I’m not sure whether or not this will be widely disseminated, so I thought I’d bring it to your attention — just in case:
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY (WAFF) –
The hurricane-ravaged east coast has been receiving north Alabama help, but crews learned they’ll be doing work in Long Island, New York instead of in New Jersey.
Crews from Decatur Utilities and Joe Wheeler out of Trinity headed up there this week, but Derrick Moore, one of the Decatur workers, said they were told by crews in New Jersey that they can’t do any work there since they’re not union employees.
The crews that are in Roanoke, Virginia say they are just watching and waiting even though they originally received a call asking for help from Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
The crews were told to stand down. In fact, Moore said the crew from Trinity is already headed back home.
Understandably, Moore said they’re frustrated being told “thanks, but no thanks.”
Huntsville Utilities said they were not turned away and are up in storm ravaged areas working.
To be fair, this story is conflicting, at best. It does state that at least one other Alabama utility company was able to get into New Jersey to help with recovery. But we should look past this to see what else it may be able to teach us about the current state of our society.
First, it has been asserted here on the RNL that government is needed to coordinate recovery efforts, making sure help gets where it is needed. This story would suggest that this supposed government coordination is not as omnipotent as its advocates would have us believe. But then, that should be obvious to all of us. In the chaos following a storm like Sandy, it simply isn’t reasonable to expect government to be able to be everywhere and know everything necessary to coordinate all recovery efforts. (If we were honest with ourselves, we would understand this applies equally to every aspect of our national life — especially in a nation as large as ours).
Another lesson we should be able to glean from this story is that we do have a problem with unions. If people are willing to place the protection of union jobs above the needs of the people at times like this, then they have their priorities messed up. It is that simple.
Finally, if we go out of our way to be fair and chalk up the turning away of this utility company to union rules and regulations and not the people, then that should point us to President Obama’s promise to “cut through the red tape.” If red tape prevents or hinders people from helping victims recover from this storm, then it was preventing and hindering people from doing a whole host of things even before the storm, and it will continue to do so after the storm. In truth, the President’s promise was actually an admission that government interference is a problem for the entire nation: it gets in the way of progress.