Thursday, May 26, 2016

WDT: Will Union Now Blink in Tense Standoff

   There are a couple of schools of thought on where the Fire Department spat heads. One is arbitration in which the current contract survives and a new path to impasse begins. Maybe a little court fight over whether demotions can be done arbitrarily in a city that can't argue inability to pay.
    The other view is that by eliminating the eight captain slots, it increases pressure for the union to deal on manning in order to restore pay for eight members likely not pleased at a $200 a week pay cut. That plus some other compensation (or 24 hour shifts) for surrendering the manning clause that is at the heart of all this despite the detours into overtime and sick time. Council can reward current employees but needs to also win new pay schedules for new hires including getting rid of steps and longevity. It's complicated but a deal needs to be reached that ensures service for years to come, including the years when the hydro deal runs out.
     Some union members know they have something of value that can be monetized. Others argue for preserving future jobs and public safety.
      Council only accepted a part of the reorganization and that may or may not have been wise, but a veteran observer of City politics crowed to me this week that Council didn't blink and called the union's bluff. It's also thought the public has turned on the issue as well.
       Imagine how much more interesting it would be if a captain had actually been a part of the Council decision on eliminating captains ?
Watertown Daily Times | Watertown City Council adopts $42 million budget with 1.48% tax rate hike

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Horbacz said after the meeting, “We have a more than healthy fund balance, some would say too heavy at 26 percent of our budget.”

"council members ended up demoting eight captains to firefighters, creating a human resources position and giving 1.75 percent salary increases to management employees."

"They also created a human resource manager position at a cost of $69,000 and added a police officer for $80,000 in costs."

This pretty much says it all, the city is screwed! Not a court in this world that will side with the city on this issue. Will end up costing us taxpayers much more than $70,000 just fighting the court battle. The clueless manager being lead by the high priced out of town attorney lining his pockets who is just laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of us taxpayers. And the council is too ignorant to understand this.

Anonymous said...

If the union blinks they are idiots, they have got a open and shut case of violating civil service law.

Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer my hope is that the city holds it's ground against the thug union.
Their threats of slowing service and attempts to incite fear and intimidation are all it took for me to abandon any support that was once there for them. Kind of like the old Mafia threats of "Wouldn't want to see anything bad happen to your nice little house here would you?".
They are grossly overcompensated prima donnas and have abused the overtime and retirement process long enough.
If you are going to shakedown the taxpayers then kudo's to the city for making them fight for it. Remember, even if it does go to binding arbitration it still doesn't make it right, it just makes their thievery legal.

Anonymous said...



The city has never cared about the law. Civil service is a compete joke and the Civil Service Commission is noting but a bunch of figureheads that do exactly what Bob Slye tells them to. When the issue reaches the court the city will be shown for exactly what they are. This whole thing is just an exercise in abuse of authority and underhandedness. This is nothing new. This has been going on for a long time and you are have blood on your hands too Jeff.

Demoting people who have PERMANENT appointments under Civil Service Law is not only illegal it is wrong. I would love to see someone actually get charged with a crime but know that this is unlikely. Once this whole thing blows up in their faces I sincerely hope that those involved are all fired. Addison, Slye, CC commissioners, CC Secretary and election losses for Jennings, Mac, and Butler. I think Joe stabbed them all in the back. People should take note when election promises become betrayals. Speaks volumes about someones ethics and trust-worthiness.

Anonymous said...

It is strange that the city is paying a high priced expert lawyer to tell them to go to court and lose. Is it possible that this isn't the open and shut case for the fire department that you say it is? Could you possible be wrong on this issue? does employment law say that the fire department gravy train can never run in reverse...ever? No matter how much we have to raise taxes to pay them not to fight fires 99% of the time?

Anonymous said...

Once the firequeens are tamed, let's start on the cops. Too many their too.

Anonymous said...

To all you firefans who say the city is screwed, I'd say otherwise. It's time we had a council that will fight for the citizens and not just bend over. This is all good. Every time an old lady dies in a fire because of these efforts, we can plant a tree. Global Warming and all.

Anonymous said...


1204. It's "their" not their. When you daughter-in-law gets her new (higher) insurance bill for her play center then maybe you will understand. An ISO drop will occur, and will have an impact first on commercial properties and eventually trickle down to residential.

I am sure the firemen appreciate your continued support and I will be sure to tell the cops who you are so they can thank you as well.

Anonymous said...

Lets see how many structure fires they actually fight. A call to an accident scene where they spread stuff to pick up coolant leaking is not my definition of firefighter duties.

Anonymous said...

Oh NOOOOO!!!! The insurance boogieman is going to get us !
Yup, the fire department is worried about your insurance premiums. For a mere $9million per year, they will save you $50 a year on insurance. Or you could save it yourself by upping your delectable to $500.

What will be the next scat excuse they throw at the wall to see if it sticks? OSHA SOP? boo hoo hoo....

Anonymous said...

It's "their" not their, 12:23. You are so nuts about this, you can't even keep your thoughts strait/ha. Then again all this goes straight to your lifestyle, doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

4:35 and 12:23, you're both wrong: It is THERE. As is "Too many there too" i.e. cops.

Such fools these mortals be.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, you are wrong on the issue here. I'm sure its a misunderstanding but new hires have not had longevity since the early 90's because of a negotiation. The steps are just that. The new hire starts lower wage and goes up each year as he/she progresses over 5 years. Something many many organizations do.
Also things given up were working day vacation. Instead of getting 32 days off, they are charged vacation for days in the middle of their pick. If they want June 1-15 off, they are actually charged 12 days when they actually are only scheduled to work 6 of those days. Doesn't seem fair to be charged with a vacation day for days you already are off but that too was negotiated. They also can only be compensated for 180 total sick days. At about 15 years when they collect that many over the years, they now do NOT bank any sick days like everyone else because they are at the 180 limit. That too was negotiated and doesn't seem fair because everyone else gets 1 day per month, but now that they saved up 180, they are penalized for it and they can't collect any more until they use one. How unfair is that Ms. Macaluso? I bet you don't understand that or the public doesn't know how the fire men are losing out, but not crying about it. It was negotiated and they are living with it legally, not going against it. Sometimes when you know the right story, you might think different. You only have to ASK!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Uh, yeah, we knew that, 7:41. You must be a really smart guy. Try to keep your drawers dry.

Anonymous said...

Civil Service? A Joke the way the COW views it, let's say a friend of the boss wants a job upgrade....He tells Civil Service why it should be this way, and it's that way, but if you're better qualified for the promotion and you're not the bosses friend...........You're Sh-t out of luck..