Justin says, “Fire the Providence School Bus Drivers”. Maybe. Fire their union, the Teamsters? Absolutely.
What Teamsters Local 251 are trying to do to the drivers – whose best interest they supposedly represent – borders on criminal. It WOULD be criminal if they had a fiduciary role with regard to their members’ retirement.
Rhode Island has a long and disturbing history of labor union leaders seriously misleading their members about the affordability and sustainability of the compensation – especially retirement benefits – that they “negotiate”. Labor union leaders, operating for decades on the highly irresponsible principle, “Don’t worry, if we negotiate it, it will materialize, no matter how extravagant it is”, were partially responsible for the necessity of the “landmark” pension reform spearheaded by Gina Raimondo
As irresponsible as the actions of those labor leaders over the years has been, what the Teamsters are doing here is worse. They have somehow convinced their members that they should switch their retirement benefit from a reasonably safe 401K to the black hole of a pension system that Teamsters Local 251 knows full well is insolvent. The Teamsters are asking for this NOT because it is in the best interest of their members, the school bus drivers – it most certainly is not – but because it is in the best interest of the Teamsters union and their pension fund. With this negotiating demand, the Teamsters are trying to divert part of these bus drivers’ hard-earned compensation away from the drivers to prop up their bankrupt pension fund.
Incredibly, the Teamsters actually got the bus drivers to strike to accomplish something that would be very bad financially for them but good for the Teamsters. The Providence school bus drivers are being represented by a union that is actively working against their best interest. Accordingly, their union needs to be fired and replaced by one that at least pretends to act in their best interest, as opposed to one that is openly making a grab for their wallets.
Monique is a political gadfly, data junkie and contributor to the Ocean State Current and Anchor Rising. Please consider supporting the terrific work of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity here: