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.