Reckless Promises, Yes or No?

Brian Hull summarizes the approaching resolution between the governor and the state’s public sector unions thus:

Under the agreement, state workers would take eight unpaid days in this fiscal year and four unpaid days in the next fiscal year. State workers will wait an additional six months for their next pay raise. There will be no additional threats of furloughs, shutdown days or layoffs until June 30, 2011 (the next Governor’s problem). And the workers will have the opportunity to recoup some lost pay or take bonus vacation days upon leaving state service.

The part about “no additional threats” strikes me as a surpassing reckless promise for the governor to make, in this economic and political climate, so I followed Brian’s links. The source in all cases is Council 94 President Michael Downey, and at this point, an explicit promise appears to be more of a hope than a description.
One needn’t be an anti-union zealot to see the danger of taking further reductions in labor costs off the table, and I suspect that when the details shake out, there will at least be escape clauses.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
14 years ago

This agreement seems reasonable.Neither the Governor nor the unions have the same blame here as the legislature.They have moved slower than molasses in January to control spending.

14 years ago

The MSM is being unnecessarily confusing in its reporting on this, with this unusual construction of “taking unpaid days”. Does that mean “working unpaid days” or “taking unpaid days off”?

14 years ago

Perhaps the governor intentionally took the state worker off the table going forward? This governor has downsized the state workforce more than any other. Reduced the #’s by 3,000 over his 2 terms in office. He has also changed their heatlh insurance etc to save money. This governor has addressed the budgetary areas under his control. He and these state workers have done all they can.
The governor and these unions have done their part.
By taking the state worker off the table going forward the governor is putting pressure on the lazy and feckless General Assembly to DO THEIR PART in finding savings in the state programs/fixing the unfunded mandates that are fiscally strangling the cities and towns etc. We know the deficits are building and will only increase going forward. By agreeing to this deal for two years the governor has taken one of his biggest ‘under guberbatorial control’ cards and thrown it away.
On purpose!!
Veeeeerry interesting!
Now if the governor would simply follow this up by crafting the most fiscally conservative bare boned budget this state has ever seen and dumping it in the laps of those hapless Democrat and Republican Assembly hacks….
That would be an amazing thing to see.
Do it Gov!!

Justin Katz
14 years ago

That may or may not be his intention, Tim, but it still strikes me as reckless. For one thing, the General Assembly can still leave the governor with the bag for cuts (somewhere near $200 million in contracted services are available, for instance). More centrally, though, the governor would have taken one possibility off the table.
Even assuming that the final agreement allows attrition through eliminated positions (thus enabling the GA to cut entire programs without having to retain the employees who staffed them), the political battle will focus on a smaller list of items. Where do you expect the General Assembly to look? To other powerful interest groups, or to taxpayers?
Note that the unions will have been freed from the necessity of fighting with the governor, making them able to direct their attention toward supporting their allies in other special interests (especially the social services racket) and encouraging changes in tax code that (in their erroneous economic calculation) will plug all current gaps and leave the public sector with more largess to divvy up when the economy improves.

George Elbow
George Elbow
14 years ago

Will people ever learn?
We have no businees making promises / guarantees, that is, providing certainty in uncertain times.
We make guarantees / promises with respect to Pensions, when there are no guarantees with respect to Pension Fund returns (despite Bob Walsh’s assurances) and we all see where that has gotten us.
We shouldn’t even be providing multi-year contracts.
The Gov’s “deal” is indeed reckless.

Jack Rabbit
Jack Rabbit
14 years ago

While there appears to be a deal, the devil is always in the details. You can bet if the Governor agreed to a “no layoff” guarantee, there is a rather large trade-off. Any guess on why there is no signed agreement yet? Let’s wait and see if there really is a deal?
The Governor mentioned, as was reported by the media, something about discussions going on that would allow him to consolidate or move employees around. Interesting! Sounds like there is more going on than meets the eye.
It’s highly likely that there are some management rights issues still on the table. The ability to move employees across departments and avoid all the bumping would be worth a significant amount of money and could be worth the trade off.

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