The 45,000 unionized state employees have 911 “shop stewards,” and these stewards are allowed to do union business on state time, paid for by the taxpayers. Republicans are outraged and want the practice stopped.
State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and House Minority Leader Larry Cafero may very well have a point. Despite the fact they have no idea how much state time the stewards actually spend on union business or how much it costs the taxpayers, the leaders are right in that the practice should be eliminated. One union official told reporters he’d be surprised if they spent 10 or 12 hours a year on union business. It doesn’t matter if it’s one hour. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for it.
Of course, officials on both sides of the issue lose credibility with their over-the-top rhetoric. Anytime Cafero gets steps to the mic, you can be sure whatever he’s talking about, he’ll blow it totally out of proportion. The House bloviator’s act is getting old.
Not to be outdone, Lori Pelletier, Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, pointed out to reporters that Republicans chose to hold the news conference on the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis. Dr. King was there to support unionized sanitation workers. Objecting to the date the Republicans took issue with the taxpayers funding union work is hyperbole at its worst and hurts the unions’ case.