Posts Tagged ‘Public Employee Unions’

Hi. I’d like to introduce you to reality.

BackhoeSo, the public employee unions and their lap cats the Democratic Party have drawn a line in the sand with a back hoe.  Union membership and representation is a God given right and since Thomas Jefferson was a union organizer the right to organize and hold the American taxpayer hostage is somewhere in the Constitution.  And I can guarantee that there is no shortage of judges who will have no trouble finding said “right”.  In the meantime, the Wisconson Democrats have discovered that if the Democrats have somehow been unable to either win or fix enough elections to hold majorities in state legislative bodies, they can leave the state and there will be no negtive consequences from the country club Republicans – including the Tea Party variety – and they can play the issue for the front pages and for time.  The bottom line here is simple, the Democrats and the unions are at war.  Republicans are just simple.

My bet is that Democrats and unions will “win” on the issue of contracts, wages, benefits and pensions.  Please note the scare quotes.  They’re gonna “win” in court and in the short term, in the court of public opinion.  The reason they’ll win in court is because the judiciary is stacked, roughly right up to the SCOTUS, where eventually they’ll lose.  Eventually.  Public opinion will sway their way because they are a lot like Chinese water torture, constantly repeating lies until people believe them.  People will believe them because for the most part, they are products of the US unionize education system and can’t do independent research or put two rational thoughts together in the same month.  So, the Unions “win” and keep their money.  Democrats “win” and keep their number one source of funds, taxpayer money passed through the hands of union members to their bosses to the DNC.  I used scare quotes because, while they will almost certainly be able to work the courts and the voters for a while, they won’t beat the fundamental laws of mathematics and economics.

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With the Unions, it’s ON!!

And if you don’t believe me, Just listen to the luminaries of the left like Jessie Jackson or Michael Moore.  They’re calling for blood in the streets, though they haven’t yet come right out and said “get a weapon”, their tone and their meaning is clear.

A bigger fish, film director Michael Moore, announced on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Wednesday that, “This is war. This is class war,” and that a national walkout of government school students would happen Friday. Jesse Jackson told Fox News that public unions will retain collective bargaining or “you’re going to have it through the streets. People here will fight back because they think their cause is moral.”

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A Lesson in Winning at Hardball.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The PEOPLE won one yesterday. And it is potentially a huge win. The score is now People 1, Public Employee Unions 0.

And thank you John Kasich the new Republican Governor of Ohio. That’s right, Ohio. A union stronghold state, and they booted public employee unions.

Republicans, and it must be noted that they were split on this issues, won a big victory in Ohio with the state Senate passing SB05, a bill that basically strips public employees of most collective bargaining rights.  The bill now goes to the Ohio House where Republicans hold a solid majority and then on to the Governor for his signature. describes the highlights of the bill this way…

The bill redefines what contract terms public workers can collectively bargain with their employer. Wages can still be negotiated. Health care benefits, pension pick-ups and other provisions, however, will be off the table. And management can decide to negotiate other terms, including safety forces’ equipment.

The bill also bans public workers from striking, establishes penalties for striking — including jail time — and establishes a new system for resolving labor disputes. Instead of binding arbitration, the employer’s legislative body, such as a city council, would decide whether to side with a union or management.

A merit-based pay system would be established . If workers are laid off, length of employment could not be the only factor under consideration.

This is a great start and needless to say, unions and Democrats (sorry for the redundancy) are apoplectic over this.

“This law is not only unjust, it is unconscionable,” Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat, said. “But it is also un-American. It strips middle class Americans of their rights.”

Hardly Senator Turner.  It’s just a decent start at leveling the playing field and putting the ball into the hands of the people who have to pay for the contracts that up until now have largely gone un-reviewed and unnoticed and are going to run the state, as well as the cities and towns on Ohio, into either bankruptcy or the Ohio river.  The parts of this particular law that have the ability to begin to be game changers include the following provisions:

  • Ban strikes by public workers, including teachers.
  • Establishes penalties, including jail time, for strikers.
  • Eliminates binding arbitration.
  • Puts the legislative body responsible for finding the money to pay for contracts in charge of contractual decisions.
  • Merit pay.
  • Benefits are off the table.

Let’s make no mistake about this win folks.  It, in itself, is no game changer.  It’s still the bottom of the first inning of what will be a very long game.  Labor and Democrats won’t take this lying down (they will lie about though), the war is just beginning and it’s not like the Republican Party is solidly behind either Governor Kasich or the idea of neutering public employee unions.  Six Republicans in the Ohio Senate joined Democrats and we ended up with a one vote win.  But “W” is a “W”, just ask Obama.  Governor Kasich and the Republican leadership – who could give lessons to their Washington DC counterparts – had to play real hardball to win this victory.  In order to get the bill out of committee and to the floor for a final vote they had to address a problem very much like the problems faced by Conservatives in the US Senate with the swing vote against the bill in committee was “Republican” Bill Seitz from Cincinnati. notes that the Republican leadership took matters in hand and replaced Seitz on the committee with a pro-sanity Republican, Sen. Cliff Hite, of Findlay.  The bill was then voted out of committee and to the floor on a 7-5 vote.

So, I’m pleased to start the day on a positive note and I trust Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans are taking note of the win in Ohio.  This can be the start of a roll-up for Republicans and for the people who have to pay the bills.  Republican administrations in several states are looking hard at similar legislation, including Iowa, Pennsylvania and Florida.  It’s time to build a real head of steam and take out the trash.  And just so there’s absolutely no misunderstanding, the picture to the right is the leftovers from a union demonstration in Wisconsin and yes, I am absolutely equating pubic employee unions to trash.

“Public” Employees meet “The Piper”…

January 2, 2011 1 comment

The Taxpayers are Coming!!

Because, it’s time to pay him.

Schadenfreude is just such a wonderful thing.  As a private sector kinda guy who believes in the profit motive, I’ve pretty much always had a huge problem with gummit employees.  And I feel somewhat remiss in not putting employees in scare quotes because next to lawyer jokes, stories about lazy, arrogant, unproductive gummit employees are in everyone’s quiver of stuff to say when the room gets quiet.  The difference is that lawyer jokes are funny and gummit employee stories aren’t.

Well, things they are a changin’ on that there front, thanks in part to the economic expertise of Mr.Hope&Change and his crack economic team.  The commoners, the little people, are figuring out that the lazy leeches who are paid from their tax dollars by all levels of gummit are bleeding us dry and we’re getting fundamentally nothing from it.   The real fun part to all of this is that politicians, at least at the local level for now, seem to be getting the message that the natives are restless and are laying in a stock of torches, pitchforks, tar & feathers and rope.  Even the New York Times is catching the drift.

FLEMINGTON, N.J. — Ever since Marie Corfield’s confrontation with Gov. Chris Christie this fall over the state’s education cuts became a YouTube classic, she has received a stream of vituperative e-mails and Facebook postings.

“People I don’t even know are calling me horrible names,” said Ms. Corfield, an art teacher who had pleaded the case of struggling teachers. “The mantra is that the problem is the unions, the unions, the unions.”

Across the nation, a rising irritation with public employee unions is palpable, as a wounded economy has blown gaping holes in state, city and town budgets, and revealed that some public pension funds dangle perilously close to bankruptcy.

You might remember when Ms. Corfield got snotty with Governor Christie last year at a public forum and got her [self] ripped up one side and down the other to the applause of the crowd.  And she seems incapable of understanding how or why people would go after her.  Well dear, the answer might have something to do the perception that you’re an arrogant public employee who costs the taxpayers of New Jersey about $90,000 for a part time job.  Go figure.  And take note that it’s not likely to get better for you either.

In California, New York, Michigan and New Jersey, states where public unions wield much power and the culture historically tends to be pro-labor, even longtime liberal political leaders have demanded concessions — wage freezes, benefit cuts and tougher work rules.

It is an angry conversation. Union chiefs, who sometimes persuaded members to take pension sweeteners in lieu of raises, are loath to surrender ground. Taxpayers are split between those who want cuts and those who hope that rising tax receipts might bring easier choices.

And a growing cadre of political leaders and municipal finance experts argue that much of the edifice of municipal and state finance is jury-rigged and, without new revenue, perhaps unsustainable. Too many political leaders, they argue, acted too irresponsibly, failing to either raise taxes or cut spending.

A brutal reckoning awaits, they say.

Well, it IS the New York Times and at least they are directionally right.  But I think they missed a couple of things.  Foremost among ’em, methinks that taxpayers are NOT split.  They’re fed up.  And as far as political leaders acting irresponsibly, yep they did, and it was both parties.  But the irresponsible part wasn’t “failing to raise taxes” is was not controlling and then not cutting spending.  But The Times does get it right in the end, the day of reckoning is neigh and it will be brutal.  The really brutal part will be when these “public employees” get their panties in a wad and go looking for real work in the private sector.  As an employer, I can guarantee you that a gummit job on a resume is only slightly less damaging to your prospects for employment than a stretch in the pen as a child molester.  Slightly.

There are a couple of other stories in the media from around the country on this subject, I’ll highlight a couple and they deserve a full read so you can really understand that public employees are in trouble.  And in places you might not guess.  Like Wisconsin.  And Pennsylvania.

MADISON, Wis. — In preparation for Monday’s inauguration of the new governor, Scott Walker, red, white and blue bunting has been draped around the Capitol’s echoing rotunda. Lawmakers are unpacking files in their newly assigned offices. And state workers are fretting.

“What does this bring? What does it mean? Where are we going here?” Marty Beil, the leader of a union that represents 22,000 of Wisconsin’s corrections officers, maintenance workers, game wardens and others, said the other day. “State employees feel like they are the target of all the slings and the arrows and the bullets that the new administration is already throwing.”

You feel like you’re a target?  Good.

FOREST CITY, Pa. — Ralph Miranda was looking for eggnog here the other day at the state liquor store, a dated and somewhat forlorn little shop with no name, just the Soviet-style designation #5801. When the store manager told him they were out, Mr. Miranda muttered, “That’s why you privatize.”

“The Soviet-style designation”.  Perfect.  What business do states have in running what should be real businesses anyway.  Although I will admit the when we lived in New Hampshire decades ago, the state did a good job of running state liquor stores.  Mostly because neighboring states had high sales taxes and specific taxes on liquor.  And New Hampshire built huge state liquor stores right on the interstate highways about fifty feet from the border.  The parking lots were always full of out-of-state plates.

And finally, in my home state of Arizona

The average cost of an employee in Phoenix has gone down this year by more than $640.

Phoenix has saved more than $108.3 million in employee costs for the 2010-11 fiscal year by reducing positions, cutting salaries and requiring furloughs.


“When you eliminate more than 2,000 positions, you’re going to cut costs,” Zuercher said.

While there have been some layoffs, most of the workforce reductions have come from keeping positions vacant when someone retires or leaves a city job. Phoenix employees also took 3.2 to 4.3 percent wage cuts, saving the city an estimated $50.3 million for the next two years.

The bottom line to all of this is that it appears that things in the area of government hiring and pay scales are beginning to trend in the right direction.  It’s up us common folk to keep the pressure on the politicians and ignore the inevitable whining of “our” employees.

Public Employees… ya gotta love ’em.

December 31, 2010 1 comment

Snoozing Sanitation Worker - NY Post

Or not!

So, we all know about the global warming caused disaster on the east coast, and that would be last week’s snow storm. You’ve probably also read about the disaster on top of the disaster that occurred in New York City. In case you missed it, a whole bunch of streets didn’t get plowed and the city pretty much came to a standstill. A whole bunch of politicians were looking for Mayor Bloomberg’s scalp. As an aside, after having spent a major chunk of my adult life in the northeast, when the streets don’t get plowed all hell breaks loose. Think of the Yankees having a losing season and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the public reaction.

Well, according to today’s New York Post, there may be a tad more to the story than just some inefficiencies or screw-ups by the Bloomberg Administration. A historical note here, derived from the Post article: it appears as though the NYC Sanitation Department – the folks who do the snow removal – have been the recipient of some budget reductions that have led to demotions and some attrition. Apparently the tough economic times in flyover country extend to the Big Apple as well. Guess what? Come on guess… OK, I know you’d have gotten it, but I can’t wait forever. The snow storm appears to have been PAYBACK TIME!!!!!!!!

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.
“They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important,” said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.
The snitches “didn’t want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation,” Halloran said.

Please note, gentle reader, that these folks are not “whistleblowers” they are “snitches”. And, having dealt with various unions around the country and having been licensed to carry a fire arm as a result, I can guarantee you there will be “retaliation”. These folks will be lucky to escape with their lives and their jobs. Seriously.  You should also note that the Lefty blogs – and I refuse to publish links to the DailyCrass – are going absolutely berserk over the fact that the whistleblowers went to a CONSERVATIVE Rethuglican City Councilman.  Of course they did.  Had they gone to one of the majority party reps, the sanitation workers union would have been waiting in the outer office when they left.  These guys weren’t STOOPID.

Maybe – although I’m not holding my breath – this incident will provide appropriate incentive for NYC to take a look at privatizing it’s sanitation department. Now let me note, it is NYC and if – IF – the department is contracted out, the job will go to one of the NY Mafia families. But I guarantee you THEY wouldn’t let the snow pile up.

Neat noise from Tim Pawlenty.

December 18, 2010 1 comment

Official photo of Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN).

Image via Wikipedia

This is NOT an endorsement for TPaw.

Tim Pawlenty spent two full terms as Governor of Minnesota. Recall that Minnesota is the home of the “Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party”. It’s one of the more solidly Blue states in the union and Pawlenty had to deal with DFL majorities in both houses of his state legislature for eight years.

Last week he wrote an interesting editorial in the Wall St. Journal in which he makes the case for the death of public employee unions. Some of the editorial is pretty blatant campaigning on TPaw’s part, but he’s got a pretty good story to tell, and his points on public employee unions are right on the money.

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.
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.
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.
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.
The moral case for unions—protecting working families from exploitation—does not apply to public employment. Government employees today are among the most protected, well-paid employees in the country. Ironically, public-sector unions have become the exploiters, and working families once again need someone to stand up for them.

Read the whole thing, it’s a very interesting read and TPaw has some very interesting accomplishments to flaunt, especially given that he was at war with DFL for both of his terms as Governor. Interestingly enough, he’s apparently wishing today that he’d run for a third term because Republicans took over both houses of the legislature in the November election and unfortunately – and inexplicably – the new governor will be Mark Dayton, a drug addicted, failed former US Senator. Amazing.

Anyway, his commentary about unions are right on track. They are nothing more than instruments to extract dues from federal and state employees to fund the Democratic Party. The tide seems to be turning against public employee unions, we keep seeing more and more commentary from – and ACTION by – politicians, even liberal politicians, crying out against them. Public employee unions haven’t “outlived their usefulness”, they were NEVER useful. To anybody but Democratic politicians.

A snapshot of the future.

in case you missed it, when the Congress and whoever is President fail to take significant action on cutting (note, NOT “reducing”) spending by the federal government the debt service – make that the interest payments on the national debt will be about 90% of tax receipts in just a very few years. states and municipalities are in even worse shape. And if you want to see what the world will look like in ten to fifteen years, just take a peek at Oakland, CA and Camden, NJ. Oakland is especially interesting because the former mayor of Oakland is now, and once again, Governor of California. That would be Moonbeam Brown.

From the SF Chronicle yesterday comes a report of the continuing financial meltdown in Oakland.

Sound the alarm – Oakland’s Police Department is shrinking so fast that it doesn’t have enough officers to cover some patrols and many of its investigative units have been stripped to the bone.

Everyone knows about the 80 officers the city laid off in July to save money. But since then, 21 more have retired, 12 have decamped for other police departments, five have simply quit and one has been fired – dropping the total number of officers to 670.

Six hundred and seventy cops in Oakland, where the Chief of Police says, from the article, that he needs 925 cops to patrol the city. Oh, and of that 670 that are on the force now, they’re not really on the street. Another 150 or so are either leaving Oakland for other police agencies, retiring at the end of the year or on medical leave. That give them 520 to police the city. Except that another 60 or so are required, because of a ballot measure, to police specific sections of town whether anything is happening or not. Make that 460. Or about half the “needed” number.

So, you say, hire more cops. Well, no. The voters, the same ones who voted overwhelmingly for Jerry Brown, refused a ballot initiative that would have raised money (without cutting other city services, so you can guess where that was coming from) to hire more cops. And the new mayor is asking the police union to kick in 9% toward their pensions so she can find some cash to hire more cops.

So far they haven’t found a solution. The state, however, has managed to find – even though they have a $25B (yep, that’s BILLION) shortfall in their budget – $4.1B to build “high speed rail” between nowhere and really nowhere in the central valley. That’s noted in the same Chronicle article.

The same thing is going on in Camden, NJ. Read the article, it’s amazing and I’ll give you the money quote.

But Camden, already one of the country’s most dangerous cities, could face the most devastating cuts: The city plans to lay off half its police force if it cannot reach an agreement with the unions. The police department, which remains under close oversight even though the city itself is no longer under state control, would lose 180 of its 373 officers.

Heh. The unions.

Just wait folks. This is coming to your city or town. And (not or) your state. And the feds won’t be far behind.

If we don’t act NOW there will be no need to act in the near future. Oh, and a good investment for your 401K is ammunition.