Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow On The Streets, Blood On Their Hands

There's been a lot of press attention about the problems caused by the recent snowstorms in the Northeast, especially in New York and New Jersey.  Record snowfall (over two feet in many areas) has blocked roads and made travel almost impossible.  Newark Mayor Cory Booker has been getting a lot of praise for his hands-on approach to the "snowpocalypse"...the good publicity aided by his very active Twitter account.  Booker has been driving all over his city, personally helping dig out the city.  He's been responding personally to requests for help and even sharing a little humor.

However, the impassable streets were no laughing matter in New York City.  A newborn baby died after emergency workers took nine hours to reach the young mother in labor in the lobby of an apartment building.  A woman in Brooklyn was forced to spend the night with her dead father's body because the medical examiner's office took over twenty-four hours to respond.  There are other stories of people suffering while waiting in vain for medical help to struggle through snow-clogged streets, including a stroke victim who suffered permanently debilitating damage in the hours she waited for treatment.  It's all very, very heartbreaking.

Then, today, I read something that really made me see red:

New York Post: Sanitation Department's slow snow cleanup was a budget protest

Yes, you're reading that headline correctly.  Apparently the soulless bastards who run the NYC Sanitation Department unions were so upset over Mayor Bloomberg's budget cuts, they engineered a city-wide attack on their own neighbors.

A City Councilman, Dan Halloran (R-Queens), said that he was visited by several "guilt-ridden" sanitation workers who confessed that their union bosses had instructed them in several different methods to drastically drag out the removal of snow from the city streets (and, of course, earn extra overtime), including keeping the plows higher than normal, requiring them to make many extra passes to remove the snow, and even skipping entire roads on their routes.  There are also reports of vandalism, drivers smashing plows and salt spreaders in an effort to further slow down the work.

Are.  You.  @#%&!  Kidding.  Me?!?!!!

So let me get this straight.  New York City, like pretty much every local government around the country, is having budget problems.  The Sanitation Department union doesn't like that some of its workers have been laid off, salaries have been frozen, and benefits reduced.  Fine.  That's what unions do - they argue for higher salaries and benefits for their workers.  Now, I personally don't think that unions actually do much for the average worker anymore and generally just enrich their own leadership and the Democratic Party, but if workers want to get together and tell the city they want more money or different working conditions, fine with me.  Viva la First Amendment, y'all.   Get some picket signs and march in front of City Hall and yell at the Mayor.  Have a grand ol' time.

But that's not what happened here.  A top-secret sabotage of city infrastructure is not a legitimate method of protest.  This was not a protest.  This was a heartless, selfish, completely evil plot to punish and embarrass Mayor Bloomberg, and the city government. 

And now, people are dead.  In one of the biggest, most modern cities in the world, ambulances couldn't reach people in need for hours.  And people are dead.  Let me say that again: because of some stupid, petty selfish union workers and their short-sighted, so-called protest, people are dead.

When the air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, President Ronald Reagan declared that their actions were a "peril to national safety," and announced that any worker who failed to return to work within 48 hours would be fired.  Reagan followed through on his threat, the striking workers were fired and banned from federal jobs for life, and the union was dissolved.

Will Mayor Bloomberg have as much courage as Reagan did?   Let me tell you what, if I were mayor of NYC, every single sanitation department worker who participated in this "protest" would be immediately fired.  They are not paid those high wages to  vandalize their own equipment and watch the snow pile up...not to mention the fraudulent overtime pay!  And the union supervisors who concocted this evil little plot wouldn't just lose their jobs, they'd be facing criminal charges.  And, oh yeah, kiss those cushy pensions good-bye.

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