Public unions in New Haven, Connecticut have not yet gotten the message that business-as-usual no longer flies. I am quite happy with that because the city responded by dumping public workers and privatizing services, and that is exactly what needs to happen.

Firing public union workers actually creates jobs.

How so? Let’s start with a look at the union position as described in War Is On In Custodian Negotiations

Three hours after school custodians blasted the city for threatening to privatize their jobs, the city released a counterattack: It revealed results of a surprise inspection that found custodians watching TV while they were supposed to be at work.

Negotiations were already “on the verge of disaster” before Thursday, said Local 287 President Robert Montuori. He accused the city of trying to intimidate workers and punish the union for opposing privatization.

As negotiations stall, the city is moving forward toward privatization: It sent out a request for proposals in December, seeking bids on a custodial services contract for the schools. Eight bids came in; the district has identified GCA Services Group, Inc. out of Pennsburg, Penn. as its preferred bidder.

Custodians argue privatization would lead to lower wages, lost jobs, and wasted taxpayer money on costly management contracts. They’ve been showing up regularly at school board meetings to deliver that message.

Clark said the district has found that in the buildings where the city has already privatized custodial work, the district saves at least two-thirds of the cost of using union-only labor, “and the work gets done.”

“I get zero complaints about the cleanliness in those buildings,” Clark said, while he gets complaints every day about the other buildings, where the union workers clean.

Clark said given the efficiency and good results, it makes sense to continue to privatize the custodial work. He said language in the custodian’s current contract allows the district to further privatize after June 30, 2009. His said the district doesn’t need union consent in order to privatize, but it is still negotiating in good faith.

Nothing to Negotiate

At this point there is nothing to negotiate. The union refused to bargain and is being thrown out on its ass, and rightfully so.

Rebuttal to Union Complaints

Public union custodians argue that privatization would lead to lower wages, lost jobs, and wasted taxpayer money on costly management contracts.

Lower Wages: Let’s hope so. The union workers are overpaid even if they cleaned the schools like they are supposed to do.

Wasted Taxpayer Money: No, that is a blatant self-serving union lie given the district saves at least two-thirds of the cost of using union-only labor, “and the work gets done.”

Lost Jobs: Not a chance. There will actually be more jobs as a result of getting rid of the unions.

How so? For starters, there will be an equivalent number of private jobs to replace the union jobs. Moreover, given the district saves 67% on cleaning costs, some of the saved money will be used on other school district needs, creating more jobs. Finally, some of the savings can be used to cut back on tax increases putting more money in the pockets of taxpayers who will spend it. That too creates jobs.

Every fired public union worker creates more jobs elsewhere, faster than most can imagine possible, quite possibly immediately.

Thus, a good way to deal with rising unemployment is to fire public union workers.

Addendum

Some people simply cannot look at both sides of the coin. “Jeff in Cleveland” is one of them. Jeff writes “For every fired $20 hour job with benefits – The city/state gets to pay for food stamps.”

OK Jeff, fair enough. Yet, as I said above, more private workers will be hired than public workers lost. Thus, food stamps outlays will shrink as a result of firing public workers.

Thanks Jeff, for adding to the reasons for firing public union workers.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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