February 02, 2011
State Ferry workers defend triple overtime and pay to drive to work
Monday in OlympiaFerry union representatives defended overpaying workers with triple overtime and pay to drive to work in Legislative hearings. HB 1511 and SB 5405 would end practices that allow ferry workers pay that makes no sense; both had hearings.
Source: Radio news, Tuesday morning
King TV exposed this corrupt mess last year. See Washington Ferries and Political Decisions by Hammond.
See Warnings of pay-check padding ignored by state ferries
See Broke ferry system paying huge salaries to fortunate few
More Union News
Many state-worker labor unions get paid for collective bargaining. We, the taxpayers, are being taken. We are paying for work they are not doing while they are demanding more money - from us.
Source: EFF WA
Posted by Ron Hebron at February 02, 2011
08:39 AM | Email This
Government has no business competing nor having a monopoly in any service that the private sector can provide. As is well known, the Black Ball Line that use to serve the cross sound needs was a private operation that was regulated/stolen from the private sector and made public. This has happen with other services of transportation such as street cars, buses and rail services. The unnecessary intrusive violation, theft and rape of the private sectors' domain and right to provide these services on the basis of the free market and the competition thereof, has resulted in the theft by Government of hundreds of millions from the taxpayers and society as a whole. The Government run ferry system is nothing more than a Government/Union criminal Cabal. It is way past time to get rid of the criminals that are ripping off the citizens...PERIOD!
Thank goodness that, if we are to be in hard times---at least it is bringing out all the dysfunction and waste/fraud that's going on in state government to the point that even democrats are starting to question it!
..and Daniel, the West Seattle Ferry is another example here at the county level. a private co. was running it until Dow Constantine got in and brought it inhouse. It prior was costing taxpayers $800,000 a year. Now that it's inhouse, it costs taxpayers $2.8 million. How about them apples?? And they wonder why voters said NO to the county sales tax increase when they see how little regard Dow has for them?
WHAT ARE UNIONS FOR? They may have seemed needed years ago but now they come off as a soft criminal organization looking for easy marks. There are now more union members in government positions than in the private sector. Why is that if they are insuring that middle class Joe lunch buckets can send their kids to college like they always claim?
They are like a parasite that has not been needed in the business world for decades so THEY HAVE FOUND A NEW HOST. A new place where they aren't seen as the enemy of management or a necessary evil to use labor but as a partner in crime. A host that doesn't have competition so it never has to explain why someone else can do the same things for less. The host will tolerate the parasite forever in a deranged symbiotic relationship because the parasite is only stealing from the endless supply of a resource the host doesnt have to earn or work for... our tax money.
4. Really when did unions ever serve a constructive purpose? I keep hearing that the unions were needed in the earlier part of the Industrial Revolution to reign in the abuses against workers. But there is no evidence that any union did anything but instigate violence.
5. The Democratics noticed this mess because it was on TV about five times. The state auditor found the system a mess 21 years in a row! They ignored it.
-sells very expensive insurance via a monopoly known as Dept of Labor and Industries
-owns and runs a horribly inefficient, brutally costly, ill equipped marine transport monopoly known as WS Ferries
-sells a class of beverages via a monopoly known as the W S Liqour Control Board
-funds a shockingly poor performing at a premium cost monopoly known as K-12 education
-vastly overpays it's employees while heaping on obscene fringe benefits and lifetime tenure, and adding more such employees at a frightening pace
About time some adults be sent to Olympia to end all this lunacy ........
8. And the state wonders why it is billions in the red. Can we please get some leadership in this state?
9. The state and the union created this mess. I would not be so quick to condem the individual ferry workers, most of whom just want to make a living. Many do not agree with the contract they work under, but the union and the state wrote it, and they both enforce it. I don't think you can blame the workers who work to that contract.
Many have commented that the state practically stole the ferry system from the Black Ball line. What most do not know is that the state then discovered that the Black Ball line owned all the shore facilities! And reading newspapers from that time, you will find that the state soon did all the things they had forbidden the Black Ball Line to do, i.e. raise the prices, cut out non-profitable runs, lower worker wages, and cut manning of some boats. They turned a tax paying business into a tax supported drain on the state economy, all in one easy step. Why do we keep electing these people?
10. You guys should loosen your belts and read before talking. WSF is the most efficient transit system in the entire country. It has the lowest cost per vehicle and the lowest cost per passenger. It runs the worlds oldest carferry fleet at the highest rate of reliability. Without the unions nobody could run it, the equipment is too frigin old for minimum wage tools of capitalists to make function. You are getting away cheap cheap cheap, and don't know it because all you do is watch king 5. Get rid of the unions then you have to get rid of the fleet.
To the designated union defender, #10,
I did not attack unions, just triple time and getting paid to drive to work. KING 5 saw more, of course. You saw it too.
You must not have seen the finding by the State Auditor that there was no accounting of cash receipts at the ferry terminals - for 20 years. And other bad news.
12. And washingtons republican politicians no doubt continue their support for the state run monopoly?
The workers did not recieve triple time. They were scheduled for vacations which WSF disrupted by moving a shipyard period on top of. They could have delayed their vacations, which would have cost the state even more money or they could take their vacations and continued to work which saves the state money by expending their accrued vacation time when a replacement employee does not have to be dispatched.
You don't need replacement employees when the ship is out of service.
You see if they had worked through the shipyard and postponed their vacations until the ship was back in service, the accrued cost to the state would have been for the relief person to fill in while the ship was in service, the guy on vacation would get paid his accrued vacation time just like all workers and since he did work through the shipyard period he would have been paid on straight time. The equivalent of the above is triple time.
The king 5 story reported they made triple time but neglected to report that the state would have paid triple time no matter if the chief deferred his vacation or took it. They did not understand the concept of CG regulations requiring the ship to have a full crew when it is underway. Guys on vacation when the ship is in service have to be replaced, it is the law.
The cost savings was actually about 2k and came in the form of reduced number of hours worked in the shipyard for the chief (no weekends) and the benefits, travel pay and mileage for the relief chief engineer who never had to be dispatched the way these guys handled the vacation question.
Every Staff Chief in the fleet who did what King 5 accused them of was actually saving the state money and WSF managers who were interviewed were too stupid to understand it.
And Ron, as a math guy you know how numbers can be made to tell different truths, so can history.
Your view of Black Ball is more theory than real. Black ball ran it's ships with the absolute minimum amount of maintenance that would keep them running. If Peabody invested capital in these assets he would have had to do so with his profit margine which was always very thin and so he did not. This is a common problem with privateers in an unregulated capital intensive industry such as ferry transportation (at that time). It is why we should not privatize ferry management because the same thing will happen today.
By the time the state purchased his fleet the ships were in an advanced state of decay, he had taken every drop of life out of them to support an operation which could not stand on it's own two feet.
This is the story of transit, none of it in this country is self sustaining but then that is not it's role. Transit is here to reduce the cost of other transportation infrastructure, it permits fewer roads and highways to be built, reduces congestion and so there is less lost time by workers, it reduces housing prices by permitting workers to live in outlying areas and so on.
Transit, waterborne or otherwise can't be judged on it's own bottom line but on it's impact to the entire region and really the state when we discuss the seattle area. Without transit roads would be choked far worse than they are, products from eastern washington would have even more difficulty getting to western markets and the walmarts in Spokane would have no cheap chinese junk to sell.
The future of transit and of ferries is not in privatization but in prioritization on the basis of the benefit and cost of each run and the effect it has on the greater economy.
Privatizing the world's oldest fleet of car ferries with a developing backlog of maintenance deficits is certain to revisit the experience that the Black Ball history told us we should not repeat.
#13, Designated union rep, When you can rewrite this without name calling I will look into it.
(When I remove spam comments subsequent comments get lower numbers.)
16. #14, Designated union rep, I didn't write one word about Blackball. Neither in the post, nor in a comment.
Hey ron, you say state employees are corrupt, are told the truth, but choose to dismiss it because I called managers commenting on King 5 stupid? Ok so not stupid, I can't call them corrupt like you call us, maybe they are just ignorant of the facts like King 5 and EFF and the Governor.
In 14 I did not mean to infer you were the target of my point about black ball (Daniel was). If you are offended I apologize. You are the math/consulting expert and so should be in a position to understand the strategic economic contribution of transit. That was my only point other than to inform Daniel that Black Ball ruined the ships it sold the state for the benefit of it's bottom line.
The problem with the conservative loyale is that they just don't tolerate facts very well. Nothing but the theories that father newt and that rush espouse. The world is far more complex.
They have no answers.
The problem with the conservative loyale is that they just don't tolerate facts very well. Nothing but the theories that father newt and rush espouse. The world is far more complex.
They have no answers.