Monday, October 13, 2008

When unions eat each other

A bunch of off-duty cops in Massachusetts are quite upset that the state has ended their little sweetheart deal of making $40 an hour to simply stand at road construction sites waving those little "STOP" signs on sticks, and they are protesting the use of lower-paid (but still union) contractors at sites that have lower speed limits and/or little traffic (and thus no need for a "professional" traffic director):

"Arguing that allowing civilians to direct traffic endangers the public and holding signs that read "Governor Patrick Doesn't Care About Safety," they crowded around the flagger, called him names such as "scab" and "pathetic," and did their best to distract him from his work." (All emphases mine)

How mature of them to attempt to endanger the very public that they state is at dire risk from this policy, which is designed to avoid wasting millions of taxpayer dollars by not using (relatively) highly paid officers to do a job that pretty much anyone with long minutes of training can do. Let's try:

1. Call colleague on radio - I'm stopping traffic. After the tan Isuzu SUV passes, turn your sign to "GO" and wave traffic through.

2. After a period of time, colleague radios you and says "I've turned my sign to "STOP". After the blue Chevy Impala goes by, you can let traffic through".

Not the kind of thing that one needs sworn officers for, except for the little matter of the pay that's outrageously out of line with the duties required. That's apparently worth making a big stink over. Serving the public, indeed. More like legally robbing the public.

The cops also demonstrated that they have absolutely no regard for the laws that they swore to enforce on others:

"Woburn Police Chief Philip Mahoney was at the scene and repeatedly warned the off-duty officers to stay behind the white line at the edge of the road. He also ordered several of the officers to remove their vehicles, which had been illegally parked along the side of the street."

No tickets were given to the scofflaws, naturally.

The Massachusetts Highway Commissioner, according to the article, is not backing down and is vowing to take legal action to prevent the disruption of the sites. Good for her.

It's long past time that the days of officially sanctioned graft end in the land of the powerful Irish construction mafia, who are often closely associated with local political luminaries. (Cough cough Kennedys? cough cough)

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