Wait a second here Neo, Opinker is nothing more than a puppet on a string controlled by McDermott, as with almost half of the city council. It is a McDermott rubber stamp.
As to a kangeroo court, yes, the City Council is just that. When you discuss their raises, McDermott himself negotiated that contract, no one other. As to the terms of the Health Insurance Coverage for firefighters, I think that was negotiated as well.
Alterations to the contract, benefits are to be negotiated as well. In this case the City Common Council, and McDermott failed to negotiate. McDermott would be up in arms crying if the FOP/Firefighter's came to the city and changed some term of the contract.
If there is anyone to blame, point the finger at Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., who approved their wage and benefit package. Now that Tom doesn't need them, he can throw them out with the bathwater.
No city employee should sit on the city council.
Yeah. But for Tom McDermott, Mike Opinker wouldn't know up from down. What's more, neither would the citizens of Hammond that elected him. For that matter, the last time I looked at last November's election results, I noticed all of these so-called puppets were duly elected by citizens of Hammond - you know, those that came out to vote. Tom McDermott couldn't appoint these council members. To say nothing of candidates like Mike Repay, who defied the Big Mac and prevailed.
Meanwhile, what is it you don't understand about the city's finances? Time and again we have been informed by the Times and McDermott that the city's finances are in the red. In the red not only by way of a frozen levy, but our tax collection is about 92 percent of that owed. We are forced to dip more and more into gaming money just to stay afloat, hopefully, until the levy logjam is unblocked.
And your contention that McDermott would be up in arms is utterly false. Like him or not, last year he requested and was given authority by the common council to see if he could renegotiate the pay raises due and insisted upon by the fire union. Lomeli sabotaged the effort by manipulating the council members into a false quorum at Freddie's Steak House, and the effort proved futile. All the while, Lomeli kept asserting the city was under contract.
Despite the public embarrassment, McDermott duly honored the contract and instituted the raises. But equally, there is nothing in that still current contract prohibiting the mayor or the common council from initiating or enacting an ordinance to adjust the employee health care premiums and co-pay for insurance benefits, which, it should be added, mirror those provided to state employees. While a contract is a contract, as Lomeli repeatedly asserted, it should be remembered that despite a union contract, the status of police and firemen remains that of an employee. The citizens of Hammond didn't elect Ed Lomeli or other union reps as final authorities governing application of the city resources.
If anything, police and fire unions, as well as the remainder of the city's employees, for a long long time, enjoyed really beneficial premium rates for health care. Today, we simply can't afford it. Any contract is derivative of and subordinate to city ordinances and state law.
There is still plenty to negotiate. But the thrust of this thread is whether public sector unions are endangering, injuring and permanent damaging organized labor?
To me this is a very real concern for the union movement. It's one thing to demand compensation or remuneration from the owner/management of profit-oriented enterprises, especially since labor is the value-adding exertions contributed by employees to the product or services generating and maintaining revenue flows.
By contrast, public sector organizations are non-profit oriented and depend on taxation and/or uniform fee payments from the citizenry for support to carry on and sustain operations. Yet, the public sector unions have become awfully damn pushy of late, expecting citizens to subordinate the interest in the overall of the commonwealth to that of the union benefits.
Wisconsin was no mistake or freak occurrence. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.
This is a dog that will not hunt.