July 24, 2008

Council 94: If We Ignore It, It'll Go Away

Marc Comtois

From 7to7:

The largest state employees union has overwhelmingly rejected a four-year deal brokered by its own leaders and the Carcieri administration, by a vote of 2,870 to 196.

Council 94, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, announced the election result this afternoon, after tabulating the votes of its 24 member local unions this afternoon in the basement of its Charles Street headquarters. Union leaders counted the ballots -- there were more than 3,000 -- by hand.

"Our membership has spoken by voting, and they have rejected the proposed settlement with the state," Council 94 President J. Michael Downey said in a written statement. "Council 94's membership strongly believes that the proposed settlement would hurt their economic/job security and their families. There simply were not enough positive aspects of the proposed settlement to outweigh the harsh economic hits which were spread out over four years."

Among the highlights of the master agreement were: pay raises of zero, 2.5 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent during each of the next four years; a one-day pay reduction in the current year that employees can recoup as a paid leave day; and escalating increases in the percentage of premium the employees will be required to pay for their health insurance....

It's unclear what will happen to Council 94 and those independent unions who rejected the deal, given that the Carcieri administration issued letters late last month terminating the unions' most recent conracts, which expired July 1.

The governor's chief legal counsel, Kernan F. King, said earlier today that the Carcieri administration could force changes on those unions. "The state has some options that it can take unilaterally, which would be interesting," he said.

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Let me get this straight - in essence:

1) They get pay raises over the life of the contract for their 35 hour a week "jobs," while most taxpayers aren't (and indeed are experiencing reductions in pay, if not outright job loss), and

2) Increases in the "co-share" for their health insurance premiums, at a rate probably still below the average in the private sector.

And they're whining? That's nothing - they should be kissing Carcieri's behind! What a bunch of greedy, coddled bastards!

I hope Carcieri lays off THOUSANDS of them, so they can join the 7.5% unemployed who are already experiencing the real world of the Rhode Island taxpayer economy.

BTW greedy bastards, once you're laid off and not rehired guess what, you stop accumulating credits to increase your gold-plated pension benefit.

It'll be a real pleasure to welcome you to the real world, morons!

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at July 24, 2008 3:26 PM

Right on Ragin' - now sit back and watch the hacks extoll the vitures of their precious unions. Fire 'em all. I'm sure that there are more than a few illegal aliens with false identification waiting to take their jobs.

Posted by: The Chorus at July 24, 2008 3:45 PM

Here comes the tax increases...and gee, I thought those would come after the election.

Posted by: tcc3 at July 24, 2008 3:58 PM

This is fanstatic news for the state of Rhode Island. Here comes the job cuts and mucho mucho mucho furlough days via executive order and that's just the beginning.
Thank you Council 94. You have no idea how much you've hurt your own cause and helps ours.
Thanks Momo's!! lol

Posted by: Tim at July 24, 2008 4:21 PM

Good job you lazy stinkin' union pigs!
Now you can lose your jobs.

Think of the gall these union pigs have, believing they are so entitled that they should not accept such small raises. In a world where most today are happy to just have a job, the union pigs think they deserve bigger RAISES.

F#@& THEM! Fire their asses and teach the pigs a lesson!

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at July 24, 2008 4:40 PM

I assure to you a metaphysical certitude, there will be no tax increases to pay for state employees benefits. Right now, there is a small budget pie and it can only be sliced so many ways. In this unusually bad fiscal climate, they were very lucky to have had such a good contract to consider, providing job security and good benefits. They had a clear choice available to them and they chose poorly. I expect that will be evident to them very shortly.

I agree that this is actually wonderful news for our state. Since state law requires a balanced budget, there are some interesting contingencies available at the governor's disposal, especially considering that the General Assembly is not in session (Did I say interesting? I meant INTERESTING!). By the way, you know that the state unemployment rate is currently over 7%, which means a lot of people are looking for work. I literally can't wait for the next ball to drop ... on their heads.

PS Anyone notice that Bob Walsh came off as relatively reasonable in the Projo this morning (of course, that was before the vote)? Oh, well!

Posted by: Will at July 24, 2008 4:50 PM

I can only hope that many of the Council 94 members will be replaced with out of work private sector employees who bring with them the habits and attitudes (say, towards productivity and customer service)they learned there. The results would be dramatic, and would speak, indeed, shout, for themselves.

As a bonus, I can only hope that many of them would be placed in roles related to the delivery of our bloated social service programs...

Posted by: John at July 24, 2008 6:03 PM

Wow. Just wow.

Having just landed a new job after suffering through my THIRD layoff in 26 months, I would take that contract in a heartbeat.

Do these fools even know what the real world looks like?

I say, let them find out. The hard way.

Posted by: oz at July 24, 2008 7:23 PM

Great News.
Bring on the meat cleaver.
Don't let us down again Carcieri with your half-baked BS.

Posted by: Mike at July 24, 2008 7:51 PM

I'll be over here at the corner table. Once Dip$hit Don manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory AGAIN you guys can come over and cry in your beer with me.

Anyone confident that we're going to see something impressive and dramatic out of Don on this hasn't really been paying much attention.

Posted by: Greg at July 25, 2008 7:44 AM

Apparently, the problem for the union was that health care premium contributions went from a percentage of pay to a percentage of premium. [Premium contribution as a percentage of pay was a new one to me.] The premium contributions of some workers would have been 300% higher than under the expired contract.

A member of Council #94 called the Matt Allen Show last night and said something like, We rejected the contract for them.

Posted by: Monique at July 25, 2008 7:47 AM

How do they think it works in the real world? Out here in reality town we ALL pay a percentage of the premium that has nothing to do with our pay.

Posted by: Greg at July 25, 2008 8:05 AM

To swipe a post from Bobby O, who is 10000% correct here....

For the Governor to do the rest:

1. Kerry King, who has an ethics problem of his own, will actually have to be competent.

2. The Governor will actually have to follow through and carry out a political move to its conclusion for once.

3. Further, when small businesses start crying about lost revenue and everyday citizens complain about lack of services, the Governor will have to stick to his guns.

Usually, the staff is incompetent and the Governor doesn't have the stomach for a fight so 1 of the 3 falls through. What makes this time different?

Posted by: Greg at July 25, 2008 9:27 AM

I agree with everyone who says that the union rejection makes it far easier to initiate some serious reform.

Carcieri negotiated in good faith with the union and the membership turned up its' nose at the agreement struck by its' own union leadership.

I don't hold any animosity towards the union members or begrudge them for their attempts to preserve their benefits. But the world has changed in the past 30 years while the union's beneits have not. If the state can't afford the benefits and the union views the agreement as beneath them, it's quite obvious what needs to be done.

Let's hope Carcieri takes this opportunity--and this is an opportunity---to help modernize the public employee system. Given RI's high unemployment rate, I'm sure there are several qualified underemployed/unemployed Rhode Islanders who would be willing to work for what the state has offered. Let's put these people to work!

Perhaps then the Council 94 members will comprehend what the generosity provided to them by the residents of Rhode Island for the past few decades.

Posted by: Anthony at July 25, 2008 9:34 AM

Do not fear. We will ultimately prevail. We will look back on this as a great day for organized labor, let not your heart be troubled.
You just don't get it.

These workers have a right to better wages, how about a living wage for a change.

These workers have a right to quality health care benefits.

These workers have a right to be treated fairly by Disaster Don and given more.

These workers have a right to demand you pay!

To quote an earlier post - Shut up and pay!

Posted by: Bill Tetrault at July 25, 2008 11:12 AM

It's all about Carcieri's attitude.
If he had gone into this with the attitude of, "It's a tough economy, we've all got to tighten our belts," as other governors who've faced economic crunches have, he might have gotten the cooperation he needed.
Instead, the arrogance and the anti-worker bile he's spewed on talk shows have poisoned the atmosphere, and he has no credibility with the rank and file. You don't insult somebody out of one side of your mouth and ask them to make sacrifices (particularly ones you and your peeps aren't making) with the other. If The Don wants to point the finger, the mirror might be a good place to start.
A governor with leadership qualities could've pulled this off. Unfortunately, Rhode Island doesn't have one.

Posted by: rhody at July 25, 2008 12:25 PM

Well said Rhody,

Thank GOD for our General Assembly. I have it on good sources that this year will be able to pass through a massive tax increase on the wealthy to finally get some fairness on the tax code. Now all we have to do is broaden the sales tax like other states and we would begin to have some fairness.

Posted by: Bill Tetrault at July 25, 2008 12:39 PM

"These workers have a right to demand you pay!"

...and as your employer, we have the right to tell you that your services are too expensive and we want to reduce these expenses.

Posted by: tcc3 at July 25, 2008 1:05 PM

>>If he had gone into this with the attitude of, "It's a tough economy, we've all got to tighten our belts," as other governors who've faced economic crunches have, he might have gotten the cooperation he needed.

Which explains why the other unions ratified concessions, right?

>> Instead, the arrogance and the anti-worker bile he's spewed on talk shows have poisoned the atmosphere, and he has no credibility with the rank and file.

Actually, between e-verify and this he’s developing quite a bit of pro-worker sentiment and rank and file credibility with those of us workers out here in the real world of the private sector (also known as the productive sector).

>>A governor with leadership qualities could've pulled this off.

Like Charlie Fogarty the empty suit rubber stamp for the union bosses would’ve done?

>>Thank GOD for our General Assembly. I have it on good sources that this year will be able to pass through a massive tax increase on the wealthy to finally get some fairness on the tax code. Now all we have to do is broaden the sales tax like other states and we would begin to have some fairness.

Your economic ignorance is breathtaking. Or are you a mole planted by the Carolina Economic Development Agency, planted here to give even more reasons for “wealthy” employers to vacate this corrupt, overtaxed state?

Yeah, the General Assembly is going to save the day – you just keep the faith in one of the most corrupt institutions in the entire United States, an entity that has driven our economy into the ditch, can’t perform even basic government functions like paving roads, maintaining bridges or running schools that teach children the “three R’s.”

Finally, I thought that you “progressives” didn’t like the sales tax because it is “regressive.”

Speaking of sales taxes, I’m going north this weekend. I’m going to fill up in MA to avoid the higher RI tax, and stop in NH on my way back to stock up on booze to avoid the RI and MA tax (I usually buy my booze in MA to avoid the RI sales tax). Most people act economically rationally, which is why your glee at tax increases will ultimately backfire on your “progressive” butt.

What a maroon!

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at July 25, 2008 1:33 PM

As I'm hearing it, the plan is to fire all the Council 94 workers that do not have a contract. Then, a new salary and benefit plan which has no pension, but a 401K, and a 50% share of the health ins. premiums.
They begin taking applications for the new jobs next week, probably Wednesday, but in the evening to allow people to make it, somewhere in the Pastore complex.
Can you imagine the visual effects of thousands of Rhode Islanders lining up to hope for a job with pay and benefits that these union pigs have snubbed their noses at?
I can't wait to show these lazy union pigs just how much we need them.
This is going to be GREAT!

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at July 25, 2008 2:07 PM

Six words to live by:
Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: rhody at July 25, 2008 2:19 PM

Now that we have been to fantasy island are you ready for what is actually going to happen? Next week, and I have this from a top source on the inside, that the health benefits pay proportions will be re worked to balance the payments between the highest and lowest paid and the package will be presented for a vote by about Thursday. Sorry blood thirsty morons, no PATCO moment for you.

Posted by: Bill Tetrault at July 25, 2008 2:29 PM

Sorry Billy boy,
"There will be no resumption of negotiations with Council 94," said Governor Carcieri.
I say we fire 'em!

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at July 25, 2008 2:45 PM

Equally Sorry Mikey Boy,

But don't believe the spin put out my that moron Robitaille (who could not even defeat Amy Rice). I have it straight from the union leadership, not some over paid under rated malodorous spin doctor!

That IS the deal, the Governor has agreed the vote is set for next Thursday - End of Freekin Story Dude!

Posted by: Bill Tetrault at July 25, 2008 2:57 PM

Ohhh Billy, Billy, Billy,
Such an anxious time to be a union pig. Tell me, just what is it like to be a lazy moron, facing the reality that - horror of horrors - you might actually have to get a real job - one where you have to work and be productive. And if you don't pull your weight, you might even get fired. OMG!
Really scary, huh?
Oink, oink!

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at July 25, 2008 3:06 PM


Perhaps you have a learning disability. This whole thing has already been workout out in a phone call with Governor Cave-In which took place about 37 minutes ago. Health care cuts re-balanced, package re-submitted for a new vote on Thursday - get it? So you can hurl all the insults you want, but this is already old news. End of Story!

Posted by: Bill Tetrault at July 25, 2008 3:11 PM


You wrote: "These workers have a right to demand you pay!"

Surely there is no better example of why the Unions must be, and will be, crushed.

If you don't like what your employer can afford to pay your unproductive, coddled lazy ass, by all means go find another job elsewhere and show us how much in demand you are.

Better yet, go start your own business and pay your employees what you are suggesting and have them "work" as little as Council 94 does.

Don't worry, Bill. Nobody will be holding their breath waiting for you to get off your lazy-ass to find a job that is willing to pay what you "demand" or for you to start your own business.

We know better ...your an Entitlement-minded public-tit sucking, non-self reliant, frightened Union leech, with little to no skills. Right?

Posted by: George Elbow at July 25, 2008 10:31 PM

Down, George. Tetrault's been banned (see thread above).
I just hate seeing that kind of cockiness coming from either side. Face it, nobody wins in this mess. The Don can fire people left and right next week if he wants, and can strut and pound his chest all he wants. He still will not have lifted a finger to bring jobs to this state. I've been to municipal meetings and seen boards move to lay off people, adding the words "with regret." Sounds like Carcieri and Kerry King are doing it with glee.
A thousand more people out of work, generating much less economic activity here. And have we thought about the cost or replacing and training (or retraining) these replacement workers? If we haven't, we should.
Maybe Don may have to hire illegal immigrants to fill key slots. I sure as hell don't want THAT for a boss.

Posted by: rhody at July 25, 2008 11:38 PM

"A thousand more people out of work, generating much less economic activity here."

Think of it more like a thousand available job openings. State workers don't generate economic activity. They are net tax consumers.

As with the argument regarding training costs (which presumes the jobs would be filled by others and not eliminated entirely), a short term expense for a long term gain is not a bad trade off. Have a nice weekend.

PS Who said anything about "regret"?

Posted by: Will at July 26, 2008 3:21 AM


Come on now. I know you are smart enough to know that governments don't create jobs.

If anything, Don will be helping to create jobs by reducing the work force, and therefore the buracracy and costs that deter business.

We all know the state has far too many "workers". We suffer from a bloated "work" force, which in turn helps cause RI to be amongst the highest taxed states in the nation.

Also, think about the fact that business will NOT have to compete with State gov't for all these talented employees.

Indeed, The Don is helping to attract business, wouldn't you agree?

PS - too bad about Billy-bibbit. He was a walking advertisment of what's wrong with the Unions and why they should be crushed.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 26, 2008 8:47 AM

The Don has not done a blessed thing to bring jobs to this state.
Most governors actively promote the virtues of their states. The Don steps to the microphone only to complain about state workers, illegal immigrants, liberals, etc.. Why would anybody want to bring their business to Rhode Island if its own governor acts like he hates this state?

Posted by: rhody at July 27, 2008 12:13 AM


In all fairness to Dip$hit Don, exactly what 'virtues' does this P.O.S. city-state have?

Posted by: Greg at July 27, 2008 9:53 AM


Business locates to an area based on facts (taxes, workforce capabilities, Union influence, infrastructure, access to transportation, etc.), not silly "we're the best" proclamations spouted by a cheerleader Gov.

The business we want are smart enough to figure things out ...they certainly don't rely on the sweet nothings voiced by politicians.

You're going down the Bob Walsh road on this one ...Close your eyes to the real problems, say things are good and hope to fool the public a little longer befor the ship capsizes (e.g. ignore the $5B Pension deficit, ignore the realities of the financial markets and pretend the Ponzi-scheme that is the RI Pension system will correct itself in a mere 22 years using the "Walshian Assumptions"!).

Once again, Rhody, Government does NOT create jobs.

Business (and individuals that start businesses) create jobs. The best we can hope for from gov't is that they will stay the hell out of the way and not take too much of that which business produces in order to fund the nanny state.

RI will never improve until people begin to recognize and acknowledge this fact (ie. gov't does NOT exist to create jobs).

Next time Bob Walsh, Patrick "I struggle with basic math" Crowley, Downey, Grilli, or any other Union-hack leech whines, ask them how many jobs they have created? Ask them why they don't go out and start a business and pay their employees what they are demanding.

Indeed, they prefer to sit on the sidelines when it comes to real economic activity and job creation, waiting to attach themselves like leeches to those that do create jobs.

But their is hope ...next week the Gov. will hopefully start the long overdue destruction of the destructive Unions. Can't wait!

All those out of work Union hacks will then be free to go start businesses and / or get hired by business at the prices they currently demand. Again, can't wait!

Posted by: George Elbow at July 27, 2008 11:12 AM

Actually, back in my finance days, I helped create hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs. Since then, I have helped protect thousands of Rhode Island based jobs.

How about you, George Elbow, how have you contributed to our economy? Or are you still afraid to reveal who you really are? Talk about sitting on the sidelines . . .

Posted by: Bob Walsh at July 27, 2008 1:47 PM


You've "helped protect thousands of Rhode Island based jobs"?

Do tell us, what in the Lord's name have you "protected" them from?

Have you "protected" them from the Free Market, the Taxpayer's ability to pay for them, the Taxpayer's desire to eliminate them, the changing world that makes certain jobs obsolete?

Does it not concern you in the least that you have artificially propped up certain dues paying member's jobs at great cost to the greater good of the State?

Does it not concern you that thru your socialist efforts at creating a nanny-state for your flock, you have created an Unsustainable cost structure where real Businesses refuse to participate, while at the same time creating a corrosive Entitlement-minded work-force that has NO clue how the real world works, where members of your flock live by the credo made famous by Michael Morse ...."You are a Chump if you are not getting yours"?

Bob, the only thing needing "protection" is the taxpayers who need protection against your nut-bag, nanny-state policies that demand that dues paying members are allowed to continue to suck off the public-tit while doing as little work as possible, with as little responsibilty and risk as possible.

But as previously noted, the party is coming to an end, despite your best efforts. Bankruptcy will do that.

Your pathetic "Do it for the Children" garbage won't be able to save you this time.

Soon, your frightened, non-self-reliant flock of mindless sheep will be able to find out exactly what the Free Market really thinks of their "skills".

Looking forward to all the job offers they get, along with all the job-creating businesses they create in which they provide the nut-bag pay and benefits that they currently demand.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 27, 2008 4:56 PM


For the sake of argument, let's assume I have NEVER created a single job (although, not true).

Unlike your ilk, however, I don't run around "demanding" that I should be provided with pay & benefits that my customers can not afford.

Nor do I run around fighting the ability of people to have Free Choice in where & how they educate their children with their own Tax dollars, at the very least to create some competion and therefore an impetous to drive improvements in the Public system.

Very simply, I don't live my life believing that I am some how owed a living.

You and your flock, on the other hand, do exactly that ...you go thru life with the belief that you are somehow owed a living, particularly by those who work far harder than your flock could ever imagine working.

Said simply, unlike you and your flock, I don't live my life with an ENTITLEMENT mentality.

By the way, Bob, how are those "Walshian Assumptions" holding up in this market? Is the Pension system still on track to correcting itself in 22 "short" years?

Posted by: George Elbow at July 27, 2008 5:08 PM

Yes. 22 years to full funding, maybe a year or two sooner. Bt the way, in the real world, they are called actuarial assumptions, only on AR are they named after me.

Posted by: Bob Walsh at July 27, 2008 11:16 PM

George, I'm not going down the Walsh road on this one. Actually, I figured you'd be applauding the workers for finally standing up to Walsh.

Posted by: rhody at July 27, 2008 11:41 PM

Now let me see if I have this straight. It's unfair for union hacks to pay a percentage of their medical insurance premium, instead they should pay a percentage of their wage. So everyone, no matter what the wage pays the same percentage. On the other hand, union hacks believe that paying the same percentage of wages for taxes is not right and that those who make more money should pay a higher percentage of their wage. How do they reconcile this?

Posted by: bobc at July 29, 2008 1:39 PM

Bob C.
Don't screw up / complicate the story line. Rhody & Bob have already memorized the Union talking points, so don't be throwing logic at them now.

Posted by: George Elbow at July 30, 2008 12:47 AM
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