Ive always been under the impression that the media have a code they go by; that the substance of an article was investigated before Run the Press or our radio commentators conduct Talk Shows! Where are the facts? Does the media associate have any written notes that they take, and then use for reference? If so, why is there such a discrepancy? From this point in time forward, I will forevermore have that seed of doubt when I read an article, or listen to the news from some of the media sources here in Rockford. To their credit, there are a select few who take pride in the accuracy of their reporting! I am proud to be a member of AFSCME Local 473, just as I am proud to be a deputy clerk for the Circuit Clerks office. Without this union, there would be a lot of unaccountability for situations that occur in the workplace. Without this union, many of us would still be making less than some of the new people coming in the door, or those who are singled out and favored with higher wages. Why does the County continue to dig their heels in the ground when it comes to simply taking care of their employees? Why is it so hard to budget for a modest 3 percent increase each year, so that their employees can try to keep up with the cost of living increase? We are tired of coming to the table each year and hearing there is no money in the budget for us! We, as a Union, have not asked for anything more than to keep the longevity that we already have in our contract, and that the County wants to take away. This is the only retention incentive for the employees who have been with us so many years. Does the County realize that swinging door employees are not cost effective? That it takes time and money to train these people? We, as a union, have only asked for poverty wages to be modestly increased for the lowest-paid employees at River Bluff. Has anyone tried, or been televised doing what they REALLY do? Do you think Ms. Kris Cohn can do their work and substitute their actual wages instead of hers for one week? We, as a union, dont think the Countys offer of 3 percent increases in three, six, nine and 12-year increments are appropriate for that 12-year employee or over who would only end up with a 3 percent increase, while the two year employee would have accumulated 12 percent!! We believe in what we are striking for, we are not a devious or vicious crowd: we are hard-working, working-class employees who only want to take care of our families, ourselves and our communities. Take a look at us; we are an assortment of women and men who take care of you on a daily basis. Do we look like a violent crowd of miscreants? Come on, get real media! We, as a UNION ask the County to please return to the negotiation table; to seriously negotiate, to bargain, and to read our proposal instead of walking out on us! Note: AFSCME Local 473 has requested to resume negotiations between the County of Winnebago, the Clerk of the Circuit Courts and AFSCME Local 473. Winnebago County Board Member Chris Johnson (R-4) said: As soon as the CNAs [Certified Nursing Assistant] go back to work at River Bluff, well sit down. You dont hold old people hostage. Thats Chris Johnsons personal opinion. Im not speaking for the county. Thats our perspective.