Down to the wire

April 21, 2010 12:50:10 PM PDT
If you're looking for a lesson in how to not treat your workers and how to not negotiate a labor contract, look no further than the Realty Advisory Board. The group made up of management companies in New York City went right to the edge of the cliff last night with the union representing 30,000 doormen, handymen and porters. More than 1 million residents in more than 3,000 buildings were readying themselves for a strike. Volunteer sheets were up, ID cards were passed out, security guards were hired, and renovation projects and repairs had been put on hold. It was the every-four-year nasty dance between the building management companies and the (mostly) men who staff and maintain high-rise buildings.

So what happened? After weeks of bitterness and hard-line stances, the workers got everything they wanted: A 10% raise over the next 4 years, no health insurance premium increases, and no cuts in sick days. The bosses had wanted a wage freeze, health premium hikes and 6 sick days taken away.

It seems to me that if you're going to give the other side exactly what they asked for from the beginning, then why not do it at the beginning? Why go through all this mishagas and create bad feelings among people who are asked to look after families, when the whole bitterness could have been avoided on day one?

I'm just sayin'. We'll have the latest on the results, at 11.

Speaking of results, the numbers we got in from the New Jersey school budget votes last night and the perspective of the official who was tabulating the votes on ballot measures in more than 500 different school districts indicated the budget had passed. A huge victory for teachers, a defeat for Gov. Chris Christie.

We were wrong.

The vote counting was not complete, and we didn't know it at the time.

We were wrong.

And the results 59% of the budgets were rejected, 41% were passed are a defeat for teachers, and a victory for Gov. Christie, who pushed for a wage freeze for teachers.

Tonight at 11, we look at the fallout, but are curious to hear what you think. E-mail us your thoughts by CLICKING HERE

Also at 11, it would be laughable if it weren't so serious. The attempt by New York State Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. to slough off the accusations that he and his family looted $14 million a non-profit, government-funded health clinic seems an insult to the intelligence of the average citizen.

Of course people who are accused of a crime are considered innocent until proven otherwise, but Sen. Espada's explanation that he's being accused because he's trying to reform Albany and the ridiculously run state government stretches the bounds of credibility, if not humor.

And how will he explain the thousands of dollars of meals ? mostly sushi ? delivered to his home in Mamaroneck in Westchester County, when he's supposed to be living in the Bronx, the district he represents? Today, the FBI and the IRS raided his the Soundview Health Care Network, looking for evidence.

Sen. Espada is right about one thing: Why is all this happening in the first year after he was named Majority Leader, after an ugly coup up in Albany? That part may indeed be political. But finding evidence of wrongdoing among legislators up there can't be all that difficult to unearth. Two words: Joe Bruno.

We'll have the latest on Espada, at 11.

And we're looking at the deadline approaching for folks buying or selling a home. If they meet the income cap criteria ($200,000 a year), sellers and buyers can get an $8,000 tax credit if the deal closes before April 30. Tonight, Tim Fleischer shows us the flurry of activity to get the deals in under the wire.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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