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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bobby, you just don't get it

When last we looked AFL-CIO boss Robert Haynes was thundering about about the House siding with "intractable and uncompromising management advocates." Last night, Speaker Robert DeLeo showed him what happens to "intractable and uncompromising" labor advocates.

DeLeo not only beat back a potential rift in his own Democratic ranks, he outmaneuvered Haynes and engineered a stinging defeat to the labor boss by winning passage of his budget provision limiting collective bargaining over health care in municipalities.

First DeLeo peeled supporters for an alternative plan by Boston rep and union secretary-treasurer Martin Walsh, sweetening his original proposal by allowing public employees 30 days to discuss changes to their health plans with local officials, instead of allowing the officials to act without any union input.

Then he engineered the vote in the dark hours prior to the day Haynes planned to launch an aggressive lobbying effort in Statehouse halls.

It's likely those members will still be there today to confront lawmakers -- but they will probably be there with more thoughts about compromise.

The action is being portrayed as right out of the Scott Walker playbook, an effort to cripple unions and collective bargaining in Massachusetts. It is far from it -- focusing on one, albeit key section of the contract -- health premiums. And even then some important issues remain on the table: the share of premiums paid by employees.

The future of this provision is still uncertain beyond being a key bargaining chip in its own right. Senate President Therese Murray is uncertain she wants to go in this direction and Deval Patrick's repeated efforts to rein in municipal health spending have not gone this far.

But fueled by Haynes' bluster, Massachusetts labor has been in no mood to consider the broader reality around them -- and the fact many of their members have lost jobs because municipalities can't afford the salary and benefit costs.

The DeLeo proposal forces labor to the bargaining table, which is where they claim to want to be all along.

After some interesting Statehouse theatrics this morning, I suspect that's exactly where Haynes is going. Hope there's a silver platter at the table for him to place the head DeLeo just handed him.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe now the state/municipal workers will realize their golden goose is in ICU and the prognosis is not good.

April 27, 2011 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it ridiculous that workers are being punished for the sins of the healthcare industry to rein in their own costs. 11 million for Blue cross official but it is workers who are responsible. Plus are not benefits part of the negotiation on salary. If I were a municipal worker I would demand a better salary to compensate for this nonsense. The whole point is lower salary vs. better benefits. But hey-lets go after those evil workers while wall street laughs on way to bank.

April 27, 2011 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


April 27, 2011 10:32 AM  
Blogger Redbeard said...

@ 2nd Anonymous commenter,
I find it ridiculous, too.
This is a terrible move.

April 28, 2011 10:20 PM  

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