Benefiting the Community

Harvey Waxman, of Wickford, makes a good point:

When private-sector unions make concessions their sacrifices will go to companies whose executives often make millions in salaries and to shareholders whose dividends can benefit from those concessions.
When a public-sector union makes concessions the beneficiaries are not high priced executives but the people, the homeowners, the citizens of Rhode Island. That is an important difference.

One could quibble with the fact that Harvey doesn’t treat shareholders as “people, homeowners, and citizens,” which clearly they are (and not all rich, either), but the sentiment came to mind when I read of financial problems in Woonsocket:

Leaders of the police and fire unions said Menard has told them that, unless they make contract concessions in areas including health benefits, the city may have to lay off about 30 of the 99 police union members and 45 of 132 firefighters union members to balance the city’s $116-million budget.
Union leaders in both departments said cuts of that magnitude would be devastating.
“It’s a tragedy waiting to happen,” Steven R. Reilly, president of the Woonsocket Firefighters Association — Local 732 of the International Association of Fire Fighters — said after addressing the council Monday night.
“I’ve got people here wondering if they have a job,” said Sgt. John Scully, president of Local 404, International Brotherhood of Police Officers.

It sounds to me as if Mayor Menard was telling the union leaders that they have it within their power to avoid that tragedy in waiting. Unions act collectively when they’re trying to negotiate for evermore; they should also act collectively when it comes to preserving each other’s jobs.

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George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Gee whiz. I thought the Union motto was “All for One, and One for All”. Now let’s sit back and watch as they dig their heels in, while their fellow comrades lose their jobs. And oh by the way, in terms of losing their jobs (or worrying about losing their jobs), welcome to the real world! What do these coddled fools think the average taxpayer deals with on a daily basis? And why, after all the post-Station House fire draconian “fire safety” regs and expensive upgrades do we have 30% MORE firefighters than Police? What a racket. Mayor Menard needs to publish a complete list of ALL Police and Fire personel, including their W-2 earnings in the last fiscal year, along with year-to-date earnings for this year. In addition, she needs to provide the health-care plan they receive including the cost of that plan along with the miniscule contribution that the employee makes. Add to that the Clothing allowance, longevity pay, the number of Vacation days, Sick days and other goodies they receive. Demonstrate the actual Cost of these employees vs the # of days worked. Taxpayers, who are amongst those suffering the 10% unemployment rate in RI, along with the crushing tax burden will have little sympathy for our Union whiners when they see the facts. Woonsocket is on the brink of becoming the next Central Falls from a financial perspective. It can ill-afford to let the Unions drive the decision making. No one wants to see anyone lose their jobs and no one wants less Police on the streets, but these whiners need to step out of fantasy-land and understand that the party is over. Woonsocket is unique in that they have the Poster-child for Pension Reform in perinial losing mayoral candidate, the 42-year-young Retiree Toddler Brien, who,… Read more »

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“she needs to provide the health-care plan they receive including the cost of that plan along with the miniscule contribution that the employee makes.”
What is the health insurance premium co-share of public employees, both in Woonsocket and around Rhode Island? If it is not at least 20% – and without a compensatory raise, ’cause, duh, that would accomplish nothing – our elected officials are failing us all, including the public employees.

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“I thought the Union motto was “All for One, and One for All”.”
And speaking of philosophic conflicts, what is the basis on which Mayor Menard proposes to lay off firefighters? Is she contending that they are not needed? That may be, in view of our dubious ranking of highest per capita fire prevention cost.
But in that case, if they are not needed, why did she hire “extras” to begin with?

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Regarding firefighters: “Why did she hire the extras to begin with”.
Good question. But quite frankly, it is now irrelevent. What matters is that they can no longer afford to have the extras at the current cost.
Having said that, the answer to the question is that the Mayor and the Council (i.e. those that approved the contracts) previously refused to say “NO” to the Union demands of minimum manning.
We’d love to have 200 FFs. But the reality is that we can NOT afford that many at the Price they demand to be paid.
And as previously noted, logic would seem to suggest that with all the fire code upgrades that were foisted upon us, it stands to reason that we should have some incremental decrease in the need for so many FFs.

phil
phil
12 years ago

Hows the national and global economy doing?

EMT
EMT
12 years ago

And as previously noted, logic would seem to suggest that with all the fire code upgrades that were foisted upon us, it stands to reason that we should have some incremental decrease in the need for so many FFs.
More lunacy. How many sprinklers do you think were in the tenement that burned down in Woonsocket last week? That’s right, NONE. And there are buildings like that mere feet, sometimes inches, away from other buildings like that all over Woonsocket.
There’s also no such thing as “extras” in Woonsocket. Their trucks aren’t staffed to NFPA requirements to begin with. They’re closer to it than some departments, but not by much.
Lots of people think firefighters are too expensive until it’s their house going up in flames.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

EMT – as usual, you miss the point.
We have too many FFs at the current cost. I’d love to have 200 FFs hanging around eating donuts, washing their cars waiting for the next big fire. But we simply can’t afford as many as we have at the prices they demand.
I know your ilk struggles with the concept of “Limited Resources” and you think that Taxpayers are merely money trees to be harvested. But you are wrong.
Tell you what, let’s get rid of all the FF’s (we’ll keep the EMTs / Rescue folks) and reallocate the funds to sprinkling every structure in the city. Fair enough?
At least sprinklers don’t take paid days off to work on Union business like Lazy Ass Pauly “No Show” Doughty.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Phil,
The national and global economy is in the tank.
And the principal reason is that economic bubbles were created by people living beyond their means.
It started with the sub-prime debacle. Idiots buying houses that they couldn’t afford over the long run.
It is compounded by governments with unsustainable cost structures driven by whacko Union contracts.
No different than the “Big” Three automakers with their unsustainable cost structures driven by such things as paying Union members to stay home and not work (which must warm Providence FD Union Pwesident Lazy Ass Pauly “No Show” Doughty’s heart). Like RI, the auto companies Union contracts have brought them to their knees.
Mayor Menard is doing what every other city and town needs to do, which is to begin to ruthlessly rationalize the cost structure to be in line with the new economic realities.
The bloated and unsustainable cost structures that were allowed to exist can no longer be masked by an economy made up of bubbles. The bubble has burst, the party is over and the Union hacks better get used to it.
But fret not, the 42-year-young Retiree, Toddler Brien, will still get his GUARANTEED Pension payment that grows 3+ percent every year, regardless of the fact that the Pension fund has lost 30-to-40 percent of its value this past year. The hard working taxpayers (many of whom are unemployed) will pick up the tab!

EMT
EMT
12 years ago

Sorry George, not going to bait me with your typical baseless attacks on someone not here to defend himself. As usual, you simply make yourself look foolish by spouting off about issues you know nothing about, ripping into people far better than yourself. Jealous much?

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

The national and global economy is in the tank.
And the principal reason is that economic bubbles were created by people living beyond their means.
It started with the sub-prime debacle. Idiots buying houses that they couldn’t afford over the long run.
It is compounded by governments with unsustainable cost structures driven by whacko Union contracts
These statements were written by one, George Elbow. I think they clearly indicate the knowledge of their author. I don’t think his/her vendetta against firefighters should be taken seriously either.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

EMT – “baseless attacks”? To what do you refer?
Woonsocket is demanding that the Union hacks start paying their fair share of healthcare, along with other common sense Union contract reform since the current contract is cost-prohibitive. That’s a fact. Nothing baseless there.
Toddler Brien retired at the tender age of 42 and is now collecting a life-time Pension that grows 3+ percent a year(regardless of the performance of the Pension fund), not to mention near free Healthcare for life, and he could easily collect for more years than he worked (he’d just have to live past age 62 for that to happen). Facts again. Nothing baseless there.
Sprinklers, unlike Providence Fire Dept Union President Lazy Ass Pauly “No Show” Doughty, don’t take paid days off. There are those pesky Facts again. Nothing baseless there.
So what’s your point?
And what do you say about the proposal to replace the FFs with Sprinklers (we’d keep the EMTs and Rescue vehicles).
Phil – perhaps some day you’ll actually add something of subtance to the conversation and wow us with your knowledge?

EMT
EMT
12 years ago

I was mostly referring to your incessant name-calling and assumptions of intent of people you don’t know.
As for your sprinklers for firefighters proposal, no dice. Phoenix is probably the most spriklered city in the country, and they have a large, well-staffed, well-equipped fire department that is actually something of a testing ground for many advances in the industry.
In any event, you couldn’t possibly sprinkler every building with the money saved by a lack of firefighters. And there’s still many ways for fires to significantly damage or even destroy buildings that sprinklers wouldn’t prevent (fires that start in the walls, chimneys, attics, fires outside that extend in, etc). Then you’ve got car accidents, car fires, any other type of fire, fire alarm activations that need to be responded to, technical rescue incidents, and probably a hundred other types of problems that I’m too tired to think of.
Besides, somebody need to be around to help me carry all these fat people nowadays. 😉

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

George Elbow
I did’nt think you could defend those statements about the national and global economies.

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

except the first statement although I may have worded it differently.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

EMT,
Agreed, we can’t and should’t replace FFs with Sprinklers. Like most things in life, there is a balance.
I would submit that we are out of balance with respect to what it costs for Fire Protection versus what we can afford.
A key driver of that imbalance, in my unhumble opinion, is the unfair and unrealistic Union demands (e.g. near free health-care. We can no longer afford this little luxury). God forbid a FF incurs an injury on the job. But if they do, they are covered by workers comp and other benefits.
Near free healthcare for employee and family is no longer viable. The costs are too high.
With respect to me making “assumptions of intent”, I’m not sure I did that. I merely highlighted facts, such as an individual who both voted against Pension reform and who also Retired at the tender age of 42.
Name calling …I think you are over-reacting. Referring to a 42 year-young Retiree as Toddler, especially when his first name is Todd, can’t be that offensive. The name is not meant to offend, but rather to drive the point home (i.e. we have people Retiring at too early an age).
And with respect to Lazy-Ass Pauly “No Show” Doughty, well we’ve covered that in the past. Anyone who sits home on their keester while collecting a Taxpayer funded paycheck is indeed a Lazy-Ass No Show. Not sure there is anything to debate on that issue.
And yes, you absolutely earn your pay when you haul out those heavy-weights that have been sitting around stuffing their mouths with Cheetos, while watching Oprah and waiting for that heat-assistance check to come rolling in! 🙂
Stay warm and stay safe.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Phil,
Perhaps you could impress us with your description of the economy, along with the reasons driving it’s current status.

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