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Sunday, March 06, 2011 7:39 PM

In Praise of Extreme Public Union Lunacy in San Jose

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Hardly a week goes by in which I do not see examples of extreme public union idiocy. Nonetheless, it is rare to see an entirely new concept prop up. Here's a new one.

Pete Constant, a San Jose Councilman wants to answer his own phone. However, union rules dictate that he have a $70,000 assistant he does not even want. What's even more ridiculous is the union has sent this matter to the courts to resolve.

Please consider Internal Affairs: The fight over Councilman Constant's missing secretary

At a time when San Jose faces more than a $100 million budget deficit and the prospect of hundreds of layoffs, San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant is battling with a City Hall employees' union over whether he should be forced to hire an administrative assistant.

Judge Kevin McKenney of Santa Clara County Superior Court recently ordered that the case be taken to a costly arbitration instead of the state's Public Employment Relations Board -- something both Constant and the city's attorneys had sought.

That decision pleased the city's 214-member Confidential Employees Organization, which contends the city was required to confer with the union before Constant decided to eliminate the position. The job -- which requires answering phones, scheduling appointments and making photocopies, among other duties -- pays about $70,000 a year.

"My concern quite frankly is not who decides the issues. It's getting a resolution on the core issue, which is: Who should determine how I staff my office?" said Constant, who was re-elected last year to a second term representing West San Jose.

The City Council's only Republican contends that residents of the district support his ability to make decisions for them. Besides, Constant said, he prefers to do all of the secretarial work himself, with help from four full-time council aides.

Councilman Constant contends that the $70,000 can be better spent on things such as resource fairs, helping neighborhood associations, an online database that updates Constant's office with constituent information and inquiries, and license fees for an iPhone app that allows residents to easily report problems.

But LaVerne Washington, president of the employees' association, said it is not Constant's prerogative to create his own "process and procedures," which she said conflict with labor agreements between the city and the union.
In Praise of Lunacy

I commend the sheer idiocy of LaVerne Washington, president of the employees' association, in pressing this case.

LaVerne Washington shows without a doubt why the only solution to this madness is the total repudiation and complete destruction of public unions.

I cheer Washington's idiocy because this is just the kind of thing that gets the public riled up against public unions. It will backfire.

Union Slave Rules

Union rules prohibit citizens from being volunteer fireman, from volunteering to help their schools, from seeking non-union employment, and from controlling their own lives.

Now we see union rules dictate a city councilman who does not want to hire an assistant to waste $70,000 hiring one.

People cannot yell "fire" in a movie theater, for good reason. For the same reason, union rights to "organize" must stop at the point when they tread on the rights of others to pursue employment, to do whatever they want with their own time, and to not waste money hiring employees they do not need.

No one who stands up for the taxpayer in public union contracts. Worse yet, many of those contracts intrude on private rights as noted above.

The proper solution is the complete elimination of public unions and all the slavery they stand for.

Please see Paul Krugman, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, others, Ignore Extortion, Bribery, Coercion, and Slavery; No One Should Own You! for further discussion of the slavery issue.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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