Employees Show They Are Happy To Have Jobs

It was refreshing to see some people are just happy to be employed and to have some job stability.

That’s the reasonable conclusion this week after deals were announced between the Ocean City Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Ocean City Mayor and Council as well as the teachers’ union and the Worcester County Board of Education.

It was learned this week that resort police officers as well as county public school teachers have agreed to forgo pay raises for the next year. In the case of the cops in Ocean City, they have committed to staying at the same pay levels for two years.

Up until this week it didn’t appear that was going to be the reality of the situation in Ocean City, since the city and the union had reportedly come to a stalemate in talks. At one point, binding arbitration appeared to be inevitability. However, somewhere along the way the FOP changed its course, thanks largely to a few veteran council members taking the time to meet with union leaders and hash out the differences.

The end result for Ocean City is about $1 million in savings over the next two years because the FOP agreed to a two-year contract without any sort of pay raise or cost of living adjustment. That means four years will go by without the police officers receiving any sort of raise, but they did receive the city’s word that when the revenue picture improves that will be addressed. Certainly, when it comes time for the next contract negotiation, a raise will be in the mix, and we think that would be appropriate.

In Worcester County, the nature of the discussions between the teachers union and the Board of Education are less clear. However, we learned at this week’s Board of Education meeting the county’s teacher pay will remain stagnant at least until the next budget cycle. That will be three consecutive years without a raise.

We praise the police and teachers for being reasonable and understanding the times once again. Their colleagues in the private industry do not have the collective rights as they do to organize and represented by a union, but it’s worth remembering most of them will be going through 2011 with any sort of compensation increase as well.

We congratulate these folks on the front lines of public safety and education on seeing the big picture and thinking about the community as a whole during these negotiations.