Massachusetts Union Allies Reap Rewards

Union bosses that backed Mass. Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) in his narrow victory last year are already reaping the rewards. The Professional Firefighters of Mass. are a prime example. First, Cellucci’s budget had $4 million for a program that pays overtime to firefighters for teaching fire prevention in schools. Cellucci wants to fund the Student Awareness Fire Education program with money from the tobacco tax, and balked at protests from public health officials who claimed those funds are better spent battling smoking. Second, Cellucci is including firefighters in a state program entitling law enforcement workers who pursue post-high school education to earn as much as 25% above their pay grade. Third, Celluci has restored binding arbitration, which was banned in 1980. This mechanism enables firefighters to protect generous contract deals negotiated by local town managers from being wiped out during town meetings. Fourth, Cellucci put PFM boss Robert McCarthy into the labor seat on the Univ. of Mass. Board of Trustees — replacing Mass. AFL-CIO boss Robert Haynes.

The Teamsters endorsed Cellucci and have seen rewards as well. Cellucci’s budget includes $125,000 for Teamsters Local 25 to set up a truck-driving program. Teamsters boss, George Cashman brushed aside suggestions that this item was a payback for the union’s support of Cellucci. “I asked for it. He gave it to me,” Cashman said of the funding. [State Net Capitol Journal 3/17/99]