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Akron, Ohio

Keywords: Public Works

Road Repairs

In Akron, Ohio city workers dig up the pavement at over 1,200 locations each year to make water and sewer line repairs. When the repairs are finished, workers put a temporary patch over the damaged pavement. In the past, private contractors would then move in to resurface the road.

For the past two years public employees have done the resurfacing work, and saved the city over $500,000 in the process. Why pay to do the same work twice? asks AFSCME Local 1060 President Leo Armstrong. If were already there repairing the hole, we might as well finish the job. Not only can we get the job done faster, it saves the city money, too.

The city used to spend about $800,000 a year for the service, and when the money ran out, the resurfacing stopped. This often meant that many of the repairs were never completed. Today, all the citys road resurfacing jobs get done, and at a significantly lower cost than what the city used to pay.

Weve become a trend-setter in the area, says Armstrong. Other city departments are looking at what they can bring back house since what weve done here has been so successful.

Now even other local government workers are looking at taking on new jobs. In nearby Summit County, for example, road crews there just took back road striping after several years of privately-provided service.

Its truly a win-win situation, Armstrong says. The payoff for our members is greater job security, and citizens get the best service at the lowest cost.

Case based on interview with Leo Armstrong, AFSCME Local 1360, August 19, 1999. See also Akron Workers Pave the Way, AFSCME OC8 News July/August 1998. p. 15.