Unions Step in Way of Budget Savings

In the private sector, the idea that employees might have to contribute to the cost of their health insurance is pretty commonplace. But in the public sector—oh the horror! Indeed, once he found out it, AFL-CIO President George Nee decried the change as “a totally unacceptable intrusion into collective bargaining” and promised he would be “aggressively lobbying every member of the House” to block the plan. There, in a nutshell is the union mentality: common-sense health care policy and budget savings don’t mean anything if they infringe upon the sacred inviolability of collective bargaining! For some more reaction to this, read this Providence Journal story. And below, is a press release from the Rhode Island GOP with some choice words for Nee.

Is Anyone Truly Shocked by George Nee’s Quid Pro Quo Offer to Chairman Costantino over Supplemental Budget?

Warwick – RI Republican Party Chairman Giovanni D. Cicione today reacted to a statement attributed by the Providence Journal to AFL-CIO President George Nee in response to a provision in the General Assembly’s supplemental budget plan to require public employees to contribute to the cost of their taxpayer funded health insurance coverage.

As reported by the Providence Journal, Nee threatened to spend his time “aggressively lobbying every member of the House” and also stated, “This is an election year” and “It could be a factor in how endorsements are made.”

“There are only two ways to interpret George Nee’s comments on the issue of public employee contributions to health care coverage costs,” remarked Cicione. “Either George Nee was offering to trade union endorsements for changes to the proposed budget or he was threatening to use the union endorsement process against any official who refused to buckle. Now we know who the AFL-CIO will endorse for Mayor of Providence and Speaker of the House,” speculated Cicione. “The evidence that union bosses pull the strings in the General Assembly could not be any clearer,” concluded the Republican Party Chairman.

“It is appalling that once the General Assembly shows a glimmer of common sense in crafting a budget, George Nee can single-handedly thwart a proposal to save Rhode Island taxpayers millions of dollars,” continued Cicione. Referring to media reports that the Bergen County, New Jersey Education Association distributed a memo that included a prayer for the death of Governor Chris Christie, Cicione observed that Nee’s comments amounted to a threat to politically assassinate any official who would stand up for taxpayers. “At least George Nee has not yet resorted to Jersey-style union thuggery.”

Cicione called on Speaker Fox to put the issue of public employee health care contributions to a vote of the full Rhode Island House of Representatives and each of the declared candidates for Governor to publicly take a position on this question. “The voters of Rhode Island deserve the opportunity to issue their own threats or endorsements in response to this issue,” concluded Cicione.

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