Tag Archives: Labor Unions

Taxpayers vs. Unionized Government Workers – Defining Fair

The current uproar in Wisconsin has brought to the forefront the inequities of the ongoing economic crisis in the U.S. Yes, I said ongoing because despite a few improved economic indicators there is still massive unemployment and more U.S. families on food stamps than ever before.

Yet through this entire economic mess the least affected group has been unionized government workers. For example, the average union government employee pays less than 10% of their annual health insurance cost while in the private sector the average is over 25%. Nationally, union workers in both state and local government jobs earn approximately 45% more in total compensation than workers in the private sector.

It is estimated that the tab for the unfunded liabilities created by these government union contracts now exceed $3 trillion.

In the private sector during this time we have seen massive lay-offs, wage and benefit reductions or freezes. While in the public sector contractual wage and benefit increases hum along even though the economic conditions no longer support them.

The problem with the public unions at the state and local levels is simple to understand. The unions help elect the politicians that ultimately become their “bosses”. They make large campaign contributions and use their influence to rally union members to vote for candidates that they can count on to cooperate with them in future negotiations. The Center for Responsive Politics estimated that in the recent elections, public sector unions contributed over $20 million to candidates as well as another $90 million to the political parties. Over 90% of that has gone to the Democrats.

Meanwhile back in Wisconsin, the average teacher earns $77,857 per year (including benefits). Compare that to the median household income in Wisconsin which is only $50,000 and many households have more than one wage earner.

Over the past three years government employees have not experienced the erosion in their standard of living that rest of the workforce has had to endure. Public sector employees must come to grips with the fact that their real employers, the taxpayers, will not continue to fund a lifestyle that indemnifies them from the national economic reality.

As states and local governments try to cut costs in a tough economy, the unions are facing a rising backlash against their pay, benefits and pensions.

Wisconsin is not alone in looking at aggressive changes to their relationship with unionized government workers. Other states (MI, IN, OH, TN, NY, NJ, ID, IA) are also looking at a variety of strategies to try to control union labor costs.

Some examples are:

Limiting their collective bargaining to base pay excluding benefits and some work rules

Aligning maximum raises to the Consumer Price Index

Requiring higher levels of contributions toward pensions

Requiring higher levels of contributions toward healthcare

Eliminating excessive fringe benefits (such as Viagra coverage)

These measures are not designed to eliminate the unions but rather to level the playing field. It gives the taxpayers and elected officials ability to negotiate in a more equitable manner with unions that control essential services. It seems we are tired of having a gun to our head.

What has developed is a death match between the old guard of the Democrats, organized labor and the new guard of the Republicans, small government, fiscal conservatives. In the end Americans want fairness, equity and fiscal responsibility from their government. The resentment toward public sector unions has been building for some time now. Taxpayers are fed up their taxes being squandered on union contracts for public employees that do not reflect the reality of the private sector job market. It isn’t like most people associate government employees with service and performance excellence as a whole.

It is time to end the excessive influence and continue appeasement of these unions over state and local governments. This influence for years has been the fuel for backroom deals, corruption. The result is economic crisis at the state and local government level across the nation with dozens of states teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Wake up, America! It’s time to face reality and make the changes necessary to save our country. We must end the circular relationship between unionized government employees and the politicians they help to elect!

To read more, check out these articles:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704509704575019552907349936.html

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/02/18/the-first-blow-against-public-employees/hitting-the-unions-where-it-hurts

Obama trying to stack deck at the NLRB

Senate Democrats’ are attempting to push through confirmation of SEIU Associate General Counsel Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, a member of the New York State United Teachers union for seats on the National Labor Relations Board.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), is a quasi-judicial agency responsible for administrating federal labor law. The Board’s functions include overseeing elections in union certification drives and resolving unfair labor practices committed by union organizers or employers.

Nominated by the President and adamantly supported by ACORN Founder Wade Rathke who said, “Here’s a big win no matter how you shake and bake it: Craig Becker being nominated for a seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)!”

Becker is currently the associate general counsel for the AFL-CIO and the SEIU. He has practiced and taught labor law for more than 25 years

Rathke cites Becker’s role in the creation of the “non-employee state employees” in California (dues paying union members without all the benefits of being state employee like retirement, healthcare, vacation time, sick leave, set work rules) and devising strategies for organizing the informal workers.

Becker believes that, “employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives.” Despite years as an advocate for compulsory unionism, Becker claims he can be “fair and impartial”. 

Here are some examples of what Becker brings as part of his belief system as reported on the National Right to Work Committee’s website. Committee President Mark Mix analyzes Becker’s extreme views. 

Becker:

  • Supports “home visits,” in which union goons repeatedly harass workers at home until they sign union authorization cards (see here for an example of this intimidating practice)
  • Advocates letting government arbiters impose contracts on workers and employers on workers, without even allowing the workers to vote on the contract (a practice which even Far Left icon George McGovern opposes)
  • Believes employers should be absolutely prohibited from sharing any truthful and noncoercive information with employees about the effects of unionization
  • Illogically and radically compares union certification elections to US Congressional elections, stating that the only question decided in such elections should be which union gets monopoly control over workers, not whether they wish to remain independent and union free.

Watch this video:

If confirmed Becker would join a board stacked to be extremely pro member. Wilma Liebman, a longtime union supporter is already in place. The Board’s other member, Peter Carey Schaumber, was appointed by former President Bush. Two positions remain vacant. Obama has already nominated Mark Pearce and the other seat will be filled with a Republican member.

Pearce, is a member of the New York State United Teachers union, He has represented workers as a lawyer and also served as a member of the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals as well as a trial specialist for the NLRB’s regional office in Buffalo.

Obviously if both are confirmed the NLRB becomes a very union friendly environment. This will also create some new momentum for the “Employees’ Free Choice Act”. Both developments spell potential problems for small businesses. So once again America – the administration is attempting to add more radical reformers to key government positions so they can continue to push us toward a more socialistic society. Driving up union membership supports the administration’s social reengineering agenda and provides a payback to the administration’s union allies. Write your representatives and tell them we are not interested in an American makeover or living in a socialist nanny state. We must send them a clear message that these people must not be confirmed. Making the NLRB more polarized in favor of the unions will not help encourage job creation.

Restore the Republic, Reject the Angenda of the Progressive Left!

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” – Mark Twain