A Bracing Dose of Reality
Proem: Al Lubrano, President of the RI Manufacturers Association, appeared on the Dan Yorke Show December 2 to share his thoughts on turning the Rhode Island economy around. Jeff Deckman e-mailed the following to Dan, reprinted here with Jeff’s permission. M.C.
You are dead on with your comments to Al about his seeing it as a collaboration and the unions seeing it as a competition.
I worked with Al when I was on the Economic Policy Council for a few years. He is a very sharp and hardworking guy but like the Governor, he doesn’t get that he is in a street fight with an opponent who is after a different outcome.
Al wants a great place to raise a family and run a company and he cares about his fellow Rhode Islanders. As long as he has that, then he has a chance at being able to afford to live.
The unions want their power and their pensions and they see their fellow Rhode Islanders as people who are obligated to pay the bills. As long as they have that, they are protected from any fall out.
Al cares about the state because he is a good guy who is honorable. But unless he shows up with a baseball bat VERY early on in the conversation there will be NO cooperation or collaboration.
It amazes me how everyone wants to be nice and negotiate with union leaders. You have to be a moron to not know how these guys negotiate. I had a company that went union last year and their tactics would make your hair curl.
Besides, negotiating with [Secretary-Treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO George] Nee or the rest of them is like negotiating with Tony Soprano.
As long as you are giving him what he wants, he is at the table. The minute you aren’t, he breaks out HIS baseball bat and takes what he wants because he already has the power.
You totally get it that one can only negotiate from a position of political power. Al may know business power but he doesn’t understand anything about how political power thinks.
So I wish him well. But he better button his chin strap because he will be looking out the ear hole by the time they are done with him.
[Jeff Deckman is the founder of Capability Accelerators and served as the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Republican Party in 2005.]