-By Warner Todd Huston
Let's say your job is as a traveling salesman or a construction worker and you work at different locations throughout the year. Wouldn't it be nice to get your own free chauffeur service to get back and forth to work? That way you could just drive yourself to one location a day and then have your chauffeur take you back and forth to your work site. Nice, huh? Well, apparently that is what's going on in Chicago for city worker union members and taxpayer's are paying $18 million a year for this union perk.
According to an investigation by Inspector General Joe Ferguson, at least 200 city truck drivers only duty is to drive other city workers back and forth to work sites. Outside of that one duty, these truck drivers sit and do nothing for the rest of the day as they wait for workers that are actually working to finish their jobs. These "workers" are essentially paid chauffeurs. Ferguson recommended that one of the city workers actually involved in working at the work site could drive the trucks instead of having highly paid union members sitting around while other workers actually worked.
These union members, some of whom make upwards to $90,000 a year with benefits included, fit the worst lazy union image.
Although most of the city's seasonally-fluctuating force of up to 1,800 motor truck drivers are being "used efficiently" while plowing snow, sweeping streets and driving garbage trucks, roughly 200 of them are used "solely to transport personnel and equipment."
These drivers drive to a site, allow workers to exit the truck, and then they sit in the cab the rest of the day until those workers he was transporting return to the truck. Ferguson is 100% right that this is simply wasteful spending.
But, one again, we can thank the disastrous Mayor Richard Daley for this union perk. It was Daley that agreed to the Teamsters contract that included these do-nothing union positions. Worse, this contract is in effect all the way until the year 2017! Perhaps Mayor elect Rahm Emanuel can do something about this, but it doesn't seem likely.
Ferguson has a few recommendations on what to do to pare back this undeserved, wasteful union perk, but it remains to be seen if anything can really be done about it.
But this is exactly the sort of government union perks that have sent every city, county, state and federal budget into the red across the country. These so-called drivers should never have gotten jobs like this at the taxpayer's expense. To sit around all day doing nothing... and for $90,000 a year!?
Once again we see evidence that government unions do not have the best interest of taxpayers or good government at heart. Government unions should be outlawed as inherently un-American.