Sometimes You Gotta Shake Your Head…

urlAnd wonder, “What the hell is wrong with this country?”

I happened to be tuned to a different (different as in, not the normal) radio station recently and heard Paul Harvey telling the story about Joe Maturo, Mayor of East Haven, Connecticut. This particular mayor, on this particular day, happened to notice that a storm drain cover had been dislodged. Thinking that this open storm drain posed a hazard to the good citizens of East Haven, the mayor spent about three minutes of his morning replacing the cover. One good deed, eh?

Well, it turns out that this scene was witnessed by a member of the local AFSCME union who then filed suit against the mayor. claiming that the mayor had violated the city’s labor contract by repositioning the storm drain. According to the union, this job — that took the mayor all of about three minutes — needs to be completed by four union employees: a driver, a laborer, a supervisor, and a dispatcher; each of which would be paid a minimum of four hours overtime.

Now, I think that unions played an important role in removing and preventing egregious conditions in the workplace and helped to even out the balance of power between employers and workers, but when the union pursues a suit such as this, haven’t they proved to be no longer viable?

If you can stomach any more, read the complete story.


  1. What is a Union, or more succinctly, what does a Union offer that is so compelling? They offer “Fair wages and reasonable benefits for the working classes”. Perhaps…Certainly (in your above story) the four union workers that would have been tasked with repositioning the storm drain would have received more than fair compensatory pay. But what happens if a new ‘cracker jack’ employee comes along that is willing, and able, to do the job more efficiently (almost as efficiently as the non-union, white collar mayor)?What of him?He may be able to do the job at a higher level, yet he will never be fairly compensated for his individual excellence – the union will see to that. In fact it fosters a pecking order that has nothing to do with the effort or skill in which you perform your daily tasks. So while merit based pay seems to make sense, it certainly doesn’t in the Union workplace.And unions are certainly viable, just not in the manner you are thinking. Just look at all the money they dump into the political process.“The biggest union in the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which by year’s end will have 1.8 million members, at its June convention in San Francisco agreed to spend $40 million for more than 2,000 organizers to work full-time against President Bush in 17 key battleground states. It also plans to supply 50,000 “volunteers” from its members just prior to and on election day. And SEIU will spend an additional $25 million on voter registration, “education” and getting out the vote.”Union power!

  2. Yes the story is ludicrous. But to suggest that it’s somehow indicative of the fact that labor unions are absurd anachronisms that we would be better off without is equally absurd.

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