I first met Mr. Paul Hongo, Assistant Director of Administration back in August 1998 when I and tens of thousands of other men and women working for SNET were on strike. Paul was the Union President and one of the men responsible for the strike to occur. He fully supported the strike and kept us out of work for almost 6 weeks. We as Union workers walked the picket lines, chanted the slogans and all hoped that soon we could return to our jobs and begin to earn a paycheck again.
We all were told by Paul we’re in this together, that we needed to stick together for the betterment of us all and by being one with the Union would send a strong message to management that we meant business. I guess I believed him because I kept going back to the strike line in the hopes that it would do something to better my situation.
Thirteen years later as I sat in Town Council meetings I see the very same man who fought for the injustice against the CUTW/CWA 1298 members now bashing the East Haven Local Police Union, Local 1662 for abuses of sick time and overtime! How can that be? A former Union President of a large international union attacking other union members?
To further add insult to injury we hear how much Paul had to endure through these hard and difficult times when he was in the Union. Really? I hear that those who are in the rank and file of the Union don’t work very hard and since 1998, I never received an answer, “did Mr. Hongo receive his check from the Union while we were all out on strike? Funny isn’t it?
Even funnier is the former business agent for the IBEW Local 90, Mr. Gene Ruocco making comments about both our Police and Fire Department Union members. On the PATCH Mr. Ruocco is recorded saying the following.
“This administration has told every dept. to control their expenditures. Short of shutting down a dept., when they come to the BOF to review their budget or ask for a transfer, this board, made up of Dems & Reps, holds their hands to the fire. April chairs this board and is there for every meeting, unlike Joe who also was the chair and never attended these BOF meetings. A closer look at the finances of this town will show a different picture then what April's opponents are painting. Call and ask both party members if this is not the truth. But you are right, sick time and over time are out of control with the police and fire. The leader ship in each dept. has been told again to get these issues under control. Maybe over time money should not be given when the budgeted amount runs out. What problems would that cause?”
This is a man who stands up for the Union cause? By accusing the members of the Unions of abusive practices? I guess they both have lost their sixth sense that when something goes wrong you have to blame management. But wait you can’t do that because then you’d be blaming Mayor April! Both of these men are guilty of hypocrisy! The truth is that politics plays a big role in their lives and without the gravy train their existence would be nothing.
So if you are in a Union, was a member of a union or just have a sympathetic ear do yourself a favor when you read comments from Gene Ruocco and Paul Hongo. Think twice before you believe it.
I for one am tired of the Capone Administration tearing down our Finest and Bravest. Leave our Police and Fire alone!