So the paper demands that the unions agree with Cuomo’s plea for a wage freeze. It just sounds fair — but to the union bosses, who found Gov.Walker’s plea for the same kind of understanding to be nothing but union busting, Gov. Cuomo’s suggestion is not exactly something they are shouting off the rooftops to support.
Next come those dastardly pensions — the same ones Scott Walker talks about as unjustifiably high for public sector workers, much to the derision of the unions, the Left, and The New York Times. They now cost New York State, we learn, $1.5 billion. And moreover, “the Legislature, ever eager to curry favor with powerful unions, added sweeteners to pensions and allowed employees to stop making contributions after 10 years.” Seems like just the sweetheart deals regularly made by legislators with the unions each year. As the editors put it, they seek to “curry favor” with the unions.
Wait, I thought they said earlier in the same editorial that they are not anti-union? Or is that just a denial meant to get their readers to read the rest of the statement without putting it down in anger? Even after some changes were made, they continue, union public sector employees can still retire at 62 with full benefits, and drive up their amount by overtime. Moreover, it turns out that once retiring, they can even get another New York State job and thus engage in double-dipping. And of course, they can get another pension from the new job as well! And unlike private sector workers, they only have to give three percent of their pay to their own pension fund.
Anyone reading this and still feeling sorry for these poor public sector workers clearly has not learned how to read, and how to evaluate fiscal reality. The paper’s own investigation revealed that 3,700 retired public workers were receiving six-figure pensions due to overtime abuse. And 2000 workers are now receiving state pensions while employed at new state jobs which give them salaries, paid by the taxpayers.
Finally, there is the problem of health insurance that, evidently, ObamaCare has not solved in New York State. New York State is paying $3 billion each year for it and the amount will grow to over $400 million more each year! And state retirees pay less than their counterparts in both the private sector and federal workers. New York State must therefore “achieve the necessary savings in wages and pensions,” and seek higher insurance contributions from state workers. I’m sure the union leaders will love the paper’s proposals, and immediately agree.
After all, the editors write, “unlike Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Governor Cuomo is not trying to break the unions.” We have their assurance for this, and because he is not going after collective bargaining, I’m sure the AFL-CIO chieftains in New York State will immediately see the wisdom of Cuomo’s plans and the New York Times editorial endorsement, and will not accuse Cuomo — as they did Gov. Paterson — of being a union-busting monster. I mean all Cuomo wants is a “salary freeze and a reduction of benefits.” How could any union disagree with that? So the editors warn: “The unions need to negotiate seriously.”
Ask yourself this question. When papers like The Wall Street Journal told the unions the same thing about what their attitude should be towards Scott Walker, how did the unions and the Left respond? What is the difference between what they asked the unions to do when Walker first talked about his state’s fiscal crisis, and what Cuomo is asking the unions to do now?
The answer is obvious: Absolutely nothing. So watch carefully as the unions resist their admonition that “the state’s middle-class workers will have to make real sacrifices.”
Will the state capitol in Albany soon be the focus of the kind of protests we have just seen in Madison? Don’t hedge your bets.