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Union Not Happy About Eagle Project

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In general I'm not a big fan of unions.


without the union, those same businesses would prefer to pay YOU the pennies on the dollar


I find that highly unlikely. I work for a large company that has no unions (and in general there are no unions for my field of work) and pay is competitive. Businesses will pay what they need to in order to hire the people they need. Some work can move around easily, some can't. Over time, unions can't, in general, get companies to may them more than they are worth. Some unions do have strangleholds, and some employers are effectively monopolies, so that complicates the picture a bit.


But for normal labor maintaining town parks, I don't even see why that needs to be a government job. Just bid it out.

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Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park. "We'll be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails," Balzano told the council.

Balzano said Saturday he isn't targeting Boy Scouts. But given the city's decision in July to lay off 39 SEIU members, Balzano said "there's to be no volunteers." No one except union members may pick up a hoe or shovel, plant a flower or clear a walking path.


There are far more mature ways to go about this than for the local president to go to the City Council and say "We're going to investigate Kevin." Sweet mercy.


The president could have privately gone to the City Manager (I'm making an assumption that this town like many is Council-Manager form of governance) and said "Look, we're not thrilled about this. We're going to grieve."


Instead, I'll bet there are a bunch of other union's Dads in Troop 301 who are looking at Mr Balzano as a horse's patooty.


I sure am.

(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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Here's it in a nutshell.


Did the Eagle project replace work that was planned for and funded by the city, thus putting people out of work and unable to feed their families?


Or, was the project in addition to what the city was willing and able to pay for such work, thus not putting people out of work and unable to feed their families?


I think it was the latter. But if it was the former, the city has got some splaining to do. If it was the latter, the union should just shut up.


The union should shut up regardless!

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What's the big take away lesson here folks?




This clearly was great Eagle Project, something that benefited the community. But the planning stage of any project is just as important as the implementation.


With 20/20 hindsight, it appears that the Union was not brought into the picture as the city made their decision to approve the project. This was the fault of the city, not the Scout. The Union acted as if they were blindsided, and then reacted stupidly.


However, it is probable that had they been part of the decision making process, they would have supported the project. Had it come to pass that the Union input to the planning process was that this was an inappropriate project (due to a number of reasons already discussed in this post), they would have been at the table to creatively work with the city and Scout to come up with an appropriate project that everyone could have supported and embraced.


The lesson for future Eagle projects is that all parties (with any involvement whatsoever) need to be part of, or at least be informed of, the planning and decision making regarding the impending project.


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I agree with Lisabob. It is not a potential Eagle Scout's job to investigate every single entity who might have a vested interest in what they are planning to do as an Eagle Project. If that were the case, no Eagle Project would ever get done. The Scout went to the landowner, sought legal permission, received it, and did his project. End of story.


If someone has a problem after the fact, take it up with the landowner (the city), not the scouts.

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Lisabob & Frank17 -


Right, I agree completely. As I said in my message, "This was the fault of the city, not the Scout." Not only was the city obligated to inform the Union of the impending project, but should have brought them to the table during the planning process, since this was something that clearly impacted their jurisdiction.


Communication is a critical part of the planning process, and all involved need to be cognizant of this reality, as this situation clearly illustrates.

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From reading all the comments and rereading the original post. Now of course the only source of real information is the OP and the article linked. It sounds like the Scout had a good idea in mind for a project. He saw a need for a connector between two existing trails. This being the case, then yes a good project. My reason for asking about the appropriateness of the Eagle Project is that the article only mentions that the Scout himself logged 200+ hours over several weeks. Only he is mentioned as doing any work. My original question was why he was doing it all alone, thus where was the leadership.


But even now as I read this the math doesn't add up and he must have been getting help.


Following up on another posters comment. I too am bothered by projects that seem fleeting and deteriorate from neglect. We just had a Scout renovate a courtyard at the High School. The same courtyard that was renovated by an earlier Eagle Project about 4 yrs ago. It just makes me wonder.

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How about the Eagle's troop make it an annual service project to keep the courtyard from falling into deterioration? Shouldn't take too much to keep it "spruced up" and becoming another Eagle project. No reason the Eagle couldn't come back and help, too. "Cheerful service" doesn't end when you pin on the Eagle badge...it's just the beginning.

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Unfortunately that would cover just one project. With approx 90 Eagle scout projects in our 17 year history. That's a lot of repeat maintenance to cover. Also the Troop has already "adopted" a local park.


Now to tie this back into the original thread. Perhaps the union could see the creation of additional trails to maintain as a blessing. Giving them more work to justify less layoffs.

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Regardless of the merits of the issue, I think it's safe to say that Mr. "There's to be no volunteers" and "We'll be taking a look at little Johnny" was not at the top of the class in How to Win Friends and Influence People. I don't think we'll be seeing him being appointed to any diplomatic posts anytime soon.

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"I don't even see why that needs to be a government job. Just bid it out."


You may be unaware of all the patronage jobs needed to reward the loyal followers (with taxpayers money).


Building trails takes a skill level most Eagle candidates don't have. You just don't go out and start hacking away with your machete! Surveyors and watershed biologists had to be in on the planning from the talking stage. Sounds as if the union was asleep, and some citizen ragged them with "hey, look, some kid has to do your job for you" They just couldn't, noway, nohow let such an egregious insult go unchallenged -- else even more citizens might wonder why these clowns had to be on the payroll at all.

So much for promoting community spirit


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While I don't know what Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, has in mind or is thinking.

I do know that if I was him I'd go ahead and file the grievance against the city.

It really doesn't matter what group of volunteers did the work.

The city should have discussed this with the union before the work was started.

Filing the grievance is one way of telling the city that the union is not going to allow volunteers to take away jobs from union members.

I'll bet that when it comes to the work that has been done on this walking path, nothing will be done or more than lightly could be done.

But sending a message to the city council that lets them know that this sort of thing is not going to be tolerated without some kind of negotiation.

If the city can use volunteers to fix the walking path, why not have volunteers fix the plumbing in the Town Hall or go out and salt the roads when the snow comes?

Before anyone chimes in saying that there are lots of volunteers ready and waiting to take on this sort of work, take a long hard look at the unit you belong too.

Is there a waiting list in the unit you serve of people who want to volunteer?


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