(Chuck Muth) – When it comes to political discourse, is there any lower life form than labor unions?
During this just-concluded election cycle, whenever the truth-detectors and fact-checkers gave a mailer, a radio spot or a television ad a failing grade for truthfulness and honesty, that ad was more often than not produced and distributed by one of the alphabet-soup labor unions.
Like the ad claiming Dr. Joe Heck wanted women to get cancer. Whoever did that ad ought to be struck by a bolt of lightning while holding a gas can and standing next to a propane tank.
It’s one thing to play hardball. But there’s a difference between playing hard and playing dirty. Alas, cheap shots and low blows appear to the be the coin of the realm for the wretched, conscience-free, win-at-any-cost political attack dogs at Big Labor, Inc.
Then again, I’m sugarcoating it.
But perhaps the most disgraceful attack of this fall’s election cycle actually had nothing to do with a candidate. Instead, it was a knee-to-the-groin by southern Nevada firefighters against Clark County’s private ambulance service providers.
Upset that Clark County taxpayers were upset with local firefighters getting paid six-figures to go to the gym and play with their hoses every day on the taxpayers’ dime, Las Vegas firefighter union president Dean Fletcher ($238,821 in pay and benefits in 2009) burped up and spat out an outrageous press release in September claiming that “Southern Nevada Residents had no Ambulance Service Over the Weekend.”
Fletcher tried to scare the bejeepers out of Clark County citizens while simultaneously trashing American Medical Response (AMR) by additionally claiming the company was late in responding to emergency calls and not meeting its contractual obligations. He concluded by accusing AMR, which has been successfully doing business in southern Nevada since 1953, of having “no invested interest in the care and well-being of Southern Nevadans.”
The appropriate response from AMR would have been two words, the first one rhyming with “firetruck.” Alas, AMR opted for the high road and merely responded to the libel (or is it slander; I can never keep those two straight?) with, you know, truth and the facts.
The fact is there was no service outage as Fletcher claimed; a fact that even Fletcher himself eventually was forced to admit. In addition, Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin stated flat-out in a statement that AMR – and its sister company, Medic West – “continue to exceed the county’s performance standards” in handling more than 150,000 emergency calls a year.
Nevertheless, after getting caught with his tidy whities ‘round his ankles over the false accusations, Fletcher then tried to cover his exposed arse by admitting the companies “do meet their compliance” requirements, but then amazingly went on to accuse the companies of saying “they were never late.”
Alas, that’s a Fletcher-stretcher, too.
To back up his accusation, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Fletcher “pointed to a live television news report in which a reporter, not someone from the ambulance company, said the company ‘always’ meets response targets.” So Fletcher attacked the company for saying something no one from the company ever said.
Outrageous. Simply outrageous.
Of course, what this is really all about is the fact that the private-sector ambulance companies in Clark County do a better job for less money than the unioned-up firefighters whose greed at taxpayer expense has finally caught up with them. The union bosses know they can’t compete with the private ambulance services on a level playing field, so they’ve resorted to what they do best.
Fear-and-smear. Scorched earth. Lies. Threats. Intimidation.
For the record, my dad was a firefighter. And my grandfather was a firefighter. It’s one of the most honorable professions of public service on the face of this planet. All the more the pity that lying sacks of union shinola like Dean Fletcher bring such dishonor to such a noble group of men and women and their families.
But then again, I’m sugarcoating it.
(Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)