The Globe is pretty sure the union bosses just packed it in and went home, tails between their legs. Under the headline "Senate limits bargaining rights to save on health costs," reporter Michael Levenson describes a resounding taxpayer victory:
The Massachusetts Senate voted last night to curb the collective bargaining rights of police officers, teachers and other municipal employees, making it likely the overwhelming Democratic state will limit union power in an effort to ease budget woes...
The voice vote, with barely any debate, came a month after House lawmakers approved similar legislation in hope of saving cities and towns $100 million in the next budget year. Governor Deval Patrick has indicated he is eager to sign the bill once the two branches hash out their differences.
While the measures backed by the House, Senate, and governor vary, all three would allow mayors and other local officials to move local workers into the state’s health insurance plan or to design their own plans that similarly trim costs paid by municipal employers. Each plan would leave a window to discuss those changes with workers, but would ultimately let local officials alter their plans, regardless of whether workers oppose it.
|Wisconsin union protesters|
“We have lost collective bargaining rights on both sides of this proposal,’’ said Raymond McGrath, a lobbyist for the International Brotherhood of Police and the National Association of Government Employees. “I hope the Senate version is what is [ultimately] accepted, although the Senate version is not what we would like, either.’’"Not what we would like," but oh well. Does that sound like the union bosses we have come to know and love?
|Massachusetts union protester|
I think the truth of the matter is buried in this paragraph from the middle of Levenson's article:
This spring, unions fought hard to block the changes in the House, running radio ads, threatening to oust lawmakers, and organizing protests at the State House. They warned that the state was moving in the direction of Ohio, Wisconsin, and other Republican-led states that have sharply cut collective bargaining rights of public workers. But once Senate leaders indicated they would go along with the House, union leaders softened their tone, saying they wanted to tweak, not kill, the bill.Once the Senate plan came out, the unions went eerily silent. So: which is more likely? That Robert Haynes, Ed Kelly and the rest were suddenly overcome with a sense of civic duty and shared sacrifice? Or that they managed to bake something(s) in to the Senate alternative plan that will render it effectively useless to achieve real reform of public sector benefits?
I know what I think.