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Teamsters, AFSCME Challenge Furloughs

Two unions, the Teamsters and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are taking legal action against Louisville Metro Government over last year’s four unpaid furlough days for all non-emergency metro employees.

The furloughs saved the city about two million dollars. But the Teamsters and AFSCME say the furloughs their employees took violated their contracts.

“You must lay people off in reverse order of seniority until you’ve reached the point when you can recoup your money,” says Teamsters’ attorney David Leightty

The Louisville Labor-Management Committee is considering AFSCME’s complaint and has issued a ruling in favor of the Teamsters. That ruling now goes to a judge for a legal opinion.

If the court rules for the Teamsters, Metro Government may have to pay union workers for their furloughed days. If that’s the case, Mayor’s spokesperson Chad Carlton says other budget cuts will have to be made.

“Our initial reaction would be that we would resolve this issue, if there is an issue, within the normal budgetary process, which means making our spending and our revenues match up,” he says.

Carlton says he’s not sure how much money was saved from furloughs for Teamsters and AFSCME members.

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Local News

Final Firefighter Vote Tally Expected This Week

A final vote of approval from current and former Louisville firefighters on an overtime settlement is expected this week.

For years, the firefighters have been seeking an agreement over millions of dollars of miscalculated overtime work. Metro Government has tentatively reached a 45 million dollar deal with the firefighters, who have voted in favor of the agreement in meetings this month. The final vote from out-of-town retirees will come Wednesday, and will be sent to the mayor and Metro Council for final approval.

But a group of 42 firefighters is not included in the deal. Union President Craig Willman says their paperwork was not in order.

“They may have been 40-hour employees and just joined on to the lawsuit as a precautionary measure that they may get some moneys,” he says. “However, the members out of that group are going to have avenues to follow to be made whole.”

Those avenues include an amendment to the deal in the Metro Council or a separate settlement.

Another group of 135 firefighters is seeking a separate settlement over pension payments.

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Local News

Group Starts Alternative Tip Line

A south Louisville activist group called Stop Invisible Taxes has set up an ethics tip line for Metro Government. The group sees the service as an alternative to the city’s soon-to-be-established official tip line.

A contract for the city tip line will be awarded by July 1st. It will be operated by a third party and proponents say it will be nonpartisan and anonymous.

Paul Holliger with the Stop I.T. group says he doesn’t trust the city to fairly handle the government tip line. He won’t reveal his tip line’s benefactor, and he says people will just have to trust his service more than the city’s.

“There’s going to be a number of government employees that’ll be perfectly comfortable using the government tip line. More power to them,” he says. “If that is their level of comfort than who I am to say that they’re decision is incorrect? We are an alternative. We can’t force anybody to use us, we can’t force anybody to trust us.”

Holliger says calls to his line will be investigated and reported to the proper authorities.