It's tough when
liberal politicians are faced with having to balance a budget.
In Virg Bernero's
2009 mayoral campaign, he was endorsed
by Fraternal Order of Police, the Teamsters, the UAW, and the
firefighters union, and in his 2010 campaign for governor, "the
angriest mayor in America" was the champion of the working man.
But Eric Baerren , editor of
Michigan Liberal.com said
this in a December 31, 2011 post:
Virg Bernero built
a national public persona going on Fox News and shouting,
shouting, shouting about the working man. The working man is
getting screwed in America by the rich, he howled on Fox News,
and now appears with semi-regularity with MSNBC's professional
shout machine, Ed Schulz.
Oh, but that Tee
Vee reflected reality. Back at home, the pitbull for the working
man has regularly tossed his own union workers under the bus to
benefit Lansing's 1 percent. This is not some new development,
mind you. Teamsters in the city went more than 1,000 days
without a contract, a period during which they
filed an unfair labor practice against him for hiring scabs
to save money and demanding the sort of wage and benefits
concessions Bernero says on Tee Vee are destroying the middle
While you can't
blame a municipal leader for trying to make shrinking dollars go
the furthest, you can blame a guy for doing it while shouting
about the evils of things he's doing before a national audience.
Bernero isn't the first to
find himself in this position. This is from the book Collective
Bargaining in the Public Sector (2001), edited by Joyce M. Najita and
James L. Stern:
[Michigan's Act 312 of
1969] was one of the first laws in the United States to provide
compulsory interest arbitration for public safety employees. . .
Among the most serious critics of Act 312 was the former and late
mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young. Ironically, as state senator, he
had been one of the sponsors of the bill in the state legislature.
In the fall of 1978, an arbitration panel ruled in favor of the
police and firefighter unions in Detroit in a high-stakes case.
Mayor Young filed a legal appeal, asserting that the arbitrators had
ignored the city's inability to pay the increase in wages and sick
leave benefits, and by 1979 he was publicly looking for a way to
"save us from these maniacs," referring to the arbitrators. In 1980,
the Michigan Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Act 312
and ordered Detroit to pay $50 million in back pay in compliance
with the 1978 arbitration award. Young then pressed for legislative
changes, without success. (pages 116-117)