Today we saw the largest state employee union in true form, which is to say its worst. The unions rejected Gov. Don Carcieri’s proposal for eight unpaid days this year, four next year, and a six-month delay in a pay raise. Union officials know that the alternative is 1,000 layoffs, but most of the presidents of the bargaining units with the state’s largest union took matters into their own hands, rather than letting the union members whose jobs are at risk vote on the issue:
[T]he 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.”
Either the union officials are putting the interests of the group ahead of the individuals who will lose their jobs, or, worse, they are more concerned about their own hold own power. The Projo story suggests the latter:
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.”
Doesn’t this make the union an end in of itself, rather than just a means? For more, see the Projo story on this latest development.