And most do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits, so why are they not out there surrounding the White House demanding them? I’ve been wondering about this for weeks, but since President Obama’s intention was to restore the collective bargaining rights, I guess that is what really matters.
I’ve referred to it as collective collusion instead of collective bargaining. When unions support political candidates with huge political contributions and politicians return that support in the form of union contracts that are simply unsustainable in years to come, that’s collusion.
Outright rage. More examples of the new tone. Did we see any of this type of outbursts at TEA Party events? Now, we certainly do not know what started this, but if there is video it will be displayed. What did Adam Cole from We the People of Rhode Island say or do to get this violent reaction?
This morning Jim read from an article about public unions, and their “contribution” to our country. In case you missed the show, or, would like to read the full article, here is the link. What follows are some of the highlights, or perhaps lowlights, which will explain graphically why you are seeing the show down in Wisconsin, and perhaps, a showdown in a state near you.
Indeed, public-sector unions especially have become the nation’s most aggressive advocates for higher taxes and spending… they mount multimillion dollar campaigns to defeat efforts by governors and taxpayer groups to roll back taxes.
Why? To pay for the salaries, benefits and pensions of public employees.
In Oregon last year, the voters approved ballot measures that increased taxes by $727 million.
Led by $2 million from the Oregon Education Association and $1.8 million from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), unions contributed an estimated 75% of the nearly $7 million raised to promote the tax increases… [emphasis supplied].
In Washington state last year, an effort was made to raise taxes by $2 billion by increasing taxes on those making more than $200,000 per year. Although the measure was defeated,
…state and national SEIU locals gave $2.5 million, while the National Education Association and Washington teachers union locals contributed $900,000 to the $6 million campaign for the new income tax. [emphasis supplied]
In New Jersey,
[t]he New Jersey Education Association collects about $100 million a year in dues from its 203,000 members; last spring the union spent $300,000 a week, according to the head of the union, for radio ads urging tax increases on the rich instead of budget cuts. [emphasis supplied]
And, on the national level,
the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme) has been the third-biggest contributor to federal campaigns over the past 20 years, having given $43 million. The National Education Association is number eight with $31 million in contributions, while the SEIU—half of whose 2.2 million members are government workers—is No. 10, with $29 million in campaign donations. [emphasis supplied]
Where did that money go, you ask?
…[S]ome 95% of government workers’ donations has gone to the Democratic Party, whose members are far more likely to favor raising taxes and boosting spending than are members of the Republican Party.
So, the next time you see a teacher protesting in Wisconsin, or hear an ad extolling the virtues of raising taxes on the rich, understand that it has nothing to do with the children, or the needy, or the sick. It is solely about raising the money to continue to pay the bloated salaries, benefits and pensions of government union employees.
Don’t believe that last statement? According to a chart in the print version of this article, per the Department of Labor, on average, private workers are paid $19.68 per hour, state and local government workers, $26.25; 74% of private workers have retirement benefits, while 99% of state and local workers do; 86% of private workers have medical benefits, while 99% of state and local workers do; and private workers pay 20% of their insurance premiums, while state and local workers pay 11%.
This past week we saw, at least for a time, what happens when the party in power is shellacked, as the President called it, by the majority of the American public. In the Senate, Harry Reid (D. Nv.) brought a 1924 page Omnibus bill to the floor with an expected price tag of $1.2 trillion. Americans were not happy.
But, this type of insult to the voters apparently wasn’t confined to the federal level. State Democratic governors who lost the election to Republicans have engaged in the same conduct, this time to help the state employee unions.
In Iowa, Republican Gov.-elect Terry Branstad wants the state’s largest employee union to reopen the new contract it agreed on with departing Gov. Chet Culver last month. Mr. Culver, a Democrat, approved the deal several weeks after he lost his re-election bid to Mr. Branstad, who previously served four terms as governor. The contract includes a series of pay increases beginning July 1. [emphasis supplied]
Wisconsin Gov.-elect Scott Walker found himself in a similar position. That state faces a $3.3 billion deficit in its next two year budget, as well as a $150 million shortfall for the remainder of this fiscal year. In spite of that, Democratic lawmakers called a rare special session this past week to approve a new union contract negotiated last month by out-going Democratic Governor Jim Doyle. Curiously, state union employees had been working without a contract for the past 18 months, but, after the election, time seemed to be of the essence.
Here is what happened in Wisconsin.
In the state senate, Russ Decker, a Democrat who lost his re-election bid last month, cast the deciding vote against the deals, which had been approved by the state house. ‘The people of Wisconsin have spoken, and they have said they want someone else to make these decisions for them,’ Mr. Decker said. [emphasis supplied]
Wow, a politician who actually was paying attention on November 2. And, how did his Democratic colleagues in the senate react? They swiftly removed him as senate majority leader.
At first read, this seems to be a complex case, so let’s not all jump on the “it’s Obamacare” bandwagon, even though part of the problem is the new health care legislation. A “low-wage” health attendant union – an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – will be dropping coverage for its member’s dependents. Period.
The small Detroit suburb of Hamtramck has asked the state of Michigan for permission to file for bankruptcy. The facts leading up to this request are something you soon may be seeing all across the country.
It seems that the city will run out of money in February. It began running million dollar deficits ten years ago, due, in large part to union contracts.
City workers were entitled to annual wage increases at four times the inflation rate and eight paid weeks of vacation each year. That’s in addition to 15 paid sick days, three paid emergency leave days, three paid personal days and one paid birthday.
With no co-pays or deductibles, the city’s health costs have risen almost 40% this year, and, pension costs have risen 36%. The city is currently paying $600,000 a year in bond payments resulting from Michigan’s earlier attempt to keep Hamtramck out of bankruptcy.
So, the city has cut non-union employees and payroll, and then turned to the unions for concessions to keep it afloat. The unions answer…no.
Well, you might say, I don’t live in Hamtramck, so why should I worry. Read on.
Municipalities nationwide are running a $574 billion unfunded pension liability, on top of $3 trillion in state unfunded liability. Philadelphia’s pension fund is set to run dry in 2015 and Boston’s in 2019. Chicago’s fund will be broke by 2019 when over half the city’s revenue will be dedicated to pensions. [emphasis supplied]
It would appear that while the average American citizen is continuing to tighten his or her belt, the government union employees are oblivious to the impending danger. Even with a dramatic turn around in the economy, bankruptcy may well be the only option for Hamtramck, and, perhaps your city as well.
With the election over, state legislatures will begin meeting early next year to deal with, among other things, state budgets. Of course, it is no secret that virtually every state is facing serious financial difficulties, and, let’s face it, significantly decreased tax revenue over the past few years. So, balancing the budgets won’t be easy. Read more
I mentioned health care mandate waiver requests on Oct. 6 (two days ago). The big discussion was centered around McDonald’s and their mini-med health care programs that would not meet medical loss ratio requirements in the law. Now we learn a branch of the American Federation of Teachers – who campaigned and donated big dollars in support of Obamacare – requested a waiver since some members would lose their health insurance.
It’s actually been a long-standing policy for many years, but United Auto Workers leadership have confirmed they will continue to enforce the policy and probably be even more aggressive. This is pure marketing genius I tell you, especially for an organization with a serious image problem.