Like many others, our city is in a financial crisis. To save money, the city wants all employees to take furlough days. Some upper-level union members said they'll fight this, because they will not take a pay cut. The problem: I know that if the union doesn't accept the furlough days many of our new hires will get laid off.The options: Everyone takes the furlough days (a 2% cut), or three people are out a job (a 100% cut). I'm OK with a pay cut if it saves a job for my brother or sister in blue. How do I make others feel that way?
Dear Mr. I Don t Get Politics, First, you need to stop drinking the Kool-Aid the city leaders are pouring, and get on board with reality. You claim to know three employees will get laid off if you don't all take the furlough days. Are you not just a cop but also the current city manager or a council person? (I can't imagine you are because any politician should have failed a background check!) Is it because the double-talking windbags at city hall said so? Why would you believe them? If you think they're being honest and not just trying to manipulate you, then you might not be smart enough to be a cop.
Relax, Ol Bullethead just wanted to toss a bang in your room to make sure you were awake.
Now that I know you re awake, I ll continue to pontificate my Bulletheadean truisms. The pols at city hall are more worried about maintaining their jobs than they are about you or any other city employee. Where I work, they re playing similar games with money. We haven t taken any cuts (yet), but they froze our raises and our merit increases. We have lots of young cops who just had babies and bought houses and cars and are depending on those raises coming in. Now they're all eating noodles for dinner because they can't afford anything else.
In the meantime, the city hasn't stopped any other services, and they re doing things like spending a million bucks on fireworks for a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. When the hell did fireworks start having anything to do with Christmas? With the economy bad they think we can t go anywhere else, so they re squeezing us for every cent. They continue moving forward with their little turd projects so they can get reelected. If we complain, they say that we re overpaid and underworked, and that we need to share the burden blah, blah, blah! My point:The turd projects don't provide public safety. However, the turds themselves know we'll have a hard time leaving, so they re trying to roll back the gains we ve made over the past 20 years.
Your union leaders are absolutely correct to fight against a pay cut. Would you rather have a bunch of punks who roll over every time the leeches from the city come looking for money? Worse yet, would you like to end up with people (like you) who believe everything city hall tries to shove down their throats? I know of at least 10 cities near where I work that threatened layoffs. Only one actually did it (and all those cops got hired by another agency without missing a day of work). The cities all used the same tactics you re describing: Take a pay cut or else. These unions had their barrels clear, and they were ready for a fight.
Your job isn't to convince the union to back down but rather to convince them to fight. The union needs to get out the word to people about what the city is trying to do. Unions are so far behind in this sort of thing it sickens me. A two-minute video on YouTube will spread like wildfire through your city if you start e-mailing the link to the right people. The union president must discuss the turd projects and how they re staying, but the city is threatening to get rid of cops. The video should end with contact numbers for the city leaders and a message such as, Keep the Cops; Flush the Turds!
The other thing you need to do is convince those threatened by layoffs to hedge their bets. They should stock up on cash and be ready to jump at other opportunities. They shouldn't be the only ones doing this particularly the cash part. We all need plenty of cash on hand for about the next 10 years until this mess clears itself up. Now drop the Kool-Aid, and get to work.
Got a question or complaint? Let Bullethead hear about it. He'll give you his opinion WITH BOTH BARRELS. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax him at 619/699-6246.