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(Toronto Star)   $143 to install a pencil sharpener, $3000 for a power outlet, $250,000 kitchen. These overcharges are for: a) Goldman Sachs headquarters, b) Halliburton's newest executive suite, c) School board facing $109m in cuts   (thestar.com) divider line 90
    More: Asinine, Toronto School, Special education in the United Kingdom, school library, work order, Toronto, outlet store, Toronto District School Board  
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8115 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Jun 2012 at 11:37 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-21 05:59:40 PM
In some of the cases, including the pencil sharpener and the electrical outlet, Hazel now says the problem was a "clerical error" and much of the money was refunded to the schools in question.

Translation: "We tried to cheat you and got caught."
 
2012-06-21 06:52:44 PM
"We don't need to f------ prove anything to anybody about costs," Hazel said. "A s---load more work was done to justify the cost of that plug job I can tell you."

What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.
 
2012-06-21 07:23:40 PM

Slaxl: What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.


One time a Doctor where I worked insisted a power outlet be installed on a certain wall. And wouldn't take no. What he couldn't grasp was that it was a solid poured concrete fire wall and couldn't understand the labor and cost involved. "Just put an outlet there!"
 
2012-06-21 09:51:58 PM
Absolutely astonishing just how many "clerical errors" that union manages to discover when called on things.

Contract's up for renewal in Aug. Here's an idea, DON'T renew the farking thing.
 
2012-06-21 10:18:29 PM

optikeye: Slaxl: What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.

One time a Doctor where I worked insisted a power outlet be installed on a certain wall. And wouldn't take no. What he couldn't grasp was that it was a solid poured concrete fire wall and couldn't understand the labor and cost involved. "Just put an outlet there!"


The $3k outlet in the library took 2 electricians 2 hours (four hours total at the $38/hour plus hst ($42.94/hour)) maybe $40 - $50 bucks for parts and a run of bx, for a total of $221.76...
About market rate for such a thing.
What's the other $2700.00 for Mr. Union Guy?
Or how do two guys rack up 76 hours in one day before lunch?
 
2012-06-21 10:19:10 PM
Silly union - you're meant to exploit the situation, not bite the hand that feeds you... I have to deal with this shiat all the time at my uni - we have a policy of using only "preferred suppliers" - how they got to be preferred is completely unknown but they are routinely more expensive than any quote - usually only 15% or so, but sometimes as much as double. I just do things my way and ask for forgiveness later.
 
2012-06-21 11:23:25 PM
This is why "exclusive" contracts are bad things. Competition is good.
 
2012-06-21 11:40:08 PM
Welcome to the world of government mandated prevailing wage labor.
 
2012-06-21 11:42:32 PM

optikeye: Slaxl: What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.

One time a Doctor where I worked insisted a power outlet be installed on a certain wall. And wouldn't take no. What he couldn't grasp was that it was a solid poured concrete fire wall and couldn't understand the labor and cost involved. "Just put an outlet there!"


If it makes him feel any better, I work in a computer science/electrical engineering building at a major state university where there are still outlets there from the 1970s with no ground prongs. This means no plugging your computer into it.

/not sure why that'd make him feel better
 
2012-06-21 11:45:14 PM
MOAR MONEY FOR UNIONS TEACHERS!!! why do you hate kids?
 
2012-06-21 11:45:45 PM

Recoil Therapy: Absolutely astonishing just how many "clerical errors" that union manages to discover when called on things.

Contract's up for renewal in Aug. Here's an idea, DON'T renew the farking thing.


Unless the union thug was bluffing about being able to "go upstairs" and get a principal fired, and he might not be, it's getting renewed. :(
 
2012-06-21 11:45:53 PM
The Ontario provincial government seems to spend 10x the going rate on just about everything they touch. eHealth,Ornge, OLGC and now this.
 
2012-06-21 11:51:59 PM
The work in question was carried out by some of the 900-strong maintenance and construction trades people who have an exclusive contract with the Toronto District School Board.

Did anyone even have to click the link to know this was a union racket?
 
2012-06-21 11:52:43 PM

optikeye: Slaxl: What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.

One time a Doctor where I worked insisted a power outlet be installed on a certain wall. And wouldn't take no. What he couldn't grasp was that it was a solid poured concrete fire wall and couldn't understand the labor and cost involved. "Just put an outlet there!"


An external conduit with mounting brackets every 2-3 feet and an external box for the plugs. I've done it myself, and it wasn't that difficult. A drill, hacksaw and electric screwdriver was all I needed. Wouldn't have really needed to use the electric screwdriver if I had a drill bit for screws. Granted, I didn't do the wiring - I left that to a real electrician, but putting the rest of the stuff wasn't that tough.
 
2012-06-21 11:53:12 PM

Slaxl: "We don't need to f------ prove anything to anybody about costs," Hazel said. "A s---load more work was done to justify the cost of that plug job I can tell you."

What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.


I'm about as pro-union as they come, but this Hazel guy sounds like an absolutely power-crazed asshole.

Between shiat like this and a situation here in Portland where two different unions have basically ground a port to a halt over who gets to plug in refrigerated cargo containers, unions seem intent on feeding their opponents plenty of ammunition to destroy them with.
 
2012-06-21 11:55:33 PM
Gees anyone got a WORKING link, the link is already FARKED and just sits there and won't load!
 
2012-06-21 11:55:48 PM

optikeye: Slaxl: What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.

One time a Doctor where I worked insisted a power outlet be installed on a certain wall. And wouldn't take no. What he couldn't grasp was that it was a solid poured concrete fire wall and couldn't understand the labor and cost involved. "Just put an outlet there!"


Is it really that hard?

hostedmedia.reimanpub.com

Run some conduit, and mount a box with masonry screws. If he really, really needed an outlet there, it could be done pretty simply. No need to make it pretty.
 
2012-06-21 11:57:17 PM
I came here to say something bad about unions, but I'm on my fifth mandated 20 minute break so far this hour.
 
2012-06-21 11:58:43 PM

LtDarkstar: Gees anyone got a WORKING link, the link is already FARKED and just sits there and won't load!


The link was installed by union workers and only cost $9,367
 
2012-06-21 11:59:14 PM
What kind of kitchen? If it was a commercial grade cafeteria kitchen, that sounds reasonable.
 
2012-06-21 11:59:23 PM

LtDarkstar: Gees anyone got a WORKING link, the link is already FARKED and just sits there and won't load!




Here's what taxpayers were charged for work done at Toronto public schools:

Installing a $17 pencil sharpener: $143 to put in four screws.

The installation of a sign on a school's front lawn: $19,000

An electrical outlet on the wall in a school library: $3,000

A "breakfast club" kitchen: $250,000

When the librarian at the electrical outlet school saw the bill she hit the roof, wondering at "the number of books that could have been purchased with $3000."

A Star investigation has found examples of charges that are out of whack with the amount of work done. The work in question was carried out by some of the 900-strong maintenance and construction trades people who have an exclusive contract with the Toronto District School Board. In the case of the electrical plug, the job took four hours, but taxpayers were billed 76 hours, which sources say was done to account for the time of idle workers who had no assignments that week.

What makes the situation so serious is that Toronto public schools are facing a budget crunch so deep one trustee called it a "bloodbath." Trustees must find $109 million in cuts, which may cut supports for special needs students, and close some classrooms and cafeterias.

More: Toronto teachers stage protest to answer the public's questions about education cuts

Principals, trustees and parents say that much needed work on Toronto's aging schools is not getting done. Principals were terrified of repercussions from their management and the union and would not go on the record for this story. Some who have complained say they have been threatened by the union with losing their jobs if they speak up.

Union boss Jimmy Hazel, when first asked about these high costs two weeks ago, unleashed a stream of profanity at a Star reporter.

"We don't need to f------ prove anything to anybody about costs," Hazel said. "A s---load more work was done to justify the cost of that plug job I can tell you."

Hazel protested that "we have a lot of enemies at the (school) board as well as a lot of friends."

Later in the conversation, Hazel cooled down and vowed that heads would roll in his own union hall if the Star's information were true.

"If you are right, I will stand behind you in the paper and say it is a problem and you can come with me while I investigate," Hazel said.

Hazel presides over an unusual organization, sort of a construction company with an exclusive contract with the public board. The almost 900 electricians, plumbers, carpenters and maintenance workers are paid as TDSB employees, but the union has a great deal of say in what they do.

Hazel spent a week on his investigation and also hired a crisis communication consultant. In some of the cases, including the pencil sharpener and the electrical outlet, Hazel now says the problem was a "clerical error" and much of the money was refunded to the schools in question.

The TDSB's chief facilities officer, Angelos Bacopoulos, said in an interview that the board realizes they have a serious problem.

"How widespread it is, I do not know," Bacopoulos said.

He is trying to fix the system, but faces opposition from the union. The contract with the union expires this August and negotiations will begin in September, a TDSB spokesperson said.

In one of a series of emails Hazel sent the Star over the past week, Hazel downplayed the examples.

"Our division processes approximately 190,000 work orders annually. Regrettably some errors happen in work orders, time slips or in the electronic coding of this information," Hazel wrote. "Our division at the TDSB has a customer service approach that allows any principal or facility supervisor to contact either the skilled trades department or management or both with complaints about work, costs and billing. We will follow up and correct errors. We learn from them, try to find the cause and correct it."

The Star has requested a copy of the massive TDSB database that tracks the work at schools, but it has not yet been released. The database contains, each year, records of roughly 1.8 million person hours of work claimed by the board's unionized electricians, plumbers and carpenters. They are paid in total about $72 million annually in salaries.

Toronto's public system has the oldest schools in the province, with almost two-thirds of them built in 1950 and 1960. Last year alone, $61.7 million of capital and maintenance work identified by principals did not get done. All told, the board estimates it would cost $3 billion to bring the schools to a safe and well-maintained level.

More: Toronto school trustees balance budget

Each year, principals at the almost 600 public schools across Toronto submit requests to get work done. Under a longstanding agreement with Jimmy Hazel's Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council, almost all of that work must be performed by its members, who are TDSB employees. Projects larger than $1.5 million, or those requiring special skills, can only be done by companies whose workers are part of affiliated unions.

Principals are given budgets for repairs at their school and are asked to prioritize the work.

When the call came in early 2012 to install a new electrical outlet in the library (the librarian wanted to plug in a projector and create a new "learning space" for students) at Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, it seemed like an easy request. Since it involved electrical work, union rules required two TDSB electricians to be dispatched. The job, which involved attaching a plug to the library wall and then running cable through the suspended ceiling to an electrical panel, took two hours (four person hours in total).

TDSB documents show the bill reflected 76 hours of work, for a total cost of $2,895.78 (electricians at the board are paid roughly $38 per hour).

The job was done on Feb. 13. School principal Roy Hu objected to the cost and wrote to the board to complain, according to a string of emails obtained by the Star.

"There were 2 board tradesmen who came in that morning and the job was completed by mid-morning, I cannot imagine how 2 TDSB employees for some 2 odd hours, supplies and materials would cost over $3000?"

His superintendent (school principals in a district report to a superintendent) took up the case, and in an email to others at the board, Colleen Russell raised the electrical outlet as "an example of a long-standing concern that school principals have had with regards to the exorbitant charges for minor services."

Russell said it was important to look into the matter as debates about the board budget "rage on." Russell wrote that schools should figure out a way to pay market rate and noted that she had "an even higher quote for the same service" in her board office.

"The Librarian (at Albert Campbell) was quite upset because of the number of books that could have been purchased with $3000. I have attached the picture (of the outlet) she sent to me but saved you from her email," Russell wrote.

TDSB superintendent Russell refused to speak to the Star about her email. The Star also tried to interview TDSB boss Chris Spence and deputy operations director Penny Mustin (Bacopoulus reports to her) but they refused.

The Star asked Union boss Hazel about the electrical outlet job and he offered several reasons for the high bill, at one point speculating that there must have been asbestos in the roof and his workers might have had to don "space suits." At the end, Hazel said it was an "error in the data entry" on the work order.

TDSB emails show about $2,000 was refunded to the school's account after the principal complained.

A source with knowledge of this project told the Star that the four person hour electrical outlet job was padded with 72 additional hours to justify paying the salary of other electricians who had no work to do. The source also told the Star that Hazel has now determined that he has too many electricians, and as many as seven have recently been laid off.

At the Toronto Catholic District School Board, a school system about half the size of the public board, only 70 workers are employed full-time. Other work is contracted out. Spokesperson Angelo Sangiorgio said it would not "make sense" to employ more because there is not enough plumbing or electrical work to keep trades people busy.

Another job the Star looked into involved installing a pencil sharpener at Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate in 2009. The school purchased the sharpener at Grand and Toy at a cost of $17.

Principals and custodial staff have long been told that Hazel's union must do the bulk of the work at schools. The principal at the school, Rick Tarasuk, requested installation of the sharpener and a crew was sent out by the TDSB. The sharpener has five screws. It was installed with only four screws under a bookshelf.

Tarasuk was shocked at the cost and raised the issue at a meeting of east end principals. TDSB director Chris Spence was in attendance and vowed to have the charge reversed.

Later, when the Star asked Hazel why it cost $143 to install the pencil sharpener, Hazel passed on TDSB emails that labelled the charge a "clerical error." Sources say Hazel then called school Tarasuk and threatened to use his influence to have him fired. Hazel told the popular principal he would do this by "going upstairs" to the school's board of directors. Hazel told the Star in an email this week that while "I can't have anyone fired," he is going to talk to TDSB director Spence and complain about Tarasuk because he thinks the principal's conduct could rate "termination" in most workplaces.

The TDSB has told the Star that it has now sent a message out to school caretakers (who work for a different union) instructing them that they may install pencil sharpeners.

At the same school, Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate, the principal has raised questions about the almost $40,000 to purchase and install a school sign in 2008. Tarasuk, who came to the school in 2009, raised a complaint about the cost of installation, which was half the bill, and would have represented 500 hours of labour or two electricians working for 14 days.

The 1.8-metre-high electric sign allows the school to post announcements remotely. The sign was purchased for $19,000 from a Cambridge company. The TDSB trades charged $19,000 to install it. Installation included a cement foundation and running a wire underground to the school office. An official at the Cambridge company estimated it should cost about $2,000 to install the sign.

Hazel passed on internal TDSB correspondence that said his trades did the installation for $19,000, which he said was about $2,000 less than the original estimate given the school.

The Star also looked into the installation of a "breakfast club" kitchen at a Toronto school, one of a series of kitchens the TDSB is building to help prepare breakfasts for students in low-income areas. The kitchen built at Firgrove School, which measures about 4.3 metres by 2.4 metres, cost taxpayers $250,000.

Installation of the kitchen, in 2007, was done by a Toronto company. According to the contract between the TDSB and Hazel's trade council (a grouping of unions) only companies that employ workers who are part of unions affiliated with the trade council are eligible for work on school property.

Union boss Hazel said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on the kitchen job because his trade council was not involved.

In a response to the Star, the TDSB said the contract for the kitchen was awarded to the lowest bidder. The kitchen was a "commercial kitchen" with stainless steel counters. "Fire suppression systems" had to be installed, which raised the cost, a board spokesperson said. The Star requested documents related to the project but the TDSB did not provide them.
 
2012-06-21 11:59:48 PM

fusillade762: Slaxl: "We don't need to f------ prove anything to anybody about costs," Hazel said. "A s---load more work was done to justify the cost of that plug job I can tell you."

What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.

I'm about as pro-union as they come, but this Hazel guy sounds like an absolutely power-crazed asshole.

Between shiat like this and a situation here in Portland where two different unions have basically ground a port to a halt over who gets to plug in refrigerated cargo containers, unions seem intent on feeding their opponents plenty of ammunition to destroy them with.


Therein lies the problem. I don't have a problem with unions stepping in when there are actual problems. This shiat is getting too common, though.
 
2012-06-22 12:02:08 AM
$143 to install a pencil sharpener, $3000 for a power outlet, $250,000 kitchen.

That's nothing. The CEO and CFO at my last job drove the company into the ground, to the tune of $100 million, in just three years. So what did they do after that? They had their Administration department completely remodeled, at a cost of $4 million, including original artwork, $600 microwaves, and $14,000 sidechairs, while laying off 20% of the employees. Greedy, stupid bastards.
 
2012-06-22 12:06:08 AM

Miss Stein: $143 to install a pencil sharpener, $3000 for a power outlet, $250,000 kitchen.

That's nothing. The CEO and CFO at my last job drove the company into the ground, to the tune of $100 million, in just three years. So what did they do after that? They had their Administration department completely remodeled, at a cost of $4 million, including original artwork, $600 microwaves, and $14,000 sidechairs, while laying off 20% of the employees. Greedy, stupid bastards.


THIS

Unions are greedy and stupid, but to wreak financial havoc requires a few 1%'ers
 
2012-06-22 12:08:52 AM
"Principals were terrified of repercussions from their management and the union and would not go on the record for this story. Some who have complained say they have been threatened by the union with losing their jobs if they speak up."

antiworldnews.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-06-22 12:09:39 AM

Miss Stein: $143 to install a pencil sharpener, $3000 for a power outlet, $250,000 kitchen.

That's nothing. The CEO and CFO at my last job drove the company into the ground, to the tune of $100 million, in just three years. So what did they do after that? They had their Administration department completely remodeled, at a cost of $4 million, including original artwork, $600 microwaves, and $14,000 sidechairs, while laying off 20% of the employees. Greedy, stupid bastards.


HEY! This is the union bashing thread! Don't you put down the 'job creators'!
 
2012-06-22 12:09:55 AM

ParaHandy: Miss Stein: $143 to install a pencil sharpener, $3000 for a power outlet, $250,000 kitchen.

That's nothing. The CEO and CFO at my last job drove the company into the ground, to the tune of $100 million, in just three years. So what did they do after that? They had their Administration department completely remodeled, at a cost of $4 million, including original artwork, $600 microwaves, and $14,000 sidechairs, while laying off 20% of the employees. Greedy, stupid bastards.

THIS

Unions are greedy and stupid, but to wreak financial havoc requires a few 1%'ers


Well, first of all, one does not justify the other. Also... you dont run a 100M loss by spending 4M. Perhaps the 20 percent who got cut sucked and were helping lose the money?

Or maybe their union bosses sold them out to avoid cuts to those who are left, protecting those high paying jobs.

Asking, not stating.
 
2012-06-22 12:10:04 AM
Why are farkers against stimulus? They should have spent $30,000 for the power outlet and $2,500,000 for the kitchen. Don't you people read Krugman? The key to economic recovery is government waste.
 
2012-06-22 12:11:21 AM
Union-like spending detected
 
2012-06-22 12:18:28 AM
Times like these make me miss Mike Harris.
 
2012-06-22 12:20:44 AM

Miss Stein: That's nothing. The CEO and CFO at my last job drove the company into the ground, to the tune of $100 million, in just three years. So what did they do after that? They had their Administration department completely remodeled, at a cost of $4 million, including original artwork, $600 microwaves, and $14,000 sidechairs, while laying off 20% of the employees. Greedy, stupid bastards.


When you are calling people stupid bastards, you're referring to the shareholders who let them get away with that, right? Because blowing other people's money because you can may be dickish, but I can't call someone who gets away with it stupid.
 
2012-06-22 12:32:13 AM

I sound fat: ParaHandy: Miss Stein: $143 to install a pencil sharpener, $3000 for a power outlet, $250,000 kitchen.

That's nothing. The CEO and CFO at my last job drove the company into the ground, to the tune of $100 million, in just three years. So what did they do after that? They had their Administration department completely remodeled, at a cost of $4 million, including original artwork, $600 microwaves, and $14,000 sidechairs, while laying off 20% of the employees. Greedy, stupid bastards.

THIS

Unions are greedy and stupid, but to wreak financial havoc requires a few 1%'ers

Well, first of all, one does not justify the other. Also... you dont run a 100M loss by spending 4M. Perhaps the 20 percent who got cut sucked and were helping lose the money?

Or maybe their union bosses sold them out to avoid cuts to those who are left, protecting those high paying jobs.

Asking, not stating.


Unions had nothing to do with it. A good part of that loss was due to spending $250 million on a boondoggle expansion in another town. The expansion is running at only half capacity due to lack of demand for the company's services, and it will take decades to pay off the expansion costs, assuming the company survives that long. But hey, $14,000 sidechairs for their offices!
 
2012-06-22 12:43:51 AM
Ugh.

Look, I vote Conservative at the federal level but I also believe that unions have a role to play. Workers need protections from "job creators" and companies that would fark them over without even thinking twice. But come on. It's shiat like this that make all unions look completely ridiculous. It's idiots like Jimmy who are going to turn public opinion against all of them.

At the school I teach at, the caretaker installed a pencil sharpener. It took her about 3 minutes, and was just part of her regular salary.
 
2012-06-22 12:48:21 AM
why would you ever need a union to deal with a local government unless your goal was to fleece the public?

all those cases down through history that never happened of local government forcing harsh conditions and unfair wages on their employees?
all those historical cases that don't exist of local government company stores where credit was given to government employees for shoddy goods with jacked up prices? all those historical cases that don't exist of local government child labor factories?

the raison d'etre of public unions isn't to secure fair employment terms. those already exist everywhere and have been codified by the legislature or guaranteed by the constitution and the supreme court of the united states.

the raison d'etre of the public union is to secure above market value terms that are available only to entities that are negotiating from a monopoly position where by union friendly government decree literally no one else is available to do the job but the union. where there literally is no competition.

when working conditions, generous benefit packages, and fair wages are already guaranteed the only raison d'etre left is to f*ck over the public as hard as humanly possible. there is literally no one negotiating on the other side of these assholes a good portion of the time.

public unions are against public interest and should be illegal.
 
2012-06-22 12:53:42 AM

Ess_Aytch: Ugh.

Look, I vote Conservative at the federal level but I also believe that unions have a role to play. Workers need protections from "job creators" and companies that would fark them over without even thinking twice. But come on. It's shiat like this that make all unions look completely ridiculous. It's idiots like Jimmy who are going to turn public opinion against all of them.

At the school I teach at, the caretaker installed a pencil sharpener. It took her about 3 minutes, and was just part of her regular salary.



unions have a role to play in the private sphere where there aren't an assload of civil service statutes dictating fair wages and people don't have a constitutionally guaranteed property interest in their jobs and the attendant due process rights that accompany that interest.

the only roll they have to play in the public sector is to artificially inflate wages so government workers don't have to suffer the effects of government immigration policies designed to decrease the value of labor and keep bad people who should be out of a job working.
 
2012-06-22 12:59:31 AM

BMFPitt: What kind of kitchen? If it was a commercial grade cafeteria kitchen, that sounds reasonable.


bingo. seeing the actual job would clear a lot of air. just adding an electrical outlet can have greatly varying costs depending upon the variables.
 
2012-06-22 01:03:28 AM

KrispyKritter: BMFPitt: What kind of kitchen? If it was a commercial grade cafeteria kitchen, that sounds reasonable.

bingo. seeing the actual job would clear a lot of air. just adding an electrical outlet can have greatly varying costs depending upon the variables.


Well, from the article it says it took 2 guys, 2 hours, and they billed for nearly 80.

It comes down to the fact they have too more manpower than work, so they are over-billing to cover the times when the guys are sitting on their butts doing nothing.
 
2012-06-22 01:10:33 AM

LtDarkstar: Gees anyone got a WORKING link, the link is already FARKED and just sits there and won't load!


If its a non working link, it must be Union.
 
2012-06-22 01:11:42 AM

Kraftwerk Orange: optikeye: Slaxl: What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.

One time a Doctor where I worked insisted a power outlet be installed on a certain wall. And wouldn't take no. What he couldn't grasp was that it was a solid poured concrete fire wall and couldn't understand the labor and cost involved. "Just put an outlet there!"

Is it really that hard?



Run some conduit, and mount a box with masonry screws. If he really, really needed an outlet there, it could be done pretty simply. No need to make it pretty.


That would never pass OSHPD standards. It would cost $3000 in paperwork alone just to get permission to do it then an engineer would charge you to design and draw it up for final approval there is another $900-$1500 depending on the size of the room it goes into. Now you have to hire a prevailing wage contractor to install it that has to pay a project engineer to provide a complete submittal package including every nut, wire and screw which now has to be re-reviewed by OSHPD. Now if you have approval you can install the outlet, but your design would not. Now with all of our ducks in a row we can install the $5 farking outlet.
 
2012-06-22 01:13:37 AM
I work for a Fortune 25 company and chair the Finance committee for my local school board. Private and public sector are completely different in efficiency and controls. The school pinches every penny until it bleeds while the corporation throws all kinds of crazy money around without a lot of concern if it is even doing anything. The district is getting hammered too. Over 11k students and adding 500 more every year, but the bonding authority has been reached and a tax levy failed last year. Between the state cutting the funding formula and local property taxes dropping due to the five year old property value corrections getting adjusted to lower values - the district has had to make some tough choices. Next year bus service will be discontinued for students living within 1.5 miles of their school (was .75). Middle school athletics will go too. Oh, and the teachers haven't had a raise or COLA for three years now - so inflation has been fun for them. Lots of other cuts and all because people feel that they are 'taxed enough already'. FYI - I pay $2k per year in property taxes on my 3000 sqft home - way low. It sucks, but we are still one of the top districts in the state.
 
2012-06-22 01:15:27 AM

Slaxl: "We don't need to f------ prove anything to anybody about costs," Hazel said. "A s---load more work was done to justify the cost of that plug job I can tell you."

What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.


He means a shiatload of work was done to doctor the expense report to make a $50 job into a $3000 one.
 
2012-06-22 01:16:29 AM

sno man: Or how do two [electricians] rack up 76 hours in one day before lunch?


They used to be lawyers.
 
2012-06-22 01:18:16 AM
sno man:
Or how do two guys rack up 76 hours in one day before lunch?

a2.ec-images.myspacecdn.com
 
2012-06-22 01:22:05 AM

relcec: why would you ever need a union to deal with a local government unless your goal was to fleece the public?

all those cases down through history that never happened of local government forcing harsh conditions and unfair wages on their employees?
all those historical cases that don't exist of local government company stores where credit was given to government employees for shoddy goods with jacked up prices? all those historical cases that don't exist of local government child labor factories?

the raison d'etre of public unions isn't to secure fair employment terms. those already exist everywhere and have been codified by the legislature or guaranteed by the constitution and the supreme court of the united states.

the raison d'etre of the public union is to secure above market value terms that are available only to entities that are negotiating from a monopoly position where by union friendly government decree literally no one else is available to do the job but the union. where there literally is no competition.

when working conditions, generous benefit packages, and fair wages are already guaranteed the only raison d'etre left is to f*ck over the public as hard as humanly possible. there is literally no one negotiating on the other side of these assholes a good portion of the time.

public unions are against public interest and should be illegal.


Won't somebody think of the poor policemen and their overtime checks for doing baseball game security detail?

But aside from that, one of the reasons for public sector unions is to shelter career civil servants from political abuse. If some looney toon gets elected mayor, he shouldn't be able to fire folks who don't belong to his political party. Their unions also manage pension plans, as gov't employees are in some cases not in the Social Security system.


Sounds like the dudes in this case are straight up scamming, though.
 
2012-06-22 01:26:08 AM

Bonzo_1116: relcec: why would you ever need a union to deal with a local government unless your goal was to fleece the public?

all those cases down through history that never happened of local government forcing harsh conditions and unfair wages on their employees?
all those historical cases that don't exist of local government company stores where credit was given to government employees for shoddy goods with jacked up prices? all those historical cases that don't exist of local government child labor factories?

the raison d'etre of public unions isn't to secure fair employment terms. those already exist everywhere and have been codified by the legislature or guaranteed by the constitution and the supreme court of the united states.

the raison d'etre of the public union is to secure above market value terms that are available only to entities that are negotiating from a monopoly position where by union friendly government decree literally no one else is available to do the job but the union. where there literally is no competition.

when working conditions, generous benefit packages, and fair wages are already guaranteed the only raison d'etre left is to f*ck over the public as hard as humanly possible. there is literally no one negotiating on the other side of these assholes a good portion of the time.

public unions are against public interest and should be illegal.

Won't somebody think of the poor policemen and their overtime checks for doing baseball game security detail?

But aside from that, one of the reasons for public sector unions is to shelter career civil servants from political abuse. If some looney toon gets elected mayor, he shouldn't be able to fire folks who don't belong to his political party. Their unions also manage pension plans, as gov't employees are in some cases not in the Social Security system.


Sounds like the dudes in this case are straight up scamming, though.


Especially the $143 pencil sharpener.

Of course the BAD thing about public unions is that they deter--and often actively discourage--people from doing simple jobs that they could easily do in the course of the day. I guarantee any teacher with a screwdriver could have installed the pencil sharpener, and would be glad to do it; but the district's janitor's union won't allow it.
 
2012-06-22 01:45:12 AM
A lot of people badmouthing the union here but a lot of people seemed to miss that these are EMPLOYEES of the Toronto District School Board!

This article makes it seem like the union, which covers the workers, is some sort of company that is overbilling the school when these are hours billed by school district employees.

Everyone should be getting mad at the school district and not the union, the union is not setting the prices for work.

I think a lot of people never learned about "close reading" in their own schools.
 
2012-06-22 01:52:31 AM
For most people working union jobs the unions do way more good than harm. All you have to do is read about the way workers were treated in this country 100 years ago and you'll see unions were very necessary and a lot of the labor protections we enjoy today, like no ten year old kids losing fingers working on heavy machinery (think textiles), no 12x6 work weeks without overtime, breaks, no locking workers in the building, etc.

I know it is popular to bad mouth unions today but they can do a lot of good.
 
2012-06-22 01:59:10 AM
Bu-bu-but without unions we'd all be 8 years old working 36 hours a day!!
 
2012-06-22 02:09:24 AM

Uncivil Engineer: Welcome to the world of government mandated prevailing wage labor.


prevailing wage laws that are objectively determined are fine. government shouldn't use its enormous market power to drive wages for citizens lower.

places where public unions have distorted prevailing wage laws by their political rent seeking are a problem, but once they are eliminated there shouldn't be a problem with the laws themselves.
 
2012-06-22 02:10:44 AM

Marine1: optikeye: Slaxl: What an intelligently made argument, he's won me over. I'd like to see a report of the shiatload more work that was done.

One time a Doctor where I worked insisted a power outlet be installed on a certain wall. And wouldn't take no. What he couldn't grasp was that it was a solid poured concrete fire wall and couldn't understand the labor and cost involved. "Just put an outlet there!"

If it makes him feel any better, I work in a computer science/electrical engineering building at a major state university where there are still outlets there from the 1970s with no ground prongs. This means no plugging your computer into it.


or you can just break the prong off.
 
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