Thursday, February 11, 2010

Can you imagine?

Union Bosses Target 86-Year Old Volunteer

This from Big Government:
First, they came for the Babysitter.  Then, they came for the Eagle Scout.   Now, they’ve come for the Crossing Guard.  (Don't miss those either.)
Warren Eschenbach, an 86-year-old a retired Wausau Water Works employee volunteers his time as a crossing guard at the Riverview Elementary School in Wausau, Wisconsin.  After the Wausau School District built an area just outside an intersection at the school’s location for parents to pickup their kids from the school, the intersection became busier than usual for a short time every day.  So, Eschenbach did a noble thing.  He went over to the school and spoke with parents, kids and administrators, and he volunteered to patrol the area at pickup time to make sure kids got to their parents’ cars and that others crossed the streets safely.  After all, he worked for five years as a crossing guard at the Franklin Elementary School up until three years ago.  He lives two doors down and it’s for a half hour every day.  Who could take issue with that?
Well, apparently union bosses can.
John Spiegelhoff, a local union rep for American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1287 (AFSCME) wants to know if the 86-year-old retiree has undergone a background check.  And if he has liability insurance.   AFSCME insists that Eschenbach is “undermining the union” and has demanded that the city get rid of him and replace him with a paid union worker at $12.65 an hour.  The city has been cutting back crossing guard hours from 15 hours a week to 10 a week.  Of course, the elderly volunteer isn’t a volunteer with the city, he volunteers with the school.  Since the pickup location is newly restructured, there hadn’t ever been the need to have a crossing guard there.   There was no prior job this gentleman has taken away from the union.   Really, the guy just lives right there and thought he’d help out.
Riverside Elementary School Principal Steve Miller was shocked.
“Here we have a community member who’s giving back to the community and offering something to the children to keep them safe and so I just view it as a good thing and I’m not sure why someone would find fault with that but obviously somebody has.”
After AFSCME filed a grievance regarding the matter last October, it was recently denied by the Police Department, the Human Resources Department and the Human Resources Committee.  Next step:  arbitration, if the union so chooses.
If this keeps up, if I were Mr. Eschenbach, I’d simply take off the vest and put down the stop sign (both lent out by the city), and I’d just cross the street back and forth with those kids just as any neighbor living on that corner or any public citizen might very well do.  Last I checked, you don’t need liability insurance to cross the street as a public citizen.  Or is that against the law now too?
I don’t think this is the America that Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about in 1835.
Read the full story from my friend Peter List over at


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