Tuesday, June 07, 2011
The "Bully Mayor" Tries To Hit The Unions Hard Only To See The Unions Hit Back Even Harder.
The days that Mayor Michael Bloomberg can push around unions, politicians, and the public have passed and the Mayor's popularity is at an all time low of 36%. The mayor has been used to bullying people to get his own way but it now seems that he has went to far. Over the last four months he has experienced setback after setback as the unions joined together to oppose his union-busting tactics.
First, he tried to have the State Legislature pass his so-called "civil service reforms" without even approaching the unions with their input into it. Predictably, the State Legislature hasn't even bothered to entertain Bloomberg's proposals.
Next, he tried to get rid of the Variable Supplement Fund (VSF) for police and firemen by falsely claiming it is a "pension boondoggle" when it was the City who developed the VSF as a way to save money.
He then went after teacher seniority-based layoffs by asking that Last in, first out (LIFO) be eliminated and let the principal make the layoff decisions. After some initial success in the Republican-dominated Senate (aided by the $900,000 dollar campaign donations to them). The stop LIFO bill was tabled by the State Assembely and the Governor who called it an end run around "collective bargaining" with the union. Presently, Bloomberg's bill is on life support and the plug will be pulled by the end of next week when the State Legislature goes into summer vacation.
Finally, his budget went after the teachers, preschools, and firehouses with massive teacher layoffs (4,100), a vast reduction of preschool funding, and the closing of 20 firehouses while having a $3.2 billion dollar surplus put in reserve for the 2013 budget. It didn't help the Mayor that the DOE's revised budget shows an increase of over $700 million above the City's previous projections for consultants and technology services last school year while cutting the schools by $325 million dollars more!
Whether the bully Mayor has been "misguided" or "misadvised", it matters little since the City Council is sure to recind both the teacher layoffs and the firehouse closings, reducing the Mayor's popularity even more.