To Our Police And Firefighters: Beware of Your Paid Union Leaders ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

To Our Police And Firefighters: Beware of Your Paid Union Leaders

The presidents of our firefighter’s and police officer’s unions are understandably concerned about my March 3 column in The Capital ( ) criticizing their ad in that newspaper in which they claimed that not only is our city in good financial shape but that proposed contractual changes for their members are unfair and will sacrifice public safety. UFCW Local 400 President C. James. Lowther wrote to the Capital asking why I have a column, said I was “consistently hostile to workers and unions” and that I don’t know what I’m “talking about.”

I write an opinion column, and simply because he disagrees is not a reason to question my qualifications. This not the AFL-CIO newsletter. I don’t believe I am hostile to workers and unions. I may be hostile to phony ploys by well-paid union leadership,. but not to unions or workers. In the opening to my last column I described myself as “a lifelong, activist-government-supporting, union-oriented liberal Democrat” until the eight years of the Moyer tax and spend system.

This story begins with their expensive, full-page ad, a silly exercise in misinformation that did not advance their cause, did not explain their situation to the voters and taxpayers, and relied on their own report to make the unsupportable point that our city is in good financial shape.

It failed to recognize that strong public support and that of the Cohen Administration for retaining all their positions, alone among all other city departments. I understand they are not happy with proposed changes to their contract and in my column I wrote, “Police officers and firefighters deserve, and have generally received, our support. They have every right to engage in political action to represent their interests, but this misguided and embarrassingly silly attempt at political communication may backfire.”

Paid managers such as Lowthers take a cut from their member’s salaries (paid for by us to their members!) to pay themselves and then to pay an economist to do a mysterious report, which I have yet to see despite asking for it from both Lowthers (who did not return a call before my column was submitted) and its author and then to buy a silly ad!. Their silly ad used one quote from that report to somehow explain that our city is not in a budget crisis. The report used old information and nobody in city government knew about it. If they were going to pay for such a report (which makes it suspect to begin with) and pay for an ad to refer to it, the least they could do would be to share it with city officials and the news media. But they have not done that. Interestingly, the economist’s client list consists almost entirely of public sector employees.  I found this out after my column was submitted.

The dues that the members of these two unions pay to protect their jobs are being misspent to spread misinformation that does not help their member’s cause. Their members would have been helped had their leaders shared their report or information with the news media. Instead they take out an expensive ad and spread fear and then attack the columnist who questions their actions. One of them questions why I did not call the union president when she should be questioning why that person did not return my call. For this they label me hostile to unions and workers. Either one of them, or their consultant who I asked, could have given me or any other reporter, their report or shared it at the public budget hearings where I also asked about it. But they have not.

While the hundreds of dedicated firefighters and police officers who I have in fact supported in many ways, are not being properly represented by their leaders continue to pay their dues for their salaries and mysterious reports. Regardless, while everyone else is tightening their belts, their leaders tell us that everything is fine, but that their members are being targeted and our safety will suffer. This is important because we are talking about over half of the city’s budget.

As a city worker, I donated sick leave to an ill firefighter and walked away from over 800 hours of accumulated sick leave when I left my position because it was mine to use and not to misuse. It was a benefit paid for by taxpayers IF I GOT SICK. I am not hostile to workers or unions and calling me as such is pointless. I am simply countering the cynical deceptions of the leaders whose salaries are paid for by their workers while they question this paper’s right to publish opinions with which they disagree. Now, when will they share real information and make their entire report subject to public scrutiny so we the voters, through our City Council, can figure out what to pay them to protect us? Otherwise, it’s their union leaders who are spending protection money, if you get my drift.

See previous posts where I wrote about the police union and decide for yourself if I am hostile to workers and unions or just willing to scrutinize their union leadership.

Conley vs. Finlayson ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Shropshire Holds Press Conference: Mayor's Consultant And Police ...

General Election on January 30

LISTEN TO CP Publisher Paul Foer on 1430WNAV at 8:15 every weekday morning or click on the WNAV icon to the right. READ CP Publisher Paul Foer's "The Ninth Ward" every Wednesday in The
Join us for Sip N' Blogs each THURSDAY, 8-9 am at ZU Coffee, 934 Bay Ridge Road in the Giant Shopping Ctr.
March 18 County Executive Candidate Joanna Conti
March 25 County Councilman Chuck Ferrar
ALL ANONYMOUS COMMENTS will be automatically rejected without being opened.

1 Comment:

Anastasia Hopkinson said...

When is UFCW Local 400 President C. James. Lowther going to make publicly available the economist's report that said the city is not in a fiscal crisis?

If the economist is correct, then the painful elimination of city jobs has been for naught. That would be a hard case to prove.

So, what are the police and firehouse employees to think? If the city is truly in fiscal distress, then whatever financial sacrifice the administration is asking of them is important and they should heed the call.

As for disparaging Paul Foer, that's hitting the messenger rather than heeding the message.

blogger templates | Make Money Online