Paycuts vs. Layoffs – Unions Sacrifice Their Own

Here is a story of a laid-off firefighter blaming the wrong thing for his woes. Meet Jason Pickering begging for money.

“We took an oath to save people’s lives … and the city just threw us to the curb,” Jason Pickering told WGN-TV.

The 34-year-old Pickering, a 10-year department veteran and one of 34 Gary firefighters who lost their jobs, now goes out begging, dressed in his cold-weather firefighting gear, collecting dollar bills in a boot. A hand-made cardboard sign he has strung around his neck reads: “Laid off Gary firefighter. Family of 6. Thank you and God bless.”

Since Sunday, he has collected $475. But he says it’s not enough to make ends meet for his wife and four children. At the end of January he will lose his health insurance, and he gets only $350 a week in unemployment compensation.

Jason says he will continue begging and protesting the layoffs.

Hello Jason. The city did not put you on the curb. The union did. Gary is broke. And now so are you. And the reason why Gary is broke is the same reason why you are broke. That reason Jason, is the union. The union refused to take pay or benefit cuts to save your job. That is why you are on the curb.

You see Jason, the union does not give a rat’s ass about you. All the union cares about is preserving the pay and benefits of senior members.

Jason, if you want to protest, I suggest you stand outside your former headquarters and ask every firefighter going into the building why they voted to put you on the curb.

Then again, Jason, how did you vote on those wage and benefit cuts the city needed? If you voted no, the harsh reality is you helped put yourself on the street.

By the way Jason, unemployment benefits are taxable. Now that you are panhandling, how does it feel to have taxes collected out of your small check to pay monstrous benefits to the remaining union members who tossed you on the curb?

Think about that Jason while you are whining about your lost job begging everyone else who has been in your situation for years, paying taxes so that you accrued benefits they will never see.

About the author: Mike “Mish” Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for Sitka Pacific Capital Management. His top-rated global economics blog Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis offers insightful commentary every day of the week. He is also a contributing “professor” on Minyanville, a community site focused on economic and financial education. Every Thursday he does a podcast on HoweStreet and on an ad hoc basis he contributes to many other websites, including UnionWatch.

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