“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Union Busting In A Blue State

I like Michael Connolly's fictional novels. He currently has one of his works, The Lincoln Lawyer, out as a movie. It's very good and, as I explained to the friend with whom I saw it, is a typical Connolly story. I lent this friend my copy of his recent book, The Brass Verdict, in which I believe the very first line is,

"Everyone lies."

It's one of the most prominent theme in Connolly's novels. As a former Los Angeles newspaper crime beat reporter, he ought to know. It surely seems to have informed his murder mysteries with healthy doses of lying characters.

Thus it should come as no surprise that there are lies of commission and omission swirling around a recent, thinly-reported story on public sector union busting in, of all places, that bluest of blue states, Massachusetts.

The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, two of my major news sources and both more objective than the usual liberal 'major media sources,' e.g., the New York Times and NBC, both covered the story with gusto.

The Journal ran one editorial entitled Wisconsin of the East. Kim Strassel wrote another, Union Busting, Massachusetts Style.

Essentially, the Massachusetts House voted to pass, as Strassel described,

"a bill divesting policemen, firefighters, teachers and other municipal employees of the power to collectively bargain most health-care benefits. The 111-42 vote took place at 11:30 at night, so as to avoid a mass of protesting union workers set to descend on the State House the next day."

That's a pretty comprehensive union-busting bill, isn't it? Yet the state's governor, Deval Patrick, lied when he claimed,

"This is not Wisconsin. That's not what the House did."

No, it's even more. Not only teachers, but police and fire employees were included.

Strassel wrote in answer to Patrick's contention,

"Wrong. Wisconsin moved to rein in collective bargaining powers that are crushing the state. Massachusetts moved to rein in collective bargaining powers that are crushing the state. The only difference is that Democrats have chosen to portray Mr. Walker's legislation as "union-busting" while presenting their own as necessary reform."

Of course, Patrick could wiggle out of declaring whether or not he'd sign the bill, because everyone knows the Massachusetts State Senate won't pass it.

Meanwhile, we haven't seen Rich Trumka and his union bullies descend upon the Massachusetts State House with out-of-state protesters, have we? No calling out of the governor for applauding the bill's "very important vote," nor the House for passing it.

For what it's worth, Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Robert Haynes said of the bill's passage,

"These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected, the same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. It's a done deal for our relationship with the people inside that chamber."

The Journal editorial noted that the Massachusetts bill's passage in the House shows that containing public union excesses is a non-partisan issue. It further notes that a Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education study found,

"that from 2000 to 2010 "health care consumed two thirds of the entire increase in state spending" and reform has thus become "a critical education issue." "

Come to think of it, I don't recall, as the Journal points out, hearing or seeing Wonderboy call out Patrick or his state's legislature for this bill. Hmm.....Scott Walker is white, and Patrick is black.

Is Wonderboy a racist? Or were his comments about Walker simply pure partisanship at the beginning of an election cycle?

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