Streams

Labor Deals in New York and New Jersey

Thursday, June 23, 2011

WNYC senior reporter, Bob Hennelly, the Wall Street Journal's Lisa Fleisher, and Ester Fuchs, professor of international and public affairs and political science at Columbia University and former advisor to Mayor Bloomberg, discuss the labor deals in New York and New Jersey and what they mean for working people. 

Guests:

Lisa Fleisher and Bob Hennelly

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Comments [27]

Mr. Bad from IL

@ hjs11211

attacking the unions is just part of the war on the middle class

Didn't you say the same thing on this thread, sock-puppet? At least TRY not to duplicate your previous comments verbatim, assuming you're not a union owned software...

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2011/jun/13/public-employee-response-pensions/

Jun. 30 2011 12:43 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

@ amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

I make generalizations, yes, but they are generally true. As to my education, you have no idea, but anyone who reviews your posts can tell you're a reactionary tool. That in and of itself should be enough to suspect your "education", whether it ever happened and if it did, how little you profited from it. Critical thinking is obvs not your forte, you've yet to say anything intelligent. Not. One. Thing. Nice canned phrase though, "race to the bottom", did you read it off of a sandwich board at one of your union rallies? I bet your fat enough to wear two, amiright?

Jun. 29 2011 09:11 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Mr. Bad - You aren't very educated yourself and as hjs stated, you make generalizations that don't hold.

The biggest problem here is not the givebacks and higher pay-ins by public workers for their pension/benefits, which is unnecessarily drastic yet had to happen to some extent, but the abrogation of collective bargaining by Walker, Christie and the like on healthcare, etc.

It is a direct attack on unions, both public and private sector, which I'm sure Mr. Bad and his ilk cheer for. It's also a race to the bottom in terms of lower wages, loss of benefits, and general loss of rights by workers vis-a-vis their employers, again the type of anti-American extremism that Mr. Bad and his Neoliberal/neo-Dickensian crew rejoice over.

If they don't watch out, their dsytopian fantasy of no taxes and no order might just come true...

Jun. 24 2011 10:29 AM
Mr Bad from IL

"Shouldn't the rating agencies consider defaulting on or renegotiating pension obligations to be as severe a credit event as defaulting on or renegotiating bond obligations ?"

What? How is a pension like a bond? Is there a market for 5 year Pensions that I'm not aware of? This is another Public Union troll who dropped out around 5th grade and went straight to the top of union management.

Jun. 23 2011 05:18 PM
Mr. Bad from IL

"What has NOT been discussed is unilaterally cutting payments owed to bond holders. Why ?"

Well, first off because they aren't accountable to mental midgets... ahem, but, another even more important reason is that YOU DON'T WANT TO BANKRUPT A STATE/NATION. God, what idiots out today. When bond issuers (municipalities/states/nations) default on debt borrowing costs SKYROCKET. Guess who pays for those new borrowing costs? Yes, that's right, the angry voter/tax payer. If you think your services and social safety net suck now take a wild guess how much it will be cut when your state has to borrow at CC interest rates to fill potholes and pay cops. Moron.

Jun. 23 2011 05:11 PM
Reducing Bond payments versus reducing pensions ? from Aren't they BOTH DEFAULT ?


Austerity is in vogue.
Many states and nations are using the broad sense of ongoing crisis to unilaterally cut payments owed to people with pensions.

What has NOT been discussed is unilaterally cutting payments owed to bond holders. Why ? This would be unthinkable - it would reduce the debt rating. Nations and States will gladly risk violating their obligations to pensioneers, employees and general citizens. They will ignore the wrath of voters - but they won't dare to antagonize rating agencies or voters.

Shouldn't the rating agencies consider defaulting on or renegotiating pension obligations to be as severe a credit event as defaulting on or renegotiating bond obligations ?

Jun. 23 2011 04:52 PM
Reducing pensions versus Reducing Bond payments from Aren't they BOTH DEFAULT ? (Corrected post)


Austerity is in vogue.
Many states and nations are using the broad sense of ongoing crisis to unilaterally cut payments owed to people with pensions.

What has NOT been discussed is unilaterally cutting payments owed to bond holders. Why ? This would be unthinkable - it would reduce the debt rating. Nations and States will gladly risk violating their obligations to pensioneers, employees and general citizens. They will ignore the wrath of voters - but they won't dare to antagonize rating agencies or bond holders.

Shouldn't the rating agencies consider defaulting on or renegotiating pension obligations to be as severe a credit event as defaulting on or renegotiating bond obligations ?

Jun. 23 2011 04:52 PM

u make broad statements about a large group of people.
Contracts were negotiated and should be honored.
if u dont think we need teachers or police men tell ur elected representatives to fire them.
I work in the private sector by the way there’s lots of waste and stealing going on there also. Don’t know where u work but I’m sure u are overpaid also.

Jun. 23 2011 12:07 PM
Mr. Bad from IL

@ hjs11211

I love how public employees point to the fact that they have to "work hard" for their inflated paychecks, benefits and perks and then wait for a pat on the head.

We "working class" all work hard 'round here, but in the private sector don't pick our neighbors pockets to afford our vacations and baubles, especially when they can barely afford their bills. But you keep trying to make us feel guilty, it's going to work eventually, don't stop now.

Jun. 23 2011 11:53 AM

Mr. Bad
i guess u buy into the MYTH that public employees are getting rich partying on the tax payer’s dime.
The truth is these are hard working middle class men and women providing needed services.
It’s hard to debate people who believe in myths.

Jun. 23 2011 11:38 AM

I once negotiated a contract with a public serivce union and found a structural problem in the process: the professional managers who negotiate with the union for civilians appointed to boards benefit from the agreements. They are willing to give cost of living increases and days off because then they get them too. The contracts were not negoiated in good faith and need to be renegoitated without the people's advocate profiting from the result.

Then we found that a standard practice was to award 3 to 4% cost of living increases (COLA) in every three-year contract even when the cost of living over the contract was 1 to 2%. When I compounded this over 12 years, I found that the union people owed us a 6% pay reduction to be faithful to the COLA. The union negotiators knew immediately the impact of the issue and we reached a harmonious resolution by getting several productivity improvements, adjusting arcane work rules fairly and using bonuses to recognize exceptional performance.

There was no COLA in the contract I negotiated with the union. The other contracts in town had 3.5% COLAs continuing the flawed process.

I urge a true renegotiation of all contracts and pensions where both parties benefited from the result.

I was not re-appointed to my volunteer position or any other township position.

Jun. 23 2011 11:35 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

@ hjs11211

"attacking the unions is just part of the war on the middle class"

The same tired public union propaganda, which is not working, in case you've been out of the loop for the last year or two. Raising taxes on the wealthy is necessary for sure, but so is reigning in public employee unions - they are the only part of state and local budgets which must "contractually" grow every year to INFINITY. It's pretty simple math, the country as a whole is undergoing a massive economic contraction and entering a permanent slow growth era - but public employees want to party like it's 1999 forever. Their own greed will be their undoing, the writing is on the wall. I love to watch them squirm though, keep up the rhetoric about how you deserve those raises as the new unemployment insurance filers # shoots up... talk about being your own worst enemy.

Jun. 23 2011 10:51 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

@ BrettG

Gosh, I dunno, hurr durrr, but not much and certainly not more than they TAKE from the pockets of their working class pals. Think about it, NJ's % of "GDP" is 500 Billion, the state budget is only 30 Billion. They are parasites, and fat ones too.

Jun. 23 2011 10:42 AM
Gregory from The Bronx

I said it yesterday, I've been saying it since before the elections and I'll say it again: "(DINO) Governor Cuomo and his legislature lackeys to New York:'Drop Dead!'"

Jun. 23 2011 10:40 AM

attacking the unions is just part of the war on the middle class

Jun. 23 2011 10:39 AM
Mike from Inwood

Perhaps pension and medical health insurance reform are needed nationwide and by taxing ourselves to support public servants who have the best of health care insurance and defined benefit pensions, we are creating a large constituency that will be opposed to the change that we all need.

Jun. 23 2011 10:39 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

Has this bimbo ever been to DMV? An HHC hospital? Why is it that these . . . . people believe that there exists an obligation on the public's part to keep employed obvious deadbeats and goldbricks, even decades after they've proven their worthlessness. Better we can these bums en masse, and replace them with Mexicans.

Jun. 23 2011 10:38 AM
Mike from Inwood

Fairness? A nation that increasingly works and shops in Walmart cannot support public servants who shop in Macy's.

Jun. 23 2011 10:32 AM
Bob from Queens

It's a no brainer, folks: We've redistributed so much wealth upward to the nation's wealthiest individuals that there's almost nothing left for public services. As FDR realized so many years ago, you have redistribute the tax burden--i.e. tax the rich.

Jun. 23 2011 10:32 AM

Gosh, if the public employees are 75% of the cost of property taxes, what percentage of NJs GDP (spending, sales taxes, etc.) are they.

They are paid salaries, not TANF so their spending must be a positive for the NJ state economy.

It's called consumer demand - an old friend of growing economies.

Jun. 23 2011 10:29 AM
Maria Lopez from Nassau

I disagree with your guest. This cost of services in this state are too high and we do not receive better services as a result On LI where I live it is normal for teachers to make 100k+, superintendents 250k+, police 180k+. This does not include millions per employee in pension and health, 6 figure cash payouts for police at retirement, etc. Double dipping pensions, fraud. I can go on. How can a normal family on LI afford to pay 10,12,16k in property tax (plus state and federal) and feed a family or pay to live?

There needs to be a cap on wages and benefits. The exodus from this state should be evidence enough.

Jun. 23 2011 10:26 AM
judith ackerman from 636 West End av 10024

Now's the time for the 4 day workweek.
We Moved from the 6 day to the 5 day in the 1930's and that helped everyone then.Let's do it now. The enforced furlough is a clear sign that it is time. This will 1.give more people job opportunities 2. prevent burn-out from present full timers 3. Honor 3 big religions by adding Friday as a holy day.

Jun. 23 2011 10:21 AM
Maria Lopez from Nassau

What would it take for NY to be able to do an across the board cut in benefits of state and local employees? This is something we need to deal with. The rise in taxes in this state are unsustainable.

I cannot believe it is this difficult to cut state expenses in NY!

Jun. 23 2011 10:21 AM
Vinson from Bronx

Brian,

Technically, corn is a fruit. Like tomatoes and the apple (our state fruit), corn kernels are the result of sexual reproduction.

Jun. 23 2011 10:14 AM
Al from NY

The official New Jersey vegetable should be my cousin Jerry in Monclair

Jun. 23 2011 10:13 AM
David from Queens

Elected officials should have to suffer the economic and benefit sacrifices they intend to exact on the working people.

Jun. 23 2011 10:11 AM
Sarah from ridgewood

New Jersey has no state vegetable! There was apparently a push for the tomato to become official a couple of years ago, though. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez_b049LjUY

Jun. 23 2011 10:11 AM

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