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MoCo Council Rejects Proposal To Cut Union Benefits

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Union members, in yellow shirts, pack Montgomery County Council chambers ahead of a vote on union contracts.
Matt Bush
Union members, in yellow shirts, pack Montgomery County Council chambers ahead of a vote on union contracts.

The County Council voted down County Executive Isiah Leggett's proposals to cut costs by cutting health care and benefit packages for unionized employees.

It was sweet music to the ears of Gino Renne, the president of the local Municipal and County Government Employees Organization.

"Well what this means is that we're still alive," Renne says.

Cuts are still coming, but the council wanted school employees to also share the burden. Leggett's proposals did not include them. The council's plan does, and Council President Valerie Ervin says that helped sway the other unions to their side.

"The county executive may have gone a little too far on the health insurance. We want to make that more equitable, but at the same time, make sure we see structural change from this year forward," she says.

Leggett says because school employees are involuntarily being forced into cuts, it will be difficult to achieve long-term savings because the cuts can't be specific.

"...You can't literally line-item precisely and say, 'Take it out of x, or take it out of y'. You can take it out of broad categories, and they still have some flexibility left," he says.

All three sides must come to agreement by next week.

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