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Emanuel May Take Away Workers’ Chauffeurs

From those union busters at the New York Times:

Rahm Emanuel and Unions Square Off Over Work Rules

July 9, 2011

Over the past five years, the office of City Hall’s inspector general fielded about 200 complaints alleging that city truck drivers were loafing or sleeping at job sites. But the drivers were most likely not shirking any duties, said Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. And that, he said, is the real problem.

Because of agreements between the city’s leaders and employee unions, many drivers often are required only to chauffeur other employees and equipment to work sites across Chicago. Upon arrival, the drivers then just wait while other workers complete such tasks as installing street lights or trimming trees.

It is amusing to watch the New York Times discovers the existence of the Teamsters union. Still, it is a bit rich that government employees get chauffeured around by Teamsters. Do they think they are movie stars?

As Mayor Rahm Emanuel begins to grapple with the city’s daunting financial shortfalls, he faces a thicket of longstanding labor rules that could complicate efforts to make city government operate more efficiently.

Which is obviously something no other mayor or governor has ever had to face. Otherwise, The Times would have surely been more sympathetic to Scott Walker and the other Republican officials who have tried to deal with their private sector union contracts.

Just two months after his inauguration, Mr. Emanuel already finds himself locked in a dispute with union officials over his demand that they agree to change some workplace rules or face hundreds of layoffs.

Mr. Emanuel and his budget-cutting aides are plunging into a murky legal sphere.

Reaching a clear understanding of how city employees are supposed to earn their taxpayer-financed paychecks can be much more complicated than merely reading union contracts. The way things have been done historically carries legal weight, labor law experts say.

The new mayor’s options appear to be limited even further by the 10-year contracts that Richard M. Daley reached with dozens of city workers’ unions in 2007. Those deals promised the same conditions and annual wage increases for union members through 2017.  Still, there are clauses that seem to allow the Emanuel administration to reopen the contracts in 2012.

With a budget deficit that could exceed $700 million next year, and with personnel costs representing the vast majority of expenses, Mr. Emanuel has said everyone must make sacrifices to help balance the city’s books. He has adhered to his campaign pledge to refrain from requesting that employees take more unpaid days off to save money, as Mr. Daley pushed them to do for years.

Instead, Mr. Emanuel said last month, he will have to lay off more than 600 workers unless their unions agree to changes in work rules

Hilarious. So instead of having some union workers get furloughed for a day or two, more than 600 of them will be laid off. We hope that’s a lesson to them.

By the way, this is exactly what Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin was trying to avoid. And what, in fact, he did avoid. But The Times will never give him the credit for doing so.

Two [more of Emanuel’s] ideas would affect the city’s hoisting engineers, who operate heavy machinery and who belong to the clout-heavy International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. The mayor suggested an end to the contractually mandated practice of paying those employees double their usual $45.10 hourly rate for overtime

Mr. Emanuel also called for changes to the perk that hoisting engineers call “grease time,” a practice that guarantees a half-hour of overtime pay in each shift for maintaining the heavy equipment that union members operate.

How mean spirited he is. Still, what a perfect name. Though could also be spelled ‘Greece time.’

Even before factoring in overtime, which has added tens of thousands of dollars to yearly wages, the annual pay for more than 200 hoisting engineers is at least $93,808

The inspector general, in his report, which was released in March, said about 200 [Teamster] truck drivers could be cut from the payroll, saving about $18 million, if other city employees who actually worked on the projects were free to drive themselves to and from work sites

What a shocking concept. Imagine having to drive yourself to work. Naturally, these city employees will get a pay raise for such hazardous duty, as well as some kind of allowance for the wear and tear on their cars.

Under their contract, city managers cannot take away tasks that have traditionally been performed by drivers and assign them to other workers.

It is not clear if the work conditions for those drivers, who are represented by the Teamsters union and who earn about $70,000 a year, are among the traditional practices Mr. Emanuel hopes to alter in negotiations with the union. The Teamsters were among the few unions that endorsed Mr. Emanuel for mayor

So it turns out that these Teamsters chauffeurs don’t really have anything to worry about. They will continue to earn their $70,000 a year – plus probably double that amount in overtime – while they sleep in their cars waiting for their public sector union passengers to put in their day’s work.

After all, that’s ‘social justice,’ Chicago-style.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, July 11th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Emanuel May Take Away Workers’ Chauffeurs”

  1. usmcmgb says:

    Don’t let any of these so called “news” stories fool you. All of these stories of how Demos are getting “tough” on unions is so much BS. The recently elected governer of CT has been talking tough to the unions about how if they didn’t accept his budget deal, there would be massive layoffs of state workers, about 7,500. Anyone paying attention knew that the unions were huge supporters of this stiff and the biggest unions turned the deal down (no layoffs for 4 years in return for minor wage concessions…that is minor compared to what many in the private sectors have had to endure). Malloy, the governer, announced there would be layoffs starting “immediatley”. Well yeah, if you consider immediatley to mean “never”. 2 weeks on and the unions are back trying to re-negotiate the original deal and not one layoff yet. Malloy keeps talking about how the layoffs are “imminent” but I will be shocked to death if CT actually cuts one single union job. Just as an aside, I grew up with a kid who was dumber than a box of rocks. To get him through high school, his mother had his older sister do his homework for him because he was just too darn dumb to do it himself. IQ had to be maybe 90. Anyway, his father had a cushy state job as a bridgetender on a local drawbridge. Sat in the bridgehouse for 8 hours watching TV and pushing a lever to open the bridge when a barge blew its horn. The kid finally dropped out of HS because even with his sister doing the HW she obviously couldn’t take the class room tests for him. To show you how bad he was, he couldn’t even pass the mental evaluation during his draft physical, during the height of the Vietnam war when all they were looking for in a draftee is to be cannon fodder. Even the Army thought he was too dumb to be given a rifle and pointed toward Charlie. So the old man gets him on with the state driving a garbage truck. NOT picking up garbage, DRIVING the truck. Some other poor schmuck had to pick up and empty the cans into the truck. So 22 years later at the ripe old age of 40, he retires from the state at half salary, paid medical, yada, yada. And I’ll be working probably until the day I die paying for this worthless dirtbag to sit home and take vacations.

  2. Right of the People says:

    I bet the unions are apoplectic over this. I mean they went to the cemeteries to get out the vote for ol’ Rahm and this is how he repays them? Used to be when you bought a politician, they stayed bought!

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