Archive for the ‘Unions – UAW’ Category

NLRB Orders CNN to Rehire 100 Employees Fired in 2003 …. say,what?

September 19, 2014

According to Variety – the entertainment industry paper of record …

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered CNN to rehire 100 workers as part of a labor dispute that originated in 2003.

 

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This initially caught my eye because of the defendant … CNN.

Demonstrating non-partisanship, the NLRB isn’t targeting Fox … it’s going after administration-friendly CNN.

And, the story gets better …

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IRS: Why no mention of the NTEU connection?

May 24, 2013

Did you know that the “frontline” IRS employees involved in the IRS scandal are unionized?

Yep.

Members of NTEU – the National Treasury Employees Union.

So what?

First, like most government employee unions, the NTEU is all for bigger government and fatter retirement benefits.

So, it’s no big surprise that the union endorsed Obama for President.

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Nothing shady there … strictly legal … and consistent with the employees’ interests.

But, here’s where things get interesting …

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The MoTown microcosm …

December 13, 2012

In prior posts this week, we noted that – on a macro  basis — there are 122 million adults in the US who are dependent on 121 million tax payers who work in private sector.

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* * * * *

A microcosm of the US picture is the city of Detroit

You know, Detroit as in ”about to file for bankruptcy”

Detroit as in “we voted you in, now bail us out”.

Detroit as in “unions are the way to middle class success”.

Consistent with the emerging national picture, it turns out that the  257,576 people in Detroit who do not have a job and are not looking for one outnumber the 224,846 residents who do have jobs.

Here are some other factoids courtesy of CNS

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Which states have the strongest teacher unions?

November 26, 2012

The Fordham Institute evaluated the power of state teacher unions along thirty-seven different variables grouped into five broad areas:

Area 1: Resources and Membership
Internal union resources (members and revenue), plus K–12 education spending in the state, including the portion of such spending devoted to teacher salaries and benefits.

Area 2: Involvement in Politics
Teacher unions’ share of financial contributions to state candidates and political parties, and their representation at the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

Area 3: Scope of Bargaining
Bargaining status (mandatory, permitted, or prohibited), scope of bargaining, right of unions to deduct agency fees from non-members, and legality of teacher strikes.

Area 4: State Policies
Degree of alignment between teacher employment rules and charter school policies with traditional union interests.

Area 5: Perceived Influence
Results of an original survey of key stakeholders within each state, including how influential the unions are in comparison to other entities in the state, whether the positions of policymakers are aligned with those of teacher unions, and how effective the unions have been in stopping policies with which they disagree.

= = = = =

Answer: Hawaii and Oregon have the strongest teacher unions … Florida has the weakest.

See the report for details by state.

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Another reason why taxes are higher in New York… paying to stick it to da man

September 1, 2011

Punch line: New York is lone state to provide compensation in labor disputes.

So, striking Verizon union members have  filed for jobless benefits.

Excerpted from from Marketwatch

U.S. workers are usually denied jobless benefits when they go on strike. After all, they walked off the job.

Except in New York. The state is the only one in the U.S. that allows striking workers to receive unemployment benefits.

So, about 21,000 union members filed applications for unemployment compensation, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Based on the average salary of Verizon workers, they might be eligible for the $405 maximum weekly benefit New York provides.

The costs will be borne by Verizon – which would be forced to pay more into the New York’s unemployment insurance fund — and the residents of New York. .

And, New Yorkers wonder why their taxes are so high …

Thanks to SMH for feeding the lead

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Obama to Boeing: Don’t waste time in court …”

July 12, 2011

Obama’s NLRB filed suit against Boeing to stop it from opening a plant in South Carolina – a right-to-work state.

Boeing has already invested close to $1 billion on the plant, and has already hired over 1,000 workers.

The NLRB action has broad reaching implications, since it tries to restrict where and how a company can operate.

Biz execs say privately that the NLRB is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back … demonstrating the lengths that the administration will go to meddle in private businesses to support its union constituency.

If companies are restricted from opening plants in right-to-work states, their only options are operating in high cost union-dominated states … or beyond the U.S.  borders.

Now, after throwing the stink bomb, Obama is trying to play the role of the conciliatory  mediator.

Ken’s Take: To avoid wasting court time, why doesn’t the President just tell his NLRB lackeys to back off?

* * * * *

From KING-TV:

The NLRB alleges that Boeing retaliated against its unionized work force in Washington state by opening a new production line for its 787 airplane in South Carolina, which is a right-to-work state. The case could drag on for years.

President Barack Obama is calling  for Boeing  and its workers to resolve their differences without “wasting a lot of time in court.”

Obama was asked about the National Labor Relations Board’s lawsuit against the aerospace giant in a KING-TV interview.

The president restated an earlier comment that “businesses should be able to locate wherever they want to operate” and have to follow the law.

“We can’t afford to have businesses and their workers arguing instead of coming together to try to produce the best possible products and sell them as aggressively as possible.”

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Victory in Wisconsin …

June 15, 2011

Punch line: The Wisc Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Walker can implement rules diminishing public employee unions. 

Now, unions will have to collect dues from members themselves if they want to buy politicos with campaign contributions.

And, public employees will have to contribute towards their health care insurance and pensions.

Score one for rationality.

* * * * *

Reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Acting with unusual speed, the Wisconsin state Supreme Court  reinstated Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to all but end collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers.

In its decision, the state’s high court concluded that “choices about what laws represent wise public policy for the state of Wisconsin are not within the constitutional purview of the courts.”

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said it took up the case because the lower court had “usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the Legislature.”

So what?

Biggest change ids that union dues won’t be automatically deducted from all public employees paychecks – the unions will have to collect the dues – meaning, that some (many ?) employees will tell the unions to pound sand.

If the unions can’t bank on the dues, then they can’t contribute as much to Democratic campaigns.

Oh well …

Obama’s union paybacks … tell me again why companies aren’t hiring.

April 27, 2011

During GM’s faux-bankruptcy proceedings, the Obama administration forced a law-evading reprioritization of claims: secured creditors were pushed down the totem pole – below unsecured UAW members.

That was an omen of things to come.

This week, there have been two government salvos fired.

First, the pro-union NLRB filed suit against Boeing, claiming that they were trying to escape the unions in Washington by building a plant in South Carolina – a right to work state.

The redress the NLRB is seeking: make Boeing close the new SC plant (which cost over $2 billion), fire the non-union workers, and hire union workers in Washington.

The NY Times thinks that’s a nice idea.

Are you kidding me?

Today, the NLRB announced that it’s filing suits against the states of Arizona and South Dakota.

Their crime?

Citizens in those state voted to preserve the use of secret ballots in union elections.

Unions (and Obama) want “card check”.

English translation: no secret ballots … rather, a union thug gets to look over a workers shoulder to check on the way he’s filling out his ballot.

All is the spirit of accuracy, of course.

Wonder why companies aren’t hiring …

On Wisconsin: We couldn’t have said it better …

March 16, 2011

Something troubled me watching the protesters camping in the Wisconsin state capitol.

Business Week hit the nail on the head:

Protesters chanted, sang, played drums, deployed yogic oms, and —though few gave the impression of being gainfully employed — they conducted long conversations about the sanctity of workers’ rights.

Business Week,  A Divided Wisconsin, March 9, 2011

And, from the WSJ: 

Whether Wisconsin represents the emergence of a broad-based, national campaign against reform-minded Republican leaders, however, depends on something far less clear: the ability of the protest movement to reach beyond its own echo chamber to the nonunion middle class.

 WSJ, Rules for Wisconsin Radicals, March 15, 2011. 

Funny how folks who don’t pay taxes aren’t fazed by wasted tax dollars …

Answer: $514,327,670 … What’s the question?

March 14, 2011

The amount of money that 24 Unions donated to Dem political campaigns over the past 20 years.

Yep – over half-a-BILLION dollars.

That’s why Dems think that automatic payroll deductions for dues is so important.

Maybe if it’s not automatic, then some folks might decide that the union is serving them well .. especially when they simply serve as a financial conduit to Dem politicos.

Hmmm.

Note on the list the prominent position of gov’t employee unions … and quasi gov’t unions like the UAW and the SEIU.

click the chart to enlarge it 

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Here’s a post from last fall that puts the numbers in context:

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics …

  • Business PACs gave 52% of their $72.2 million in total donations to Republican candidates from January through July. In the same period of 2009, corporate PACs had sent 59% of their $64 million in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates,
  • Overall, big banks, securities firms and other financial-services companies gave 55% of $18.5 million in campaign donations to Republicans in the January-through-July period. That’s a reversal from the same period last year, when they gave 65% of PAC donations to Democrats.
  • PACs that are run by labor unions give an overwhelming share of their donations to Democrats. Sixteen of the top 20 PAC donors to Democrats so far this election are operated by labor unions.  None of the top 20 PAC donors to Republicans have been labor unions in the current election cycle.

WSJ, Corporate Political Giving Swings Toward the GOP, Sept 21, 2010 

Thanks to JC for feeding the lead.

The decline of private unions … precursor to the public ones?

March 3, 2011

Union supporters seem to have a hard time answering the question: which heavily unionized industries have prospered over time?

Steel? Autos? Telecommunications? Education?

Come on, name one.

Sure, members may prosper for awhile, but inevitably, their firms and industries move to non-unionized regions or off-shore.

So, the benefits are transient.

I guess public employee unions think they’re immunized since states can’t move and government services can’t be off-shored.

Or can they ?

Have you noticed how they’re referred to public serants or government employees … but, rarely as government workers.

* * * * *

Here are snippets from an article that stirred my thinking …

To members, unions exist to win higher wages and fringe benefits, and in this, they mainly succeeded.

In 2006, union wages in the private sector were about 19 percent higher than those in comparable nonunion firms.

The union wage premium can endure if higher productivity (aka, efficiency) justifies higher wages, or if companies can pass along costs to customers.

But, the productivity advantages of unionized firms are scant.

The formula worked, because many heavily unionized industries were dominated by a few large firms with similar labor costs that could be recovered in higher prices.

That changed in the 1970s and 1980s.

  • Imports and “transplant” factories created new competition in steel and autos.
  • Airlines, trucking and communications (telephones) were deregulated, allowing new low-cost rivals into the market.
  • Digital technology and the Internet transformed communications and threatened many industries, including traditional phone companies and newspapers.

Both executives and union leaders underestimated the vulnerability of once impregnable market positions. The downfall of the “Big Three” automakers epitomized this disastrous cycle.

Public-sector unions now face a similar predicament.

RCP, Big Labor’s Dilemma, Robert Sameulson, February 28, 2011

The fall and rise of unions …

March 2, 2011

Great chart in yesterday’s WSJ.

The point of the article was the power of public unions.

My take: the steady decline in private sector unionization.

Why?

Not because company workforces have de-unionized, but because union companies have either (1) moved to non-union regions of the U.S., or (2) have off-shored operations, or (3) have gone out of business – collapsing under the weight of union wage & benefit scales.

Interesting analysis: I’d like to see a mapping of state tax rates against the presence of public employee unions.

My hypothesis: a very high correlation …  in part, indicating a vicious cycle: public unions drive up gov’t expenses – which drive up tax rates –  which drive companies & industries out of the states – which narrows the tax base – which drives up tax rates – which …

Surprised no pundits have jumped on that yet.

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704615504576172701898769040.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h

“Public-employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.”

March 2, 2011

Snippets from an interesting article in the Daily Beast

Punch line:  “The primary purpose of public unions today is to work against the financial interests of taxpayers” 

The primary purpose of private-sector unions today is to get workers a larger share of the profits they helped create. But with a power greater than their numbers, these unions have destroyed the manufacturing sector, forcing jobs overseas by driving labor costs above the price consumers here will pay.

Public employees are already protected by statutes that preclude arbitrary hiring and firing decisions.

So,. the primary purpose of public unions today, as ugly as it sounds, is to work against the financial interests of taxpayers: the more public employees are paid in wages and uncapped benefits, the less taxpayers keep of the money they earn.

Public-union bosses collect real money from all taxpayers for the benefit of a few …  public-sector jobs are funded by taxpayer dollars, forcibly collected by the government

A sizable portion of those dues is then donated by the public unions almost exclusively to Democratic candidates.

Of the top 20 biggest givers in federal-level politics over the past 20 years, 10 are unions; just four are corporations. The three biggest public unions gave $171.5 million for the 2010 elections alone.

Big money from public unions, collected through mandatory dues, and funded entirely by the taxpayer, is then redistributed as campaign cash to help elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with those same unions.

In effect, the unions sit on both sides of the table and collectively bargain to raise taxes while the voters’ voice is silenced.

Michael Barone sums it up: “public-employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.”

Daily Beast, More Politics End the Privileged Class, Feb 28, 2011

“Public-employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.”

March 2, 2011

Snippets from an interesting article in the Daily Beast

Punch line:  “The primary purpose of public unions today is to work against the financial interests of taxpayers” 

The primary purpose of private-sector unions today is to get workers a larger share of the profits they helped create. But with a power greater than their numbers, these unions have destroyed the manufacturing sector, forcing jobs overseas by driving labor costs above the price consumers here will pay.

Public employees are already protected by statutes that preclude arbitrary hiring and firing decisions.

So,. the primary purpose of public unions today, as ugly as it sounds, is to work against the financial interests of taxpayers: the more public employees are paid in wages and uncapped benefits, the less taxpayers keep of the money they earn.

Public-union bosses collect real money from all taxpayers for the benefit of a few …  public-sector jobs are funded by taxpayer dollars, forcibly collected by the government

A sizable portion of those dues is then donated by the public unions almost exclusively to Democratic candidates.

Of the top 20 biggest givers in federal-level politics over the past 20 years, 10 are unions; just four are corporations. The three biggest public unions gave $171.5 million for the 2010 elections alone.

Big money from public unions, collected through mandatory dues, and funded entirely by the taxpayer, is then redistributed as campaign cash to help elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with those same unions.

In effect, the unions sit on both sides of the table and collectively bargain to raise taxes while the voters’ voice is silenced.

Michael Barone sums it up: “public-employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.”

Daily Beast, More Politics End the Privileged Class, Feb 28, 2011

Gov. Walker: “President Obama simply misunderstands” … ouch!

March 1, 2011

When speaking to the nation’s governors, Pres. Obama jumped back into the Wisconsin fray giving shout-outs to the unionized state employees.

Here’s Gov. Walker’s response …

Excerpted from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker responds to Obama, Feb. 28, 2011

Gov. Scott Walker responded to comments President Barack Obama made about the protests in Madison:

Walker’s office issued this statement:

“I’m sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay.

And I’m sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin.

At least I would hope he knows these facts.

“Furthermore, I’m sure the President knows that we have repeatedly praised the more than 300,000 government workers who come to work every day in Wisconsin.

“I’m sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsi …, and isn’t acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another.”

Honk if you want your money going to pay for gov’t employees’ pay and benefits …

February 22, 2011

Punch line: Gov’t employee unions collect dues from members … then fund political campaigns … and sponsored officials, when elected, increase members pay & benefits … so that the union can collect  more dues, etc. 

Not exactly a virtuous cysle.

Washington Examiner, In Wisconsin, it’s the unions vs. the people, 02/18/11

Liberals and the White House try to blur the issue by lumping together government unions and labor unions in general.

Obama wrongly calls Walker’s bill “an attack on unions.” It is, at its heart, a measure changing the way the state government procures labor — Walker would end single-source contracts with a politically connected special interests.

Government unions in Wisconsin perfectly match the definition of “special interests”.

Four of the top six Wisconsin contributors to the 2010 elections were labor unions … led by the state’s teachers union and  the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

Almost all of the money went to Democrats.

Government employees, as a group, matched the union contributions with most of their money going to Democrats, too.

In the romantic liberal vision of this union uprising, determined workers are standing up to the powerful.

For much of the Left, though, this about protecting the power of labor. But there’s no fat-cat owner wanting to pocket more profits here. The unions’ target in Wisconsin is the taxpayer.

At bottom, this is the unions versus the people.

Even Franklin Roosevelt said, “The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

Campaign contributions by government-sector unions, collected through mandatory dues, help elect the public officials who are then supposed to negotiate with them. “The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table.”

When unions overreach in the private sector, they drive their employers out of business, and so unions only flourish under those employers — governments — that can’t go out of business.

While governments won’t go out of business, they are going broke.

So, many taxpayers see the likes of Gov. Walker as a rare grown-up under attack by opportunistic and utterly politicized unions populated by overpaid government workers.

With state budgets in crisis and the Democratic machinery already in all-out campaign mode, war has already been declared — and if the unions win, the people lose.

Wisc. gov’t unions to Dem Senators: “We own you !” … Dem Senators: “Let’s get outta here"

February 18, 2011

The rubber seems to have hit the road in Wisconsin.

Scott Walker was elected governor last November.

His platform: get the state budget under control.

So, he and GOPers in the Wisc statehouse drafted a law that would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage – about half of what private sector folks pay.

Currently, the Wisc gov’t workers pay ZERO towards health insurance and pensions.

So, they’re taking the proposed law pretty seriously – shutting down schools (thousands of suddenly sick teachers), marching en masse on the statehouse and the homes of the governor and legislators, carrying signs depicting the governor as Hitler and Mubarek. They’re being praised in lib media as “Midwestern Egyptians”.

In response, all of the Dem state Senators left the state for an Illinois resort — to preclude a quorum.  So, the legislature couldn’t vote the law up or down.

Police were dispatched to round up the escaped Senators, but got stalled at the Wisc state line.

President Obama piped in –- not to praise the fiscal responsibility or condemn the protesters incivility – but to assert that Wisc GOPers are simply trying to break the unions.

I guess that’s why FDR – Obama’s idol – thought that gov’t employee unions shouldn’t be allowed.

Geez.  You can’t make this stuff up.

AP, Wis. lawmakers flee state to block anti-union bill, Feb. 17, 2011

In the cross hairs: Private-sector union workers aiming at public employee unions …

January 5, 2011

Punch line: Private-sector union workers are beginning to notice that their job prospects are at risk from public-employee union contracts

* * * * *

Excerpts from WSJ: Labor’s Coming Class War, Jan. 4, 2011

Some may be missing the first stirrings of a true American class war: between workers in government unions and their union counterparts in the private sector.

In this recession, for example, construction workers are suffering from unemployment levels roughly double the national rate. They are relearning, the hard way, that without a growing economy, all the labor-friendly laws and regulations in the world won’t keep them working.

What’s more, “blue-collar union workers are beginning to appreciate that the generous pensions and health benefits going to their counterparts in state and local government are coming out of their pockets …  they are beginning to understand the dysfunctional relationship between collective bargaining for government employees and their own job prospects.”

  • In NJ, 40% of  iron workers are out of work—and they know that unless the high-tax state gets its fiscal house in order, the only work they’ll find will be in Texas.
  • In NY, the unemployment rate for members of the  Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York is running at 20%.

In some ways, this new appreciation for the private sector is simply back to the future. FDR, for example, warned in 1937 that collective bargaining “cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

These days the two types of worker inhabit two very different worlds.

In the private sector, union workers increasingly pay for more of their own health care, and they have defined contribution pension plans such as 401(k)s. In this they have something fundamental in common even with the fat cats on Wall Street: Both need their companies to succeed.

By contrast, government unions use their political clout to elect those who set their pay: the politicians.

In exchange, these unions are rewarded with contracts whose pension and health-care provisions now threaten many municipalities and states with bankruptcy.

In response to the crisis, government unions demand more and higher taxes. Which of course makes people who have money less inclined to look to those states to make the investments that create jobs for, say, iron workers, electricians and construction workers.

Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576060092978223976.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Bumps ahead for gov’t gravy train …

December 21, 2010

Honestly, excluding the military and first-responders, what’s your view of government employees? 

How many fulfilling experiences have you had with the IRS,  the DMV, the tax assessor’s office, the planning board, etc. ?  My bet: not many.

In the old days, most folks got annoyed but gave passes because they thought the inefficient bureaucrats weren’t getting paid very much.

Recent news reports have burst those myths: revealing high pay relative to private sector employees and outrageous benefits packages.

For sure, the next couple of years will have spotlights shining on government employees and their candidate-contributing unions.

Blue states (think NY, CA, IL) will get hit particularly hard now that fiscally responsible red states are refusing to bail them out.

Since the unions won’t budge, expect higher state taxes and cuts in services …   

Compared with many sectors that have suffered grievously from the slump — housing, automobiles, finance — state and local governments have been relatively sheltered.

One reason is President Obama’s  “stimulus” packages … have provided about $158 billion to states.

As these transfers dwindle … local governments may be less lucky. They rely on property taxes for about a third of their revenues, and because property appraisals are done every few years, “the decline in house prices implies that collections will probably fall in the coming years.”

The truly bad news lies in the future with massive retiree pension and health benefits that haven’t been prefunded. How big are the shortfalls? All estimates are huge … the gaps are about $3 trillion for states and almost $600 billion for localities.

Whatever the ultimate costs, they threaten future levels of public services.

The generous benefits encourage workers to retire in their late 50s or early 60s after 25 years of service. The health benefits typically provide coverage until retirees qualify for Medicare at 65.

To pay for unfunded benefits, either government services must either be cut or taxes raised.

So support for schools, police, roads and other state and local activities is undermined by careless — or corrupt — bargains between politicians and their public-worker unions.

Promises of generous future retirement benefits were expedient contract sweeteners, with most costs conveniently deferred. Even when pension contributions were supposed to be made, they were often reduced or postponed when budgets were tight.

If these arrangements look familiar, they should. The U.S. auto industry adopted the same model; the costs helped bankrupt General Motors and Chrysler.

RCP,Cheating Our Children (Again), December 20, 2010
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/12/20/cheating_our_children_again_108288.html

More unionized government employees … here’s the so what.

February 9, 2010

Last week, we posted the increase in the number of government jobs (to over 2 million — not counting contractors) and the increase in unionization of government employees (to over 37% of the government payroll).  Here’s why you should care.

* * * * *
Excerpted from: DC Examiner: Public-Sector Unions Bleed Taxpayers to Help Dems, February 8, 2010

But union membership is growing by leaps & bounds in the public sector. Last year, 37.4 percent of public sector employees were union members.  For the first time in history, a majority of union members are government employees.

In my view, the outlook for both private- and public-sector unionism is problematic.

Public-sector unionism is a very different animal from private-sector unionism. It is not adversarial but collusive.

Public-sector unions strive to elect their management, which in turn can extract money from taxpayers to increase wages and benefits — and can promise pensions that future taxpayers will have to fund.

The results are plain to see. States like New York, New Jersey and California, where public-sector unions are strong, now face enormous budget deficits and pension liabilities. In such states, the public sector has become a parasite sucking the life out of the private-sector economy. Not surprisingly, Americans have been steadily migrating out of such states and into states like Texas, where public-sector unions are weak and taxes are much lower.

President Obama is … doing his best to increase the power — and dues income — of public-sector unions.

Democrats have used the financial crisis to expand the public sector and the public-sector unions. One-third of last year’s $787 billion stimulus package was aid to state and local governments — an obvious attempt to bolster public-sector unions.

And it was a successful one: While the private sector has lost 7 million jobs, the number of public-sector jobs has risen. The number of federal government jobs has been increasing by 10,000 a month, and the percentage of federal employees earning over $100,000 has jumped to 19 percent during the recession.

Unions contributed something like $400,000,000 to Democrats in the 2008 campaign cycle. Public-sector unionism tends to be a self-perpetuating machine that extracts money from taxpayers and then puts it on a conveyor belt to the Democratic Party.

But it may not turn out to be a perpetual-motion machine. Public-sector employees are still heavily outnumbered by those who depend on the private sector for their livelihoods.

The next Congress may not be as willing as this one has been to bail out state governments dominated by public-sector unions.

Voters may bridle at the higher taxes needed to pay for $100,000-plus pensions for public employees who retire in their 50s. Or they may move, as so many have already done, to states like Texas.

Obama’s But voters seem to be saying, “Enough.”

Full article:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/02/08/public-sector_unions_bleed_taxpayers_to_help_dems_100206.html

More government employees … standing united: 37.4% unionized.

February 4, 2010

Bottom line: Two related articles with a combined chilling effect: Once government gets big (bigger ?), there’s no turning back … especially if the government employees are unionized.

* * * * *

Excerpted from Washington Times: Largest-ever federal payroll to hit 2.15 million, Feb. 2, 2009 

The era of big government has returned with a vengeance, in the form of the largest federal work force in modern history.

The Federal government will grow to 2.15 million employees this year, topping 2 million for the first time since President Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over”.

Most of the increases are on the civilian side, which will grow by 153,000 workers, to 1.43 million people, in fiscal 2010. From 1981 through 2008, the civilian work force remained at about 1.1 million to 1.2 million, with a low of 1.07 million in 1986 and a high of more than 1.2 million in 1993 and in 2008. In 2009, the number jumped to 1.28 million.

“When you talk about big government, you’re talking about a big employer.”

Full article:
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/feb/02/burgeoning-federal-payroll-signals-return-of-big-g/

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Excerpted from WSJ: The Public-Union Ascendancy, Feb. 3, 2010

Unions once saw their main task as negotiating a bigger share of an individual firm’s profits.

Now the movement’s main goal is securing a larger share of the overall private economy’s wealth, which means pitting government employees against middle-class taxpayers.

It’s now official: In 2009 the number of unionized workers who work for the government surpassed those in the private economy for the first time: 51.4% of America’s 15.4 million union members, or about 7.91 million workers, were employed by the government in 2009.

image

Overall unionism keeps declining, however, with the loss of 771,000 union jobs amid last year’s recession.

In 2009 10.1% of private union jobs were eliminated, which was more than twice the 4.4% rate of overall private job losses.

Only one in eight workers (12.3%) now belongs to a union, with private union employment hitting a record low of 7.2% of all jobs, down from 7.6% in 2008.

In government, by contrast, the union employee share rose to 37.4% from 36.8% the year before.

* * * * *

“The problem for democracy is that this creates a self-reinforcing cycle of higher spending and taxes. The unions help elect politicians, who repay the unions with more pay and benefits and dues-paying members, who in turn help to re-elect those politicians.”

Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703837004575013424060649464.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h

The UAW … you gotta love these guys

January 6, 2009

Excerpted from IBD, “The UAW’s Money-Squandering Corruptocracy”, Malkin, December 31, 2008

While carmakers soak up $17 billion in taxpayer bailout funds and demand more for their ailing industry, United Auto Workers bosses have wasted tens of millions of their workers’ dues on gold-plated resorts and rotten investments.  While membership in the union has plummeted, the UAW retains assets worth $1.2 billion.

The UAW owns and operates Black Lake Golf Course — a “championship caliber” course opened in 2000 that’s part of a larger “family education center” and retreat nestled in 1,000 acres of property in Onaway, Mich. The resort includes “a beautiful gym with two full-sized basketball courts, an Olympic-size indoor pool, exercise and weight room, table-tennis and pool tables, a sauna, beaches, walking and bike trails, softball and soccer fields and a boat launch ramp.” The Detroit Free Press reported earlier this year that the golf course (valued at $6 million) and education center (valued at $27 million) have together lost $23 million over the past five years. 

The UAW  bid $9.75 million to purchase the gated La Mancha Resort Village in Palm Springs. The 100-room walled resort with spas, poolside massages and a “croquet lawn lit for night use” was on the verge of bankruptcy with $5.2 million in debt. Fortunately (for members), that deal didn’t go through.

The union poured $14.7 million into Pro Air, a start-up airline that, well, didn’t get off the ground. Plagued by safety problems, the feds shuttered the company less than a year later.

In 1996, union heavies invested $5 million in United Broadcasting Network, a liberal radio network precursor to Air America.  They shelled out for a $2 million, state-of-the-art studio in Detroit and incurred years of losses of a reported $75,000 a month before closing the network down in 2003.

And while the UAW and carmakers cry poor, they’ve operated massive joint funds for years that have paid for lavish items such as multi-million-dollar NASCAR racer sponsorships and Las Vegas junkets. 

At least the groveling Big Three CEOs gave up their corporate jets. Where’s the public flogging for the greed-infested UAW fat cats reaching into our pockets to keep them afloat?

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Full article:
http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=284004627416260

UAW’s annual report:
http://www.unionreports.gov 

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