Privatization Makes for Strange Bedfellows

Privatization Makes for Strange Bedfellows

Are we to believe our own eyes? The head of the City’s firefighters union and a Councilman who has championed living and prevailing wage mandates are now leading proponents of the Mayor’s parking lease plan.

These longtime anti-privatization zealots are now falling all overthemselves to help the Mayor get the lease done. Why? Becauseit is a way to raise the enormous amounts of money needed to savetheir jobs by sticking it to folks who park in the City. Call it abackdoor tax increase. It could not be for any other reason. When a municipal pension reform plan emerged in the state legislature this time last year, the union head was quick to oppose it saying "we’re opposing this, guys, we’re shutting it down". The legislation contained provisions, such as opening the door to 401k type plans for new hires, which were unpalatable to the unions.

Privatization is supposed to save money by providing more efficientdelivery of government services. If Pittsburgh was not under the gun to come up with a fix for its pensions and had the time to deliberate whether or not it should even be in the parking business, the current proponents would most assuredly be dead set against it.

But since this is about saving the jobs of unionized City employees the plan is being heralded as the only solution. And now it will be used to hammer the employees and customersof Pittsburgh’s businesses.