Biting the hand that feeds you.

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There is little on earth that can approach the absolute arrogance and hypocrisy of a union and the public employee unions are the poster children for that arrogance.

Arrogance Ignorance Greed

This brings us to the State of Confusion California.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit unions are without a contract.  Their last one ran out a couple of weeks ago and the union and BART are having a rather contentious time at the bargaining table.  The unions (primarily SEIU) staged a one day strike last week just to make a point that life without BART won’t be fun for San Francisco area Democrats Commuters if BART doesn’t settle quickly, and “settle” means give the unions what they’re demanding.

They had a meeting yesterday and things heated up.

OAKLAND — As anger from BART workers bubbled over during a public showdown Thursday, management and unions were set to return to the bargaining table Friday for the first time since the workers’ strike was temporarily halted.

More than a dozen union workers lashed out at the BART Board of Directors during its regular meeting and vowed to shut down the rail line again if they don’t reach a deal before their 30-day contract extension expires Aug. 4.

“We will be prepared for the war that you all have launched on your workforce,” Roxanne Sanchez, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told the board. Unless the agency changes its stance at the negotiation table, she said, “We will be prepared for the bloodiest, longest strike since the 1970s,” when a labor dispute shut down BART for three months in 1979.

Nice.  Well, let’s see just what they’re going to war over.

On average, their total compensation tops $130,000 a year — $80,000 in cash wages and another $50,000 in benefits. BART offered its employees 8 percent raises over the next four years. That wasn’t good enough for the unions. They want a 21 percent pay hike over three years.

Going on strike.  I refuse to link to the site, so you’ll just have to take my word for the fact that the Socialist Workers of the World website is supporting the unions.

BART is the primary form of transit for workers in the Bay Area commuting from the suburbs to San Francisco.  About 400,000 people per day ride the system.  Those commuters will be driving into and out of the city, polluting the air and adding probably three hours a day to their current commute.  I’ll note here that in this area probably 80% of those commuters are Obama voters and dyed-in-the-wool union supporters and those consequences couldn’t happen to more deserving people.

This could well get ugly.  Personally, I’ll be sitting back with a grin on my face.  The SEIU has already been smacked around for outrageous behavior in California and hopefully this action will dive a nail in their coffin.

While I’m on the subject of unions, let’s talk about the teachers in Buffalo, NY.

The teachers union, some time ago, “negotiated” a contract that included cosmetic surgery amongst their “health benefits”.  During the 2011-2012 school year that benefit cost the district $1,700,000.  Yep.  A million seven.  For things like superficial anti-wrinkle procedures such as facial peels and microderm abrasions.  There must be lots of wrinkly teachers in Buffalo.  Or teachers that WERE wrinkly.

So at this point in time the district is in a financial crunch and they’ve got to save some money.  Now we have all heard unionized teachers caterwauling about how everything they do, every breath they take “is for the children”.  Right?

The school district has two choices:  eliminate the cosmetic surgery clause in the teacher’s health plan OR [drum roll please]eliminate music instrumental and band programs for Buffalo children and lay off some teachers union members.

We sympathize with [School Board member John] Licata and the board, which unanimously approved his resolution in late June, but as Philip Rumore, president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, noted, this is a contractual issue. For reasons that defy understanding, the school district at one time provided that benefit to some teachers and administrators.

As foolish as it was, the cosmetic surgery rider is in the contract. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the district simply to decide not to cover certain procedures.

But now, teachers and students are about to pay a steep price for it. Licata believes the savings from his proposal could help preserve the endangered music programs, whose pending termination has stirred anger in the community.

In the hands of rational people, an obvious bargain would be evident. The BTF gives up the cosmetic rider – which Rumore has said he is willing to do – instructors get to keep their jobs and students get to keep music programs, which are critical to some of them.

Don’t bet on the kids in Buffalo having a band program next year.  Teacher’s wrinkles are at stake.

About Author

Michael Becker is a long time activist and a businessman. He's been involved in the pro-life movement since 1976 and has been counseling addicts and ministering to prison inmates since 1980. Becker is a Curmudgeon. He has decades of experience as an operations executive in turnaround situations and in mortgage banking. He blogs regularly at The Right Curmudgeon, The Minority Report, Wizbang, Unified Patriots and Joe for America. He lives in Phoenix and is almost always armed.

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