Regionalization Won’t Make the Unions Go Away… Quite the Opposite

Somehow, this strikes me as a preview of the “benefits” of regionalization in Rhode Island:

Just hours after he closed the Douglas Avenue fire station, Mayor Charles A. Lombardi ran into a legal stumbling block from the firefighters union Wednesday afternoon and he agreed to temporarily reopen the station. …
Firefighters want [Providence County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey] Lanphear to keep Lombardi from shutting down the station and reassigning personnel, about 12 employees, to three other stations in town.

Note that this wasn’t even about eliminating positions — just moving work locations. The only savings that regionalization might promise, in such instances, is to spread out the cost of lawyers for participating towns and cities. Of course, the whole point of regionalization is to instigate this sort of change, so municipalities would be sharing an increased expense.
Prior to any regionalization efforts, towns and cities will have to begin asserting themselves in contract negotiations to regain management rights. My suspicion is that, once they’ve taken such a step, regionalization will look like far less of a panacea, because the situation would have already improved dramatically.

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michael
11 years ago

Regionalization won’t make the unions go away but with any luck it will happen and take mayors like Charlie Lombardi away.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Yeah, Mike, with any luck, North Providence can get another mayor like that fine upstanding citizen, Ralph Mollis.

George Elbow
George Elbow
11 years ago

Justin,
Amen to that!
Regionalization is nothing more than an excuse and a diversion for not controlling costs, chief of which lie in Unsustainable and Entitlement-minded Union contracts.
Regionalization could very well yield some benefits, but as the Wall Street banks have shown, big isn’t always better.
You are 100% correct in that regionalization should be Step 2 to salvation, with Step 1 being the eradication of Entitlement-minded Union dominance in all that we do in this state.
Until we begin saying “NO” to the Unions, for example, telling Michael’s Union that the taxpayers are NOT going to foot the bill for his Union-hack President to “work” on Union / Contract business (that’s what Union dues are for), regionalization will solve next to nothing.
We need Collective Bargaining Reform, we need to repeal Binding Arbitration and we need to become, as my new friend BobN notes, a Right-To-Work state long before we start down the path to Regionalization.
With any luck, it will take the Unions away and Michael will have to compete for a competitive wage, else go away.

EMT
EMT
11 years ago

Lombardi might have a shred of credibility if he didn’t base his decisions on a “study” that got the number of fire trucks, rescues, and firefighters wrong, then based its recommendations on the incorrect numbers.

George Elbow
George Elbow
11 years ago

EMT,
How many Fire Trucks, Rescues and Personel are in the station that Mr. Lomabardi proposed closing?
After Closing it, how many Fire Trucks, Rescues and Personel would have been eliminated.
Please share these facts with us.
Thanks.

michael
11 years ago

Keep dreaming George. The world needs dreamers.
And by the way, I never had any trouble in the private sector, nor will I when I retire.

George Elbow
George Elbow
11 years ago

Michael,
Of course you won’t have any trouble when you retire, as you’ll be retiring in your 50s with a Guaranteed taxpayer funded Pension that Grows by 3% every year to go along with near free health-care for more years than you actually “worked”.
Indeed, it doesn’t get any easier than that …unless you are a Union President staying home to “work” on Union business except for the days they saunter on in for some old fashion Overtime.
Yep, there is a reason you left the Private sector.
How about this for an idea: why don’t we let Lombardi close that fire station. Then it can be re-opened and manned by a volunteer non-Union-hack group of firefighters.
What do say? It could be a good training ground for TI type guys wanting to get their foot in the door on a firefighting career in the hopes of fulfilling the dream of getting on the tit that is municipal Union-hack firefighting.

michael
11 years ago

Still dreaming.

George Elbow
George Elbow
11 years ago

Helps me sleep at nite.

Phil
Phil
11 years ago

You can sleep at night because others work at night…every night. 24/7.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

There may be factors in more urban areas that I am unaware of, but in suburban areas they have been closing fire stations for years. I know the Fire Chief in a nearby massachusetts town, whose father was a previous chief. When his father was Chief, there were six fire stations, now there are three. I don’t believe the number of fire fighters has been reduced. Through most of this time, nearby Seekonk operated with a volunteer department. I am not sure if that is still the case.
The reasons for this are many. Widespread telephones, faster response times with modern equipment, extension of city water lines, more houses built to modern codes, the disappearance of gas heaters, modernization of older buildings which eliminate space heaters, etc., etc. The short is, we just don’t have the number of fires we used to.
Go to ForgottenProvidence.com and look at the pictures of recent fires. Very few of those buildings approach “modern”.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

There may be factors in more urban areas that I am unaware of, but in suburban areas they have been closing fire stations for years. I know the Fire Chief in a nearby massachusetts town, whose father was a previous chief. When his father was Chief, there were six fire stations, now there are three. I don’t believe the number of fire fighters has been reduced. Through most of this time, nearby Seekonk operated with a volunteer department. I am not sure if that is still the case.
The reasons for this are many. Widespread telephones, faster response times with modern equipment, extension of city water lines, more houses built to modern codes, the disappearance of gas heaters, modernization of older buildings which eliminate space heaters, etc., etc. The short is, we just don’t have the number of fires we used to.
Go to ForgottenProvidence.com and look at the pictures of recent fires. Very few of those buildings approach “modern”.

George Elbow
George Elbow
11 years ago

Phil,
Darn, I threw that soft-ball out there for Michael or EMT to swing at. You stole their thunder.
By the way, where does EMT’s hero, Lazy-Ass Pauly “No Show” Doughty fit into that equation of “others work at night…every night. 24/7.”?? Just curious.
As Warrington Faust astutely points out, this is yet another example in a long line of examples whereby the Unions are operating based on stadards that long ago became obsolete.
Face it, just like the Teaching profession has been hi-jacked by the Unions, the Firefighting profession has been hi-jacked by the Entitlement-minded delusional “giving selflessly” Union.
So do I assume that Michael has given a thumbs down on having the station in question manned by Volunteers (i.e. not by dues paying whiners)?

George Elbow
George Elbow
11 years ago

EMT,
We are still waiting for those “facts”.
When you free up from protecting us 24/7, please do send them over.
Thanks.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Why don’t you offer to go pick them up in person, George. That might increase the interest in fulfilling your request. And then you could scoop us all.

Phil
Phil
11 years ago

George Elbow I often think about those that work all night and all day every day so my comment is not just a punchline. I live in an area that has private fire and rescue companies. Commonly these are referred to as volunteer but they are private. They charge the town in which they operate and pay only their top people. They utilize volunteers to staff the other positions. I have known some of the young (high school age volunteers) people who were classmates of my sons. They may be nice young men but I would not want to count on them to save my home or family. Actually I would consel them to be very careful about putting themselves and their families at such risk in these jobs without the sort of protections that exist for union firefighters. I simply would not trust the private fire or rescue head to properly care for injured workers. I would rather pay more in property taxes than watch as either my home or one of my neighbors homes burned to the foundation. Or one of these young people volunteering gets maimed for life without the proper conpensation. Now George Elbow you have a point when we speak about what constitutes proper conpensation. You and I may never agree about the what that may be but can we not agree that rescue and firefighting work is difficult and demanding. Leave aside your disdain for one person for whom you seem obsessed and acknowledge the need for workers of these difficult and dangerous jobs to be fairly conpensated. Thats where the debate should be. Also it was mentioned that there are less fires than in years past. I would caution anyone from basing public safety policy on a relatively small sampling. Remember that Rhode… Read more »

George Elbow
George Elbow
11 years ago

Phil, Firefighting is a job. No one is forced to do it. Can firefighting be dangerous? Absolutely, it sometimes very well can be. That is true of LOTS of job. With any luck, Firefighting will REMAIN safer than many other jobs and will remain OFF the Buereau of Labor Statistics Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs list (much to the great annoyance to guys like Tom Kenney of the PFD). Should people be fairly compensated for a job. Yes, absolutely. But I believe in letting the market determine what is fair compensation, not whining, delusional, hardly-working, contract wielding, court assisted Union-hacks. Let a City or Town decide what they can afford to pay and TRAIN their firefighters (or any other employee). Then, if the employee does not believe the pay is enough, they are FREE to go find a job elsewhere that will pay them what they believe they are worth. If enough leave and enough don’t come forward to replace them, that will be a free-market indication that the pay is not enough, and the municipality can make an adjustment, assuming it can afford it. What we get instead is a bunch of whining, hero-worshiping, delusional, “giving selflessly” crap from Union-hacks lecturing us about safety, when they have no problem that their Union president doesn’t show up for work for 3+ years except to grab overtime, as was the case in Providence, or in the case of North Providence, they hoot and holler about a “lack of safety” because Lombardi is going to add 15 seconds or so to a fire run, yet the whiners were silent when one of their voicferous Union-hacks drove a firetruck miles and miles away to drop a key off to one of his cousins. The Union hacks could care less about safety. They care… Read more »

michael
11 years ago

You’ve never thrown anything but softballs, George.

George Elbow
George Elbow
11 years ago

Yes, Michael, ‘cuz that is all you and your Union-hack comrades are capable of handling.
Any chance of you responding to my proposal to close the NP station down and man it with non-Union volunteers??
By the way, is your president working tonite or his he attending to Union business on the taxpayer’s dime? Just curious.

michael
11 years ago

Every now and then, if you keep swinging, you hit a softball out of the park.

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