Public Unions – An Oxymoron in Massachusetts

At first blush one would think an oxymoron although containing as part of it the word moron does not incorporate it into any part of its meaning. Merriam-Webster defines moron as: “a very stupid person.” It defines oxymoron as: “a combination of contradictory or incongruous words.”

Although as pointed out by the Oxford dictionary in providing the history of the word oxymoron one could impart the idea of moron into it. It tells us the history of oxymoron is: “Mid 17th century: from Greek oxumōron, neuter (used as a noun) of oxumōros ‘pointedly foolish’, from oxus ‘sharp’ + mōros ‘foolish’.”  It also provides the history of moron: “Early 20th century (as a medical term denoting an adult with a mental age of about 8–12): from Greek mōron, neuter of mōros ‘foolish’. “

Then the question remains why do I suggest the idea of public unions is an oxymoron or something that people with a mental age of 8 to 12 who are both stupid and foolish would link together.

I suppose I could merely say the idea of a police officer earning more than $300,000 a year from his public salary because of a union contract is moronic. “State Police Detective Lieutenant Thomas Coffey took home $351,774 last year . . . He has collected more than $300,000 in each of the last three years, . . .”

Keep things in perspective. “The average member of Troop F received $183,935 in 2017. “  Over 50 of them received over $200,000. The Vice President receives a salary of $225,551; the Secretary of Treasury $191,300. When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state she received $186,600, a little over $3,000 above the average trooper. The basic pay of an Army general is around $186,000.

The highest paid governor in the United States receives around $190,000 while the Massachusetts governor receives around $150,000 and is the tenth highest paid governor.  Six governors receive less than $100,000. Maine ($70,000), Arkansas ($87,759), Colorado ($90,000), Arizona ($95,000), Oregon ($98,600) and Kansas ($99,636).

Now being a detective lieutenant at Logan airport is a very important job with lots of important responsibilities, I assume, although I can’t think of many. But when a policeman at an airport is receiving from the public coffers a little less than $50,000 than the president of the United States earns then you understand how this is a prime example of the destructive effect union contracts have on the taxpayers in Massachusetts.

That is because only foolish people would enter into such contracts that pay enormous salaries to people with everyday responsibilities and abilities. How does it happen?

At one time public unions were prohibited. This was done because of the realization that they were totally unlike private unions. In the latter case the persons involved in the bargaining have a stake in the outcome. If a union is bargaining in the private sector the entity it is bargaining with has to consider how much it can afford. The CEO or boss knows how much profit his company will receive and how much it can afford to give to its employees. If it gives too much, it will affect the company’s future (and the CEO’s salary). The private union bargaining takes place where both sides will be affected personally by the outcome.

With the public unions the employees are not bargaining with people who are giving out money from their own (or company’s) pockets. They are giving out other people’s (taxpayers) money. They usually are elected officials who are very often dependent upon the union employees for support in their future endeavors especially if they plan to run for reelection. So it is in their interest to make the “other side” happy with the results and in return they will be happy when the “other side” rallies to their support.

Unions are supposed to be in an adversary position to the employer. That is why workers were allowed to organize because it was recognized that an individual worker had no bargaining power by himself. Do away with the adversary relationship and you have what we see in Massachusetts where some police officers make double the salary of the governor.

What you have with public unions is both sides bargaining together to see how much they can reasonably extract from the public till. it is a foolish system.

13 thoughts on “Public Unions – An Oxymoron in Massachusetts

  1. There is a sort of misnomer that creates a misconception that fosters a resentment , naturally , when Detail $ is up for grabs and is confused with tax dollars .

    Private contractors , not state taxpayers , pay that money to conduct their business in Massa”You choose what you want to call ‘etts ” I call it don’t let money just go walking by the shop window . There is an aggressive business atmosphere here. That Detail sheet needs to be filled. There are only so many hours in a day . Yeah, it got a little crazy. Nice for the Troopers to know who doesn’t have their backs when they F Troop up !

  2. I’m an attorney that has negotiated public sector contracts on both the labor side and the employer’s side. In almost all respects, you could not be more wrong. There are specific instances in which yes, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. State and municipal officials have operating budgets just like everyone else. MA Law requires municipalities to allocate a specific amount of money to set aside for collective bargaining purposes, once that money is used up, there is nothing else to give. I guarantee you that management does not sit in prep meetings deciding how much money they can give away to the unions. It would be foolish from a budgetary standpoint and from a political standpoint, because they still answer to the taxpayer. Yes, the unions vouch for specific candidates, but if a mayor/elected official gave away the store and bankrupted a community, I can guarantee you that the regular members of the community would hugely outnumber the amount of support the union could muster to back their candidate.

    What this problem is really about is FRAUD and ABUSE within the State Police ranks. The state police troop that was disbanded was found to have been paid for hundreds if not thousands of hours that were NOT WORKED. That is institutional theft, not a flaw in a union CBA.

  3. Public employee unions exacerbate the central fla in Democracy: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” G.B. Shaw

  4. Cops should be paid no more than nurses, teachers and other mid-level professionals and a lot less than nurse-practitioners (college plus 3-4 year post–grad ed/training) and should not get anywhere near what physicians are getting.

    Put the genie back in the bottle: Cut down the Size of Government and Bloated Salaries and Corrupt Overtime

    Continue to pay well and applaud all those government employees well qualified well educated well trained who work hard and serve us . . .

    End the largesse and rip-offs

    End all Public Unions . . .they’re a farce with Gov. employees “bargaining” with other Gov. employees

  5. If they only had taken Yawkey’s name off that street sooner this never would have happened. This state has a high cost of living so it is understandable that the State Cops would have to file fake overtime vouchers to keep up with inflation. These are probably the same Cops that framed Connolly and the Probation Officials. This happened on Baker’s watch. The fish rots from the head down as a former governor said. 2. Trump donates his salary to charity. Do any of these public servants donate theirs? Public unions should be illegal. If term limits were imposed sanity may be restored. Look what happened in Bell California. When no one was looking the mayor and Police chief raised their salary to $800 grand a year. Government work attracts grasping types like these Police and the Clintons.

  6. Matt, 100% correct . . .the bloated salaries contributed to bloated imperious Big Government

    Now compare physician salaries . . .Average MD, 4 years college, top of his class, 4 years of Med School, 1 year Internship, 3-5 years residency, then usually post-residency specialized training for many specialists:

    Here’s what Doctor’s make:
    “Physician incomes have steadily increased for the seventh year in a row — from $206,000 in 2011 to $294,000 in 2017 — according to Medscape’s 2017 Physician Compensation Report, which comprises responses from more than 19,200 physicians in some 27 specialties.
    And the pay gap between the incomes of specialists and primary care providers — $316,000 versus $217,000, respectively — has remained a steady at 45% since 2015, when specialists earned $284,000 and primary care providers earned $195,000.”

    When a cop is getting paid what a physician gets, SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK . . .and here in the Bay State we have cops making more than docs . . .it’s a crime!!!!

  7. With such strong public-sector unions in many cities and states, there can be but one final destination for them: bankruptcy.

    And no one involved in the mess will be held accountable.

      1. As Commander Glick would say , Wait A Minute , Lemme Check ! …. Nope !

        What’s your deal ?

        1. Have signed a lot of Detail sheets in my day though . There is a food chain . The Staties are the purposeful porpoises , fiercer than sharks and friendlier than sea lions , who streamline through the Massachusetts, business as business is done , waters .

          These are deep and ancient waters .

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