Office of Borough President James P. Molinaro
Staten Island, New York
Pro-Labor B.P.: “It’s time for unions to make concessions”
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Borough President James P. Molinaro today appealed to municipal and State labor unions to come to the table with the Governor and Mayor and create “sustainable contracts” adapted to these difficult fiscal times.
“While I’ve been pro-labor all my life, I am also pro-common sense,” Molinaro said. “I’ve worked in both the public and private sectors, but it is clear to me that labor needs to come to the table. The private sector has made concessions in productivity, pensions and pay, and now it is time for the public sector to do the same.
“Can you imagine if we told the corner grocery store owner that when times are bad, you can’t ask your workers for more productivity or institute layoffs to make ends meet? They’d close shop,” Molinaro added.
“New York government is in danger of following the collapse of economies in Eastern Europe and in Greece,” Molinaro continued. “A weakened economy hurts labor as well as the rest of us.
“The stalemate in Albany is due in large part to a fear of the wrath of labor unions and their leaders,” Molinaro said. “They just have to come to the table.”
“Existing union contracts have to be honored, but we know they’re not sustainable in the future,” Molinaro added. “So I’m asking that labor come to the table with our Mayor and Governor, and be willing to make certain concessions in order to keep our governments functioning smoothly and not worsen our already-poor financial situation.
“In my experience, workers want to work,” Molinaro continued. “It’s some of the union leaders who block reasonable reform, because their priority is to get re-elected. Labor leaders create ‘rubber rooms,’ and the too generous frills that make these contracts a laughingstock.
“Let’s remember that the United States model of success is based on capitalism.” “If you’re in the education business, it means you teach extra hours to save jobs and help schoolchildren. If you’re in the transportation business, it means you drive an additional route per shift and help commuters. If it means raises can’t be given, we must share the short-term pain so we can enjoy the long-term gain,” Molinaro concluded.
May 21, 2010