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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Masterful politics

Charlie Baker ought to consider hiring Boston Firefighters Union President Ed Kelly to run his campaign.

With a display of tactics and optics rarely seen in political campaigns, let alone in the Boston City Council chambers, Kelly turned Local 718 from goat to hero by offering to delay for one year a 2.5 percent raise won through arbitration in exchange for mandatory drug and alcohol testing.

Never mind the fact public safety workers are being laid off in droves in other cities and Boston is battling over proposed closings of neighborhood libraries. Firefighters will wait an extra year for a raise (no word whether they would also delay peeing in a cup for the same amount of time).
“Let’s work together. We want to work with this administration,’’ Kelly said, acknowledging that the proposed raises for firefighters come as the city lays off librarians, custodians, and workers in the city print shop. “We’ve made a credible, real concession in the face of our own not having a raise for over five years."
In one master stroke, Kelly likely toppled fence-sitting city councilors and ran circles around the vaunted political machine of Mayor Tom Menino.

Just how brilliant is the deal negotiated at the kitchen table of Councilor John Tobin Jr.?
The proposal put forward by the union would still potentially give firefighters two raises in a year, even if it delays that reality for 12 months, [city labor relations director John] Dunlap said. Those two potential pay increases would create havoc at the bargaining table, Dunlap said, as the city sits down with its other unions, who will want the same.
Well played Mr. Kelly. But what happens down the road to those librarians, custodians and print shop workers you stand in solidarity with today?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see postponing an undeserved raise for drug testing as a meaningful concession. It did give the Councilors, culturally inclined to support the union, cover to defend a vote. The raise is still too much.

June 04, 2010 1:41 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

What do you suppose would have happened if Kelly had said, in a moment of psychotic magnanimity, "We will forsake the contested 2.5% raise entirely, provided that Menino and Amy Ryan promise to keep the Lower Mills, Oak Square, and other threatened libraries open."
Imagine the havoc that would create.

June 04, 2010 9:52 PM  

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