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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, May 18, 2011

Listen and learn

The Massachusetts Senate is about to debate its own version of municipal health care cost control and one message comes through loud and clear: it's time for labor and management to sit down and talk.

Senate President Therese Murray isn't taking as hard a stance as House Speaker Robert DeLeo in the face-off with municipal unions. The Globe reports:
The Senate’s proposal, obtained by the Globe, attempts to give more relief to unions. Unlike the House plan, which caused a firestorm among labor leaders, this version could give union workers more of the savings from health care changes and more of an opportunity to appeal management decisions they oppose.
Frankly, it's hard to follow the back-and-forth about who gets the savings and under what circumstances. But what is clear in this version -- as well as the House plan and the initial call from Deval Patrick -- is that labor can't just walk away from any talk about finding a way to save municipalities money -- and the jobs of their members

The House plan, despite getting caught up in the sturm und drang of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to disembowel labor, simply set limits on ow long talks could go before management could impose work rules, a common tactic. The Senate plan calls for a form of arbitration, another common move.

None of these efforts are close to taking away collective bargaining rights. But they are clear signs that labor needs to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Hopefully they are now listening.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the point of discussed savings in health insurance and pensions, to save money that governments have needed to spend to provide these benefits? With budgets in such difficult times, expecting taxpayers to continue paying more and more for these things is too much. Any savings from changes to health and pension costs should go directly, and completely to taxpayers, not plowed back into union wages and benefits. After all, if the savings go to the unions, then what has been accomplished for the budgets other than shifting the way in which the same dollars are spent? The idea is to save, not rearrange.

May 18, 2011 9:47 AM  

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