Priorities . . . and the Lack Thereof

I am sure that the storm-ravaged people of the East Coast, struggling to get out from under the effects of Hurricane Sandy, would be willing and eager to accept help from whatever quarter.

But in New Jersey, you see, they can only accept help if it is unionized:

The hurricane-ravaged east coast has been receiving north Alabama help, but crews learned they could not help out in New Jersey unless they affiliated with a union.

Crews from Decatur Utilities headed up there this week, but Derrick Moore, one of the Decatur workers, said they were told by crews in New Jersey that they can’t do any work there since they’re not union employees.

The general manager of Decatur Utilities, Ray Hardin told Fox Business they were presented documents from the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers at a staging area in Virginia. The documents stated they had to affiliate with a union to work, which the crews could not agree to.

Crews were told this was a requirement to work according to Hardin.

I guess that I should not be all that surprised that, even in the midst of this crisis, unions are working to protect their turf and to prevent non-union entities from offering help and assistance. The degree of self-centeredness and myopia within the labor movement is a wonder to behold. And yet, here I am: surprised. I had assumed that for one brief, shining moment, unions would put aside their tendency to jealously guard their turf so that the common good could be realized. How wrong I was.

  1. Aaron Miller

    I hope the  union workers there try to take advantage of the situation by demanding more pay, perhaps threatening to strike. The backlash would enable much needed reforms.

  2. Joe

    It looks like the story may not be true.

  3. Jim Chase
    QuickerBrownFox: It looks like the story may not be true. · in 1 minute

    It’s more nuanced than that.  I posted in the member feed early this morning with info based on the early reports.  The story has changed a bit, but not entirely.  Yes, Huntsville Utilties crews were diverted to Long Island, on the basis that the were not needed in New Jersey.  But the Fox Business interview involved Decatur Utilities – nearby, but a different outfit.  There’s no reason at this time to disbelieve that Decatur crews ran into union-related roadblocks.  The early reports confused the matter, but there still appears to be some truth to at least parts of this story.

  4. SeanDMcG
    QuickerBrownFox: It looks like the story may not be true. · in 1 minute

    That article says nothing of the sort. It only mentions that other companies weren’t turned away. As in other states there are several “electrical companies” in Alabama. The article clearly mentions one of those companies is unionized, which may be why they didn’t have any problems.  Why would someone from a major utility go on a show and claim this had happened if it did not?

  5. Duane Oyen

    This story is true, though.  Big generators, thousands without power.  Obvious solution?  Use the generators to support the NYC Marathon.

  6. Tony Hopkins

    If the story is true, I would expect a Christie pit bull like reaction within the next 24 hours.  Just thinking about this got me excited to see the youtube video of that scene.

  7. Nick Stuart
    Duane Oyen: This story is true, though.  Big generators, thousands without power.  Obvious solution?  Use the generators to support the NYC Marathon. · 2 hours ago

    The generators are apparently privately owned and privately rented by the group that sponsors the marathon.

    The public safety requirements for the marathon, however, are not and apparently huge public resources are being diverted to run the Marathon when they could be, IMHO, better employed restoring public services and keeping the peace.

    But remember, it’s all Bush’s fault.

  8. ConservativeWanderer
    Nick Stuart

    But remember, it’s all Bush’s fault. · 0 minutes ago

    Even the global warming… er… global cooling… er… climate change! that caused Sandy is Bush’s fault.

  9. Eeyore

    So when will Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz stand in Staten Island and shout:

    “WHERE’SFEMA!WHERE’SFEMA!WHERE’SFEMA!”

  10. Pejman Yousefzadeh
    C

    I think Jim Chase’s comment is on the mark.

    Jim Chase

    QuickerBrownFox: It looks like the story may not be true. · in 1 minute

    It’s more nuanced than that.  I posted in the member feed early this morning with info based on the early reports.  The story has changed a bit, but not entirely.  Yes, Huntsville Utilties crews were diverted to Long Island, on the basis that the were not needed in New Jersey.  But the Fox Business interview involved Decatur Utilities – nearby, but a different outfit.  There’s no reason at this time to disbelieve that Decatur crews ran into union-related roadblocks.  The early reports confused the matter, but there still appears to be some truth to at least parts of this story. · 4 hours ago

    Edited 4 hours ago

  11. Joe

    Here’s more on the Decatur outfit. It’s one group’s word against another, and the union has made it clear that refusing non-union crews isn’t its policy. Might have some rogue outfit done so? Yes, but if it was intentional, it was the exception. My parents live in Jersey, and likely won’t get their power back until Wednesday. No-one around there thinks politics are fun right now, union or otherwise. Call me optimistic, but I’m gonna go with “misunderstanding” on this one. 

  12. Jim Chase

    One more update: Statement from Decatur Utilities.  Seems to be a game of semantics.  But should be more or less definitive of what actually happened.