Caprio: Lay Off 1,000 Non-union State Workers

In case you missed it, State Treasurer Frank Caprio told Dan Yorke last Friday afternoon that he thinks that the quickest and easiest way for the Governor to lay off 1,000 state workers would be to focus on the non-union employees. Caprio added that non-union employees make up 1/3 of the state work force and that they are primarily higher salary workers. Additionally, Caprio also explained that these non-union workers are automatically given the same benefits that unions have obtained at the bargaining table. However, since they are non-union, the Governor has the ability to change their benefit packages without having to go through formal renegotiations.
Caprio is probably correct regarding the higher salaries of non-union employees because–and I’m only guessing–I suspect that these workers would fall into the administrator/manager types. His is also a pragmatic approach toward quickly reducing government outlays. However, there is also little doubt in my mind that he’s trying to play this both ways by trying to take the focus off of union workers. Like it or not, our budgetary problems are too big to ignore unionized state employees. If 1/3 of the state work force is non-union, then who comprises the other 2/3s?

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Mike
Mike
13 years ago

He also said the GA burning up of the tobacco m oney is “a recipe for disaster”.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Do non-union employees get pensions? I highly doubt their benefit package matches that of the unionized employees to the point where there is no difference in savings.
And who’s kidding who? If the non-union employees aren’t at the bargaining table, then they’re not the ones we’re going after. Whack 1,000 (preferably 5,000) UNION employees. Remove their dues from the whore’s coffers. Remove them from every stupid demonstration at the state house. And make them realize that they can’t have everything and if they refuse to give and take, they can LOSE everything.
A lot of those who are crying about potentially losing their jobs were the same ones rallying for illegal aliens rights…
This is less about trimming fat than it is about reasserting who’s in charge. And it ain’t some jackass named Nee or Walsh.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Greg,
Running your mouth about “whacking” people is easy.
Actually making the cuts and maintaining services is not.
Therefore, from now on, when any of you union haters, you know who you are, suggest complying with this butchery, I expect you to tell me which departments they are going to come from. No, “any 1000 will do” will not work.
Try the exercise yourself. Even those of you who think the worst about unions are going to have a hard time figuring out which 1000 need to go based on current staffing.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Bobby,
The state has 15,000 state employees. FAR more than New Hampshire which has a much larger population. We can get rid of them. We will find a way because if not the next step is a taxpayer march on the state house.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Greg,
What does New Hampshire do for their coastline?
What terrorist threats are aimed at New Hampshire?
How do their Universities rate compared to ours??
How diverse is their population?
Other than ski resorts, what investment have they made in the tourist industry?
How many beaches do they maintain?
Trying to justify cuts based on population alone is rather lazy. So lazy in fact, it sounds like the Governor’s work.
P.S. We’ve seen marches sponsored by the GOP. In fact Depetro told Gio, on the air no less, not to hold a rally, because “it would look weak – less than a thousand people”. In other words, my counter demonstration would be 5 to 10 times the size swallowing up your little group. Greg, it’s not your fault; the people that you are relying to engage in the most basic of political exercises are a dangerous combination of lazy and inept. What you all fail to realize, maybe you will when you have 0 seats in the House after the next election, is that the problems start in the Governor’s Office.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Must be nice to send out “You are invited and required to attend” rally notices, huh Bobby?
A taxpayer revolt is looming. It’s just over the horizon. It’s coming this way. And you know it.

Rhody
Rhody
13 years ago

Maybe we will, as Greg insists, see a taxpayer revolt in the near future. But when those taxpayers begin to focus on the salaries and benefits in the governor’s office (and those of other non-union employees), they might see a storyline just a little different than the one talk radio is peddling.
In my private sector business (which has seen its share of mass personnel whackings recently), there’s a little thing called institutional memory, which benefits the customers, taxpayers, etc., greatly. Whacking 1,000 unionized workers may bring short-term benefit to the bottom line, but we will paying for it farther down the road when we need the services these folks provided.
Next time you need police, firefighters, etc. and a bunch of rookies respond…

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

I don’t see anybody but mid-management getting wiped out by these layoffs. Redundancy and layabouts. There are EASILY 1,000 people that can be booted without affecting services. APC let go over 300 people at once and performance didn’t significantly suffer at all.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Greg,
I don’t doubt what you say about APC. That’s private industry. It works differently because no one else is fighting for them.
In politics, the Governor’s own cabinet now has to fight against itself. That was pure genius.

Marc Comtois
13 years ago

Rhody, Keep in mind, the Governor didn’t specify that all 1,000 cuts would be union jobs, but it’s a natural conclusion to make that because the majority are union jobs that most cuts would hit union workers. (Caprio and Yorke also mentioned that on Friday). Additionally, the Governor indicated that the cuts wouldn’t all be via firings, but would also include natural attrition (retirements, etc.)
I don’t think the cuts will be targeted at the fire and police. Instead, bureaucrats and paper pushers and people whose jobs overlap those of others will be cut. (For instance, limiting redundancies like the 30-whatever school districts).
Let’s not forget, the budget absolutely ballooned in the last ten years ($900 million to $1.6 billion), outpacing both inflation and income growth. And the population and demographics haven’t changed that much. That money went somewhere it wasn’t needed before. It’s time to get it back.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

“It works differently because no one else is fighting for them.”
No, it works differently because the company has a responsibility to the shareholders to remain profitable. Ask General Motors or Ford how much they would like the same flexibility. $1500 of every car purchase goes to pensions. That’s why I only buy Japanese. That $1500 is buying me CAR.

chuckR
chuckR
13 years ago

The non-union state employees certainly should not be spared. I’d start with anyone with the word ‘communications’ in their job title.
In a related matter, why is no one pointing out that a private company charging $X/hr to provide the services of an individual does not mean that person is making $X/hr – or that the difference in what the company does pay and the charged hourly rate is not profit – or if you include cost of benefits, it still does not indicate the balance is profit? Does no one understand overhead and G&A expense? I think the politicos lining up against the guv’s proposals most certainly do. And does anyone know what the overhead/G&A multiplier is for state gov’t overall or by department? That would be an interesting number.

Anthony
Anthony
13 years ago

The cuts shouldn’t be targeted to union or non-union. The cut should be based on need and the cost spent to meet that need. If it means cutting non-union jobs, so be it. If it means cutting union jobs, so be it.
I don’t know if 1,000 jobs can be cut overnight, but I do know that when technology was making other governments and industries more efficient, RI’s government was getting more bloated. I’m sure they’ll be a way to figure how to eliminate 1,000 jobs over a year or so.
I don’t buy the “we’ll have to cut back fire and police” line. That line is always used when government wants to hold onto money.
Chuck brings up a good point when he suggests the Gov should look at people with “communications” in their title. That generally means the job exists to justify the state spending for the RI Department of “fill-in-the blank” through public relations.

Michael
13 years ago

The only police or fire departments effected by state level layoffs would be the State Police and Department of Corrections. All other fire and police departments are run by municipalities.

Warbucks
Warbucks
13 years ago

The increased volume and insanity of the “Bobby” comments are a clear indication that, underneath it all, the Democrat hacks are getting very scared.
P.S. Bobby: There’s a lot more to New Hampshire than the stamp licking table at Howard Dean HQ.

Aldo
Aldo
13 years ago

When is the Governor going to go after the political hacks and relatives of GA members who artificially inflate the ranks of state workers? Ever review the state payroll to see how many relatives of GA members are pulling down descent salaries for no-show / do little jobs? I just don’t see that happening and until it does, I am more than content to let him go down in flames.
It’s a disgrace but he has allowed it to continue despite the PR about the “Big Audit”. As far as I’m concerned the Big Audit was all fluff and little substance. Christ, FDR turned the US Gov’t on its head in less than 100 days!
He has had five years to reign in the GA and instead he has attempted to play ball with them. That is like the US trying to negotiate with Al Qaeda. It just won’t work! His staff does him no honor and as a result, WE are sinking ever deeper into the red!
As for Tobacco money?
When is he going to make the connection between Alves, the Chair of the Senate Finance Cmte and a VP for Investments at UBS, and what happened back in 2002 when UBS et al, pulled in $4.75 million! Read the following excerpt about that tobacco “deal”
The…”deal will also provide $6.3 million in fees to the lawyers, brokerage houses, rating agencies, financial advisers, printers and the like, who were given roles in the deal.
The underwriters, led by UBS PaineWebber Inc. — and their own lawyers at Tillinghast Licht Perkins Smith & Cohen, in Providence, and Hiscock & Barclay, in New York — will split the first $4.75 million…” – Projo 21 June 2002
Any takers as to what “deals” are being made this year?

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

“It’s a disgrace but he has allowed it to continue despite the PR about the “Big Audit”. As far as I’m concerned the Big Audit was all fluff and little substance.”
Big F*in’ dittos. I like Don, but he has run one of the most inept, silent, witless, tin-eared, bloated administrations since the last bloated jackass to inhabit the office Captain Sleepsalot of whatever his name was.

john
john
13 years ago

Re: Where to cut 1,000 jobs?
If you look at where job losses have occured across the economy, most have come in the middle. Many lower level jobs have to be performed in person, which limits the abilty to replace them with technology and, at the same time, limits the ability of technology investments to significantly increase their productivity (and therefore real wages).
At the other end, many high level jobs involve synthesis, which is less amenable to technology substitution than routine analytical work (that is more typically performed by middle managers).
The first place I’d target is middle management jobs whose functionality can most easily be replaced by technology.

john
john
13 years ago

Re: Where to cut 1,000 jobs?
If you look at where job losses have occured across the economy, most have come in the middle. Many lower level jobs have to be performed in person, which limits the abilty to replace them with technology and, at the same time, limits the ability of technology investments to significantly increase their productivity (and therefore real wages).
At the other end, many high level jobs involve synthesis, which is less amenable to technology substitution than routine analytical work (that is more typically performed by middle managers).
The first place I’d target is middle management jobs whose functionality can most easily be replaced by technology.

SusanD
SusanD
13 years ago

“Re: Where to cut 1,000 jobs?”
All of the suggestions I’ve seen are fine in theory. But we’re leaving out big chunks of the budget. Where did all the increases in expenditures happen over the last ten years? Shouldn’t there be across the board cuts?
This would require the involvement of the Legislature, falling as it does outside the purvue of the Governor. But if the cuts are more spread out (is this too obvious?), the axe falls less hard on any one expenditure column.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear Warbucks,
All your ad hominem attack tells us is that you’ve never worked in government. The remarks are cute but it doesn’t make the jobs dissapear. Even Steve Laffey on the Yorke show indicated yesterday that the cuts weren’t there.
By the way, since the House is 61-14, what’s there to be scared about? Never mind the Senate. Oh Yeah, all the statewide offices to. The GOP has a very long way to go before anyone is “scared”. You might want to try to impress us by picking up a seat during the next election cycle. However, this Governor has shown he does not care for party building therefore it won’t happen.
John,
I like that idea.
Susan,
This is where the lecture entitled “You can’t run a government like a business no matter how hard you try” begins . . . . .

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

I gotta admit, Bobby. Your sudden and vocal reappearance on this site indicates that you’re scared. Your attempts at damage control and calls of “Nothing to see here. Everything is fine.” are as laughable as anything that’s come from you yet.
1,000 state employees this year. Maybe another 1,000 next…

Anthony
Anthony
13 years ago

I hate to admit that Aldo has a point. I fully support the Governor, but the results so far are disappointing.
There is no question that Carcieri works harder than Lincoln Almond and he is an honest man. But whenever you put together a budget, you have to look at inflows and outflows.
On the inflow side, I haven’t seen any expansion of the tax base through economic development. Maybe my expectations were high, but given the Gov’s background I thought we would see at least one or two major private sector companies come to RI. That hasn’t happened.
On the outflow side, the Big Audit made limited progress, but at the same time, the Gov expanded RI’s government bureaucracy in the areas of public utilities and health insurance, introducing more regulation into an already overly regulated state.
Aldo is also right about those around Carcieri. His adminsitration seemed lethargic and overwhelmed during the first term with nobody appearing to be in control. The 1,000 person layoff was the first decisive step of the administration in terms of addressing the root causes of the problem. But it took until the second term.
Of course, maybe that was the plan. Get through re-election and begin the real work. We’ll see.

Noted Skeptic
Noted Skeptic
13 years ago

OH MY GOD, Anthony. If you want to place a benchmark for hard work, don’t use Lincoln Almond. That’s like saying “that tortoise moved much faster than that snail”!
Otherwise, I agree with most of what you said. I don’t think the Gov. has the fire in his belly. I’m shocked he has even come out as stongly as he has lately. But I’m still skeptical about whether he can see it through. Remember the “furlough”

Warbucks
Warbucks
13 years ago

Greg,
high five

SusanD
SusanD
13 years ago

To return for a moment to Marc’s original point, Caprio’s suggestion was an embarrassing display of unnecessary groveling to the public sector unions. (Is he running for Governor in 2010 or Speaker of the House?)

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
13 years ago

Dear SusanD,
He’s running for Governor. We will stop him. Haven’t agreed on with what yet, but we will.
You on the other hand have the Laffey v. Avedesian matter to consider.

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