The DeWine administration has asked state vendors, suppliers, contractors and landlords to take a "voluntarily pay cut" of 15 percent amid the current budget crisis and coronavirus pandemic. However, since the request was "voluntary," it's anyone's guess whether businesses and contractors would comply.
The state could not say whether this would result in any cost-savings because of the voluntary nature of the request; however, DAS did indicate that vendors’ action “will be taken into consideration as we make decisions whether to renew or rebid contracts approaching their end date.”
In other words, the state implied to private industry that if they went along with the cuts, that when times were good, they would be taken care of. "Too bad bargaining unit members never get that assurance. When times were good, our employees still took zeros," said OCSEA Pres. Chris Mabe.
"We know full well that the state isn't willing to break their contracts with businesses if this request isn't met, especially in this current economic climate. We'll see if the same can be said about upholding their contract with OCSEA union members," said Mabe.
In the Ohio Dept. of Administration's letter to "valued suppliers," the state asks 1,400 contractors, including IT, general goods and services, and printing and print-related providers, to cut their charges to the state, effective July 1, by 15 percent. The state also asked approximately 180 businesses that lease buildings with the state to do the same.
The union hopes the state will do the right thing for state employees on the front lines, particularly as the deadline quickly approaches for the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, and OCSEA members face increased financial anxiety about whether or not the state will respect the union contract.
The union strongly urges the state to use this time to reevaluate costly private contracts, including large IT contracts, JFS contracts and the food service contract in DR&C. Reigning in expensive contractors and tapping into the state’s Rainy-Day Fund is key to balancing the state budget. Union members are encouraged to continue to send their cost cutting suggestions to UnionYes@ocsea.org.
OCSEA continues to wait on requested detailed documentation from the State regarding their recent Notice to Negotiate. Those items continue to trickle in from the state. When those requests are satisfied, the union will then begin discussions about dates to meet.