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Unions and Democrats
Electing their bosses....
James Sherk Tells Nevada Lawmakers Why Public Sector Unions Are Bad Policy By Maureen Collins - In his testimony, Sherk argues that unions for government employees are bad policy, because unlike private sector unions they: Undermine representative government: “Collective bargaining in government takes away the final say on public policy from voters’ elected representatives. It forces them to negotiate a contract with union leaders, excluding all other citizens and potential workers from the bargaining table.” Come with no checks and balances: Private sector unions have competition with non-unionized businesses, but government employee unions do not: ...Inflate pay for their workers: “Collective bargaining has considerably inflated the compensation of Nevada’s local government employees. It has produced benefit packages that few private-sector workers ever see. In many local governments, employees pay nothing toward the cost of their extensive health insurance benefits.” Follow this link to see the rest of Sherk’s testimony.
why unions hate worker freedom By Tim
Dunkin - Unions hate worker freedom. Despite the chest-thumping propaganda
that unions "saved the worker in America," the fact is that unions represent a
business/labor model that simply is
not relevant to our economy today. This, as much as the increased prevalence
of right-to-work laws, is why they are dying out. Instead of adapting to the
times, unions generally seek to freeze in place the sort of rust-belt economic
model that peaked in the 1950s – which is a great example of the typical
intellectual bankruptcy that is rife throughout liberalism. Part of this
effort involves trapping workers in union shops were the union will "represent"
them at the price of extorted dues taken out of their hard-earned paychecks.
Obviously enough, the unions have a vested interest in forcing as many workers
as possible to contribute. After all, expensive cigars and Cadillacs for the
union bosses aren't cheap.
Propagandists for the unions will try to claim that workers "really" like unions and want to be unionized. The very fact that so many workers bolt the unions when they can – as evidenced by the steep declines in union revenues seen in Wisconsin, to give one example – suggests that this is not the case. Likewise does the steadily declining membership rolls of most of the major unions in America. Sure, there are always some workers out there who want to belong to a union, but many don't, and right-to-work laws and laws such as Wisconsin's provide them the opportunity to make their own choice.
The issue is really about worker freedom. Right-to-work laws do not outlaw unions or forbid union membership. These laws do not infringe upon the First Amendment right of workers to organize and associate together. What they do, instead, is to affirm the First Amendment right of workers to NOT organize or associate with a union if they don't choose to. Freedom to choose to join a union must by necessity carry with it the converse freedom to not join a union.
Forced unionization is also unjust because of the fact that unions essentially serve as fundraising arms for the Democratic Party. Yet, large numbers of blue-collar workers support conservative and Republican causes and candidates. By requiring the deduction of union dues so that the unions can throw large bags of money at left-wing candidates and movements, at best the unions are misrepresenting many of their own constituent workers, and at worst they are disenfranchising them. Millions of workers in America see some of their money taken and given to candidates and causes they never would themselves support.
...As we can see in Wisconsin, worker freedom works. Wisconsin has seen declines in the funding (and therefore the power) of economically cumbersome unions. At the same time, Wisconsin has also seen its unemployment rate continue to decline, and also faces the somewhat unusual "problem" of having a budget surplus (due to increased economic activity in the state) that it has to figure out what to do with. Scott Walker's solutions have worked in Wisconsin – we should work to see them extended all across the country.
3 Ways to Reform Labor and Save Our Country By Bob Beauprez - Editor, Bob Beauprez's Note: The following commentary on labor reforms is authored by 18 economists and labor experts, including A Line of Sight Contributing Editor, Sanjai Bhagat, Provost Professor of Finance at the University of Colorado. The article was originally published July 10, 2012 by Fox News.com. A full list of the authors may be found by clicking here. ...First, steer our cities away from insolvency and bankruptcy by passing meaningful reforms to public employee pensions and compensation. ...make modest pension cuts that will save taxpayers millions. (Unions responded by filing suit.) ...The next step, at the state level, is to advance right-to-work legislation that gives employees a choice in union membership. A key tenet of our democracy is freedom of association—including the freedom to form a union. But what about the right of a worker to choose not to join a union? In the 27 states that haven’t passed right-to-work laws, this right doesn’t exist. ...The last step to effective labor reform should happen at the federal level, with the passage of the Employee Rights Act (ERA), a piece of legislation sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). The provisions of the ERA include reinforcing the right to a secret ballot union election, regular recertification votes on whether employees wish to remain part of a union, and paycheck protection to allow employees to prevent their dues from going to politicians they don’t support. Unsurprisingly, in polling commissioned from Opinion Research Corporation, these provisions receive 80 percent support—even in union households.
End the Secrecy in Public Union Collective Bargaining The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that state and local government employees earn 43 percent more than their private sector counterparts... ...In 11 states, secret government union collective bargaining is law, a lack of oversight that should be corrected. This lack of oversight often leads to unions employing strong-arm tactics to receive higher wages and benefits at taxpayer expense, say Nick Dranias, Bryron Schlomach and Stephen Slivinski of the Goldwater Institute. ...Even when transparency in bargaining is enacted, government unions still have access to public records of government finance and can assess what the municipality can afford. Unions around the country have a lot to lose if transparency becomes the guiding principle for collective bargaining negotiations. Dranias, Schlomach and Slivinski believe that all bargaining should take place at open meetings. All meetings should be documented verbatim and those documents should be available as part of public record. Taxpayers and budgets everywhere will benefit if transparency and accountability is required in government union collective bargaining. ...Source: Nick Dranias, Bryron Schlomach and Stephen Slivinski, "Airing Out the Smoke-filled Rooms: Bringing Transparency to Public Union Collective Bargaining," Goldwater Institute, January 17, 2013.
Understanding The Employee Rights Act By: UnionFacts.com - It’s been more than 50 years since Congress overhauled America’s labor laws. During the following decades, we’ve witnessed a workplace revolution that has fostered innovation, opportunity, and flexibility for America’s 150 million member strong workforce. It is time we reform our labor laws to put employees’ rights first, not self-interested labor union leaders. Now is the time for the Employee Rights Act.
The legislation would:
o Secret Ballot Elections — Guarantee employees the right to a secret ballot election when choosing whether or not to join a union.
o Union Recertification Elections — Require that all unionized workplaces hold a secret ballot referendum every three years to determine whether the employee wish to remain represented by their current union.
o Paycheck Protection — Gives employee the right to refuse support for a unions’ political operations or support of political parties or candidates.
o Standardized Election Timing — Require unions and employers to give employees a minimum of 40 days to hear from both sides when deciding whether or not to join a union. o Decertification Coercion Prevention — Strengthen the National Labor Relations Act to prohibit unions from intimidating or coercing employees from exercising their rights, including their right to decertify the union.
o Secret Ballot Strike Vote — Give employee the right to a secret ballot vote before union leaders can declare a strike.
o Criminalizes Union Threats — Forbid unions from using violence, or threats thereof, in an effort to coerce employees.
o Unions Are the Political Dinosaur in the Room - Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh - A famous radio talk show host asked rhetorically why unions have supported and financed the Occupy Wall Street movement. The answer is quite simple. Occupiers are asking for communism. In communism, the entire labor force is unionized. It is in the best interest of unions to promote communism since union membership in this country is down to single digits and not likely to rebound. Unions were necessary at the turn of the 20th century to protect workers from dangerous working conditions. Unions survive today as a political tool to influence elections and exert economic power.
o Rescuing Detroit From Its
Own Folly (PatriotPost.us) - “It is not the business of government … to
preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly,” said Henry George, a
19th century American writer and politician. Unfortunately, that advice is
rarely heeded today.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the federal government is considering
providing $100 million to ease the pain of Detroit's ongoing city pension
reforms. The money technically would not be provided directly to the city's
pension program, instead going to Michigan's state fund for “blight
remediation,” which would allow the state to provide the same amount to Detroit.
But the practical result is the same – the U.S. taxpayer getting stuck with part
of the bill for Detroit's decades of foolish, unsupportable pension promises. In
our current environment where billions and even trillions are common reference
points, $100 million may seem like small potatoes. But the precedent set by such
a bailout would be far-reaching and potentially devastating to the nation's
already shaky financial health.
Why? Because Detroit is just one example of a major city with unsupportable public-employee pension obligations – in fact it's only number 10 on the list of the worst offenders. The top 10, in order of pension debt per capita: Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Columbus, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, Denver and Detroit. Considering that public employees are among the most loyal and vocal of Democrat constituencies, the risk of political favoritism is obvious.
As if that's not alarming enough, consider that looming larger behind these cities are states with the same pension debt problems, led by California's estimated $170 billion sea of red ink (and that is the LA Times' “best case” estimate – the worst case is more than $500 billion). Note, that is not California's total debt; just its un-funded pension obligations. Barack Obama's home state of Illinois is next with more than $100 billion in un-funded pension debt. If the federal government begins handing out money to save major cities from their pension debts, you can bet the states will come begging soon after. And the worst pension shortfalls at the state level are concentrated, unsurprisingly, in blue states like California. As Mark Alexander wrote last year, it's no coincidence that Detroit is in the shape it's in.
Regardless of the politics of the cities or states in question, there is the larger question of why the ordinary taxpayer should have to bail out a public employee pension system. Why does a farmer in Idaho or a construction worker in Oklahoma have to fork over money to support a retired city worker in Detroit or Los Angeles? The great majority of Americans are private sector workers whose taxes have always supported the salaries of public employees in their state. Are they now to be forced to pay for the foolish retirement plans promised to state and local public employees?
Yet there is still some room for optimism in the public pension debt problem. In December the Illinois legislature passed a bill that would implement major reforms to the pension system, and did so in the face of enormous resistance from public-employee unions. Other states have also been forced into making difficult pension choices in recent years. But the temptation of seeking federal money to pay for local or state pension debt will always exist so long as the federal government is willing to provide it. Which makes Detroit an important test case in whether the government – meaning the taxpayers – have to rescue the fools from the consequences of their folly.
o The Left Versus Minorities - By Thomas Sowell - Not all charter schools are successful, of course, but the ones that are completely undermine the excuses for failure in the public school system as a whole. That is why teachers' unions hate them, as a threat not only to their members' jobs but a threat to the whole range of frauds and fetishes in the educational system. The autonomy of charter schools is also a threat to the powers that be, who want to impose their own vision on the schools, regardless of what the parents want. ... Charter schools take power from politicians and bureaucrats, letting parents decide where their children will go to school. That is obviously offensive to those on the left, who think that our betters should be making our decisions for us.
o Big Labor, Bad Losers
(PatriotPost.us) - If at first you don't succeed, blame Republicans and get your
cronies in high places to let you try again. That seems to be the strategy of
the United Auto Workers, a group that couldn't take the hint they weren't
exactly welcome in the right-to-work state of Tennessee.
After losing a 712-626 secret ballot vote at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, the UAW is appealing to the National Labor Relations Board on the grounds that statements by Republican legislators at both the state and federal levels gave the opposition an unfair advantage. Calling these tactics “a coordinated and widely-publicized coercive campaign,” the union wants the results thrown out based on the Laboratory Conditions Doctrine adopted in a 1948 case, where the NLRB held that unionization votes have to be conducted as free from interference as possible. Translation: the union wants their shop floor propaganda to be accepted without question. The management in the Volkswagen plant was more than cooperative with the UAW, giving their plant allies easy access to workers while denying the same for anti-union workers. In a truly fair fight, the results may have been even more lopsided against the UAW.
Oddly enough, in cases where Laboratory Conditions have come into play, the complaint was from the employer charging that the union was overly aggressive in its campaign, and in two recent cases ruled that union interference wasn't blatant enough to overturn an election in their favor. But since the shoe is now on the other foot, and knowing the current political composition of the NLRB, it's likely the UAW will receive its second try – and maybe a third, fourth, fifth, and so on until they get the results they want.
o Michigan's Right to Work
Upheld (PatriotPost.us) In March, Michigan became the 24th "right to work"
state following last December's vote to overhaul organized labor.
Unsurprisingly, unions -- infuriated by the state's attempt to liberate workers
forced to join their ranks -- responded quickly by challenging the decision. On
Thursday, an appeals court countered the bid by handing down another blow.
"The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the [state] legislature had the authority to create the law that makes union fees voluntary," reports Reuters, "because it has the constitutional right to 'speak for the people on matters of significant public concern.'" No doubt the ruling will further irritate organized labor's man on top, Barack Obama. Recall last December when he said, "These so-called right-to-work laws, they don't have to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics. What they are really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money. ... We don’t want a race to the bottom."
It was a cute choice of words coming from the man who claimed to have saved Detroit. As HotAir's Erika Johnsen observes, "[U]nion clout is one of the major factors that pushed the city of Detroit into bankruptcy and helped the nation to realize what a 'race to the bottom' really looks like." But the fight isn't over -- unions still retain the right to appeal, and we have no reason to expect them to give up. But for now, as Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette affirms, "public sector employees will receive the same freedoms and choices as private sector employees. Everyone will be treated equally."
o Teachers unions' alliance with Democratic Party frays By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times - Public efforts toward school reform have some Democrats questioning the party's support of guarantees that school districts have made to teachers for decades. ...Teachers unions have been the Democratic Party's foot soldiers for more than half a century, providing not only generous financial backing but an army of volunteers in return for support of their entrenched power in the nation's public schools. But this relationship is fraying, and the deterioration was evident Monday as Democrats gathered here for their national convention. A handful of teachers and parents, carrying large inflated pencils, picketed a screening of "Won't Back Down," a movie to be released this month starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis as mothers, one a teacher, who try to take over a failing inner-city school.
The plot is ripped from the headlines: California has the first "parent trigger" law in the nation, which allows parents to petition for sweeping changes to improve low-performing schools. The first parent trigger attempts have occurred in Compton and Adelanto; the former failed, and the latter faces numerous obstacles. Parent triggers, along with other emerging efforts, have some Democrats questioning their party's longtime support of guarantees that public school districts have made to teachers for decades. Those efforts also include merit pay, charter schools, weakening the tenure system and evaluating teachers partly based on their students' performance on standardized tests.
...Obama enjoys great support from teachers unions, and there are no signs that they will desert him en masse in this election. But he has angered them, notably with his "Race to the Top" competition that rewarded states financially for making moves unpopular with labor, such as increasing access for charter schools and encouraging states to use standardized testing as one way to measure teacher effectiveness. This has prompted a vociferous response at times. When a leader of the overhaul movement was hired to be Obama's spokeswoman for California, the California Federation of Teachers told state Democratic officials that if she was not fired, the union might not "participate" in Obama's reelection effort. The spokeswoman remains on the Obama team.
Union Money in Elections By
Amy Payne - This election
year, millions of Americans will donate to the political candidates and
initiatives of their choice at the local, state, and federal levels. But for
unionized workers, union dues come out of their paychecks and go to political
causes—and they aren’t consulted on where that money will go.
In July, The Wall Street Journal’s Tom McGinty and Brody Mullins published an eye-opening report that “Organized labor spends about four times as much on politics and lobbying as generally thought.”
They broke down the unions’ political spending from 2005 to 2011: $1.1 billion “supporting federal candidates through their political-action committees, which are funded with voluntary contributions, and lobbying Washington, which is a cost borne by the unions’ own coffers.” But that was only the beginning. Add to that another $3.3 billion for political activity from “polling fees, to money spent persuading union members to vote a certain way, to bratwursts to feed Wisconsin workers protesting at the state capitol last year.” Who pays for this? The workers, McGinty and Mullins report: “Much of this kind of spending comes not from members’ contributions to a PAC but directly from unions’ dues-funded coffers.”
Despite findings that 60 percent of union members object to their dues being spent on political causes, this practice continues. Why? In the 27 states without right-to-work laws, many unions are able to put clauses in their contracts that allow them to fire workers who do not pay union dues. If a worker wants to work for a unionized firm, he or she is forced to join the union and pay the dues, which can run from several hundred to several thousand dollars a year. In a new paper, Heritage’s James Sherk gives an example of this rule at work: “The United Auto Workers (UAW), which organized General Motors’ Michigan factories in 1937, is a case in point. Michigan does not have a right-to-work law, so union-represented workers must pay the union’s dues or get fired.” Notice the year there—1937. The workers coming on the job in 2012 are bound by a vote taken by their ancestors, essentially. “General Motors’ current employees never had the chance to vote for or against the UAW. UAW representation was a non-negotiable condition of their employment.”
o Source of school bullying ID'd – it's the teachers union! By Dave Tombers - If you're poor and your children are getting a lousy education in C-, D-, or F-rated Louisiana schools, there's hope for you. Or, there was until the teachers union, in a fit of voucher rage, decided to resort to intimidation. ...The threatening letter sent to private schools across the state gives each school until this weekend to opt out of accepting funding for low income students, or be sued by the teachers union. “The LAE union threatens to initiate litigation against individual schools if they do not pledge – in writing … to cease participation in the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence (SSEE) program,” says the American Federation for Children. “The letter comes despite a judge’s ruling two weeks ago that dismissed a union attempt to get an injunction stopping the program,” officials said. ...The letter can be read on the Louisiana Department of Education website, which released the letter to the public along with their statement denouncing it.
o Letter from FDR Regarding Collective Bargaining of Public Unions written August 16, 1937. - All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
o Why Unions Want Higher Taxes By James Sherk and David Weinberger - No one likes tax increases, right? Not quite. Government unions do. In California, government unions recently postponed their contract negotiations until after a vote on an initiative that would hike taxes. The unions support the initiative, and they don’t want their new contracts to cause Californians to vote no. Their concern is understandable. Heritage senior policy analyst Jason Richwine estimates that on average government employees in the state make 30 percent more than their private sector counterparts. The minimum retirement age for most government employees in California is 50. To maintain this, unions want—and need—more taxes. Similarly, in Nevada, government unions are spearheading a ballot initiative that would hike business taxes. ...Raising business taxes in a weak economy costs private-sector jobs—but that does not deter government unions. Higher taxes still means more for them. In Massachusetts, unions are pushing for a $1.37 billion tax hike. They want to raise the state income tax to almost 6 percent. As the spokesman for a coalition of government unions complained, Massachusetts does “not have a revenue system that is bringing in enough revenue.” But has a government union ever concluded that a tax system brought in too much revenue? Government employees in Massachusetts, of course, can start collecting pensions at age 55. Tax increases hurt the economy. They cost jobs. They take money out of taxpayers’ pockets. But they (usually) mean more money for the government—where most union members now work. Small wonder, then, that the union movement campaigns so heavily for them.
o UnionFacts.Com Vital Statistics - Recent attacks by unions have them accusing corporate America of being "greedy" resulting in slow job growth and a stifled economy. When you look at the facts is it corporate America that's greedy or the self-serving unions? A recent poll had over 90% of respondents stating that unions are bad for America.
- Annual Dues Paid to Unions:$8,217,838,676
- Total Union Assets: $8,804,794,935
- Representational Activities:$4,081,097,858
- Political Activities: $579,624,489
- External Contributions: $321,121,214
- Overhead: $3,905,927,269
- Unions that fail to pass Department of Labor audits: 92%
- Total union officers and staff members:173,503 people
- Total compensation paid to union officials and officers: $1,141,540,980
- Total compensation paid to union employees: $2,562,757,481
o The State of Union Paybacks By Fred Wszolek - President Obama started 2012 as he began 2011, by making one of his first official acts a handout to Big Labor bosses bankrolling his campaign. The president issued non-recess appointments for Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to the NLRB in spite of the fact they had only been nominated for a weeks and hours before the Senate concluded it business for the holidays even though the upper chamber continued to convene in pro forma sessions. Griffin was the general counsel for International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and will continue to receive pension payments from the union while on the Board, which is a clear and evident conflict of interest. Block worked for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis who is one of the most ardent supporters and defenders of labor bosses in the entire country. All of this unfolds as news outlets report that labor bosses, the top beneficiary of the president’s signature “achievement” in his first term – ObamaCare – have received the overwhelming majority of waivers from the health care law totaling more than 500,000 workers.
o A Primer on What Unions Do to the Economy - Unions create a substantial distortion within a market-driven economy. To raise their members' pay unions must control the supply of jobs in a company or an industry. Unions must prevent employers from hiring anyone without their permission. If they can do this, they can expect the laws of supply and demand to work in their favor. Holding down employment drives up union members' wages. In other words, successful unions are job cartels, says James Sherk, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.
- Unions restrict competition for labor by limiting employers' hiring options.
Because unions often incorporate political efforts by forming interest groups
and lobbying, they often employ government regulations and red tape to restrict
market access to union-friendly businesses.
- The union wage premium amounts to between 8 and 12 percent -- this pay differential over market rates reduces the total number of workers a business can hire (average businesses hire 5 to 10 percent fewer after unionization) and passes on higher costs to consumers.
- Unions act as an anchor on corporate investment: because they tend to demand higher wages when businesses do well, businesses are less likely to allocate resources to investments that would lead to that end. This results in a 15-percent loss in physical capital, and research and development.
Fortunately, the market inefficiencies that are introduced by unions are under
constant attack from an increasingly communicative and competitive global
- Within the United States, competition between states to attract employers, specifically between largely unionized states in the north and right-to-work states in the south, has caused a gradual migration of jobs towards the south.
- Just as foreign imports damaged the United Auto Workers' stranglehold on American car manufacturing, increased international trade creates competition that undermines unions.
This growing competition offers only marginal comfort, however, because government-employed unions are largely unaffected by competition. Government services do not face the same competition pressures that the private sector does and have significantly deeper pockets provided by tax revenues. Until public-sector unions disappear, taxpayers and consumers will continue to pay the price.
Source: James Sherk, "The Union Difference: A Primer On What Unions Do To The
Economy," Capital Research Center, January 3, 2012.
For text: http://capitalresearch.org/2012/01/the-union-difference-a-primer-on-what-unions-do-to-the-economy/#more-10005
"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." Thomas Jefferson (letter to Thomas Cooper, 29 November 1802)
Less than 60 years after the Constitution was ratified, French economist Frederic Bastiat predicted, "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it."
Resource: The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, established in 1968, is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by abuses of compulsory unionism.
Index of States' Standing on Big Labor Two public policy organizations have joined together for a new initiative that aims to help taxpayers hold government unions accountable, says OneNewsNow. The "Big Labor vs. Taxpayers Index" is the collaboration of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Crossroads GPS. They say it gives policymakers, members of the media, the business community and the public a "clear picture" of the union powers and privileges across the states. "What we did is take each state's collective bargaining laws, binding arbitration laws, paycheck protection laws, [and] open meeting laws, and we had up to 11 points, which equal to about 1,100 data points that we ranked each state on whether they were for big labor or they were for the taxpayer," explains Trey Kovacs, a CEI labor policy analyst. Utah, Tennessee and Texas were found to be among those most favorable to taxpayers. New York, Illinois, Minnesota and New Mexico prove to favor big labor. Source: Chris Woodward, "Index of States' Standing on Big Labor," OneNewsNow, September 6, 2011. "Big Labor vs. Taxpayers Index," WorkPlaceChoice.org, September 2011. For text: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=1424070 For index: http://workplacechoice.org/state-map/
Crowder Has Gas... and Obama Wants to Tax It National Center's Comedic Filmmaker Blows Up Obama's Plan to Impose New Federal Gas Tax - "President Obama wants Congress to quickly pass an unconditional extension of the federal gasoline tax... set to expire on September 30," says Crowder, who serves as Media Fellow at the National Center. "The tax has been 18.4 cents-per-gallon since 1993, annually amounting to 32 billion dollars, which is then given back to the states for road services, repairs. etc."
"What does [the gasoline tax] mean for the consumer? Not only higher gas prices, but more expensive milk, toilet paper, bananas, bottled water and anything else that would ever have to be transported to our ungrateful selves," says Crowder. In the video, Crowder displays a pie chart showing where each consumer dollar currently spent on gasoline is used by the oil companies: 32 percent to cost of crude, 17 percent to refining and marketing, 3 percent to profits and 32 percent to taxes. Crowder adds that the federal gasoline tax results in higher unemployment, because businesses cut back in other areas to cover transportation costs.
"Folks," Crowder says, "things don't just show up at your house, delivered by magic beans and happy thoughts." In his video, Crowder also looks at the relative size of political contributions made by oil companies, which is small relative to other corporations and labor unions. He also notes that not renewing the federal gasoline tax would give states more financial flexibility and eliminate a federal regulation that states must use exclusively labor union labor on state highway projects. In fact, Crowder concludes, the wishes of labor unions have everything to do with why President Obama and the liberals are fighting conservative efforts to let this tax on consumers expire: "When people want to tell you that elections are bought and paid for, don't jump the gun and go straight to Big Oil or Big PhRMA. Think Big Unions."
REPORT: Right-To-Work States Are Winning The Future By Jim DeMint/Jim’s Blog (May 2011) - A new report from U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) indicates that Right-to-Work (RTW) states not only protect workers’ freedom, they also have discovered a winning economic strategy over years of competition with other states. This research shows that compared to forced unionism states, RTW states have: More new residents More new businesses More new jobs Faster income growth Currently, 22 states have right-to-work laws that protect the rights of workers not to be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. The RTW states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. There are 28 states with forced-unionism.
SEIU drops mask, goes full commie A May Day rally in Los Angeles, co-sponsored by the SEIU and various communist groups, as well as other unions, reflected yet another step in the normalization of self-identified communist and socialist ideologies in the Obama era. Not only did the SEIU help to organize the rally in conjunction with communists, they marched side-by-side with communists, while union members carried communist flags, communists carried union signs, and altogether there was no real way to tell the two apart. Southern California citizen journalist and photographer “Ringo” was on hand to record the day’s events, and posted a full-length photo essay on his site Ringo’s Pictures. To bring this important photo essay to a wider audience, I present here a small selection of Ringo’s May Day pictures; visit his site to see dozens more photos from the rally.
Andrew Klavan: Behold! Your Public Sector Unions at Work.
SEIU Demonstrates Its Lack of Civility With ‘Civil Disobedience’ (April 11, 2011) You’ve certainly seen enough video footage of the unruly union mobs in Madison, WI for the last two months. Well, the SEIU has taken its mob show on the road and, like the pioneers of old, headed West. For the last week, SEIU protesters have been demonstrating at the Washington State Capitol–a state largely controlled by Democrats. Late Thursday, however, the SEIU took its protests to a whole new level by attacking state troopers as the purple people beaters tried to push and shove their way into Democrat Governor Christine Gregoire’s office.
The Public Union and Democratic Party Collusion
SEIU Job Description: Train & Lead Members to Occupy State Buildings & Takeover Banks If there was ever any question whether the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a radical and militantly Marxist union, this SEIU jobs description for a Senior/Lead Internal Organizer, Home Care, posted on the SEIU’s website should remove all doubts. The SEIU is advertising on its site for SEIU Healthcare 775NW in Washington State. Among the job duties (screenshot below the fold) listed includes the training of members in civil-disobedience, peaceful resistance (how to get arrested), as well as the occupation and takeover banks and state buildings,
Barack Obama speaking at an SEIU rally on January 15, 2008: "I’ve been working with the SEIU before I was elected to anything. When I was a community organizer, SEIU Local 880 and myself we organized people, to make sure that healthcare workers had basic rights; we organized voter registration drives, that’s how we built political power on the South Side of Chicago….and now the time has come for us to do it all across this country, and then we’ll paint the nation purple, with SEIU!"
‘Forget About the Law’ Union Bosses & White House Advisors Bob Park & Rich Trumka Admitting They Are Overriding US Law & Sovereignty With The International Labor Movement
In a stunning federal overreach, the Obama-appointed National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Boeing cannot build an assembly line in the right-to-work state of South Carolina, instead mandating it remain in Washington state.
Indiana Democrat Fleebagger’s Hotel Bill Completely Paid for by Unions By Warner Todd Huston - A recent campaign finance report was released that shows that the entire $84,953.70 hotel bill at the Comfort Suites Urbana was paid for by unions. That’s right, unions. This expense report seems to have turned Indiana Democratic State Chairman Dan Parker into a bit of a liar. OK, a full blown liar. You see, at the end of February, Parker told reporters that he was paying for the bill himself. As Hoosier Access so aptly says, “we now have it on record who the Indiana Democratic Party actually works for. Let the record show that it isn’t the people of Indiana.”
Thanks for Raising My Taxes -- What Else Can I Do for You? By Ann Coulter - In 2010, three of the five top campaign contributors to the Democrats were public sector unions. Service Employees International was No. 2 at $11.6 million in campaign contributions to Democrats, the National Education Association was No. 3 at $8 million, and the American Federation of Teachers was No. 5 at $7 million. ... Liberals don't love big government because they think it's efficient, compassionate, fair or even remotely useful. They support big government because they are guaranteed the support of nearly everyone who works for the government. Public sector employee contracts are written by the union and rubber-stamped by Democrats -- and the taxpayers only find out years later that public school teachers are allowed to get a full year's pay for 30 days' work over three years after they retire -- as is the case in Green Bay, Wis., where one out of every 12 teachers retired this year to take advantage of the 'emeritus' scam. This is what all the commotion is about in Wisconsin. Republican Gov. Scott Walker isn't even trying to eliminate collective bargaining for government workers' salaries. He only wants to eliminate collective bargaining over their conditions of employment, which has led to massive inefficiencies.
Big Abortion and Big Labor - Another Democrat money laundering operation is in trouble. By John Hayward - An unusual rally was held over the [last] weekend in Wisconsin, in which the AFL-CIO acted to protect government subsidies for Planned Parenthood. ... Unions are the primary conduit for converting taxpayer money into Democrat campaign cash. Big Abortion is a smaller, but not insignificant, pipeline. Both organizations harvest political power from people who support them for idealistic reasons, and neatly package that power for delivery to their chosen political party.
Political Incest by Paul Hollrah - The eighty-five percent of Wisconsin voters who are not members of labor unions may soon have an opportunity to show that they understand the nature of the relationship that exists between Democrats and public employee unions, and that what is at stake is the monopoly power of high-salaried union bosses... that, and nothing more.
â€¦In short, when members of the same political family (Democratic elected
officials and their brothers and sisters in the labor movement) are allowed to
sit down across the table from each other for the purpose of divvying up other
peopleâ€™s hard-earned money, that comes very close to defining the term â€œincest.â€
It is precisely why labor icons such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and AFL-CIO
president George Meany were so outspoken against public employee unions.
â€¦A very crude old joke says, â€œIncest is best; love begins at home.â€ Not true. Most incest occurs when Democratic elected officials and public employee unions gather behind closed doors to divide up the spoils of a corrupt political system. Is it any wonder that Wisconsin now has more government jobs than manufacturing jobs?
Democrats Lead Ranks of Both Union and State Workers State workers have greatest Democrat-Republican party gap by Frank Newport, Dan Witters, and Sangeeta Agrawal -- Union members, whether they work for the government or the private sector, are more likely than nonunion workers to be Democrats than Republicans. The gap is greatest among unionized state government workers, who are twice as likely to be Democrats. State workers are also more likely to be Democrats than are federal, local, or nongovernment workers, regardless of union status. (Gallop Poll results at link.)
Uncivil Unions by - Ann Coulter Democrats use taxpayer money to fund a government jobs program, impoverishing the middle class and harming the people allegedly helped by the programs -- but creating a vast class of voters who owe their jobs to the Democrats.
Public Unions Force Taxpayers to Fund Dems by Michael Barone - Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle. Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party. So, just as the president complained in his 2010 State of the Union address about a Supreme Court decision that he feared would increase the flow of money to Republicans, he also found time to complain about a proposed state law that could reduce the flow of money to Democrats.
Collective Bargaining 101: When union leaders claim that collective bargaining is a right, Heritage is here to provide the facts. Our new video is a helpful primer on the rise government unions and the monopoly power given to them through collective bargaining.
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To Reform Government at the State Level, We Must Start With the Unions - By Chairman Frank Donatelli - Maintaining the status quo, with public unions having the power to collect compulsory dues and bargain on matters beyond wages, is incompatible with the needs of 21st century government which must be focused on changing programs and policies to adapt to a rapidly changing economic environment. It's why, for instance, the private sector long ago abandoned defined benefit programs in favor of 401(k) plans. Yet public employee unions still fight this battle, even as it becomes clear that such indefinite commitments cannot be sustained by the taxpayers. Our state governments cannot take advantage of new technologies or reform ideas that make programs more efficient if public unions feel threatened by those changes.
Public Employee Unions By Walter E. Williams - With all of the union strife in Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey, and indications of more to come, it might be time to shed a bit of light on unions as an economic unit. First, let's get one important matter out of the way. I value freedom of association, and non-association, even in ways that are not always popular and often deemed despicable. I support a person's right to be a member or not be a member of a labor union. From my view, the only controversy regarding unions is what they should be permitted and not permitted to do.
According to the Department of Labor, most union members today work for state, local and federal government. Close to 40 percent of public employees are unionized. As such, they represent a powerful political force in elections. If you're a candidate for governor, mayor or city councilman, you surely want the votes and campaign contributions from public employee unions. In my view, that's no problem. The problem arises after you win office and sit down to bargain over the pay and working conditions with unions who voted for you. Given the relationship between politicians and public employee unions, we should not be surprised that public employee wages and benefits often average 45 percent higher than their counterparts in the private sector. Often they receive pension and health care benefits making little or no contribution.
How is it that public employee unions have such a leg up on their private-sector brethren? The answer is not rocket science. Employers in the private sector have a bottom line. If they over-compensate their employees, company profits will sink. The company might even face bankruptcy. Of course, if private companies can count on federal government bailouts, as did General Motors and Chrysler, they can maintain a comfy relationship with their unions. No such bottom line exists in the government sector. Politicians have every reason to grant benefits to their political allies, in this case public employee unions. They don't pick up the tab; it's unorganized taxpayers who face higher taxes. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
Collectivist Tyranny By Mark Alexander - The governor plans to impose economic realities on the collectivist bargaining ability of the state's public employee unions by capping their wages with the Consumer Price Index (unless increase by voter referendum), requiring union members to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary to their pension funds and picking up 12.6 percent of their health insurance premium costs. For the record, private sector employee pension contributions average 7.5 percent and almost 20 percent for health plans. Most vocal among the state's 300,000 public employee union members are protesters from the 98,000-member teacher's union, who are now paid, on average, more than $75,000 in wages and benefits. Wisconsin parents should be protesting against these teachers, too many of whom are clearly motivated more by tenured job security rather than improving student performance. According to the latest federal education data, pathetically less than 40 percent of 8th grade students in the state's government schools meet basic requirements for math and reading performance, even though the state spends more per student ($10,791) than any other Midwest state. In Milwaukee, where the average teacher compensation package exceeds $100,000, the graduation rate is under 50 percent, and for black children it is below 35 percent. ... Government unions face no competition, so there is no impetus to produce or perform at a higher level, and to call government union negotiations "bargaining" is a gross mischaracterization. ...It is no small irony that protesting Wisconsin teachers are sporting placards likening Gov. Walker to Adolf Hitler. Ironic, I say, because Hitler proclaimed, "We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions."
Apocalypse Now: Wisconsin vs. Big Labor by Michelle Malkin - Welcome to the reckoning. We have met the fiscal apocalypse, and it is smack dab in the middle of the heartland. As Wisconsin goes, so goes the nation. Let us pray it does not go the way of the decrepit welfare states of the European Union. The lowdown: State government workers in the Badger State pay piddling amounts for generous taxpayer-subsidized health benefits. Faced with a $3.6 billion budget hole and a state constitutional ban on running a deficit, new GOP Gov. Scott Walker wants public unions to pony up a little more. He has proposed raising the public employee share of health insurance premiums from less than 5 percent to 12.4 percent. He is also pushing for state workers to cover half of their pension contributions. To spare taxpayers the soaring costs of Byzantine union-negotiated work rules, he would rein in Big Labor's collective bargaining power to cover only wages unless approved at the ballot box. As the free-market MacIver Institute in Wisconsin points out, the benefits concessions Walker is asking public union workers to make would still maintain their health insurance contribution rates at the second-lowest among Midwest states for family coverage. Moreover, a new analysis by benefits think tank HCTrends shows that the new rate "would also be less than the employee contributions required at 85 percent of large Milwaukee-area employers." This modest call for shared sacrifice has triggered the wrath of the White House-Big Labor-Michael Moore axis. On Thursday, President Obama lamented the "assault on unions." AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union bosses dubbed Walker the "Mubarak of the Midwest" while their minions toted posters of Walker's face superimposed on Hitler's. Moore goaded thousands of striking union protesters to "shut down" the "new Cairo" while the state's Democratic legislators bailed on floor debate over the union reform package.
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Elect Your Boss Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Easy as 1-2-3! by Kyle Olson: There's a dirty little secret in public school governance: for a few thousand dollars, unions can run the table. How? Elect the school board. Then, at negotiation time, they're sitting across the bargaining table from their friends
Right-to-Work States Outperform Forced-Union States Right-to-work laws make states more economically competitive... Right-to-work laws allow workers to opt-out of union membership. Contrary to much union rhetoric, these laws don't ban or bust unions. They simply grant individual workers the right to join or not to join, even once a workplace is organized by a union. Workers who decline to join the union can't be forced to have dues taken out of their paycheck and thus used to finance union political campaigns, says the Wall Street Journal. Right-to-work states outperform forced-union states in almost every measurable category of worker well-being, says the Journal. A study in the Cato Journal by economist Richard Vedder finds that from 2000 to 2008 some 4.7 million Americans moved from forced-union to right-to-work states. The study also found that from 1977 through 2007 there was "a very strong and highly statistically significant relationship between right-to-work laws and economic growth." Right-to-work states experienced a 23 percent faster rise in per capita income over that period. The two regions that have lost the most jobs in recent years, the once-industrial Northeast and Midwest, are mostly forced-union states. Right-to-work laws make states more economically competitive, but the bigger issue is about individual rights. Workers should have the right to join a union but also the right not to. Source: " Giving Workers a Union Choice," Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2010.
Unions to Taxpayers: "Where's the Cash?" by Kyle Olson -
The unions and the education establishment judge Americans' value of public
education based on how much we're willing to spend. Americans, on the other
hand, are beginning to question what they're getting for all this money they are
"investing." Consider this: From 1980 to 2007, the U.S. increased K-12 education
spending by a whopping 571 percent (from $101 billion in 1980 to $581 billion in
2007). That works out to over $10,000 per student per year. All that money must
have increased learning, right? Afraid not. Every year, college-bound high
school seniors take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SATs) to assess "academic
readiness for college."Â From 1980 to 2008, the average SAT score for critical
reading stayed absolutely flat (502 to 502), while the average SAT math score
climbed from 492 to 515 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an increase of just 4.6 percent. Even the left-wing
Center for American Progress
published a report concluding that there isn't much of a correlation between
spending and student achievement. But as 'Give Up the Bucks!' reveals, unions
have become the virtual pirates of public education, looting the ship even as it
is going down. The question you should ask is: who is benefitting from all those
education dollars? The answer will likely shock you.
SEIU fights healthcare repeal after obtaining waivers from law
UAW Seeks to Unionize Foreign-Owned Auto Plants Workers of the World Unionize. The United Auto Workers union (UAW) is planning an organizing push on one of three foreign-owned automotive factories in the U.S. UAW president Bob King told members that the survival of the union depends on garnering more members. Apparently, the union learned little from its near-destruction of the American auto industry. King and his cronies, however, have their work cut out for them. Foreign-owned factories have been historically resistant to attempts at organizing. Some say it's because they are located in the South, which is typically less union-friendly than the Midwest. While this may be true, it's also likely that unions haven't been successful because the foreign companies pay wages comparable to those demanded by the union without the bureaucratic red tape and strong-arm tactics that unions inevitably bring to the table. The UAW will announce within three months exactly which companies they're going after but said it will be Japanese-, Korean- or German-owned. In the meantime, King is revving up the union's one million active and retired members to take part in picketing hundreds of dealerships around the country. We hope the UAW's tactics won't sway these companies and their workers, lest they find themselves in the same dictatorial grip as their American competitors. The UAW drove two of the American Big Three to bankruptcy and now they want their shot at foreign companies.
Feds threaten to sue states over union laws Read more at the Washington Examiner: The National Labor Relations Board on Friday threatened to sue Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah over constitutional amendments guaranteeing workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections. The agency's acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the amendments conflict with federal law, which gives employers the option of recognizing a union if a majority of workers sign cards that support unionizing. Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/01/feds-threaten-sue-states-over-union-laws#ixzz1BDwU9BWH
Union Bosses Go After Property Holders, Businesses & Girl Scouts by Katie Gage - If you think Big Labor's agenda is confined to taking away the secret ballot and empowering bureaucrats to mandate contracts on workers and small businesses alike without their consent, their latest scheme may surprise you. The most recent targets in the push by union bosses to force unionization on employees and employers are groups like the Girl Scouts, American Red Cross and Salvation Army.
...But why would union bosses want to deny access to the Girl Scouts, American Red Cross and Salvation Army? Simple, union bosses want access to private property so they can bully workers into joining unions and/or scare away customers with inflammatory and misleading rhetoric. And the AFL-CIO refuses to take no for an answer. Despite the consequences, they have appealed to the Obama Administration for help, seeking a decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that would, in effect, so constrict business owners' rights to determine what outside parties can be on their own premises, that they would be left between a rock and a hard place: either allow union bosses to solicit their employees and frighten their clientele or say goodbye to giving access to any outside group.
Richard Trumka is trying to force his way onto these properties so he can gain access to handpicked employees of private companies to push for forced unionization of all the workers. Business owners, not wanting this type of coercion on their property, reserve the right to refuse access to anyone whom they so choose. But the labor bosses want to force employers to allow them access Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and they are demanding government bureaucrats issue an all or nothing edict.
Small business owners are refusing to cower to Big Labor. In fact, a coalition of them has submitted an amicus brief to the NLRB showing their adamant objection to the AFL-CIO's demand. As their amicus brief states, "the primary interest of the Coalition in this case is to preserve the legitimate private property rights of employers, as they have been recognized and upheld by the United States Supreme Court and numerous courts of appeals." If the NLRB decides against business owners, they will be forced to either allow union bosses to have access to their property, or deny access to every group under the sun, including those raising funds for the poor.
Support for Public Employee Unions Declines - With states across the country finding that benefits for public workers are becoming nearly impossible to fund in the current economic climate, support for public employee unions has fallen. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 45% of Americans now at least somewhat favor unions for public employees, while the identical number (45%) are opposed to them. These findings include 21% who Strongly Favor such unions versus 30% who are Strongly Opposed to them. (To see survey question wording, click here.) In May of last year, 53% of Adults favored unions for public employees, while 37% opposed them. By comparison, 51% now at least somewhat favor unions for private sector workers, with just 39% opposed.
Disorganizing Labor The slowdown of New York City's unionized snowplow drivers gives Americans a taste of government workers shutting down cities, states and even countries when things do not go their way...
Strained States Turning to Laws to Curb Labor Unions By STEVEN GREENHOUSE - Faced with growing budget deficits and restive taxpayers, elected officials from Maine to Alabama, Ohio to Arizona, are pushing new legislation to limit the power of labor unions, particularly those representing government workers, in collective bargaining and politics. State officials from both parties are wrestling with ways to curb the salaries and pensions of government employees, which typically make up a significant percentage of state budgets. On Wednesday, for example, New York's new Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, is expected to call for a one-year salary freeze for state workers, a move that would save $200 million to $400 million and challenge labor's traditional clout in Albany. But in some cases mostly in states with Republican governors and Republican statehouse majorities Ã¢â‚¬â€ officials are seeking more far-reaching, structural changes that would weaken the bargaining power and political influence of unions, including private sector ones. For example, Republican lawmakers in Indiana, Maine, Missouri and seven other states plan to introduce legislation that would bar private sector unions from forcing workers they represent to pay dues or fees, reducing the flow of funds into union treasuries. In Ohio, the new Republican governor, following the precedent of many other states, wants to ban strikes by public school teachers. Some new governors, most notably Scott Walker of Wisconsin, are even threatening to take away government workers' right to form unions and bargain contracts. "We can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots,"Â Mr. Walker, a Republican, said in a speech. "The bottom line is that we are going to look at every legal means we have to try to put that balance more on the side of taxpayers." Many of the proposals may never become law. But those that do are likely to reduce union influence in election campaigns, with reverberations for both parties.
Big Labor's Snowmageddon Snit Fit by Michelle Malkin - Come rain or shine, wind, sleet or blizzard, Big Labor leaders always demonstrate perfect power-grabby timing when it comes to shafting taxpayers. ... Confirming rumors that have fired up the frozen metropolis, the New York Post reported Thursday that government sanitation and transportation workers were ordered by union supervisors to oversee a deliberate slowdown of its cleanup program -- and to boost their overtime paychecks. ...New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Queens, told the Post that several brave whistleblowers confessed to him that they "were told (by supervisors) to take off routes (and) not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file." Denials and recriminations are flying like snowballs. But even as they scoff at reports of this outrageous organized job action, the city sanitation managers' unions openly acknowledge their grievances and "resentment" over job cuts. Stunningly, sanitation workers spilled the beans on how city plowers raised blades "unusually high" (which requires extra passes to get their work done) and refused to plow anything other than assigned streets (even if it meant leaving behind clogged routes to get to their blocks).
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New Film Documents Unions' Destruction of Public Education By Kyle Olson - "Kids Aren't Cars" is a new short film series set for release February 1st. Using examples from the Midwest, it documents the impact organized labor has had on the American education system, creating a one-size-fits-all assembly line model that leaves students behind and treats teachers equally, stifling innovation and improvement. See the trailer here.
Our government education system has been spending more and more each year, yet
the results have been the same. While unions demand higher spending - which of
course ends up in the pockets of their members - money is not fixing the
Those that have been in the trenches gave shocking interviews - stories of money grabs by adults while children are left behind.
An executive director of a literacy clinic in Detroit - where high school graduates go to learn how to read - compared the actions of the school board to the Ku Klux Klan. "If they were sitting up there in Klan robes," she said, no one would be tolerating what is going on, but the effect is the same. [Eight of the 9 school board members are black.]
We tell the story of two Indiana teachers recognized state-wide for their impact on students, only to be fired literally the next day because they lacked seniority of their co-workers. Numerous leaders sound the alarm, but do elected leaders have the courage to stand up to the all-powerful teachers' unions? The tide seems to be turning, but the need is dire. The United States continues to slip globally [pdf], with student achievement lagging behind Iceland and Hungary.
In short, it's because our public school system is designed to benefits adults, at the expense of children. The focus has been on spending - which invariably ends up in pay, health benefits and retirement for the employees. "Kids Aren't Cars" is an unflinching look at the state of public education in America and what can be done about it. The filmÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Facebook page is here.
When Government Unions Win, Everybody Else Loses by Tom McLaughlin - After the SEIU effectively drove the chancellor of the Washington D.C. school system to resign, they gained a hollow victory. Not too much good news about public education coming out of our nation's capital. Michelle Rhee resigned as chancellor of the Washington, DC school system. She was doing everything she could to break the left-wing teachers' union's power to protect its deadwood teachers and principals. She modified the teacher evaluation process by taking student progress on tests into consideration and she fired over 200 ineffective teachers and administrators. She had the support of Mayor Adrian Fenty, but other public employee unions including the infamously left-wing SEIU joined up to defeat him and pull the rug out from under Rhee.
The American Federation of Teachers spent over $1 million in the effort. Unions won. Students lost. This came on the heels of another bit of bad news last year in our capitol city when Congress (which administers the District of Columbia) eliminated a school choice program for 1700 DC school children. President Obama, who sends his children to an expensive private school in DC, did nothing to support the school choice program for poor DC kids. Democrats are beholden to the teachers's unions, which are the biggest supporters of that party nationwide, just ahead of trial lawyers. Schoolchoice anywhere itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offered is anathema to teachersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ unions. Most of their political capital is spent defeating school choice (voucher) programs nationwide. Here too, unions won. Students lost.
Shortly after Michelle Rhee resigned, the DC school system started feeding dinner to students as well as breakfast and lunch. According to an article at change.org, "This new early dinner program will feed 10,000 kids who may spend up to 10 hours a day at school in early-care and after-school programs."Â So, now US taxpayers are feeding three meals a day to school kids in our nation's capital. They're spending ten hours a day in school with early care and after school programs, yet change.org is lamenting that food stamp aid may be cut to pay for it. "Forty percent of households reported not having enough money to buy food at least one time,"Â the article claims, and the federal government is "robbing Peter to pay Paul"Â when it cuts food stamps.
...Most newspapers report the per-pupil cost for DC schools at $13,000 per
year, but if an article
in the Washington Times is correct, the real number is $24,600! That's the
figure you get when you take all the money spent on the schools and divided it
by the number of students. My only question at this point is: when are we going
to provide beds for them? We babysit them before and after school, we feed them,
we teach them to brush their teeth, teach them about the birds and the bees,
provide counseling - so what's left for parents to do? Where is it going to end?
The school choice program that Democrats in Congress cut cost the Washington DC school district only $7500 per pupil. At $24,600 per pupil the District spends, that would be a net savings of more than $17,000 per student. The 1700 students who took advantage of it were thriving. Their parents were happy with it too, but the teachers' unions were not because it shone a bright light on what a bloated, corrupt education bureaucracy the unions created and preserved. If it expanded and was copied across the country, the teachers' union monopoly would be smashed and Democrats would lose their biggest constituency. It had to go.
Teachers Union Honors Homosexual Activist The National Education Association has honored noted homosexual activist Kevin Jennings. In his own book, Jennings admits that as a teacher he did not report a case of teacher-on-student sexual abuse. Jennings, who now heads the GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, has also taught homosexuality to kindergarteners, and participated in a conference where graphic sexual practices were taught to teens among other notable misdeeds. Bob Knight, director of CWA's Culture and Family Institute has more.
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Unions That Won't Take "No" for an Answer The Obama Administration recently made it easier to organize Delta airlines. Delta's employees nonetheless voted the union down. Instead of accepting defeat, the union movement is now asking for a re-vote. They will not take "no"Â for an answer. The saga began when non-union Delta acquired unionized Northwest airlines in 2008. The International Association of Machinists, the Association of Flight Attendants, and other unions launched a campaign to organize the newly merged workforce. During this campaign they sent a private letter to the National Mediation Board (the agency that oversees union elections in airlines) asking it to overhaul the election procedures to make it easier for them to win.
Under the Railway Labor Act (which also covers airlines), unions had to win the support of a majority of employees. Any worker who does not vote effectively counts as a "no" a union must have the support of a majority of all workers and not just those who show up to vote. There was a good reason the law set a higher bar for airline unions to clear. The Railway Labor Act effectively bars workers from getting rid of a union. Once they unionize, they cannot get out. So unions had to demonstrate active support from a majority of all workers - a minority of workers could not vote the majority permanently into a union. But union leaders want workers to unionize, period. They do not object to workers being forced into a union they cannot get out of. They simply want more members paying more union dues.
So the unions asked the Obama Administration to overturn 75 years of precedent and redefine a union win as the support of a majority of voters. The Administration swiftly complied. The unions withdrew their earlier requests for elections and re-filed them under the new rules. Despite the election rules being rigged in their favor, the unions still lost. Starting with 52 percent of flight attendants in early November and ending with 70 percent of gate and ticket counter agents in December, every group of Delta employees voted to stay nonunion. Workers heard the union pitch and voted no. They had good reason to. Nonunion Delta employees felt that their company treated them well. They also earned 10 to 15 percent more than their unionized colleagues at Northwest did. Why pay union dues to get little in return?
However, the union movement very much wants to collect those dues. So instead of accepting defeat, they have asked the Obama Administration to order a re-vote. The unions contend that the company so greatly interfered in the election that it does not truly reflect employeesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ desires. Delta's alleged sins? It discussed the downsides of organizing with its employees and allowed them to vote online from company computers. The charges are laughable, but the unions are very serious about getting a mulligan. The Obama Administration has the power to use such flimsy charges as the grounds for holding a new vote. They can keep holding re-votes until they get the result they like. If the AdministrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s past behavior provides any guidance, then the unions will get what they want.
Government Unions vs. Taxpayers The moral case for unions "protecting working families from exploitation" does not apply to public employment. By TIM PAWLENTY When Americans think of organized labor, they might think of images like I saw growing up in a blue-collar meatpacking town: hard hats, work boots, tough conditions and gritty jobs. While I didn't work in the slaughterhouses, I did become a union member when I worked at a grocery store to help put myself through school. I was grateful for the paycheck and proud of the work I did. The rise of the labor movement in the early 20th century was a triumph for America's working class. In an era of deep economic anxiety, unions stood up for hard-working but vulnerable families, protecting them from physical and economic exploitation. David Crane, special economic advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, breaks down the numbers.
Much has changed. The majority of union members today no longer work in construction, manufacturing or "strong back" jobs. They work for government, which, thanks to President Obama, has become the only booming "industry" left in our economy. Since January 2008 the private sector has lost nearly eight million jobs while local, state and federal governments added 590,000. Federal employees receive an average of $123,049 annually in pay and benefits, twice the average of the private sector. And across the country, at every level of government, the pattern is the same: Unionized public employees are making more money, receiving more generous benefits, and enjoying greater job security than the working families forced to pay for it with ever-higher taxes, deficits and debt.
How did this happen? Very quietly. The rise of government unions has been like a silent coup, an inside job engineered by self-interested politicians and fueled by campaign contributions. Public employee unions contribute mightily to the campaigns of liberal politicians ($91 million in the midterm elections alone) who vote to increase government pay and workers. As more government employees join the unions and pay dues, the union bosses pour ever more money and energy into liberal campaigns. The result is that certain states are now approaching default. Decades of overpromising and fiscal malpractice by state and local officials have created unfunded public employee benefit liabilities of more than $3 trillion.
Obama-linked union: White workers 'f---ing rabidly racist' SEIU honcho says racism can be used to convince blacks to back immigration reformBy Aaron Klein Ã‚Â© 2010 WorldNetDaily - White American workers are "so f---ing rabidly racist" their sentiments can be used to scare blacks into supporting comprehensive immigration reform for illegal Latinos, argued SEIU Executive Vice President Gerry Hudson. "On white workers, I think we got some real problems. I've spent a lot of time in Wisconsin and places like that, where I have heard some of the most anti-immigrant sentiments around," said Hudson, speaking April 6 at a Washington, D.C., conference sponsored by Dissent magazine, which is closely linked with the Democrat Socialists of America group. "It's also, and this is where you get the black workers first, it's so f---ing rabidly racist, 'til black people get scared. They (white workers) don't just mean you, right? So, you can organize them quicker, like, look at what's there." The conference, titled "Labor, the Left, and Progressives in the Obama Era," was broadcast on C-SPAN, which caught Hudson's obscenity-laced remarks. The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, has long worked with the recently bankrupted Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. SEIU President Andy Stern, who announced his resignation last week, is the most frequent visitor to the White House, according to documents released by the Obama administration.
SEIU's Plan to Exploit "Immigration Reform" to Further Socialist AgendaBy Trevor Loudon While only 6,000 strong, DSA has considerable strength in the labor movement, non profits, education and inside the Democratic Party. While Marxist based, DSA's innocuous sounding name, allows the organization to operate in ways and places that their allies in the the Communist Party USA cannot.
Rep. Grayson Calls Labor Unions Strongest Force for "Good Government"(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said Tuesday that labor unions were the strongest force for "good government"Â in the United States. Grayson was appearing on a live webcast with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to promote a new website that publicizes executive pay at the nation's largest companies.
Unions Making Postal Service Unsustainable, GAO Says(CNSNews.com) The U.S. Postal Service's business model is not sustainable, and generous, union-backed employee benefits along with collective bargaining contracts are a big part of the problem, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. "USPS officials told us that as mail volume declines, it would be more efficient to have a much higher proportion of part-time workers than is currently available under existing agreements," the report said.
Labor unions put heat on DemocratsSeek passage of ' card check'
Shared Sacrifice by Bill O'Reilly - In these very tough economic times, the left is calling for "shared sacrifice," which is code for soaking affluent folks as much as possible. You may have heard some radio ads paid for by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) beseeching Americans to support higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy so we can all "share" the economic pain.
That message is incredibly stupid. Higher taxes on corporations will inevitably lead to even more worker layoffs. Also, the less money the affluent have, the less they will spend in places where service employees actually work -- like hotels and resorts.
So there seems to be a major "duh" factor in the sacrifice call by the SEIU. But not if you know what's really going on.
That union is a great supporter of far-left causes like open borders, amnesty for illegal aliens and giant government entitlement programs. In addition, the SEIU has taken the lead in attacking the nonunion Wal-Mart corporation and calling for non-secret ballots in union voting. The SEIU is a socialist outfit right down the line. The union doesn't just want you to share their sacrifice, whatever that may be; they want to take your furniture.
Unions Want to Take Over Your 401(k) By: Gene J. Koprowski - One of the nation's largest labor unions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is promoting a plan that will centralize all retirement plans for American workers, including private 401(k) plans, under one new "retirement system" for the United States. In effect, government pensions for everyone, not unlike the European system and regardless of personal choice.How Unions Will Manipulate Workers Using Card Check - Liberals are introducing the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act today on Capitol Hill. The legislation would effectively eliminate workersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ rights to a secret ballot vote on joining a union. HeritageÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s James Sherk has done extensive research on card check, including a new paper that outlines why the bill would create government-run workplaces. Last month at a Heritage event, former UFCW Local 700 Organizing Director Rian Wathen described how unions will creatively manipulate workers into signing union cards if EFCA takes away their right to a secret vote. Click here to see the actual card being used by unions in California that Wathen talks about in the video...
Employee "No"Â Choice Act: Increasing the Fed's Role, Again - Liberals Opposed it in Mexico: In 2001, labor-friendly Members of Congress, including EFCA sponsors, pressed Mexico in a letter to increase its use of the secret ballot, saying it was "absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose."
"No Employee Choice In This Act" - "It doesn't make any
sense-none, unless you are interested in intimidation and coercion and retribution" to have a public peition-signing to form a union,"Â said Price.
"This is just another nail in the coffin of American liberty and American
freedom. I for one, will not go quietly into the night."Â Congressman
Price, leader of the Republican Study Committee
Dancing to Big Labor's Tune by Newt Gingrich - After spending an
astounding $61 million to elect Democrats in the 2008 elections, union
bosses are getting their payback this week.
Yesterday, so-called "Card Check"Â legislation was
introduced in both the House and the Senate. Card Check strips American
workers of the right to a secret ballot and gives the federal government
the right to impose labor contracts on workers.
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The timing of this assault on the freedom of the American workplace could not be worse. A new study shows that for every three workers coerced into joining a union under Card Check, one job will be eliminated by besieged American businesses.
Card Check Could Eliminate 600,000 Jobs In Its First Year. That means that an estimated 600,000 jobs could be lost due to Card Check in the first year alone -- and that's on top of the over four million jobs already lost to the flagging economy. Card Check is a job killer. Even Obama supporter Warren Buffet opposes it, saying "I think the secret ballot is pretty important in the country. I'm against card check." Watch him here.
But as far as Big Labor is concerned, a deal's a deal. Their goal is to get their allies in Washington to ram Card Check through Congress this week, before anyone notices that American workers and businesses are losing fundamental rights.
That's why we need to act, and we need to act now at www.AmericanSolutions.com/FreedomNotFear.
What's happening in Washington this week is old style, quid-pro-quo politics Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the kind President Obama pledged as a candidate to end. Supporters of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s their Orwellian name for Card Check) claim to be all about protecting American workers.
But leave it to Vice President Joe Biden to inadvertently tell the truth. In a meeting with the AFL-CIO last week, Biden made it clear who's calling the shots when it comes to American workers, businesses and jobs. He told the gathering of union big-wigs: "You all brought me to the dance a long time ago, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time we start dancing."Â
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Dancing to Big Labor's Tune by Newt Gingrich - After spending an astounding $61 million to elect Democrats in the 2008 elections, union bosses are getting their payback this week.
Yesterday, so-called "Card Check"Â legislation was
introduced in both the House and the Senate. Card Check strips American
workers of the right to a secret ballot and gives the federal government
the right to impose labor contracts on workers.
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Back to Progressive Liberals
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