Standing against big government and for the people!
IS THIS OUR FUTURE?
February 20, 2011
Government Worker Unions: The Long Good-bye
By Steve McCann
The "Madison Uprising" is the beginning of the end of the incestuous relationship between government and the unions. That fact has been recognized by the public sector unions and the Democratic Party and is why they have pulled out all the stops and reverted to their 1960's playbook in order to maintain the status quo. However, it is a battle that the unions and the Democratic Party will lose regardless of the immediate outcome in Wisconsin.
The Democratic Party has sold its soul to the public sector unions. In the 2010 mid-term election, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees poured over $87 million dollars into the election. (A new spending record). AFSCME's $87 million was greater than the campaign spending by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($75 million) and American Crossroads ($65 million). Other public sector unions also ratcheted up their spending such as SEIU ($44 million) and the National Education Association ($40 million).
The three major public sector unions spent over $171 million in the 2010 election plus an estimated $250 million equivalent value of so-called volunteer activity such as get out the vote efforts, door-to-door campaigning and poll watching.
There is nothing wrong with private people or organizations, including private unions, spending money on political campaigns as institutional sources are disclosed. However, AFSCME, the NEA, the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) or the public union sector of SEIU are government employees. Their salaries are paid by the taxpayers and a portion of their salaries go to union dues which are slush funds for political activity and the promotion of left-wing causes. In 2008 the NEA and the AFT made contributions and grants totaling over $96 million of union dues; all to liberal organizations irrespective of the desires of the rank and file or the taxpayer.
It is wholly inappropriate for public employees to spend dues money on political contributions. Public officials are chosen through popular elections and the government employee should be indifferent as to the outcome of the election. However, by maintaining such a heavy hand in not only monetary contributions but election activity the politician becomes too dependent upon the union largess and is essentially blackmailed into acquiescing to all the demands of the union, particularly pay and benefits which have sky-rocketed and are now unsustainable.
President Franklin Roosevelt, the Progressive icon, recognized this problem back in 1937. In a letter to Luther Steward, then President of the National Federation of Federal Employees, he wrote that "meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government". He went on to say that government employees should not have bargaining rights or a closed shop similar to private sector unions.
However, since the public sector unions were granted those rights beginning in the 1960's they have achieved the virtual ownership, together with the private sector unions, of the Democratic Party. In the 2010 election cycle, per the Center for Responsive Politics, AFSCME donated 99.5% of contributions to Democrats; The NEA donated 96% and the AFT, 99.7%.
These dues were funneled to Democratic candidates who promised to raise workers salaries and hire more public sector workers-even though statistics show that total compensation for federal and state workers is nearly 50% higher than for private sector employees.
Government workers have access to elected officials during negotiations to set wages and benefits and can hold the promise of campaign contributions over these politicians' heads during negotiations. There is, in effect, no one representing the taxpayer who is the source of all income to the government.
This means runaway compensation for government workers, higher taxes for the general public and higher deficits. The taxes go from the electorate to government paychecks to union dues-then to more campaign contributions until the state, municipality or the federal government faces bankruptcy.
The clout of this unholy alliance was further on display when the unions were able to siphon off roughly $160 billion dollars of the 2009 stimulus to save the jobs of state and local workers.
The unseemly goings-on in Wisconsin portray, in microcosm, the disastrous policy of allowing government workers to unionize and bargain for wages and benefits. The unions are fighting to preserve their source of income and clout (i.e. union due) and the Democrats have shown the world their cowardice and dependence by slinking out if the state in order to maintain their bought status.
By these actions they have drawn back the curtain for all to see the true nature of this incestuous relationship and the impact on the future of the country.
It has taken Wisconsin and the near bankruptcy of the country and of many states and municipalities to finally awaken the American people to this fraud and theft. They must demand that public-sector unions can only be associations that can seek better workplace conditions or to facilitate employer-employee disputes but cannot have bargaining rights or mandatory dues.
Nonsense. Anybody that is paying attention knows they are protesting the loss of some of their collective bargaining rights, not the financial contributions. They already agreed to those.
I am delighted to see the unions being taken down but it is dishonest and ultimately unhelpful to misrepresent what is going on.
Nonsense? Iy is the Collective bargaining that has placed any municipalities, counties and states in this predicament and this has got to go. Government should not collect Union Dues from anyone's paycheck. let the Unions collect them.
Collective bargaining makes the "concessions: they say they are willing to make irrelevant since they can bargain to get them back and more in the next negotiation. The bargaining can take up to 15 months which that lengthy process is another expense in and of itself that State and local gov't can ill afford.
I think that the thing the union bosses are most disturbed about is that the State will no longer collect the dues via payroll deduction. Leaving the members to pay directly to the unions thus cutting off the garaunteed income to the unions. When the members write those big dues checks they will then realize how much they are paying and will then think whether there is truly value in that payment. This will cause many to stop paying and reduce the union gravy train. It is easy not to pay attention to something that is automatically deducted (that's why financial advisors tell you to have savings deducted from your pay up front)
I agree with the video and MOST of the attached article. Truth is being bent severely, but mostly by the so-called Wisconsin teachers' protest. Anyone who was at even part of the event in Madison knows: There were busloads of union people from other states, paid activists - even from other countries - and lots of other agenda-driven participants. This event was not about Wisconsin teachers' salaries or benefits. That was the pretense, but the real issue was, and is, the power of the unions to control and dominate both business and the government. They put all they had into this, with the idea that - if successful in Wisconsin - they could intimidate other state governments. Hopefully, Governor Walker will stand fast, do the job he was elected to do, and take disciplinary action against the Dem senators who went AWOL.
As for the article, it's great... EXCEPT for a little misrepresentation of federal workers' (rank & file) access to their politicians and influence over their wages. As a recent retiree (31 July) I can tell you that, first of all, the federal employee unions are forbidden to strike. If AFGE, NFFE, etc. put on a show like the one in Madison, the members would have been disciplined or fired. Unfortunately, the fed. employee unions are connected to the AFLCIO, and were a major factor in the election of Obama in 2008 - without the knowledge of many of the members. I resigned from the union after discovering that fact, and was amazed to discover that union officials actually could prevent me from canceling the allotment I set up to pay my dues. I had to get a lawyer to fix that and it took me two months to get it stopped. Another misrepresentation, or maybe just a misunderstanding, the rank & file federal employees have absolutely no say in their wages. Those are set by the Office of Personnel Management and controlled by Congress. Congress, on the other hand, can vote itself a pay raise and is exempt from the federal workers' pay scale. Last item: federal employees (rank & file) have no collective bargaining rights at all. The fed employee unions can do four things: (1) They can offer legal referral to employees who get dumped on by their supervisors - but this is not a free service. The employee is sent to a private lawyer who's willing to take on the federal government, and must pay that lawyer's fees - which can be substantial. (2) They can offer additional medical/dental insurance programs (for a fee, of course.) These are often frauds that steal the workers' money and don't pay claims. We had that experience at Ft McCoy, and we got ripped off royally. (3) They can advise management on working condition improvements, but management is not obligated to take their suggestions and typically ignores them. (4) They can sponsor social events, like group picnics, and charity benefits for the underprivileged. AFGE did this for several years, then stopped the practice. Essentially, federal employee unions take dues from their members and give little or nothing back in services or benefits.
Salaries for rank & file federal employees do not exceed those of comparable private sector workers. In fact, in many cases, they lag significantly behind. The only highly paid fed. employees are in Congress or in what's called "excepted service." This includes FEMA, certain highly specialized security occupations, and some high level federal staff positions. These are the few and the powerful who get $100,000 PER YEAR or more, often not contributing much in return. Regular folks, myself included, get less than half that and must work 30-40 years to accumulate a pension (which WE pay for 100%, NOT the government) adequate for retirement. To make matters worse, we pay taxes on both our retirement contributions and our retirement annuities. We also have no protection from economic disasters such as we have experienced for the past 2-3 years. I lost over half of my retirement fund, and retired (with 44 years in service) before I could replace it. So much for the wonderful world of government service!
I believe states like Wisconsin should take a hard look at their relationships with public employee unions and make their rules more like those of the federal government. We (federal employees) don't serve to get rich, we serve our country - probably more effectively than most members of Congress, or the public employees in the state of Wisconsin.
The time has passed for the Unions and their effectiveness.
March on, Wisconsin and i pray other states follow suit.
Why would you wait for a ship to sink before you start bailing?
What a bunch of crybabies