Slow motion suicide for unions


An AFSCME union local filed a grievance against East Haven, Conn., mayor Joe Maturo recently for violating the city's labor contract by personally doing the civic task of reaching down into a storm drain and repositioning the drain cover, which Maturo noticed had become dislodged. According to the union, if a cover comes loose, the city is required to call out exactly four union employees, three of whom would get time and a half and be guaranteed four hours' work. Said union president John Longley, "It's not about the money; it's about our work." (Maturo, a licensed electrician, was a longtime union member himself.)

While I'm sympathetic to Longley's plea, he and other union leaders are oblivious to the effect of this shortsightedness. Archaic rigid union rules which pad expenses are killing the hand that feeds them.  Bankruptcy, increased mechanization and overseas outsourcing will soon follow and then there really will be no work. And then what will happen to Longley's minions?  

Posted by Ethel C. Fenig  8 27 04