Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Rell wants to suspend binding arbitration

From the Courant's Josh Kovner:

Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell has a plan to make the system of binding arbitration — which replaced the right to strike for teachers, police officers and other public employees — more friendly to cities and towns. The plan includes giving communities the option of suspending the arbitration process — in which a three-member panel weighs the arguments and imposes an award — for two years.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Binding arbitration is an unfair system for labor negotiations. It never seems to result in constant or declining labor rates even when on a global basis tax payer income is either flat or decreasing. Unchecked at some point in the near future it will be the cause of financial failure for many local tax districts. Binding arbitration is one more out of touch with reality state wide legislative initiative which needs to be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

Although binding arbitration seems like a good idea, in its current form it has lead to the excesses we see today.

Salaries and benefits of the public sector are out of sync weith the private sector and as a resultit has resulted into a redistribution of wealth from the private to the public sector, and as a result has lowered the countries competitiveness with the reat of the world.

The public sector has to be brought in line with the private sector.

Serious consideration should be give to eliminating retirement after 20 years, tightening disability so that people just don't claim a disability and get disability payments while they get other jobs, the elimination of the 35 hour work week and greater sharing of medical costs. And, the whole issue of hypertensions is a joke. Who isn't under stress?

Anonymous said...

Salaries and benefits of the public sector are out of sync weith the private sector... I'm sure our town employees would agree, nurses make 5-10 percent shift differential. Bonuses at companies for performance.
But how do you measure a fireman, policeman, or teacher against the private sector. There is no balance point. When the economy was booming nobody was handing public sector employees bonuses. Public sector jobs are constant. Salary, health, retirement - that is the balance. And as far as the redistribution of wealth... I dont know of many fire/police/teachers who are living in the lap of luxury. They are getting by just like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

thoughts on 12:52 p.m.

Public sector teachers have one of the shortest work years of any occupation. For their 180 days in the class room (before subtracting sick time and seminar time) they are paid quite well. They have great medical benefits and a nice guaranteed retirement. Unlike many other occupations such as iron workers for instance teaching doesn't really expose teachers to many really dangerous risks (like climbing on girders 35 stories up)

If that's just getting by why is it that I wind up working over 260 days per year instead of the 180 that teachers get by with?

Anonymous said...

March 04, 2009 8:10 PM--
excellent point, which was my original one. How many iron workers have advanced 6plus year degrees and have placed themselves in debt to pay for said education.
There is no comparing private and publc sector jobs. By your own argument then police and fire (who's jobs are as if not more dangerous then ironwork), should be paid higher than teachers...
There is no fair balance point. People need to take and appreciate the job, pay, requirements, that come with being in ones chosen profession. Dont rob peter to pay paul, but dont begrudge peter when paul's job takes a downturn.

Anonymous said...

March 5, 8:15 p.m.- - 'excellent point, which was my original one. How many iron workers have advanced 6plus year degrees and '

How arrogant to believe that sitting in a class room part time is some how more wonderful and more significant then say learning a very significant and important trade such as iron worker.

And let's face it, all that class room training time by our modern public school teachers in one regard only results in the typical outcome of most public school systems in America today which is higher and higher dropout rates and more and more young people lacking adequate job and academic skills.

On the other hand those erecting our high rise buildings have a long and fantastic record of successes which when erected remain in place an useful for maybe 100 years or more.

And so if they haven't spent 6 years paying for a college level teacher training course are they any less important to our nation and its well being?

At least iron workers have found a way to do great things every time without bankrupting everyone in America through binding arbitration.

Anonymous said...

Binding arbitration was needed years ago when the public sector was underpaid. That is not the case today. I don't believe that any town would let teachers, police,etc go on strike. When was the last time that unions have gone on strike? If they do their would be thousands of people ready to take their positions. Look at how many (5000) applied at the local new Lowes recently. We have to work together in order to get out of this mess. Let's truly arbitrate.

Anonymous said...

At least iron workers have found a way to do great things every time without bankrupting everyone in America through binding arbitration.
But, if they strike, they could bankrupt the company they work for, which has a trickle down effect. For many public sector employees, where is the fairness?, do you want your police force to strike, as the RJ article shows they are underpaid already. If they strike will the town pay the State Police to cover the town for them. So if the TM says, too bad for you
: no pay increase, we are dropping your medical for your family etc. What are they to do if they are not allowed under state law to strike. Binding Arb has been fair and has been shown to lean toward the municipality in most cases (teachers excluded)
The town of Cheshire has been "prudent" (cheap) with its employees for years, all employees of the town should strike for a week (unpaid furlough) then see how the residents feel with no teachers, no cops, no public works, no library, no tax office etc. I bet binding arb would look pretty good then.
By the way we have already lost employees to surrounding towns that pay better. The town is penny wise, pound foolish with employees and everything else

Anonymous said...

. . .But, if they strike, they could bankrupt the company they work for, which has a trickle down effect. . . .

You seem to be missing the point. If the iron workers strike they could bankrupt the company and at that point the strikers wind up OUT OF WORK so the likelihood is very slight. It is not in the self interest of either side for that to happen.

CTs binding arbitration eliminates strikes and all but guarantees ever increasing wildly inflated pay raises without regard to performance, need or value etc. Only requirement is continued voting for the majority party in the state legislature.

In a time when the Dow Jones Index just went from a historic high of 14,000 to about 6,000 and jobs are evaporating at warp speed how anyone can justify a 4% teacher pay raise compounded for 3 years leaves your head spinning. I would guess only a town unionized teacher could defend such folly. So much for all that college level class room training.

Binding arbitration needs elimination. In the case of teachers their tenure rights need elimination as well. Imagine, even firing for cause is almost impossible and exorbitant pay raises are always guaranteed due to binding arbitration.

tim white said...

BA applies to all municipal-level ee's.

Personally, I think ee's should get raises (though I'm thinking more like 3%, than 5%). Town ee's usually are below 4% and teachers usually are above 4%.

There is one significant difference of which I'm aware... teachers have a "date certain" where negotiations must end. That rule does not apply to other unions. And I think that relatively minor rule leads to the typical disparity in contracts.

Additionally, the town has room to negotiate with post retirement bene's for town ee's. But since the state funds the teachers' pensions... there's no room to negotiate there.

Anonymous said...

CTs binding arbitration eliminates strikes... that is to ensure your home is protected, and your children are taught. If you research the history of BA, it historically sides with the municipality.
So much for all that college level class room training... It must be working because the raises recieved far outpace those in the private sector.
Eliminate BA and let the unions strike. You cant replace 20 officers or 200 teachers in that short of time, the town would be held hostage. Maybe if the town negotiated fairly at the table, instead of crying poor every year, then unions would not feel the need to go to BA and prove the town has the ability to pay. The town could minimize the damage if it would just be fair.
Until you sit at the table, you have no idea how the town handles its business.

Robert DeVylder JR. said...

How about this, get rid of the unions and have all personel employeed at will, just like private business. Employees that do not have union backing tend to work harder, longer, and more accuratly. Businesses in this country are currently in the position to pick and choose the best employees for a job while eliminating dead-weight. Unions do not provide the need that they first did in the late 1800's /early 1900's. Government has put safeguards in place to allow non-union workers the same protection as unionized without the expense of dues out of a workers pocket.

I have friends that are unionized, and when times are good, they love it. When times get rough, such as during a strike, they are miserable, upset that they cannot work to provide for their families because they do not agree with the reason of the strike. Telling someone that they cannot work until the union gets a 2% raise is B/S.