Ribbons signify county workers' unrest

March 10, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

Members of the union that represents the county's secretarial and clerical employees will begin wearing red, white and blue ribbons this week to protest expected layoffs and show their solidarity.

Many of the 385 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 2563, feel they are targeted for staff cuts in the coming government reorganization. The result is sagging morale, said Lee Lyons, Local 2563 president.

"It's ugly," Ms. Lyons said of the mood of her members. "It's really bad."

The ribbons are a sign that "we're still here, plugging along. We're still here doing our jobs," Ms. Lyons said. "I think we need to let the citizens know that we're still here, dedicated to serving the public."

County Executive Robert R. Neall's reorganization plan, which will consolidate six departments into three, will lead to the elimination of 250 jobs. More than 100 people will lose their jobs, and administration officials have made it clear that most of these will be white-collar administrative and clerical positions.

The ribbons are the union's quiet way of protesting the decision, Ms. Lyons said.

"Go ahead and do what you want to do. We're still going to act like ladies," she said. "We're not going to go around yelling and picketing. We'll just be quietly talking to anybody that will listen."

The other five labor unions representing county workers -- including blue-collar workers, police, fire, detention center and Sheriff's Department employees -- will for the most part not be affected by the layoffs. As a result, they plan no action.

But Ms. Lyons is hoping that some members of those unions will wear the ribbons as a show of support.

They also will offer ribbons to residents who are served by the clerical and secretarial employees of her union, and are satisfied with that service. "All the red, white and blue ribbons state is that [the wearers] are aware of the service we provide, that we are a vital part of the county government," she said.

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