Unionized into Bankruptcy

Tait Trussell is a national award-winning writer, former vice-president of the American Enterprise Institute and former Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.


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Teachers get the heftiest return for their pension contributions. New York has to put in $15.50 for every $1 a teacher contributes. For firefighters, taxpayers pay $10 for every $1 a fireman pays in, and $9 for every $1 a cop contributes. Transit and sanitation workers get $5.60 cents from taxpayers for each dollar they pay in, the comptroller’s report showed. Cops and firefighters are guaranteed a generous 8.25 percent return on their pension contributions. They can make loans from their plans up to twice a year at the enticing rate of 4 percent interest. Anthony Garvey, former head of the Police Pension Fund called the benefits only fair because they risk “getting shot or running into burning buildings.”

Last year, when the national health-care debate was raging, the National Right to Work Committee’s Mark Mix warned of “huge financial windfalls for unions and provisions “that will help bring about the forced unionization of the health care industry. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, Mix said that tucked away in the legislation was a forced union scheme sought by Obama pal, Andy Stern, then head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to reclassify state-reimbursed in-home health care and child-care contractors as state employees, thus forcing them to pay union dues. Further Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would have authority to set up monopoly bargaining and compulsory union dues that could possibly force into unions even doctors and nurses.

Stern, according to a Washington Post story in April, visited the White House 38 times during the period when the health care legislation was being hatched. Stern, now resigned from the union, is on Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility. A faithful and generous patron of Obama, Stern stayed fixed to his left-wing ideals when he told the annual conference of the ultra-liberal Campaign for America’s Future June 7 that the free market “has failed America and everyone that works here.”

Obama and SEIU are as close as hand-in-glove. Why shouldn’t they be? Andy Stern proudly told the Las Vega Sun in 2009 that SEIU spent “$60.7 million to be exact” to elect Obama. In return, the Administration held up billions of dollars in stimulus money for California contingent on the state’s reversing a scheduled wage cut for SEIU workers.

The Obama Administration, apparently, is still true to its connections with SEIU. When it was discovered that Patrick Gaspard, an Obama political director, who formerly was political director for SEIU local 1199, failed to disclose a nearly $40,000 payout from the union while working at the White House, this was found to pose absolutely no problem.  Politico reported June 28 that White House spokesman Bill Burton said that Gaspard was correcting his disclosure forms. So, this was not an embarrassing or dishonest occurrence in the eyes of the Administration. Forgiveness apparently was seen a preferable to any possibility of racial prejudice, since Gaspard is African-American.

Meanwhile, if Congress passes, and Obama signs, the benignly-named Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, government employee unions will gain a tighter grip on state and local bodies. And federalism and individual freedom of association will be further undermined in America.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/IndyIsDave IndyIsDave

    One more thing to repeal although strikes will be rampant. That's OK though, there's a lot of people looking for work who will cross picket lines in a second. Obama is headed for impeachment, and I, for one, can't wait.

  • Tom Sivers

    Boy ole' boy, where do all these right -wingnuts come from, you guys are all crazy. This entire page is nothing but lies. This bill is going to pass and then you guys can go whine in the corner.

    • Chris

      Help Tom! I'm just a poor knuckle-draggin right-winger. Could you please educate us ignorant morons? You claim that the article is nothing but lies. I'm just too damn stupid to know exactly what the lies are in the article. Could you please do us right wing ignoramuses a favor and refute each lie point by point? I'll be waiting….

  • Jim

    I could write a virtually identical article outlining how big business, banking, drug and insurance companies have bankrupted our economy. This is just another article from a union hater who turns the other cheek to those who are really the culprits guilty of the problems with the economy we face today.

  • Vallejo

    RULE OF THUMB: If firefighters, police, or teachers unions favor some political issue or candidate, then it cannot be any good at all for taxpayers.