Go Reagan on the Firefighters

The fire-fighters union is preparing to die in a ditch over pay:

Firefighters will go on strike in two weeks, after failing to negotiate a 8.75 per cent pay rise with the Fire Service.

The Professional Firefighters Union claimed that firefighters straight out of training were paid less per hour than the minimum wage and said their pay, and that of other firefighters, needed to be increased.

The union’s national president Steve Warner said the union was asking for the 8.75 per cent rise in two stages – 3.75 per cent for six months backdating to January 1 this year, and a further 5 per cent for the following 12 months.

Warner said the two-stage increase could compound to be more than 8.75 per cent, in effect bringing the total pay rise to around 8.93 per cent.

Mediation between the Fire Service and the union broke down yesterday as the Fire Service stuck to its offer of 2.5 per cent.

On Thursday I blogged about what Dame Margaret Bazely thinks about the NZPFU.

I reckon John Key should go all Ronald Reagan on them.

On August 3, 1981 the union declared a strike, seeking better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. In addition, PATCO no longer wanted to be included within the civil service clauses that had haunted it for decades. In doing so, the union violated a law {5 U.S.C. (Supp. III 1956) 118p.} that banned strikes by government unions. Ronald Reagan declared the PATCO strike a “peril to national safety” and ordered them back to work under the terms of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Only 1,300 of the nearly 13,000 controllers returned to work. Subsequently, Reagan demanded those remaining on strike return to work within 48 hours, otherwise their jobs would be forfeited. At the same time Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis organized for replacements and started contingency plans. By prioritizing and cutting flights severely, and even adopting methods of air traffic management PATCO had previously lobbied for, the government was initially able to have 50% of flights available.

On August 5, following the PATCO workers’ refusal to return to work, Reagan fired the 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored the order, and banned them from federal service for life.

Reagan went further though:

PATCO was decertified from its right to represent workers by the Federal Labor Relations Authority on October 22, 1981. The decision was appealed.

Some former striking controllers were allowed to reapply after 1986 and were rehired; they and their replacements are now represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which was organized in 1987 and had no connection with PATCO.

Irrational and intransigent unions should be broken. The NZPFU is one such union, if a professional like Dame Margaret Bazely thinks that they are scum then they should be de-registered and start again.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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