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As Long as We Remember...

July 11, 2002

City Workers Don't Need To Unionize

Blaine R. Young

Why in the world would the administration of the City of Frederick want to encourage its workers to unionize?

Unions have been around for some time and have been at the forefront in addressing a lot of issues, such as good wages and a safe work environment.

I can understand why unions started many years ago. The owners of companies took advantage of working people who made them rich by not paying them properly and not giving them a good work environment. Now, after many years, most of these problems have been addressed and/or solved. But the unions do not want to disappear.

So, they look for new territories. Government workers have been a great new source for the unions. Everything is political. Unions love this. Four years ago the city workers considered unionizing. We, as an administration, stressed that it was best for them - and us - to deal with each other directly and they did not have to pay dues to make this happen.

We asked them for the opportunity to address their concerns. We came a long way, and we improved their pay and benefits. They did an excellent job for the citizens and they deserved everything they got.

This was done under a Republican administration. The Grimes administration. When the administration changed hands, the last thing that I thought would happen is that the workers would consider unionizing so quickly.

I know that the new mayor did receive campaign contributions from the unions and they worked some of the polls for her. She even courted their support.

But again, unions generally come into an area to "negotiate for wages and benefits." The city's employees brought forward no concerns when we left and they seemed satisfied. So, why would anyone want to change this? Especially a newly elected mayor who comes from the Democratic Party that claims to be the party of the working people.

Has there already been a deal cut to bring the union in to pay them back for their support? Some people say that's what it looks like. It does seem strange that in the very first year of the administration health benefits have become such an issue.

Still, as I have said in the past, the workers are better off forming a fraternal organization of their own, such as the fraternal organization of Frederick city workers, and then ask for the same powers as the Fraternal Order of Police.

Actually the Fraternal Order of Police was recognized during my father's administration to prevent the police officers from choosing union representation. This has worked out better for both parties - the city and the police officers.

The long and the short of it is, they (the city workers) don't need - and the taxpayers should not need - to deal with a out of town third party to address the concerns of city workers.

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