“Your unions over there in Ocean Shores don’t hold a candle – or even a flashlight – to our labor boosters!”
That was Tome O’Scanlinn, sounding two (maybe even three) sheets to the wind as he crowed out his usual one-upsmanship, proclaiming how much more whacked-out his Atlantis City is than Ocean Shores.
As soon as I hit the “post” button on a recent blog entry about how Ocean Shores employees get paid, I knew I’d hear it from him.
“Sure,” he snorted, “you guys pay out big fat ‘longevity bonuses’ for everyone who hasn’t been stupid enough to get fired and the clock seems to start running on vacation time before someone’s job interview is over. But that’s nothin’ compared to what we got goin’ on over here, I tell you it’s nothin’!”
Believe it or not (I choose the latter), my man Tome says the Atlantis City Senators all got re-elected by proclaiming they were “cutting all city salaries down to minimum wage.”
Some were stunned that the town’s powerful union, IAFF (International Association of Feared F-—-s) Local 666, had seemingly gone along with the pay cut. “Keep in mind, the IAFF is run by guys who got kicked out of Hell’s Angels for being too mean and conniving,” O’Scanlinn tossed in. “So when they barely put up a fight, and then I saw them later that week partying it up with the Senators, I figured there was something fishier than a chum boat.”
That muck-making editor swam his way over to the floating Atlantis City Hall and made a public records request for the union contracts. It turned up an elaborate systems of bonuses that includes the following;
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): Sounds reasonable enough, until you read the fine print – the increases are tied to the inflation rate . . . of the Democratic Republic of Congo (26 percent inflation).
Step Increases: Each employee advances to the next “step” (with a pay-rate increase) when he/she completes a month’s work without falling asleep on the job. (Nearly half of the city’s employees were able to take advantage of this.)
“The Buddy System”: Public Works employees required not to lift anything on their own, be it a dumpster or a waste-paper basket or paper clip. This was allegedly for safety reasons, but turns out to be a juicy overtime-producer, nearly doubling hours of most workers.
Education Bonus: Four-year college graduates receive 25 percent bonuses. Those with Associated Arts/two-year degrees get 20 percent bonuses. High school graduates, 15 percent. G.E.D., 10 percent.
The Working Under the Weather (WUW) program: Those “team players” who report to work with a tummy ache or a sniffly nose are rewarded with a week paid “recovery time.”
Uniform Allotment: A fat loophole in the “uniform reimbursement policy” allows city workers to be reimbursed for Raiders jerseys, Dodgers jackets, even Halloween costumes.
Bottom line: Though “base pay” was cut, most employees saw their take-home checks double.
The joke goes that a visitor asked a Local, “Where’s the nearest bank?”
“Don’t worry about the address,” answered the Local. “Just follow the sound of the union guys laughing.”