… and that message ought to be: These unions have too much power over your lives.
First up is the threat of a strike by the Teamsters who represent the bus drivers:
The union representing 200 bus drivers for Providence schools is threatening to strike.
A strike authorization was approved by the membership of Teamsters Local 251, secretary-treasurer Matthew Taibi said Wednesday.
Astonishingly, what they want is for the bus company for which they work, First Student, to switch out their 401ks for a pension. A pension! Everybody in the world is learning that defined-benefit pensions just don’t work. Reasonable contributions and a realistic rate of investment returns just can’t produce enough money to keep people living as well as they want for as long as they live. Wanting in to this system would be insane, except that the unions are banking on their ability to make governments (and government contractors) increase the cost of services to taxpayers.
Yet, precisely this sort of shenanigan is what should make taxpayers less sympathetic to their plight. The next time we have to choose between huge tax increases to “honor our promises” to employees and reducing the benefits that employees receive, remember that the unions are key players in forcing those promises to be made despite the risks.
Next up is the threat of work-to-rule from the teachers union:
The Providence Teachers Union has voted overwhelmingly to authorize work-to-rule in the event that tomorrow’s negotiations with the city do not show progress, according to PTU President Maribeth Calabro.
She said 1,940 members voted Monday to move to work-to-rule after two years without a new teachers’ contract. Work-to-rule means that teachers only do what’s is laid out in their contract.
Ah, life in a workers’ paradise, where bus drivers striking in order to enter a broken pension system could force families struggling to make ends meet to find some other way to get their children to schools in which well-paid teachers who work a significantly shortened work year refuse to do anything beyond the minimum in order to protect and expand their employment deal.