Newly named Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine’s recent stint as Stamford, CT’s director of public health and safety received numerous notices in this space, but it took The Nation’s Dave Zirin and Mike Elk to declare that while “Bobby V’s choice as Red Sox skipper is puzzling many in the baseball world.. few are happier about it than those tasked with public safety in Stamford.”
His time as “manager” of a city of 120,000 reveals a Valentine who hasn’t become the mellow consensus builder but the deeply polarizing figure Valentine was during earlier stints in professional baseball. He was tasked with managing the cities budget in part and Valentine chose to do it on the backs of the workers with the toughest most dangerous jobs in town. Stamford ,located in Fairfield County,is the richest county in America where many Wall Street executives live, but this didn’t stop Valentine from pulling a Wisconsin style attack on Stamford’s public sector workers.
Currently, the city of Stamford is demanding 65 different concessions from its public safety workers including a wage cut of $1.20 an hour from public workers, cuts in overtime pay, workers having to pay higher costs for their health care, the elimination of pensions for new hires, and the right to privatize any public service. United Electric Workers Union Northeast President is Peter Knowlton, whose union represents public workers in Stamford, claims that the city of Stamford has engaged in illegal bargaining by presenting ten regressive concession demands after bargaining had concluded and the contract was sent to arbitration. The union has filed unfair labor practices charges with a trial scheduled for January 26th in front of Connecticut State Board of Labor. Knowlton said, “Hopefully, Bobby Valentine has a better record for the Boston Red Sox than he has for the public safety workers of Stamford, where he has been part of a team that has pushed massive concessions on worker, violated labor law, and was MIA during Hurricane Irene.”
“This is the ultimate 1% percenter town, this is where a lot of Wall Street bankers live” says Jeff Dinnan an auto mechanic for the city’s police department who is President of UE Local 2222 sublocal 82. “Stamford doesn’t have a revenue problem. Stamford is doing very well.”