Dueling Factions In the world of politics, we are often warned to “be careful what you wish for.” Such is the case with Rae Roeder, President of CWA local 1033.
In an internal feud among the state workers unions and the nation CWA, Ms. Roeder has staked out an uncompromising position in opposition to the negotiated proposals for a new contract.
The citizens and taxpayers of New Jersey should only hope that she gets her way. Further, we should hope that her “wish” is applied to every government union contract for commissions and authorities to boards of education, CWA, SIEU, AFSME, NJEA and all the other alphabet soup representation in New Jersey.
In an attempt for full disclosure, I have worked with Rae Roeder. When I was in the NJ Senate, state workers comprised a large portion of my district. While I was criticized by my Republican colleagues for fighting for state workers, I will not apologize for fighting for my constituents. Let me also be perfectly clear – I am criticizing the union leaders, not the people who keep government running.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to separate the baby from the bath water in many of these instances. However, I have found that the over whelming majority of government workers to be honest, hard working and dedicated to their jobs.
In fact, many state workers are stymied by the union rules and often become frustrated by the pressure to accept the status quo. Unions are designed to treat all employees as equal and, therefore, personal accomplishments and individual efforts are not rewarded. Initiative is punished and mediocrity is the norm. The “rules” promulgated by union leader are designed to hinder the ability for the jobs to be done – either intuitively or even “by the book.”
Each contract is structured so that raises are automatic. Competency, ability or performance never enters into the process. It is also nearly impossible to dismiss an employee for anything short of an indictable offense. In the case of a tenured teacher, it is even more difficult.
Why is it that the US economy is in the throes of one of the three worst recessions in its history and the only sector not suffering from downsizing is government?Governor Corzine, the Crown Prince of Pandering, has negotiated a delay in raises and layoffs. For the most part, the unions are happy. No state union worker will lose a dime. He simply has delayed everything until after the election.
Instead of layoffs and possible job losses, he has negotiated furloughs. The furlough is simply nothing more than an unpaid day off. The Governor, however, has promised to make up the lost days (money) in the future. The only losers in this contract are the taxpayers of New Jersey.
One union leader does not see it that way. She refuses to acknowledge the financial situation of the state and steadfastly refuses to agree to any compromises. Sadly, the members of CWA 1033 have become the unwitting pawns of Rae Roeder’s ego.
Most people, including state workers are not aware that most of their union offices and leaders are very well paid. Many make over $100,000 per year. Their salaries are paid by union dues that are automatically deducted from the state workers’ pay – whether they join the union or not. In the case of the New Jersey Education Association (the teachers’ union), the salaries are even more extravagant.
Now, hold on to your hats, or your wallets. Even though their salaries are paid from union dues, the union leaders are all enrolled in the state pension system!While the union officers are fully engaged in union activities, they are enrolled in their respective state pension systems.
Their union work is credited to their state pension time and each day is counted toward their retirement time.Legislators and other public officials have come under criticism for pension padding. Where is the outcry over the union leaders? They perform no service to the public, yet we must pay for their pension and benefits.
Ms. Roeder is moaning that her members will be losing money. They will be losing nothing. But, in typical union fashion, when the facts do not support your position, you resort to scare tactics. The national union leaders recognize the reality of the poor economic conditions in New Jersey. They know that the only job growth in New Jersey over the past decade has been in the public sector.
The day is coming when there will be more taxpayer funded jobs then private sector jobs. When that happens, it will be impossible to sustain government in New Jersey at any level.New Jersey’s unions refuse to understand the seriousness of the state’s finances.
The negotiations have ensured that they will not lose anything over the term of their contract.The Governor talks about the gloomy situation, yet refuses to really stand up to the unions. He negotiated a deal that will guarantee him the union support he needs for re-election while ignoring the plight of the taxpayers.
Rae Roeder refuses to acknowledge reality. If she prevails in her opposition the contract, state employees raises will be gone instead of delayed and the furloughs will never be made up in the future because the jobs will be lost.
The irony is that if Rae Roeder wins, her members lose, but the taxpayers win!
Only in New Jersey!