If organized labor only represents 16 percent or so of the Commonwealth’s workers why then are the rest of us getting shafted?
Ever notice how the special interests are so darned interested in protecting us?
Public safety dictates that cops get paid $40 an hour to stare into construction holes, according to police unions. Organized labor says that only union workers should be used for public construction projects, lest buildings collapse amid the chaos and inefficiency of open-shop contractors.
Both of these specious arguments amount to untold costs for taxpayers. But it happens anyway.
Ronald N. Cogliano doesn’t blame the unions for government waste. He blames the people who cave in to them – the people we pay to represent us, not special interests.
“What it boils down to is a lack of political courage,” said Mr. Cogliano, president of the Merit Construction Alliance. “Special interests can push and push. At the end of the day, who’s giving in to them? At the end of the day, our leaders are handing over the store to placate special interests.”
Mr. Cogliano represents the nonunion trade work force in Massachusetts, an estimated 84 percent of men and women who choose, for whatever reason, not to join up. Because of that choice, they’re often shut out of public construction projects due to provisions such as the Responsible Employer Ordinance and Project Labor Agreements, union-friendly measures that bar qualified merit shops from free-market bidding.
Aside from their inherent unfairness, the provisions limit competition and drive up construction costs, costs that are passed on to the taxpayer.
“You’ve got public officials who somehow think it’s good public policy to lock qualified people out of the work force,” Mr. Cogliano said. “Someone has yet to explain why it’s OK to stop qualified people from earning a living, while raising the costs for taxpayers. There’s a fiduciary responsibility that elected officials have to their constituency. But if we make noise about what’s going on, we’re labeled as anti-union.”
Sound familiar? Make noise about police details, likewise, and you’re labeled anti-cop instead of what you are: anti-waste; anti-abuse; anti-boondoggle. But in the anti-tax mood that’s gripped the state, such intimidation tactics are wearing thin.
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A Yes vote on Question 1 will certainly send a message to organized labor this fall. Get off the taxpayer gravy train and help the rest of us get jobs here in over-taxed Massachusetts!