Friday, June 6, 2014

Chris Abele Has Serious Security Issues

Security officers, union members and elected
officials stand up for a living wage
When he was Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker had privatized the security at the behavioral health complex.  Walker's rationale for this was that it allegedly saved taxpayers money.  This was shown to be false by 2008, when security costs went over budget by more than a half million dollars.

That extra money was not going to the security officers themselves, who were making more than five dollars less an hour than the county workers that had filled the duty.  So where was all that money going? I don't know.  But I do know that the owner of Orion Security, the company that has the security contract, is reported to have just built a very nice and very large house in the exurbs.

Despite efforts to have the situation improve for the security officers at the complex, nothing has changed over the years.

On Monday, a number of the security officers made a direct action to protest the unfair labor practices of Orion Security and to demand a living wage and the right to unionize, much like the protests that have been seen nationwide and globally, from fast food restaurants to Walmart workers.

Sadly, because these security officers dared to stand up for themselves and their coworkers, at least four officers had been illegally fired already. One of the people that had been fired was also a leading voice in the fight for a living wage which was waged last year and earlier this year.

Ironically, there has been reported that Orion has agreed to pay their officers $10.10 per hour, nearly a two dollar an hour raise.  Don't believe for one hot second that this happened because they are a benign and generous company.

What makes these events even more significant is that the word in the smoky courthouse halls is that Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele wants to privatize the security in the courthouse, the last place that is still staffed by county employed security officers.

Walker had tried to privatize these jobs as well while he was county executive. As one might have expected, Walker was more worried about appeasing a campaign contributor than doing things correctly.  As a result, the county had to hire the laid off security officers back while maintaining the contract with the privatization company, Wackenhut.  To make things even more interesting, Sheriff David Clarke felt it necessary to post his deputies at the same spots that the county employed and Wackenhut employed security officers were.

This meant that taxpayers were paying for three agencies to guard the same entrances.

Given that Abele has the same value system as his good friend Walker, but with even less understanding of how government works, I expect that Abele's fiasco will be at least as glorious as Walker's debacle.

The gentle reader shouldn't kid themselves either.  Abele, like Walker, is not motivated by any sense of being fiscally conservative. Abele's motivation is to keep the money where it belongs, with plutocrats and oligarchs like himself and his friends.  Abele is a pro-poverty plutocrat if there ever was one.  It's not coincidental that people call him the Mitt Romney of Milwaukee County.

But how much do you want to bet that despite Abele's false claims of being fiscally conservative or watching out for the taxpayer, he wouldn't spend a second entertaining the thought that the guards in his own personal security force - which he wanted taxpayers to shell out nearly another half a million dollars - should get paid poverty-level wages?

It does take a lot of gall on Abele's part to think that he is worth the best protection that the taxpayers can buy, but that the rest of us, including our most vulnerable citizens, aren't worth even the bare minimum.

1 comment:

  1. Why don't we hear more about the true costs of privatization in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel? No wonder MJS hasn't won a Pulitzer in ages - they've stopped investigating! There are some top notch reporters at MJS -- too bad they're not allowed to do their jobs and hold the corrupt in this state (and beyond) accountable!