Fresno is broke. So leaders asked a public employee union to accept a measly 2% wage cut and pay more toward their own pensions and health care.
The union said no.
In reality, the choice is between solvency and the sort of cuts (up to 23 percent, elimination of retiree medical) Stockton public employees suffered. But the Fresno public employees are still in the First Stage of Bankruptcy: denial.
It’s sad when viewed from the perspective of a bankrupt city. Fresno’s public employee unions have a chance to make such a positive contribution to their city. But they’re wrapped up in union adversarialism.
I still support a union’s right to organize, to bargain collectively and, God forbid, to strike. But I no longer buy that line unions about their members being our friends and neighbors. That’s only partly true. When they don’t get perpetual self-enrichment at taxpayer expense their union imperatives sever them from the community at large, as they seek to become a privileged class. You may then be our neighbor. But you are not our friend.