Monday, July 06, 2009
It seems that Lingle has no plan to present to unions
by Larry Geller
I just don’t understand… but neither do the reporters, at least one of them.
From the Advertiser breaking news today:
Marie Laderta, chief labor negotiator for Gov. Linda Lingle, left a meeting with union officials today after 50 minutes, saying she is still waiting for the unions to present an on-the-record proposal.
And from Star-Bulletin breaking news:
After about 20 minutes, the state's human resource director walked out of a negotiating session with public employee uions this afternoon.
Marie Laderta said the unions didn't present a formal written proposal as Gov. Linda Lingle had demanded.
Ok, Laderta was or wasn’t there for 20 or 50 minutes. Whatever. But what I don’t understand is how come the unions are expected to make a proposal to balance the state budget?
Lingle wanted furloughs, but the court ruled they were illegal. So her plan A is shot, and it seems she simply has no plan B.
Isn’t it a bit bizarre to ask the unions to balance the state budget? That job is shared between the governor and the legislature. The legislature refused to give her special authority to negotiate wage and benefit cuts for state workers, and a judge (not the unions) has just told her she can’t proceed with furloughs. She seems to have nothing she’s willing to negotiate. And the unions are expected to do her job now, and fix her budget for her.
Bizarre or not, an Advertiser story, Hawaii governor insists unions come up with budget-cut plan (July 4, 2009), reports that this is exactly what she expects.
Today’s walkout comes after an apparent no show last week
As Gov. Linda Lingle and public worker unions attempt to negotiate a pact to bail the state out of its budget crisis, the two sides can't even agree whether they were supposed to meet yesterday.
Union leaders said yesterday they had a 10 a.m. meeting planned, but Lingle wanted it to be a formal meeting with an exchange of written proposals. The unions wanted an "informal meeting."
But a spokesman for Lingle said there was no meeting scheduled yesterday.
"We will be working on two tracks throughout the weekend to close the budget shortfall. We will continue to negotiate labor contracts to achieve the savings we need to secure a balanced budget, as required by our Constitution," Lingle said. [Star-Bulletin, Lingle and unions whiff on meeting, 7/4/2009]
Something happened to her two tracks. The train never arrived. She didn’t negotiate. She had nothing to offer.
At least she has read the Constitution and knows what she is supposed to be doing. If the unions never come up with a budget proposal, the responsibility is still hers, not theirs.
Update: Tuesday morning, the Advertiser now says Lingle’s representative walked out after 30 minutes (half an hour), and the Star-Bulletin just says “walked out”. Like I said, nevermind, it’s the rest of the story that’s important.
Both papers reported University of Hawaii Professional Assembly’s claim that they have submitted formal proposals to the state. Here’s the Advertiser’s report:
UHPA Executive Director J.N. Musto said Lingle's assertion that the unions have not offered written proposals is not true. UHPA itself has given management three different proposals dealing with salary alone, he said.
"We have never, even to this day, been given a formal proposal by the state," Musto said. "So it's disingenuous to say that this is the only approach."
And the Star-Bulletin’s:
J.N. Musto, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly executive director, said the state was not telling the truth, claiming that his union had given the state three written contract proposals and never received a counteroffer.
"Her assertion that the unions have not given a formal written proposal is just not true," Musto said.
The Advertiser account is that the proposals dealt only with salary, though it’s a bit ambiguous, while the S-B report might be understood to mean that the contract proposals were complete.
Good thing we have two daily papers in Honolulu. Now only if they would get together and negotiate.
Both agree that Lingle’s rep wouldn’t stay around to talk, though.
The union strangle-hold on the state is disgusting. They are NOT the good guys here.
I hope Lingle executes massive layoffs. I'd rather have 14% reduction in pay than a 100% reduction.
I hate unions!
Unions had a purpose when there were little or no labor laws protecting workers, but now they have NO purpose other than to raise the cost of everything. There is no reason why there needs to be contracts for hourly workers. You are hired at a certain pay rate, and you get raises based on time, performance or both. Very simple concept!
There are little or no labor laws protecting workers today. Real wages have been on a steady decline at least since the 1970s while the disparity between rich and poor has grown to a chasm. Employers regularly harass or fire workers trying to organize. Employers cheat workers out of overtime and falsify pay records. Etc., etc. Were it not for unions, we'd certainly have an almost sweatshop existence.
If there were no unions, they would have to be invented.
And no, I'm not going to debate this here in Comments.
UHPA would not have submitted a proposal to Lingle/Laderta because UHPA negotiates with the BOR. (as HSTA negotiates with the BOE) I reckon Lingle is/was demanding a proposal from the unions representing workers directly under her supervision, i.e. HGEA, UPW. I could be wrong, though.
Good point, Doug. One story said UHPA gave three different proposals to "management." The other says "the state."
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