For all the talk about how much unions are costing Us the Taxpayers with their gold-plated benefits, they’ve actually been making a lot of concessions lately. The auto unions, in particular and of necessity, have been generous. (In fact, the World Socialist Web Site says, “the UAW has conspired with the Obama administration and its Auto Task Force to shift the crisis onto the backs of the workers it falsely claims to represent.” Wait, isn’t Obama supposed to be a socialist?) And God knows we see givebacks in the newspaper business — with some unions being rewarded for their generosity with a lockout.
Even in government, where the brethren are traditionally more recalcitrant, there’s a sense that labor is under the gun, and our city unions have already made concessions on health care to Bloomberg. So it was a surprise when Governor Paterson vetoed the generous cop and firefighter pensions — which his predecessors had routinely approved every year since 1981, and which are probably the last union benefits any politician wants to cut.
The decision was praised by Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Post, both of whom like to portray themselves as close personal friends of America’s Heroes.
As the bill passed with astronomical margins in both houses of the legislature (58-0 and 136-6), Paterson’s veto will almost certainly be overridden. But, as with his doomed gay marriage bill, it’s the thought that counts; with the governor’s approval rating in the toilet, he can at least hope that voters will remember that he did his part against greedy cops and firemen, and reward him at the next polling round.