Local 117 member Kelly McNew, who works in maintenance at the Public Assembly Facilities at the City of Tacoma, has sent a powerful letter to the Tacoma News Tribune that makes a strong case for preserving jobs in the face of layoffs proposed by Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax.
Local 117 members are encouraged to follow Kelly's lead and write letters to the TNT and to contact mayor of Tacoma Marilyn Strickland and the city council immediately at 253-591-5100 and tell them not to balance the budget on the backs of working families.
For more information about the proposed layoffs at the City of Tacoma, you can also view an editorial published on October 5 in the TNT by Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Tracey A. Thompson.
Kelly's letter is published in its entirety below:
I am a maintenance worker at the Tacoma Dome, and just want to give you some background on the budget cutting proposal submitted to Mr. Broadnax by Rob Henson, the Interim Director of Public Assembly Facilities. This includes the Tacoma Dome and Convention Center.
In his plan he will cut all of the custodians for the two buildings, eleven positions. He will cut five out of ten maintenance/conversion positions. No management positions were on the list. These two groups being cut are the ones who do the setups and maintain the buildings for concerts, trade shows, High School sports, graduations, and conventions. This is skilled and experienced labor. These are livable wage jobs.
As one example; for the Justin Beiber concert we worked a thirteen hour day getting out of a RV show then setting all of the portable seating for 20,000 people. The next day we worked overlapping ten hour shifts seeing to the needs of the show then maintaining the building for our 20,000 guests during the show, then cleaning after the show in preparation for The Holiday Food and Gift show.
During this setup I asked my Operations Manager how they planed to accomplish this work in the future with only five maintenance/conversion workers, all she could do is shrug and say 'I don't know'.
As a taxpayer I would hope Mr. Hensen has a better plan than that to keep our buildings operational and our renters and guests happy and safe. If Mr. Broadnax takes Mr. Hensen's proposal we will be left with three to four people tasking the five workers who are left.
In Mr. Broadnax's new proposed budget he will give back a 5% pay cut taken from managerial positions , remember many of these positions received a 10% or more raise under our last City Manager. As taxpayers do you want to give back a raise to people who will soon be supervising 50% less employees?
The workers at the Dome and Convention Center are members of Teamsters 117, we have not taken a raise in six years, not even COLA. Yet Mr. Broadnax raised the pay scale of several upper management positions then filled them with his friends from Texas. Any one of these raises is enough to pay a Dome custodian for one year.
We are not greedy union employees,we only want to keep our facilities operational, and to see some logic and fairness in the cost cutting measures recommend by Mr. Broadnax and Mr. Hensen.