The Massachusetts House of Representatives last night voted to pass municipal health care reform that actually saves municipalities money, incurring the ire of organized labor and setting the stage for the final showdown in the Senate. Organized labor continued their myopia on this issue, attacking the Speaker and the House for this vote: From State House News.
“It’s clearly union busting. It looks just like Wisconsin to me. It looks just like Ohio to me. It looks just like Indiana to me. I am profoundly disappointed in every Democrat who voted to do away with collective bargaining here in Massachusetts,” said Robert Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
Haynes was not done, blasting the Speaker and what he called the “concentration of power” in the Speakers office:
“The Speaker told us good luck when we left his office, and I told him good luck and good luck to his Democratic members,” Haynes told the News Service. “Can you imagine what teachers and firefighter and police officers and public sector works and nurses and librarians are going to think when they wake up tomorrow morning to find out the Democrats that we elected, that we worked for, that we contributed to their campaigns just snatched collective bargaining away from them, just took the voice, the Democratic voice, away from working people. I say good luck to him. And good luck to the future of this House.”
Haynes failed to address the massive job losses that have occurred within organized labor due to the rapid escalation of health care costs and labors refusal, in so many instances, to negotiate equitable cost sharing. The Speaker is intractable???? How about the intractability of labor on the issue of local entry into the GIC? After passage of a bill allowing municipalities to enter the GIC with the assent of labor only a handful of localities have been able to do so, due to the intractability of labor. Assume a more realistic outlook on cost sharing in order to save UNION jobs? How many instances statewide have we seen where labor intractability has meant more job losses for their own members? Intractability? Maybe a mirror was in order.
The House, Chairman Dempsey, and Speaker Deleo, have shown great courage in passing this reform. The Speaker and Chairman Dempsey know what we know at the local level. The system is not sustainable as it stands today. Methuen Rep. Linda Dean Campbell voted to support the Speaker and Chairman Dempsey, and deserves credit for her courage as well.