Union Fables


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The good news out of Wisconsin is that public school students’ test scores skyrocketed last week, mystifying educators. The bad news is many student-teacher love affairs were hard-hit without access to janitors’ closets and locker rooms.

Democrats are acting as if Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s demand that public sector employees give up collective bargaining would have George Washington rolling in his grave (a clear violation of Gravediggers’ Local 803 regulations concerning the rolling of the dead).

In fact, government employees should never, ever be allowed to organize.

The need for a union comes down to this question: Do you have a boss who wants you to work harder for less money? In the private sector, the answer is yes. In the public sector, the answer is a big, fat NO.

Government unions have nothing in common with private sector unions because they don’t have hostile management on the other side of the bargaining table. To the contrary, the “bosses” of government employees are co-conspirators with them in bilking the taxpayers.

Far from being careful stewards of the taxpayers’ money, politicians are on the same side of the bargaining table as government employees — against the taxpayers, who aren’t allowed to be part of the negotiation. This is why the head of New York’s largest public union in the mid-’70s, Victor Gotbaum, gloated, “We have the ability to elect our own boss.”

Democratic politicians don’t think of themselves as “management.” They don’t respond to union demands for more money by saying, “Are you kidding me?” They say, “Great — get me a raise too!”

Democrats buy the votes of government workers with generous pay packages and benefits — paid for by someone else — and then expect a kickback from the unions in the form of hefty campaign donations, rent-a-mobs and questionable union political activity when they run for re-election.

In 2006, 10,000 public employees staged a rally outside the New Jersey State House to protest the mere discussion of a cut to their gold-plated salaries and benefits. Then-Gov. Jon Corzine leapt onto the stage shouting: “We will fight for a fair contract!”

Only later, someone noticed: Wait — isn’t he management? (It takes a special kind of courage to promise 10,000 crazed union agitators that you’ll fight to get them more money.)

Service Employees International Union officials openly threaten California legislators. At a 2009 legislative hearing, an SEIU member sneered into a microphone: ”We helped to getchu into office, and we gotta good memory. Come November, if you don’t back our program, we’ll getchu out of office.”

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    I need help, friends. I've been arguing against the cause of public unions with an acquaintance.

    My argument…

    While private unions have nothing to do with the management personnel of the companies they negotiate contracts with, public unions often secure – through their support – the election of politicians whom they subsequently negotiate with. The equation is inherently corrupt…and the proof is in the sweetheart deals public unions have negotiated with sympathetic politicians throughout the nation (California is the most poignant example, where some retired mid-level bureaucrats are making over $100,000 pensions).

    The counter-argument…

    Elected officials also negotiate service contracts with companies and corporations that may have contributed to their campaigns.

    Does argument two negate argument one? How are the circumstances different?

    • Publius

      Elected officials should not supply corporate welfare to fat cat donors, and they should not also be dependent on government unions to get elected. Both are wrong.

      • Chezwick_Mac

        Thanks for the input of all three of you.

        My take is that at least for government service contracts with private contractors, there is normally a transparent bidding process open to all and that therefore, unlike the unions, companies and corporations that contribute to the campaigns of elected officials are not necessarily the ones that get the contract (though of course they often are). So here at least, there is a check on the symbiotic relationship between government and contractor, whereas there is none whatsoever in the relationship between government and public-employee union.

        PS – as usual, 'Amused' misses the entire point…spouting off about ancillary issues like arbitration and compliance, when the real issue under discussion is the symbiotic (and hence, corrupt) nature of the relationship.

        • Fiddler

          When cornered, you can expect a lefty either to call you a name, or deperately look for moral equivalence. If all else fails the fall into chant mode: "FOX LIES", "FOX LIES", "FOX LIES", until you blow and eardrum.

    • tagalog

      Argument Two buttresses the substance of Argument One. Political leaders are subject to corruption when they negotiate for contracts with private industry (see the movie Born Yesterday for a highly entertaining explication about how that happens), and political leaders are subject to corruption when they are bargaining with those who have electoral power.

    • Jim_C

      They're both wrong, and they're both unfortunately the way we've become accustomed to things getting done.

      If there were a way to do campaign reform without curtailing "$peech"…really, the way we build up celebrity candidates and do the dog and pony show for months and months is pretty sick.

  • Amused

    LOL….you have no argument , you will be a partisan no matter which side you take . What you fail to mention is , that union contracts are NEGOCIATED , with both sides abiding . Union people who violate that contract are FIRED ./…yea FIRED . The grievance process is there to prevent an unfair termination , and to prevent a management violation of contract . If you think neither of these occur , then you have not worked for a living .Some people sem to think union employees can do anything short of murder before they are dismissed , this is simply not true , but it is the hype of those who are rabidly against unions . And if you think management does not violate these contracts or can be left to their own devices to follow fair labor practices or as union contract , then again you have no exp[erience in the workplace .

    • Fiddler

      Okay bemused. Years ago I worked for the UAW. There was a guy next to me who was supposed to fix problems I found with a car (being an inspector). He had a nice little nook with a TV set, pictures of scantily clad women, and the like (that he would turn off and close up if he thought management lurked nearby). He would say "wake me up if you" see (a particular problem) he needed to fix. Sometimes I would get rather miffed and would let the car head several yards down the line before I would wake him up and say "Go get the car and fix it!" Need more? Oh I've got several stories. I also at one point worked for the IBEW and was as a newbie asked to fix all the problems with circuit board by the "tenured". Oh yeah that really set me on my current opinion!

  • Amused

    In the real world , abuses take place on the part of both sides , that is why there is what is called " ARBITRATION " , which both sides agree to abide by ., and ultimately there is the NLRB which determines the legality of any action according to State or National Labor Laws .employees and hire non-union people , but when the dispute is settled , again according to pre-existing contract ,must bring back the strikers. In "Right to work States , an employee can be fired for any or NO reason at all . Management can force salaried or non salaried employees to arbitrary hourly cuts , keep employees under 35 hours to avoid benefits or holiday pay , – Dont believe that ? Look up State of Florida Labor Laws .Lunch hours need not be an hour , in fact no lunch break at all , and if drivers are on the road in company vehicles after 8 hours , stuck in traffic or completing late deliveries , they dont get paid , they're on their own time .

    • davarino

      The article was about public sector unions. There is no other side in this case because the other side is working for the unions. There is no arbitration, or as you say negociation. I think you may have been arguing for private sector unions, and what you said is fine but if you havent noticed those unions are shrinking as well. Management is deciding that its to expensive to do business here in the States, for a whole lot of reasons and one of them is the high cost of union workers.

    • Guest

      "… ultimately there is the NLRB which determines the legality of any action according to State or National Labor Laws ."

      The NLRB ceased to be a neutral entity (if it ever was) years ago during a protracted strike against Kohler Plumbing. Koehler held all the cards but lost out to the unions when the NLRB finally caved and took their side. It has mostly been two (Unions & NLRB) against one (industry) ever since. The government ( e.g; NLRB) thrives with union $upport so the 'fix' is always in for the unions. He who pays the piper….".
      Corporate entities learned the deck was so stacked that it now takes the easy way out and caves to the unions and adds the cost to its product line. All paid by the consumer – including union members. Inflation defined.

    • Guest

      "… ultimately there is the NLRB which determines the legality of any action according to State or National Labor Laws ."

      The NLRB ceased to be a neutral entity (if it ever was) years ago during a protracted strike against Kohler Plumbing. Koehler held all the cards but lost out to the unions when the NLRB finally caved and took their side. It has mostly been two (Unions & NLRB) against one (industry) ever since. The government ( e.g; NLRB) thrives with union $upport so the 'fix' is always in for the unions. He who pays the piper….".
      Corporate entities learned the deck was so stacked that it now takes the easy way out and caves to the unions and adds the cost to its product line. All paid by the consumer – including union members. Inflation defined.

      • guest

        Perhaps you should study the negotiations of Overnight Transportation with the Teamsters during the Clinton Admin. Union won election company refused to deal. The NLRB repeatedly fined the company who still refused to come to the table for two years. Bush was elected and appointed "his boys" to the NLRB who then vacated every previous decision regarding Overnight. Company was thyen sold to UPS a union company who makes money and is not only competitive but defines their industry. Please know what you are actually talking about before commenting. UPS makes money every quarter and is ultra competitive. Union companies who fail, fail because of the boneheads who run it, not the guys who make it work.

  • Amused

    And if these Republican Governors think they have the nation non their side , they should think twice , and coinsider the latest USA Today/Gallup poll …61% of American DO NOT FAVOR removing collective bargaining rights 33% are IN FAVOR . Needless to say , the majority of those IN FAVOR are Republicans . LOL…..and the "truthful reporting" at Fox News , REVERSED that poll on their national broadcasts .How American is that ?
    Republicans , you are swimming upstream on this issue , be satisfied that the unions you are trying to bust are willing to take paycuts and make greater contributions to pension and health insurance plans. You will not succeed in abolishing collective bargaining , And threats of layoffs will not change that . In the meantime Walker got punked on the phone ,[ he'll take calls from a billionare campaign contributor , but not from union officials he's contending with ] and an Indianna Deputy A.G. got fired for tweeting that "live ammo ' should be used on Wisconsin protestors , and advocated the use of "deadly force " . LOL…another case of "dumb and dumber " .

  • BS77

    when the states start going totally bankrupt, then the unions will be looking at a bleak prospect….collective bargaining will be irrelevant since there will be no jobs….layoffs will be in the thousands and all their precious pensions, paid leaves and vacations, gold plated taxypayer provided medical insurance and high wages will be gone…………seeing these mobs of people with their rude and ridiculous behavior and signs….it's an embarrassment to see people so blatantly calling for more more more more more while those in the private sector, non union workers, have less less less less., yet whose taxes provide the revenue to run the gigantic wasteful bureaucracies and the union employees who run them.

  • Jim_C

    "The counties with the highest per capita income aren’t near New York City or Los Angeles — they’re in the Washington, D.C., area — a one-company town where the company is the government. The three counties with the highest incomes in the entire country are all suburbs of Washington. Eleven of the 25 counties with the highest incomes are near Washington." Yeah, um…something tells me that we're not talking about teachers and sanitation workers, here, Ann.

    • Wideband

      Nope we're talking about mid-level managers and government contractors who make far in excess of the private indutry counterparts because their pay is not driven by market forces, but by how much congress votes into the budget this year.

      • Jim_C

        How do we know who belongs to what? There's a whole lot of people feeding at the trough. Private contractors are there watching where the money is going in the congressional budget (defense? or R & D?), so they know where to pitch.

  • topperj

    What it boils down to is that union members are too stupid to negotiate their own salaries. They are like sheep, following but never leading. And to think these people, like the ones breaking the law every day in Madison and elsewhere, are TEACHING your kids. How do you feel about that? They should all be fired. There are thousands of wanna-be teacherettes out there looking for a job. It is a sellers market and the states should use the same art of threat that the unions use to get what they want.

  • Texasron

    We should all envy the city of Madison. With all of the outside thugs visiting, their businesses should be booming and their tax receipts will show increases also – probably even higher than we got from the Superbowl.

  • garretso

    I have been represented by both a private trade union and a public employee union. My experience has been something like this:
    Private trade union: three strikes and you get sent "back to the hall". Your competency at your job reflects on the union as a whole.
    Public Employee Union: three strikes and you get a stern warning. Three more strikes and you get written up. Three more strikes after that and you are placed on a "work-improvement plan"…. All that matters is your seniority.

  • Shinkansen

    Although I support the right to collective bargaining in private sector, I realize how detrimental unions are to US manufacturing. The bargaining rules must be limited to balance the rights of both sides (unions and employers). I have worked for four unionized companies (since 1987) and all four are out of business now. They were replaced by Chinese suppliers who do not have to worry about any unions. GM and Chrysler needed intervention of Comrade Obamov to survive (he gave big chunks of both to the unions) at our children's expense in future.
    The trend of diminishing union percentage in private business is caused by the fact that unions in union states slowly destroy their employers.
    Do not complain about Chinese imports, you union morons, when you strangle your chicken laying golden egg!
    It is really amusing to read Amused. A typical product of Red indoctrination of our education system (KGB worked for decades on it). He reminds me the history teacher of my daughter in public HS who hanged pictures of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Che Guevara as heroes for kids. It is sick and getting sicker! (as Bob Grant used to say).

  • Shinkansen

    Obviously, Ann Coulter is exactly right. NO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR GOVERNMENT WORKERS! Dem politicians and union thugs have been screwing the rest of the taxpayers for so many years. The fact that about 40% of goverment workers are unionized, compared to less than 8% in private business (and proportion is steadily growing in government favor) is telling. We as the taxpayers are funding these obscene benefits of public union workers, especially teachers who, after getting tenure, do not have to worry about job, get automatic raises with no relation what sover to their efforts or results of their teaching. US education is a laughingstock of other nations, but they care only about their perks. As my brother-in-law, public school teachers often sent their own kids to private (catholic) schools when they care about their education.

    • whimperer

      I know of good public schools – usually in prosperous suburbs.

  • Armando

    Wish California would do the same as Wisconsin. Where's Ronald Reagan? Sigh…

  • votedagainstoby

    Poor Wisconsin teachers! Average salary is $52,644 PLUS benefits!

    Don’t you just feel so sorry for the average Wisconsin teacher?

    They work a WHOPPING 9 MONTHS out of the year,
    and have an average salary of at least $52,644.

    A 3 MONTHS PAYED VACATION A YEAR. Must be nice

    This doesn’t include all the benefits they get at the
    expense of the taxpayer such as their pensions and health care.

    WHICH THEY DO NOT CONTRIBUTE TO AT ALL.

    YOU THE TAX PAYER PAY IT,… out of YOUR pay check.

    Which you work at for 12 MONTHS a year and MAYBE, you get a 2 week vacation.

    The graduation rate in Milwaukee public schools is 46 percent.

    The graduation rate for African-Americans in Milwaukee public schools is 34 percent.

    Shouldn’t somebody be protesting that?

    UNIONS SUCK. PERIOD.

    I have ALWAYS been able to negotiate a better deal than ANY union.

    Be the BEST you can be, and you do not need UNIONS.

    Union are for lazy or mediocre hacks.

    I HATE UNIONS. You want UNIONS?? Fine.

    Go get a job in DETROIT. Oh,.. wait you can't.

    THERE ARN'T ANY!!!

    AND THE REST OF AMERICA pretty soon too.

    Thanks UNIONS. AFL-CIO, UAW, SEIU, TUA, WGA.

    UNIONS are Destroying America.

    Look at Detroit MI to see what the UNION's AND the DemocRAT party have planned for America.

    A ONCE Great American City COMPLETELY DESTROYED
    BY the DemocRAT Party and their UNION masters.

    WAY to go AFL-CIO, UAW, AFT, and SEIU.

    This IS what they WILL do to YOUR town if you LET them.

    I think if you asked the reporter, who when interviewing a UNION member,

    was propositioned with ruff s e x with him, and when the male reporter declined the offer,

    the UNION THUG then called him a disparaging name used to define g a y people in the 1960s.

    I would guess the reporter would say that the UNION MEMBER was in fact a THUG.

    Sorry UNIONS, you have EARNED that label.

    SO YES UNION THUG is appropriate.

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