• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • As Reform Begins in Massachusetts, Union Leaders Call Foul

    As state budget reforms work their way through legislatures and courts around the country, a new front in the fight has opened up in an unlikely location: Massachusetts. Last night, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 111 to 42 to curb the bargaining power of state employees in an effort to control spiraling health care costs.

    As Massachusetts House Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey (D) explained, the bill was necessary to ensure that essential state programs could continue to receive adequate funding. “The cost of health insurance is going up, and the money we commit every year, it’s unfortunately not going to textbooks. It’s not going to classroom size. Unfortunately, it’s going to a large degree to fund municipal health insurance.”

    As Dempsey noted, rising costs are not the fault of unions, but faced with budgetary realities, cuts have to be made. And House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo has suggested that the plan would save $100 million for the state while avoiding layoffs.

    This news is especially encouraging given the political makeup of the Massachusetts State House. While similar reform in other states has often begun over the strong objections of state Democrats, this new reform effort is being led by Democrats. And with a 128-32 majority in the House and a 36-4 majority in the Senate, any meaningful reform will have to have significant support from Democrats to succeed.

    And conservatives aren’t the only ones surprised by the political composition of this new effort. As the Boston Globe reports, union leaders across the state are furious:

    “It’s pretty stunning,’’ said Robert J. Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected. The same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. The same Democrats who tell us over and over again that they’re with us, that they believe in collective bargaining, that they believe in unions. . . . It’s a done deal for our relationship with the people inside that chamber.’’

    “We are going to fight this thing to the bitter end,’’ he added. “Massachusetts is not the place that takes collective bargaining away from public employees.’’

    After last night’s vote, the legislation moves on to the Senate and an uncertain future. If the battles in Wisconsin and other states were any indication, this is a fight that is just beginning.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to As Reform Begins in Massachusetts, Union Leaders Call Foul

    1. George Colgrove VA says:

      It is getting more and more clear, business as usual cannot go on any longer. We need smaller governments at all levels. We need to recognize that much more can be done by keeping money in the hands of people – not public officials.

      Once public unions are under control and the size of all governments are shrunk considerably – we need to start working on putting term limits on public workers. Public work should be considered a part-career job – not full. We should always keep a significant mix of people who have worked with the constraints of a budget based on a profit loss incentive in public work to keep the cost of government low.

      If you always have done public work, you never can get the severity of the need of cost cutting and ensuring every process is as efficient as it can be.

      Positions such as law enforcement and ground military may be an exception, but the management of these are not.

    2. Rick says:

      The day of unions is over. When first institured were good. Now they are corrupt and only a politians support. They cost our taxpayers three times what would normally cost the taxpayer not to mention there lack of work ethics. We wonder why our roads and institions are failing look at the core the unions. There is no longer a use for these corrupt organizations. Enough waste and feeding corruption

    3. Pragmatic in Texas says:

      Actually it's pretty stunning that Robert Haynes is bold enough to basically state "We bought and paid for your seat in Congress, and you will do as we tell you to do".

      Moderate Democrats and Independent voters: Please take note. Is this the type of environment you want to live in on a daily basis? Is mob style rule really the type of government you want to have your children and grandchildren endure?

    4. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Will union protests in MA receive the same coverage as those that occurred in WI? Will the President tell the American people that MA state workers are our neighbors whom we should not denigrate? I will not hold my breath.

    5. Norma in Nebraska says:

      Good for the State of Massachusetts!!! I applaud the decision they have made in the face of fierce adversity! Make no mistake, the unions will NOT take this lying down. It is interesting to see what happens when they don't get what they think they have "bought and paid for."

      The bottom line? The taxpayers in Massachusetts are being well served by their elected officials because they are doing the JOB they were hired to do. Thank God for unexpected blessings!

    6. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      You know, Brandon, if they actually had Collective Bargaining, the real thing, they would have a truly desperate and worthy cause. The Point is the Unions weren't Collective Bargaining, they were practicing Thuggery. They were practicing a Quid Pro Quo of Government payouts! What they were doing with it was not genuine Collective Bargaining! It was Gangsterism! Chicago Style! Where Government is expected to be Corrupt! It has been Corrupt for so long in Illinois, they think they are Entitled to it!

      It is unlawful to push a State into Bankruptcy! It is unlawful for so called Representatives to destroy their State! (I like to say Bankruptcy is on everybody's list for what Destruction means!) It is therefor Unlawful for Unions to have Unlimited Power over Government! Unions wreck every thing they touch! Simple Gangsterism! It is illegal. The source of all the Lawlessness in America is the Lawlessness of NOT hanging Traitors! They always Steal Elections! "Everybody does it" is no answer. But you will recall, that is what the Democrats said when they were caught fixing elections at the Primary Level!

    7. Nick says:

      It's great news from the Bay State but the question is: what happens when the unions start burning and bombing all over America? It's coming and you know the media is going to spin it as "social activism" rather than violence and anarchy. When will conservatives stop trying to place nice and get along with liberals, when we know liberals are mean spirited spineless followers without the courage or integrity to even think for themselves. If they can't steal the recount in WI, look to see public protests leading to burning police cars and buildings connected in any perceived way to conservatives.

    8. Brian, Michigan says:

      Congratulations to Mass. for actually electing a group of adults to their legislature.

      Now if we could only find 535 adults willing to serve in Congress we could be on the way to a better future.

      Next election cycle vote for men and women who want to serve the interests of the Nation, and not play games. I don't really care if they are a (D) or (R), they need to display common sense and an understanding of basic arithmetic!

    9. Diana Brown, Illinoi says:

      I am very glad for the people in Massachusetts and I sincerely hope that other states will follow suit. It is time to stand up and stand up courageous to these unions!!!!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.