last time when it was voted down.
“How many times do the workers have to say no.
“The point is, Magazzu and Smith staged the whole thing.
“The rebuttals from Magazzu, the speeches from both and the “one last plea” from the freeholders to the unions.
“The vote will now go the way Magazzu wants it.
“By the end of the meeting, Magazzu and Smith were joking with each other and laughing over the earlier awkwardness.
“I guess if you beat a horse long enough, he will finally break.’’
— disgusted county worker