Monday, December 01, 2008

Waverly alumni conversations and likely wage reductions

Wednesday night's CHS Alumni reunion at the Waverly was a great time. As usual, there was a pretty wide cross-section of classes there. I'm class of '90 and there were kids younger than me there. I got a chance to talk with Mike Ecke (CHS '82, I think) about the high school locker rooms and how the schools prioritize their various projects. I also sat down with my parents (CHS '57)... and they were chatting with their friends who graduated ahead of them!

FWIW, I think CHS opened in the fall of '52 with the first graduating class in '55. Anyway, I always enjoy it and really appreciate the efforts of the alumni association, particularly my old cross country coach Ron McReavy... who was helped last Wednesday by my old track coach Ken Euerle.

One of the more interesting conversations I had that night though happened to be with one of Cheshire's own nationally-recognized political voices.

I was asked to expand on my comments on the relationship of the teachers' union contract and the economy:More precisely, I was asked about my belief that America and Connecticut and Cheshire will soon experience actual wage reductions, not just nominal pay increases.

I offered the reports that CTs state unions appear open to concessions, if it means saving jobs.

But to understand that a bit further, CT has approximately 48,000 unionized employees and about 3.4 million people, including retirees and kids. But if you exclude retirees and kids... and look at households, I'm guessing that there's probably 40,000 state union households out of 1,000,000 or so with regular incomes that are now bracing for actual wage reductions.

And then there's households impacted by Citibank's layoffs and Wall Street and the hedge funds of lower Fairfield County that have been, or will be, hit hard in the next few months. And that doesn't even touch on my expectation that the credit card industry is poised to announce serious issues... probably after Nancy Pelosi bails out Detroit.

Tim White

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