NECN reports on actual civilian flaggers flagging traffic across the state today - complete with footage of cop in Woburn showing his disregard for the motor-vehicle laws he's supposed to enforce when he's on the job:
The state police are the only ones who'll take crimes by local police seriously, and guess what? They're the biggest beneficiaries of this racket.
Why, if they couldn't work construction details, they'd be forced to actually put their cruisers into "Drive", and they wouldn't have as much of an excuse to Rescue-Rodger up their personal vehicles.
I don't see a front plate on that car either. That's illegal in MA. Do you think he removed it because he knew his jerkishness would be on public display?
I love his theory - "I'll just break the law to prove that they can't stop me from breaking the law."
That idiot should be fired.
The old green plates only came for the rear. I've had this plate since at least 1990.
Which only came as singletons. But I thought it was the SUV that was the lawbreaker.
He's a cop, afterall. You "can't expect" him to "know the laws!" He's "not a lawyer".
Funny how people protesting at the DNC in 2004 just had to show up to get pushed around, yet cops can pull this shit as a protest? Do these idiots really think these "protests" are going to get them what they want/any sympathy?
I hope these guys NEVER go out of state where TEH EVILLE FLAGGUHS are everywhere.
I remember Boston Police being quite restrained and polite even, definitely nothing like what we saw in Denver and, especially, St. Paul, this year.
Of a national guard sniper on a rooftop over the cage.
Yeah, there were guys with high-powered rifles up there, and MBTA cops with their shiny new RoboCop outfits on the T, but there certainly weren't any incidents of cops going after people en masse, throwing them to the ground, pepper-spraying them, etc. They weren't even trying to force people into the "free speech zone" that I recall.
Well I don't think Swirly was really talking about the 2004 vs 2008 convention differences, although it could be argued that they hinted to the point. But I do agree with you that there was a bright line difference between how the authorities handled the people in those events.
Honestly, part of what made the No Speech Zone so horrible was the old green line I-beam goodness of Old Boston. Now that's all gone, I wonder what it would be like.
I'm just tall enough I had to duck to get under that thing.
What a bunch of asses. There wouldn't have been a problem there except that they created it...and then they want to point to it as an example of how there wouldn't have been a problem if there'd been a cop on the scene instead of a civilian??
They were on foot out in the middle of the street with the flagger blocking his sight lines and getting in the way of traffic! It's a shame there isn't an honest cop on the street to give the off-duties tickets for making that location dangerous.
This is *exactly* like the mob telling you to pay for protection in a safe neighborhood and then when you don't, *they're* the ones who bust up your joint all while explaining that if you'd just paid the protection none of the damage would have happened...
Just disgusting. Anyone involved in such activities in the future *REALLY* needs to be brought up on charges. There are appropriate ways to protest and get your point across. Risking others' safety is not that way and will do nothing but PROVE why you don't deserve to be the ones responsible for the rest of our safety.
... and have to control one of these situations. Talk about a no-win situation.
These guys have no interest serving the public or obeying the actual laws, which apply to them too. Perhaps this is a good way to get rid of the bad eggs who don't seem to understand who they really work for?
Serve yourself, protect your perogatives.
'cause in JP last night, the only cops I saw doing construction details were either smoking in their cruisers, talking/playing games on their cell phones...or yakking it up with the construction crews.
You'd think with the controversy, they'd be playing it straight, but nope!
Oh, and for extra giggles, go check out the masscops forum. Protip: they now restrict the # of pages you can view before logging in, but all you need to do is remove (or block) cookies from their domain.
I just came back from a trip to Dedham (mmm, keftedes from the Greek place there) and there was a cop doing exactly what he was supposed to do on, um, the road that leads from Stony Brook Reservation into Dedham Center (never ask me for directions). He was actually directing traffic around a work crew that was blocking half the road.
I've seen and talked with more than a few cops in my city, and I recall one particular construction event when an older asian couple started to move a jackhammer from their near-curb parking spot that was going to be ripped apart for some utility piping.
The workers and cop all started moving towards them telling them to put it down, and presumably informed them of their new parking arrangements.
Obviously things like this should be handled with advance notice, etc, but I thought to myself that it would have / could have been a problem if the officer wasn't there to provide authority to the utility construction need to temporarily move the parking spot for the residents.
LEOs are humans, and no human is perfect. Some do a better job than others. I simply disagree as a matter of policy that they must be directing traffic at all construction sites.
And since I can't edit my initial post above, if someone commits a crime they should be arrested and given their day in court (or whatever, depends on severity, etc). I don't care if you are a police officer or the president. Are we a nation of laws or men? Or police unions? Or private military companies like blackwater? Nobody should be above the law, period.
The guy on Common St. on Saturday was doing an excellent and highly visible job at a worksite where the sight lines (hill and curve) were absolutely lousy.
Contrast this with a worksite I saw last spring where the cop was chatting with buddies in the hole and ignoring traffic on a busy road that was squeezing by the worksite. When a bus and a truck tried to make it past each other and clearly couldn't, they honked several times for the guy to come out and help one of them back up. He just looked up and "waved them through". Like that would help.
In fact, I've seen much better performance from cops after their monopoly came to an end. I think the ones who are willing to do the job understand why some of their less active comrades have messed it up for all of them.
...and the cops holding traffic around Mattapan were fantastic during Hub On Wheels. All of us were shouting thank-you's as we zipped by and they were all smiles and waves. Much better than the guys in E-5 who couldn't be bothered to help out at the rotary in front of their own station. Boooooo...
A quote from boston.com:"I hope you sleep at night," shouted Stoneham Patrolman Joe Ponzo at the workers in neon vests and hardhats. "You should be ashamed of yourself -- you're union. This is a travesty."
Hey pal, this isn't a union issue - it's the law. If you were striking, it would be another matter (though I still wouldn't agree with you).
but it would have to be done within the department.
Flaggers still have no authority to stop traffic (ch. 90) but the cops are being disorderly.
The funny thing about this site is that you probaby could have hired one cop and a cruiser at $40 instead of the two flaggers that are getting $37.50 each. ($15 to each man and $22.50 to the union/health insurance that the state has to pay)
Those figures are rather precise, do you have experience or citations you could elaborate upon?
I believe the main selling point for Patrick's argument was that it would reduce costs. So I'd be interested in hearing some objective economic information on the matter.
that the state must legally pay for union flagmen. They could be breaking their own law though I dont know....
($15 to each man and $22.50 to the union/health insurance that the state has to pay)
Bzzzzt, thank you for spreading that bullshit myth the unions have been perpetuating.
A second recommendation pertains to the likelihood that the police unions would attempt to use the state prevailing wage law to frustrate the cost savings made possible by the use of civilian details. The prevailing wage law essentially forces contractors to pay the union-negotiated wage to workers employed on a public works project. The prevailing wage would not, by any stretch of the imagination, apply to civilian flaggers working for
Verizon or some other utility at one of its work sites. But the police unions can be expected to claim, as they already have, that it would be necessary to pay the prevailing
wage to civilian flaggers working at government-funded road and bridge construction projects.
It is hardly a forgone conclusion that the prevailing wage law applies even here. The architects of that law had in mind actual construction workers – carpenters, plumbers, and
bricklayers, but not police officers – when they wrote the law. And, even if the police union succeeded in forcing state and local government to apply the prevailing wage law,
it would be worth hiring flaggers, if only to breathe a modicum of competition into the process.
But this isnt an official law you site here. Its what an economics professor thinks what can happen if the state hires non-union labor, or workers without benefits.
on the flagger issue, i don't care either way... But, cops who break the law (especially intentionally) should be held responsible. It's a BS double standard.
In case anyone wants to do something about it: the guy's name is "Chris". There was an on-duty cop yelling at him telling him to stop causing a problem, refered to him by name. FYI, It's a green license plate on the back. Diana Rocco (fox 25) and one other female reporter (who i didn't recognize talked to the guy (might find more info there)
$37.50/hr???? Pretty good rate of pay huh? Well, some police detail rates are lower than that. So, where is the cost savings? All flaggers can do is tell traffic to stop or go. A cop, making about the same (and in a lot of cases less) can do the same and on top of that they can enforce MV laws, save lives through their 1st Responder training, stop violent crime, etc.... That's a lot more for the money.
Seriously. Except on the very busiest roads, neither is needed.
I think we can all agree on one thing....people drive like idiots. Every day there are accidents everywhere. Would you want to be standing in the street working on a hole without someone there to look out for the moron driving right at you while they're texting their buddy? In car vs human accidents...cars are undefeated.
Even police can't protect you from inattention.
First, you seem to assume that police officers on details are, in fact, "looking out for the moron driving right at you". My unscientific stat-keeping says that about 50% of the officers are facing completely away from traffic - either talking to the workers, staring up at the big fancy cranes, or reading something. (That number is, in fact, an improvement from my selective-memory perception that 100% of the officers were facing away from traffic.)
Contrasting that with other states: I have never, ever seen a union flagman doing anything but actively flagging traffic, in either Virginia/Maryland/DC or New York/New Jersey/Connecticut. I can remember plenty of "look at those ten guys on break - they must be union" moments, but never the flagman.
(I've also noticed that police details usually have only one officer, while flagmen work in pairs on two-way roads. Pairs are MUCH safer, since you can position them on either side of the equipment, where we can actually see them.)
Second, you seem to assume that the officer is somehow able to stop the car from hitting the flagman, despite the fact that, as you say, "in car vs. human accidents...cars are undefeated". Do you think the uniform will somehow absorb the crash impact?
If the car actually hits the worker, I feel confident that the police will arrest the driver, irrespective of whether a policeman was at the scene.
$37.50/hr???? Pretty good rate of pay huh? Well, some police detail rates are lower than that.
Where are you getting $37.50 from? Unless you believe the bullshit that flaggers would have to be paid "prevailing wages" (aka exactly what the cops are paid). See http://www.beaconhill.org/PoliceDetails2008/Tuerck...
$34.70 is the average pay rate for uniformed officers. Average civilian flaggers in the country are paid $10-22 an hour. There's also a 10% "administrative fee" police departments often charge, AND we're completely glossing over the fact that many of the details are not at standard wages, but OVERTIME rates...or we're paying overtime for some OTHER cop to actually do the first guy's job (ie, policing the community) instead of sitting there playing with their cell phone in their car. OR we're paying overtime to BOTH cops- the construction site paying one cop and passing the cost onto us as consumers, and our municipality paying the second cop and passing the cost onto us as taxpayers.
We're not paying for two cops every time one works a detail.
Detail cops do details in their off hours (which perhaps raises other issues).
Let's revisit flagger's pay in a couple of year's. I predict it will be high. I've heard those highway dept. workers who pick up trash get paid pretty high because they claimed (and rightfully so) that they are in danger by working so close to traffic. Flaggers will use that argument when they unionize and fight for a contract. I can see it now...$40/hr for a guy with a flag.
Tuerck is apparently unfamiliar with Massachusetts Construction bidding laws. The prevailing wage of $34.05/hour absolutely applies here for any publicly funded job (edit: this is the rate for "flagger & signaller" only, other trades get different rates) . He is correct in saying it doesn't apply to a private company's work crew (such as Verizon), and it also doesn't apply to routine maintenance work such as the MWRA crew in Revere which was hassled off their job. But any public construction job where a private General Contractor is hired (roads, water, sewer, schools, etc.) will be required to pay any flagger $34.05/hour (at least). For reference, police details I've recently hired in communities north of Boston are typically $45/hour.
Brett, you conveniently left out Tuerck's 2nd recommendation (or you didn't read this far) that the state "should recommend that the state legislature specifically exempt flaggers, whether civilian or not, from the state prevailing wage law." This contradicts his earlier statement that the prevailing wage doesn't apply.
It will be interesting to see how the first flagger does on a job staffed by the more hard-core unions (Teamsters, Laborers, Operators, etc.).
Brett, you conveniently left out Tuerck's 2nd recommendation (or you didn't read this far) that the state "should recommend that the state legislature specifically exempt flaggers, whether civilian or not, from the state prevailing wage law."
If you read it closely, like I did, you'd understand why I didn't mention it. He recommends a specific exemption to prevent unions from trying to claim flaggers fall under the prevailing wage law.
And, since the guy is a neutral party and a professor of law, I'd trust him more than I'd trust a bunch of lets-scare-everyone-out-of-pure-personal greed, lying, self-aggrandizing whiny police union assholes when he says "flaggers aren't covered in the first place."
Right now these are exactly what you said..RECOMMENDATIONS. You or I dont know if this is exactly what these guys are getting paid. Unless you think these flaggars are only part time with no benefits? From what I read, the Department of transportation had to hire these guys fulltime, probably making sure they got a full 8 hours on this project with full benefits?
Turek does not know which companies that bid on state jobs use union labor or not. He is just proposing a theory on how to save money and he is 100% right if they did it that way.
He never says that flaggers aren't covered. He says that it's not a foregone conclusion that they are (in other words, it's a gray area that needs to be clarified, hence his 2nd recommendation). This seems to be based solely upon what he defines as an "actual construction worker", saying that flaggers don't meet the intent of what the lawmakers had in mind. I disagree with him on this, since the lawmakers wrote a category of work called "Flagger & Signaller" right into the prevailing wage law. How this category wouldn't apply here is beyond me.
Second, you call Tuerck a "neutral party". His article is clearly written with an anti-union slant (he even proposes repealing the prevailing wage law in its entirety). You can agree or disagree with what he's saying, but to call him neutral on this issue says much more about your reading comprehension than it does mine.
That's what the Herald is reporting. And, it says that the pay is not yet fixed so expect it to be higher in the future when they unionize. Oh, and who owns the flagger companies doing the work in MA? I bet you'll find that some politician(s) own them. Another scam.
That was the going pay in 1984 in Oregon. Damn good money at that time.
It ain't exactly skilled labor.
Wake up Swirlygrrl, times have changed...think inflation, pay goes up too. And, the safety issue you cop haters (Swirlygrrl) are forgetting is the fact that when a cop is on a detail he/she is out there fighting crime too, not just directing traffic. Remember how Deval said he'd put 1000 more cops on the streets? Ha...now he just did the exact opposite. Feel any safer?
I'd feel safer if the cops in my community were actually out there doing police work instead of sleeping in their cars or slacking off.
Stop trying to play this off as a safety issue. I know you don't really believe that and we don't either. This is about money. The cops are upset that they aren't the ones extorting it anymore. This is understandable, but you should never, ever rely on money you make from overtime.
Don't worry.. I doubt the gravy train will come to a complete stop (since there seems to be many loopholes in these regulations). However, public sentiment towards any police details will continue to be negative the more protests that we see like the one here. This sentiment is more of a danger to the gravy train than these new regulations.
First of all, if you saw a cop sleeping and you didn't do something about it, shame on you. This is not about that, it is about details, whether flaggers or cops should do them. I say cops should because you get more for your money, traffic direction and crime prevention. You cop haters say flaggers because you think it will cost less (debatable). Cops risk their lives to keep you safe and they ought to get more respect than some of you are giving them. If they want to work more hours then you'd be able to bear and stand in the freezing, wet, miserable weather and direct traffic until their knees hurt...let them. They deserve the chance to make more money. You probably cheer millionaire athletes...they do nothing for you but you'll pay to see them and even cheer them on. But, the guy/gal who stands between you and danger? "Screw them," is all you can say. Get your priorities straight. They're the ones putting their lives in harm's way for you. You should be saying "thank you" to them.
Thanks for admitting this issue has nothing to do with safety.
As I said before, you should never base your financials on overtime work. Overtime can and will go away. If I were a cop, I'd probably be disappointed, but I'd understand the reasons for the change.
If you don't think police in this state have abused this detail system then you haven't been looking. I see it on pretty much every street corner in Boston (most of which will contine regardless of these regulations). I believe this abuse has lead to public being negative towards these details. If people saw the value of police sitting in their cars reading the paper or chatting with their buddies while on the state, local, or private dime they would be supportive.
I have my priorities straight: I want police doing police work. Not wasting resources for absolutely no reason.
First of all, if you saw a cop sleeping and you didn't do something about it, shame on you
Remember what happened to that college student when he made a snarky comment to a bunch of cops? He ended up getting beaten, handcuffed, and suffocating to death on the ground. People don't confront cops in Boston because they're rightly afraid of them. It's easy as pie to end up having a slew of made-up charges ("disorderly conduct" being a great example- all you have to do to deserve this charge is have a few curious onlookers). Cops are perfectly happy to dispense street justice via perjury, and the court system blindly trusts them.
There's a case of a kid who got tired of being harassed by the cops, so he put in a videocamera, and was stopped by a cop in a parking lot. The cop, even after being informed he was being videotaped, threatens to make up charges against the kid to get him in trouble. That's how brazen cops are these days.
Cops risk their lives to keep you safe and they ought to get more respect than some of you are giving them
Give me a number of cops killed in the line of action in Boston in the last ten years(hint: none.) Now give me the number of innocent citizens shot, killed by "less than lethal" pepperballs, crushed by police cruisers, or left to suffocate to death on the ground in handcuffs. I'll give you a break on "rammed baby carriages" and Boston's Finest Taxi Service (aka the guarded cocaine shipments).
Now HOW ABOUT THAT. And for extra fun, compare the ratio of people murdered in Boston in a year to the number of cops murdered in Boston in a year.
This is a perfect example of how police are perfectly willing to sacrifice us to preserve their own lives. They're such scared little chickenshits that they'll shoot anything that moves funny, and the courts are happy to write them a get-out-of-murder card.
I read an FBI report on law enforcement deaths about a year ago, and it turned out that police officers are one third LESS likely to be murdered than a general member of the population. Their occupation doesn't even show up on the top ten "most dangerous" job lists, and they're about as likely to be killed on the job as a sales manager.
Just ask yourself this question, when you hear gunfire, and you run like a little school-girl looking for your mommy....who runs towards the gunfire. The logger? The taxi driver? No, the cops you knucklehead. They voluntarily took the job, knowing they'd be the ones doing this sort of thing. And, when they took it, they knew there would be danger but they also knew they'd be able to make a good living making extra working details. Now without that ability to make extra money you will see the level of candidate for police officers go way down.
I feel less safe. How can you say these guys are protecting us when they're acting like mafia thugs? FACE IT: the unionized cops are only interested in their paychecks and if they weren't they wouldn't be acting like thugs and intimidating workers.
When the police unions act like adults and stop saying this is a "public safety issue" then we might take you seriously.
This gives even more reason to Vote YES on Question 1
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