December 23, 2011

Taking the Edge Off the Hardball

Justin Katz

It occurred to us, this last weekday before Christmas, that given all the reaction to the public-sector unions' decision to treat the Crossroads homeless shelter as a hostile enterprise based on its support for pension reform, it would be a good idea to direct you to the charity's donation page.

SEIU Local 580 President Phillip Keefe's statement that the Crossroads can rightfully be punished for "playing hard ball" is little more than an explicit statement of a strategy that everybody suspects underlies the union mentality. With us or against us. Push back on us and face our organizational wrath — which, ultimately, is the core attraction of forming a bargaining unit. (It's just too bad that, for public sector unions, all of society is a potential "management" target.)

It would certainly ease future reforms in Rhode Island and across the nation if the charity didn't end up suffering for its decision... and especially if it ended up profiting from it. Here's the link, again.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Perhaps you're reading way too much into this. If an entity, in this case Crossroads, has come down publicly against what you perceive to be your monetary interests, why would anyone donate money to that entity? I don't think anyone needs a directive from a union boss to figure this out. Not that I ever have or would donate to the likes of Crossroads but I know I wouldn't be waiting around for some bat signal telling me what to do on this.

Posted by: seirra1 at December 23, 2011 7:37 AM

I donated when I heard the story broke. Thanks for doing this AR.

Posted by: Mark at December 23, 2011 7:38 AM

Well, sierra, if the story had simply been "charity's donations decrease after reform support," then my post would have been less directed against unions. But the fact is that at least one union did issue a directive, and as I said, it's an explicit statement of "this is what happens." So, I think the reply should be, "no, this is what happens."

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 23, 2011 7:54 AM

How many times have folks similar to Crossroads and others been labeled "Poverty Pimps" right here on this blog ? ?

Just google "poverty pimps" and anchor rising,,

Posted by: Sammy in Arizona at December 23, 2011 10:13 AM

Sammy, I just took you up on your offer and followed about the first seven or eight results that came up. Not one contributor to Anchor Rising used the term "poverty pimps". It was definitely used in comments, however the commenters and their comments do not always reflect the opinions of the contributors.

Have a merry Christmas.

Posted by: Patrick at December 23, 2011 10:29 AM

It's not just that donations have decreased, or even the union letter directive or the unprofessional press statements released by the union president. That's just a reflection of their mentality. The important element is that the homeless shelter is being actively harassed and threatened. Technically we don't *know* that all of the instances so far have involved union activists, but you can be about as sure as you are that Jimmy Hoffa, Sr. isn't going to waltz into the Teamsters union hall tomorrow with a bag of Christmas Presents.

This type of behavior is precisely why I choose not to join the union in my workplace. Like most commenters here, I have no issue with the concept of collective bargaining as long as membership is non-coercive and they are not afforded corrupt special protections and privileges under the law. I would join the union in my workplace in a heartbeat if they exhibited professional behavior and provided valuable representation, as I have heard the union does at the Patent and Trademark Office. Instead they engage in exactly the kind of thuggish "us versus them" tactics like vandalism, harassment, veiled threats, and throwing temper tantrums that are constantly on display with Big Public Labor in Rhode Island.

Posted by: Dan at December 23, 2011 10:30 AM

Dan. This may have been the dumbest thing you have ever posted. You need a little more life experience. No harm, no foul. Don't just wag your tail behind Justin

Posted by: David S at December 23, 2011 6:01 PM

Thank you for the insult, David. I'm sure calling me names without any explanation is really meaningful for the readers here. Nice to see how RI progressives engage in the public dialog.

Let me know if you ever have a substantive comment to make and I will be happy to read it and discuss.

Posted by: Dan at December 23, 2011 6:26 PM

Thank you too. Any time you want to break out of yourself imposed ignorance I will be here to help.

Posted by: David S at December 23, 2011 7:04 PM

Difficult for me to be "helped" or persuaded of much of anything when all you have to offer are hateful remarks and insults, David. If you had even made an attempt at explaining why you thought my comment was "dumb," perhaps there would be something worth discussing. But based on your vacuous commenting history here, that's far too much to expect of you.

Posted by: Dan at December 23, 2011 7:36 PM

Don't expect a lot Dan.. but more than you get from Justin and his tribe. You may learn something if you actually meet some of these union people you denigrate. I think you have quite a bit to offer in the public square... all I am saying is .. do not limit yourself

Posted by: David S at December 23, 2011 8:01 PM

I lived in Rhode Island for 25 years and I still visit regularly. I can assure you, I've met plenty of the "union people" of whom I speak. I've met all the recurring NEARI leadership characters, a half dozen of the old RIFuture union activist crowd. A couple of the IAFF folks who post here. Worked with a bunch of state police in my last job, had some friends in the Providence police. I still have my "Proud supporter of the Fraternal Order of Police" sticker on my car - an old RI trick to get out of tickets. I've met or had as teachers hundreds of members of the RI teachers unions. I've certainly had experience with the union that infests my current workplace and all of its characters (leadership under Federal investigation for corruption at the moment). You assume a lot about me, David. Most of it is not accurate.

Posted by: Dan at December 23, 2011 8:25 PM

Sorry Dan. I quess I was wrong. From all of your experience you must be 70-80 years old. My Bad. I only know what I have experienced in my 50 something years. I have never seen anything you describe. One has to be a complete partisan to see it your way. That is Justin's way. Maybe it is your's too.

Posted by: David S at December 23, 2011 8:54 PM

Holy crap David just walk away. You haven't made one intelligible remark yet. It's like watching a blind man in a box bouncing off the walls.

Posted by: Max D at December 23, 2011 10:21 PM

David - It's not a "partisan" issue to me. I am not a Republican. I am not political. I do not even vote.

I have experienced intimidation by some of the old-timer union members in my workplace. I chose not to join, so I am "against" them in their view. People like me are "freeloaders" according to them and the alleged reason why their union is a complete joke when representing the workers. Personally, I think it's because they tear down notices, deface the walls and bulletin boards with union stickers, harass good workers who choose not to join, stand on the side of the road with bullhorns and banners like a bunch of fools, complain about extremely generous pay ($90k+ for most), get into screaming matches with management, take hardline stances over ridiculous issues that nobody in their right mind would complain about (like whether they have to be at their desk by 9:30 or 10:00am), file dozens of frivolous grievances, and spam libelous e-mails to the entire Agency about specific directors. I have personally witnessed all of the above and more over the past two years.

If you haven't seen any bad behavior from the unions in Rhode Island, then you haven't picked up a newspaper or listened to the radio in the past few decades. To say nothing of all the NEARI antics, the disability fraud that goes on in the police and fire departments has been well-documented and thoroughly exposed. Denying that it occurs is to lose all credibility - any auditor, insurer, or court of law would take the retirement statistics as prima facie evidence that there is mass fraud going on.

Posted by: Dan at December 23, 2011 11:19 PM

Crossroads at 160 Broad Street is the Gates of Hell. If anybody chooses to donate money to Crossroads because some union guy said not to they have made a huge mistake. A good alternative is The Mcauley house on Elmwood Avenue.

In fairness to Crossroads, I am subject to the percentage of their clients who are chronically homeless with no desire to become un-homeless. I'm sure a lot of good things happen there, I just never see it during the 2000 911 calls made every year from 160 Broad Street for their clients who are intoxicated, have a stiff lip, a boil, sore feet or the hundreds of other reasons the staff at Crossroads calls 911 for the mile ride to The Rhode Island Hospital Emergency Room at the cost of millions to Providence taxpayers.

All too often the city's six ALS rescues are full of homeless people getting free rides for free routine medical care at inflated prices while real emergencies happen, and the results are disastrous.

Posted by: michael at December 24, 2011 10:42 AM

This has little to do with Crossroads. It could have been any charitable organization. It has little to do with individual's choice of charity. When you recruit others to not contribute or otherwise do business with an organization whether it be a charity or business, it's called retaliation. Sometimes public sector union leadership forgets they aren't the pilots, miners, steel workers, and/or auto workers. They can't strike and they are paid by the taxpayer. The union would have been better served if Mr. Keefe had kept his mouth shut if for no other reason than he should fear public perception.

Before you mention that Crossroads would have been better served not taking a side, you're not all wrong but unions aren't the sole source of their funding. They need to be concerned with the overall stability of the state's economy, private and public.

Posted by: Max D at December 25, 2011 7:47 PM

I agree, Max, Mr. Keefe would have been better off keeping quiet, and i wish I had, I wrote a commentary piece and sent it to the Providence Journal, mostly fueled by my experiences with crossroads, at least the face I see. I tried to retract it but they are printing it on Wednesday.

Posted by: michael at December 26, 2011 2:19 PM
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