Anti-Democratic Council 94 Rejects Governor’s Offer
The ProJo reports on the decision by Council 94 to reject Governor Carcieri’s cost-saving deal, while other unions approved it. The Journal quotes Council 94’s acting executive director Joseph Peckham as saying the 11 to 7 (or 6?) vote as “not even close.” Ooookay.
Peckham said he, Downey and Council 94 vice president Jonathan Braddock recommended a membership vote because “we believe[d] that it was the best that we could do under the circumstances.”
But the proposal went down 11 to 7, according to Ronald Bonsante, president of Local 2876, who was among the minority seeking a union-wide membership vote. “I think the members had a right to approve or reject it,” Bonsante said. “Now, [Carcieri is] definitely going to lay off.” (Another participant recalled only six yea votes.)
When asked what led to the defeat by the Council 94 leadership board, which represents about one-third of the state’s unionized workers, Peckham said: “The strong sense in the room was that state employees have given, and given, and given for the past two or three years, and they’ve given enough.”
“They have gone without pay. They have had pay cuts, because of the health-insurance increases in premiums. They have had their pensions reduced. We are in this like everyone else,” he said. “Most of our people are average working-class people who are trying to eke out a living.”
Ah, but the benevolent leaders didn’t allow their average working-class members the chance to vote for themselves. As an anonymous commenter (“vito”) to the ProJo story wrote:
[T]he definition of solidarity is we are willing to let the junior man go.
Ahh, brotherhood. The Council 94 leaders are all for democracy and leveling….except when they aren’t. Instead, they’re willing to play games with their own members livelihood for the sake of the greater union good.
But a number of Council 94 presidents, including the outspoken Salvatore Lombardi, said they would have voted for the deferred paydays this year and next had Carcieri not tried to attach what they considered a deal-breaker: a provision allowing him to move workers from agency to agency, union to union.
“This was supposed to be about saving money and furlough days. But they managed to slide in language about bargaining-unit rights and shifting people around which is more of a union-busting technique,” echoed Paul Levesque, an officer in Local 2876 representing a block of workers in the Department of Children, Youth & Families. “That’s how they bust unions, by splitting them up like that.”
Like there’s a chance in hell of anyone “busting” a union in Rhode Island. Gimme a break. And how did they manage to “slide in” language while you were right there at the table? Look, I understand the paranoia that must be going on in the minds of the poor, besieged union bosses, but the idea of shifting people around to similar jobs in different departments–
even if that means they’d be moving to different unions(UPDATE: According to Governor’s rejected proposal, they would stay with their original unions)–would allow more people to stay employed in jobs for which they are already trained. Such flexibility would facilitate “bumping” by making it easier to place experienced employees where they’re truly needed. But that would make too much sense.