Union to seek injunction to block Beshear's furlough plan

FRANKFORT — A labor group said it will file for an injunction at 11 a.m. Friday in Franklin Circuit Court to block Gov. Steve Beshear from implementing a plan to furlough state workers for six days.

AFSCME Kentucky, which represents about 9,000 state workers, said in a news release that the furloughs will do irreparable harm to Kentucky's citizens and employees.

The first furlough day proposed for state workers is Sept. 3.

Beshear said last month that his administration will furlough most state workers for six days in the fiscal year that began July 1 to save about $24 million.

Without the furloughs, the state would have to lay off 413 state workers to make the necessary budget cuts, according to Personnel Secretary Nikki Jackson.

The union said furloughing corrections employees at 24-hour prisons will jeopardize the state's ability to maintain security for neighboring communities and the safety of staff and inmates.

"Many of Kentucky's prisons are already understaffed and now rely on extensive overtime costs just to meet mandated staffing levels; they cannot be safely run by fewer employees or by potentially fatigued workers who will be required to make up for unfilled posts," the union said in its news release.

The union also contends that furloughing social services employees will put children needing immediate protection in harm's way and subject families in crisis to delays that could bring serious consequences to Kentucky's communities.

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