Whose Really to Blame for the Job Cuts?
Katherine Gregg at the ProJo gives us the sad stories of the state workers who have been laid off. I feel for them. But they’re not the first to lose their jobs for reasons unrelated to their own job performance, contrary to what some may think.
As AFSCME Local 2884 president Salvatore Lombardi explained: “It’s embarrassing because …it’s like they’ve done something wrong. You know, people who do things wrong lose their job. …Not people who come to work everyday, put in their 7, 8 hours like they are supposed to, feed their family. “I mean the big shots up there on Capitol Hill, they are still eating steak and the people that are eating hot dogs every night are being punished. It’s horrible.”
Yes, it’s horrible. I guess the $150,000 we put towards the AFL-CIO Dislocated Worker Program will be put to use. It’s more than private sector workers get. But this isn’t about misery loving company.
In the next few months we will be seeing a whole lot of bumpin’ going on as those union members with more seniority take jobs away from a whole bunch of other people who have “done nothing wrong.” It won’t matter who is the better worker, only who has worked for the State longer.
In the private sector, competence is valued over seniority. If it isn’t, then those making the decisions won’t be long for their own jobs. Private sector big shots also may still eat steak while they lay off the hot dog eatin’ proles, but that happens only for so long. Eventually, they will also get fired if they continue to under-perform. In government, regardless of performance, the upper level bureaucrats seem to just keep on keepin’ on. I’m all for cutting them, too. Or voting them out.
The larger point is this. Maybe if the union leadership–like Mr. Lombardi–would have taken the Governor seriously and acknowledged that the state was heading for trouble, they would have negotiated smaller raises and less generous benefits with the result of saving some of those jobs. Instead, they let their union pride cloud their judgment because they didn’t want to “lose” any of their previous “hard fought” gains. Win at all costs at the bargaining table, right?
They may have saved face, but the result is lost jobs for the rank and file. But rather than blame themselves, the union leadership will continue to blame the Governor. Unfortunately, my guess is that most of the average state workers will continue to buy it. Instead, maybe they should look at their own union big shots and consider the job they’re doing.