Screwing With My Plans

Curses, just when I thought I had a sweet item to fillet the city, the bright light of responsiveness lit up the darkened downtown.

The other night, and who knows why, downtown was nearly all in the dark except for some holiday lights at the Barnum Museum. McLevy Park was dark, Baldwin Park black, most of the rest of it the same thing. Not exactly a warm and fuzzy atmosphere for potential visitors and downtown residents as we approach holiday cheeriness.

Then Nancy Hadley, the city’s former economic development chief and a resident downtown, had to go mess up my plans. She was like a one-woman riot squad asking everyone what the hell was going on. Could this be one of the city’s cost-cutting measures? Yeah, turn off the lights and scare the crap out of everyone.

Not exactly. Whatever the reason, Public Facilities Director Charlie Carroll was on the case and the lights went back on. So, kudos to Hadley and Charlie, even if they screwed up my fun.

So, I must confess that I’m getting phone calls and emails from folks saying this tentative labor agreement between Mayor Bill Finch and the Police Union Local 1199 is one of those short-term gains, long-term nightmares, as the out-year increases will stretch the budget thin. Hizzoner, if he chooses to seek another four-year term, will be in an election cycle when that happens, possibly facing former Mayor Johnny Fabs and perhaps State Rep. Chris Caruso and perhaps 20 million others. Too soon to say.

If it is the mayor’s goal to stave off a financial oversight board, in the short term securing zeros from the union for two years won’t hurt him, depending on how he handles the rest of the budget gap.

The way things are looking in Hartford, with the state facing an ugly projected $6 billion hole, it doesn’t look like the Democrat-controlled legislature’s in any position to add extra goodies for the state’s largest city. Hard to believe the mayor is just a week away from his first full year in office. Still having fun, Mr. Bill?



  1. This is better posted here than on the previous topic …

    yahooy // Nov 25, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Some crazy Philistine asked me in this Blog why I think the unions are impeding our progress towards financial stability.

    My answer is simple. So simple, in fact, that the simpleton who asked just may simply get my point.

    This city has been in financial disgrace for more than 25 years. During that period of time ALL of the city’s unions have DEMANDED and got SIGNIFICANT financial improvements at the direct expense of the suffering taxpayer.

    The unions got away with it because they know how to get out the vote and keep us filled with hacks and sycophants who fail the citizenry while prospering supporters.

    Now we are on the brink of disaster. Unless Finch wises up and realizes that neither he nor his so-called “advisers” have the intellectual capacity to solve our current state of affairs, our downward spiral will accelerate to a point whereby recovery is impossible.

    I do not advocate bankruptcy in any way shape or form for a municipality. By definition, a municipality has control over incoming revenue and cost outlays. Balance is not hard to do. However, costly collective bargaining agreements greatly impede any ability to resolve deficits in a timely and efficient manner.

    At one time a union was an essential and beneficial part of our nation’s labor movement. Those precarious times have long past. No longer are workers exploited by the “robber baron” business owners who forced workers to labor in unsafe condition for pittance wages.

    Now all a union seems to be is an entity out to grab as much as they can for their membership without regard for the good of the public who foots the bill. So long as politicians and prospective politicians pander to this organized group of voters, we the public take it in the neck.

    We don’t need unions anymore, anywhere. Private enterprise and municipalities can offer workers fair and competitive wages and benefits … period.

    I am still saddened by the recent Sikorsky union debacle in which the union factory workers struck for several weeks eventually returning to work with nothing to show except bigger personal debt resulting from lost wages (BTW … the union hack who orchestrated and prolonged the Sikorsky strike got his paycheck in full every week while his members lived on about $200 per week in “strike pay”).

    Most recently, the teacher’s union in the Woodbridge School District slapped their retired members in the face when they unilaterally abolished a contract provision guaranteeing health benefits to retirees. Further exacerbating that situation, the Statewide Teacher’s Union endorsed the local’s plan and allowed the contract for retirees to be ignored. Many of these retirees who are now scrambling to get decent health coverage paid their union dues regularly without complaint. Nice job Woodbridge union officials.

    As I have said before, I wish Finch had the moral courage and the intellectual capacity to tell these unions that there will be NO RAISES for any city employee anytime in the future until the financial condition of the city is restored to a condition that will permit such expense. The days of contractually obligated increases without regard to current financial condition must come to a screeching halt. We cannot effect the necessary solution so long as the union demands take precedent over any form of plans for financial stabilization.

    I think unions should disband and Finch should quit.

    Fat chance …

  2. Oh … one more thing …

    How in the hell can that idiot Finch guarantee JOB SECURITY to anyone when it is likely that there will not be sufficient revenue available to honor such commitments?

  3. Oh … one more other thing …

    If Finch actually guarantees the job security of union members then some poor bastard sweeping up what’s left of our libraries and other non-union folks are going to take it in the neck because there will really be no money anywhere to pay for this GIFT. Where’s the justice here?

  4. Peepholes United Bank goes bottom fishing with new fees set for 2009.

    People’s United Bank (PBCT) will increase fees for overdrafts from $20.00 to $30.00 and money orders/bank checks from $8.00 to $12.00 sometime in February, 2009.

    This strategy is clearly a no-angel hair pasta strategy served al dente to increase fees for on the financial cusp customers.

    No Fee Simple served there!

  5. “yahooy” #1, I don’t know where you get your right-wing Republican talking points from or your labor history for Bridgeport’s unions from but you are way off base.

    I will use just two Bridgeport unions, fire and police. The members of these two unions contribute 6% of their pay towards their pension. That money was deposited into the City of Bridgeport’s General Fund, it was not invested or even placed in a regular savings account in any bank. Instead the fire and police pension contributions was used for road repairs, schools, parks, in fact anything that the mayors felt was necessary to spend fire and police pension contributions on. There was no concern about the future of those fire and police retirement funds. In 1983 the City woke up and started Pension Plan “B” for all newly hired fire and police at 8% of their pay to go into a SEPARATE invested pension fund. When fire and police retired from Pension Plan “A” their pension comes out of the City’s General Fund.

    As for their labor contracts, it’s called collective bargaining, where both parties negotiate in “good faith” negotiation. When the parties came to an impasse the contract would go to the state arbitration panel for their decision on which side had the best offer base on the City’s ability to pay for the services to the taxpayers. The City’s offers were not “good faith” and the state arbitration panel would award the union their best offer.

    Well, now that state arbitration law was changed by the state and now if the state arbitration panel rules in favor of the unions the City has the right to reject the award and have the City Council vote against the award to the unions.

    Fire and police give you an honest day’s work and they expect an honest day’s pay for putting their life on the line every day of the week.

  6. Ron Mackey

    I never realized that I was a “Right-Wing Republican”.

    You’re right. \ Every single cop and firefighter should earn a competitive wage for the heroic, dedicated and excellent work they do. I personally appreciate every single one of them. In that regard … a union is necessary, why?

  7. “Bridgeport Now” tonight on Ch 77 at 8pm to 9pm, broken up into two segments:

    Brilvitch and Halstead on city history and development
    – Remington building
    – Brass building
    – See house city wanted torn down but developers saved
    – Frisbee building

    8:30 to 9pm Bob Walsh and John Bolton
    (The following notes provided me by city source)

    The Scinto plan:
    1) Move Jewish home for the elderly from Fairfield to 40 acres that Scinto owns in Monroe ($200M development plan).
    2) Split tax revenues three ways; 1/3 Monroe, 1/3 Trumbull, 1/3 Bpt. plus sewage user fees.
    3) Front loading Bridgeport’s share and forgoing a long-term predictable revenue stream.

    Panuzio Lobbying contract:
    1) The proposed firm is being paid $48 for a seven month contract that was advertised as a 1 year contract.
    2) The city only allowed 8 days for firms to respond to their advertisement for proposals.
    3) The internet website that the city used to solicit bids listed only 2 respondents and the Panuzio firm is not one of them.

    Police Contract
    1) Police agree to accept no pay raises over the next 2 years.
    2) Murky language on vacation and holiday pay
    3) Larger than normal pay raises in years 3 and 4.

  8. Just to add my two cents to the union articles. The unions especially the Police & Fire Unions are no longer a viable voting block. They lost that power when they were allowed to move out of town.
    There was a time when the Police & Fire unions along with their families could get out 3,000-plus voters and thus control a primary and in some cases the outcome of a general election, that is no longer true.
    What really needs to be done including union givebacks or taking zeros is that the administration has to start cutting the deadwood in all departments. Here are some examples.
    Fire Department: Why does the chief need a captain to be the department spokesperson and troubleshooter for the chief. They have 2 Deputy Chiefs that should be doing that and the last I checked the Chief is able to speak. Savings $60,000+.
    Police Department: They used to have 2 Deputy Chiefs now they have 4. Why? They have a total of 101 supervisors that supervise about 300 cops. Get rid of 2 Deputy Chiefs. Savings $160,000. Get rid of the horses and put these cops back on patrol. Savings $500,000. Get rid of Community Policing on Sylvan & Old Town and put these cops back on the street Savings??? Sell all of the old white patrol cars that fill the lot on Main & Congress and on Old Town Rd.
    City Administration: Get rid of John Gomes and his two employees as they really are not accomplishing anything. Savings of $200,000-Plus.
    Cut 2 mayoral aides as they are falling over each other. Savings of $130,000.
    Cut the Greeter. $40,000.
    Cut 1 position in labor relations as they farm everything out anyway. Savings $90,000.
    Get rid of other political Lillys for untold savings.
    Stop the practice of take-home cars. Cars should go to Police Chief, Fire Chief, Mayor and Public Facilities. Savings have to be in the area of $100,000.
    This equals about $1.8 million in savings.

  9. “yahooy” #7, I cannot speak for the reason that 1199 picketed Mayor Finch’s charity golf outing.

    I can tell you that as an elected official of Fire Local 834 in 1997 that we did picket Mayor Gamin at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard Bluefish baseball game and at the Barnum Museum. We were protesting the fact that we had gone three years without a contract; meanwhile firefighters were working for the citizens of Bridgeport 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and a number of them were injured in performing their job. By law firefighters cannot go on strike, we could not withhold our service to those who needed our help when they dial 911.

    The City’s negotiator David Dunn was not negotiating in “good faith”. David Dunn who is now a part-time employee of the City’s Labor Relation Department and also has own business where he does the same type of work. In 1997 David Dunn was contracted by the City to negotiate the firefighters contract and there was no need for Dunn to complete the job because he was getting paid by the hour by the City. What were firefighters to do? We used our legal right for peaceful assembly, took out legal permits to use our legal right of freedom of expression to put pressure on the Mayor to complete those contract talks.

  10. Hey Grin one! Here’s some more grim news for Bridgeport. Speaking of lights, the United Illuminating company has purchased the Showcase Cinema Property in Orange for $21.5 million to be used as an operations center. This center will consolidate UI operations and its 600 employees.

    Paging Bill Finch and the Steal Point project.

  11. yahooy, you are living in a dream world. Unions are as much a necessity today as they were 70 years ago. “Workers no longer exploited …”? Again I ask, what fantasy are you living?
    As to the main question at hand, what about the total lack of development in this city over most of my lifetime? There is the root of your problem.

  12. “yahooy” #14 asked, “Again, Mr. Mackey, a union is necessary … why?”

    Let me answer in reverse order. No one should be a union member if that union discriminates, if it does not represent all of its membership, if that union does not address social and moral issues inside of that union.

  13. Sorry flubadub, but I still see no plausible explanation as to why a union is a necessary implement in this 21st century.

    You wake up!!! Why do you think the Big 3 carmakers are encountering resistance for their bail-out requests?

    I’ll tell you why. They, all three, admit the manufacturing costs for domestic autos is $73 per hour as opposed to $41 per hour by the Japanese manufacturing plants here in the midwest and south.

    Why do you think it costs Detroit $73/manufacturing hour?

  14. Hey “Wondering”, can I read your comments from 12:27pm on the air tonight Ch 77 “Bridgeport Now”? Do you want to call in? 203 345 0103, between 8:30 and 9pm.

  15. “yahooy” WOW! and you’re not a right-wing Republican? Please, with those talking points about unions I see why the Republicans lost so big in the recent election nationwide.

    Keep those comments rolling and spread the word and your views of unions to like-minded people especially elected officials even if you are not a Republican (right!), so when 2009 and 2010 elections come we can weed out more Republicans.

  16. I voted for Obama AND Shays. If I could have, I would have voted for Russo and Ms. Pollyanna MCAT. Is that what Right Wing Republicans do? If so … guilty as charged.

    How about answering my question about the necessity of unions in the 21st century and save your blowhard bullshit for someone who cares.

  17. To the extent that Bridgeport has labor (contract) issues, I’m more inclined to fault those who negotiated FOR the city and WITH the unions, rather than blame the unions themselves.

    Unions do what they were created to do … negotiate forcefully on behalf of their members. Only time will tell how this role evolves in the future. But for now, unions are a significant part of the economy and a reality that city officials must deal with. And let’s be honest; most of Bridgeport’s past and present problems were NOT union made.

    Successful collective bargaining takes more than just a “good faith” effort. It takes flexibility, common sense, respect for the other party and enough intelligence to cost-out both the short term AND long term effects of a contract’s terms.

    Leave out any of these ingredients, but insist on maintaining costly entitlements and senseless perogatives, and someone will get screwed in the end.

  18. I admire Bruce and I intend to vote for him. He is entitled to his opinion as am I and, for that matter, as are you. My opinion is unions are cliche and we are better off without them.

  19. Having worked under a union contract for 20-plus years and then working for a fortune 500 company for 19 years I have seen both sides of the coin. While in the union I found that it was beneficial to the goof-offs and the troublemakers. The pay raises were the same for the above and for the good hard workers. There were no incentives other than personal incentives to do an excellent job.
    The union really only benefited the guys that got into trouble for one reason or another.
    In the private sector I was paid and given raises and bonuses based on my work performance. I was responsible for my raises and bonuses.
    The raises and bonuses were given out based on the company’s performance. If the company did well it was reflected in your raise and bonus, conversly if the company had a bad year or the economy suffered there were small raises or no raises.
    As far as protections for the job there was an HR department that was there to deal with any problems if they arose.
    I fared much better salarywise in the private sector but fared better in retiremnent benefits with the union.
    I guess if the city employees were paid or recieved raises when the city was doing well it would surely help the city finances. But dealing with politicians who are always running for reelection could you trust them to tell you when the city was doing well?

  20. “Wondering” #28 wrote, “dealing with politicians who are always running for reelection could you trust them to tell you when the city was doing well?”

    BINGO!!! Bridgeport mayors were running for office every two years, so they had to make decisions base on their re-election the same as the 20 council members.

    Union workers have other concerns besides a paycheck and benefits. Health and safety issues, workplace conditions, have we forgotten about child labor, blacks and women need not apply signs at the work place, unions fought those battles.

  21. Ron what you say is true but for the most part the unions have lost their focus. Look at the autoworkers union. Even in these tough times they refuse to renegotiate contracts that were done before there were hard times and before foreign automakers built plants in the USA. Let’s face it in this time and place making $73 ph for assmbly line work is a bit much.

  22. The presence of unions also help workers at companies without unions. Whole Foods takes care of their employees, so they won’t unionize and as long as they keep taking care of them, their workers won’t unionize. But it is the power of unions that forces Whole Foods to treat them well.

    Unions have their flaws, like any other organization. I was reading an article today with comments from UAW members, who didn’t see this crisis with GM coming. Really? You thought GM had a good business plan? But that’s the reason we have people to break picket lines and have the right-to-work companies. To keep unions in check. Unfortunately, we don’t really keep them in check here in Bridgeport. But unions definitely aren’t the cause of all our problems.

  23. *** I don’t believe I would buy an American car again, except for maybe a Ford F-#150, #6 cyls. pickup truck. Honda, Toyota, Subaru, BMW, M. Benz or maybe (V.W.?) would be my first choices in cars in general. *** Depending on one’s personal, sensible budget; they’re reasonable in price-$, good warranties, dependable cars, maintain good resale value, include most driver wanted items as standard options & most gen. maintenance parts are easy to find! Bottom line is you get a good product that the companies stand behind for the money you spend. American cars lost many of those options years ago & the ones they retained, you have to pay extra for! All American Automakers need to streamline and restructure the entire company from top to bottom. Do more with less & if legally possible without a worker’s union to start with. It’s just a matter of getting back to old fashion needed basics! ***

  24. “Ron Mackey // Nov 25, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    yahooy, how do workers get paid and get benefits, does their boss just tell what they are to get?”

    Yeah, Ron … that’s about it. The owner of the business decided competitive wages and the level of benefits he or she needs to provide in order to attract and retain a skilled, dedicated workforce. If the workers feel that they are underpaid, they have the inalienable right to QUIT and seek employment elsewhere. No successful business owner would ever create a compensation and benefit plan that workers would find less than desirable. Without a skilled workforce, no business can be successful. The business owner doesn’t need a union to tell him that fact.


    “Union workers have other concerns besides a paycheck and benefits. Health and safety issues, workplace conditions, have we forgotten about child labor, blacks and women need not apply signs at the work place, unions fought those battles.”

    Worker Safety: OSHA
    Child Labor: State and Federal Law
    Women and Blacks: Civil Rights Act

    These matters are addressed in the courts and carry very heavy penalties. No unions need get involved. This is the 21st century. Unions did a damn good job controlling these issues more than 100 years ago.

  25. Right now I am out of town and focusing on other things. But with all this union-bashing going on, I have to at least make a short comment or two.

    Without unions management holds all the cards. Unions help level the playing field. It’s as simple as that.

    BTW–I don’t begrudge any UAW worker the decent pay and benefits he or she receives. I would rather see the non-union auto plants unionized than see the UAW removed from the unionized plants.

    One last point, legislation on worker safety, etc. came about because of a strong labor movement. Weaken labor and these laws will also be weakened.

  26. John: You may not begrudge the UAW decent pay but don’t you think $73.00PH for the average worker on an assembly line is a bit much? Cars rolling off the assembly line are a deficit even before they get to the showroom. Does it take a rocket scientist to put a bumper or a windshield in a car coming down the assembly line?
    If the car manufacturers do not get concessions then what? Where will these people make that kind of money and have those benefits?
    I personally think that the Big 3 should declare bankruptcy and start over, just like the airline industry has.
    Who are we going to bail out next? I am tired of paying for these failures.

  27. “yahooy”

    The Los Angeles Times last week gave the account of the House and Senate testimony of Alan Reuther, legislative director for the United Auto Workers. In 2005 the UAW agreed to reopen the contracts mid-term, and accepted cuts in workers’ wages and in health care benefits for retirees. Then, in the general 2007 collective bargaining negotiations, the UAW agreed to what industry analysts have called a “transformational” contract that fundamentally altered labor costs for the Detroit-based auto companies.

    This contract slashed wages for new hires by 50%. Furthermore, new hires will not be covered by the traditional retiree health care and defined benefit pension plans. In addition, this contract stipulated that beginning January 1, 2010 the liability for health care benefits for existing retirees would be transferred from the companies to an independent fund (a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, or VEBA). This agreement has subsequently been approved by federal courts, which have appointed a majority of the trustees who will be independent of the UAW and responsible for managing the VEBA. Taken together, the changes made by the 2005 and 2007 contracts reduced the companies’ retiree health care liabilities by fifty percent.

  28. As far as the deal being offered to the cops … I think it is a very fair offer. No one side is getting the better of the other. It seems that after a long and difficult negotiation both sides have found a common ground they feel comfortable with. It is called negotiation for a reason … give and take.
    Going forward it will definitely be in the best interests of the city to use these two years wisely. They should be taking the opportunity to control the bleeding by continuing to sit down with the labor people and brainstorm on concepts and ideas to help each department run more efficiently. If both sides are willing to commit to changing the culture I am certain that much good can be derived.
    As far as who is to blame for the current state of affairs … well I think you all know which side I tend to hold responsible. With that being said it is now the responsibility of both sides to put the past behind them and work together to continue to find common ground. If we continue looking in the rearview mirror in an attempt to lay blame we won’t see what’s coming down the road.

  29. “park city fan // Nov 25, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    As far as the deal being offered to the cops … I think it is a very fair offer. No one side is getting the better of the other.”


    You just don’t get it … do you?

    And … Mackey …

    In a few weeks, there will be no more UAW.

    The UAW is the architect of the $73/manufacturing hour in Detroit. They can give back everything. It doesn’t matter. It, as a result of one-sided “collective bargaining agreements” has caused consumers to look elsewhere for new cars. Nice going UAW.

    Big deal … 1199 has magnanimously agreed to defer any raises for 2 years but expect greatly enhanced salary increases after that.

    1199 … where do you think the money is going to come from to provide for the increases? If you think Finch and his crowd will figure out a financial solution to the current crisis in Bridgeport, you are mistaken.

    All of you unionists out there, I’d hang on to your union baseball caps, union tee shirts and that pretty sateen union baseball jacket. Soon, it will be all you have.

    Just remember your motto … Screw the city … we want our money.

  30. Park City DH

    I reject your selection of me as Turkey of the Year.

    Go find another turkey to so designate … then stuff it.


    You are absolutely right that labor was the compelling factor that led to a plethora of worker safety legislation.

    I don’t agree that a weakened labor movement will lead to weaker safety legislation … not by a long shot.

    In the 1930’s, during the depression when available labor was abundant, a key executive a Raybestos was warned that the asbestos used in the manufacturing of their brake pads was causing their workers to become ill sometimes fatally. When this executive was advised that the cost of installing filtering devices would be too expensive, he said … “WOPS are cheaper than props”. We can never return to those days. Our federal government can handle that situation far better than any union.

  31. yahooy – Without a strong labor movement supporting pro labor candidates and legislators where is the check on pro business Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, etc., backed candidates and legislators?

    I believe workers and business interests are both best served when both sides have strong advocates for their interests and that for workers this is best accomplished through collective bargaining and through collective political activety–i.e. through unions.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  32. JBR

    You are still missing my point.

    I will never vote for a candidate simply because that candidate is pro labor. Pro labor means support for bloated collective bargaining agreements that ultimately destroy business … a la Detroit.

    This is still a free country. The workplace is safe thanks to OSHA (acknowledged derivative of labor) but nonetheless in place … children are not hired to work in sweat shops … discrimination in the workplace is met with severe state and federal penalties.

    I firmly believe that a business owner has the absolute right to establish a competitive wage and benefit base for his company that is borne from the projected revenues and expected profits from his company.

    I don’t know of any instance where unions have confronted management demanding higher benefits and wages carefully considering future busines growth and profitability. Too many times a union will demand increases under the threat of work stoppage or slowdown thereby ruining a business’ chance for profit. The management gives in continually and, like Detroit, eventually has to shut down.

    By the way … don’t bother going over to the Brass Shop to apply for a job. They’re not there any more.

  33. yahooy – I know I’m oversimplifying but here’s what it boils down to for me:

    Management is going to do everything it can to keep costs down and increase its profit margin–this includes keeping wages and benefits as low as possible. That is what it is designed to do.

    Labor wants to get as much for the workers as possible–this includes keeping wages and benefits as high as possible. That is what it is designed to do.

    This is an inherently adversarial relationship that reqiures both sides to to bargain with each other in good faith.

    If either side becomes too dominant things get out of whack and everyone suffers in the long run. If management becomes too dominant workers suffer and we have a race to the economic bottom and lose the middle class that powers our economy. If labor becomes too dominant the cost of doing business can become too high and companies can go out of business and there are no jobs.

    In our global economy there are other factors at work, but for me it comes down to this: Workers have a right to earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living and companies have a right to make enough to make a decent profit. I believe both of these ends are best served when both sides can strongly advocate their respective positions at the bargaining table and in the political arena.

    That’s it for me. It’s too nice a day to be inside blogging.

  34. JBR

    Simple, indeed.

    Labor need not be organized to expect from management a fair and equitable wage and benefits. Any 21st century employer who thinks that they can lowball wages while remaining competitive in their marketplace is misinformed. Without a skilled labor force, no company can perform and be profitable. So labor does have a say. When key employees complain that wages are too low the implied threat is that the employee will seek adequate wages elsewhere. The employer knows the importance of this key employee so wages are put into an acceptable level. If the employee makes irresponsible demands for increased pay outside the general market conditions, that employee is shown the door … as he or she should be.

  35. JBR:

    An “inherently adversarial relationship” between management and labor? I think not.

    Maybe an ebb and flow of dynamic tension, but that’s the nature of most human organizations. It’s my experience that in well led, well managed businesses, the emphasis on people (as core assets) is so strong that an adversarial climate just couldn’t exist.

    Government regulations, enlightened human resources practices and global competition are rapidly diminishing the significance and relevance of collective bargaining in the private sector. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.

    Are there exceptions to the trend? You bet. But I think the pattern of change will make that adversarial relationship you mention more a relic of the past and not something workers will have to contend with in the future.

  36. yahooy – If you are saying that individual employees have the same bargaining power as huge businesses, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

    Bruce – If you want to call it the “ebb and flow of dynamic tension” instead of “inherently adversarial relationship” that’s fine. Either way unions help level the playing field and help workers get a fair shake. Also, as I stated earlier many of those government protections for workers will soon be legislated out of existence if there is no organized labor movement to lobby for workers’ rights and to help elect pro labor candidates.

    Personally, I think a less adversarial and more cooperative relationship would be in everyone’s best interest. I just don’t think doing away with unions is going to make that happen. It will just put workers under the total control of management and for the reasons I stated previously, I don’t see that as a good thing for anyone.

  37. JBR

    In private enterprise I do certainly contend that the individual employee has inherent bargaining power with an employer. The employee, presumed to be a key employee, can resign leaving the employer to scramble to make a profit. I say it again … any employer who offers less than competitive compensation programs cannot possibly attract and retain the necessary workforce that ensures successful business operations.

    I hope everybody has a generous and satisfying Thanksgiving.

  38. *** Unions in America are lucky Obama will be President & not someone like ex-union Pres. of the actor’s guild, U.S. President Reagan. Unions have been & continue to be pioneers in worker’s rights and benefits; however many have gotten too big & mismanage union dues which in the end are paid by the companies they oversee & bargain with. In other words, many large Unions in America have created the very thing they’re fighting against for their members. Like many businesses in America, they spent more than what they make so in the end, who ends up paying for it? It’s the same old song just a different singer, “time to get back to basics”!

  39. “yahooy,” #57 In private enterprise I do certainly contend that the individual employee has inherent bargaining power with an employer. The employee, presumed to be a key employee, can resign leaving the employer to scramble to make a profit. I say it again … any employer who offers less than competitive compensation programs cannot possibly attract and retain the necessary workforce that ensures successful business operations.

    How does this work for public-sector workers like firefighters and police officers? And please give an example where this is in place and working.

  40. The Police Union “deal” is NOT good for the City, just the politicians. All that it does is push the problem off until after the next election when–if we are lucky–someone else will have to deal with its consequences. It is typical of the traditional “just get me reelected then I’ll worry about it then” that has wrecked the City’s finances.

    Call we please have some REAL leadership … and in the meantime, can we get some adult supervision for the daycare we call the City Hall Annex?

  41. Mackey …

    I think you are genuine in your request for information as to how the compensation programs of the private sector can be implemented effectively in the public sector. I shall answer your question and ask Hubler to comment as well. But for now, I’m off to join family and friends.


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