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Steven Malanga
Union Power Comes in Many Forms « Back to Story

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The Public sector money grab is so entrenched I fear that nothing will curb its power without some form of National legislation to balance the scales, or the local jurisditions are given the authotity to out-source much of the services within their control, requiring the unions to compete with the private sector and include some conflict of interest rules along the way way.
This makes my blood boil! How are taxpayers supposed to have a say in any of this, especially when we have no idea that it is going on? Please tell me what we have to do to stop this theft? Is there an answer?
City of Madison public employee unions didn't have to go to WI state legislators to get what they wanted...the mayor of Madison did it for them. The mayor’s office emailed the chiefs of staff of democrat senators to figure out how to delay the vote on Gov. Walker’s budget until after the mayor could sign pending contracts with no concessions. He hurried up and signed the contracts Feb 17, the same day the democrat senators left the state. The mayor’s wife is chief of staff of one of the senators who was emailed and fled. What a rats' nest!
But the unions DON'T sit across the table -- they sit on the same side and scratch each other's backs.
I reached the same conclusion when I reviewed the research on the impact of unions on American education.

Until market freedoms and incentives exist in k-12 education, we'll never see efficiency or consistent productivity growth.
Great article, but one issue that never seems to come up is this - after allowing public sector unions the right to bargain collectively, why wasn't there a ban on making political donations? You would have to be blind not to see the inherent conflict of interest in allowing such donations, which are essentially funded by taxpayer dollars, to the very same people who determine wages and other benefits. Why don't we see a single article about this, or legislation banning such donations? Even in Wisconsin the unions would still be able to make donations under the revised law. Why?

Also, public sector unions have made backing one political party - the Democrats, over Republicans, the cornerstone of their efforts. Am I the only one who sees something extraordinarily dangerous in that? It does go to whole notion of WHY Democrats are pro-government - it's not a philosophy, it's about money, and taxpayer money to boot. (somewhat similar to public broadcasting, one of many ways that Democrats use taxpayer funds to support the party - but that's another issue). The unions give it, and Democrats comply with whatever the unions want.

The situation is so out of hand in New York that public sector unions have formed their own political party, whose backing is necessary in many instances to win elections. Get ready, rest of the country, that same idea is coming your way as well.

And, as government workers get too expensive, government services have to be reduced. How can any of this be defensible? The way it used to be was that you got a government job knowing you wouldn't have to work too hard, and consequently would get paid less, and couldn't get fired unless you did something really terrible - I worked government jobs, and know the system. (it sure isn't politically correct to say so).

In the New York metropolitan area, we have public sector union sponsored radio commercials, where the complaint is that Mayor Bloomberg will force government workers to remain on the job - or not get pension benefits - until they are 65. In other words, the same age as the rest of us. What universe are these people living where a 65 year old retirement age, or start date for pensions, is a bone of contention?

The only way to describe the present system is that it is institutionalized corruption on so many levels. Another, perhaps more apt way to describe it would be Alice In Wonderland.

And it's a recipe for disaster - for everyone, since if things go this way the unions will kill the goose, so to speak. The only way to stave off disaster, from the public sector unions point of view, is federal relief to the states, in order to fund impossible union contracts. It is a certainty that Democrats will press unions to make whatever donations are needed so that they can to win control of the House in order to get it. And, as long as the traditional media is controlled by pro-Democrat forces, we are clearly headed for trouble, since the reporting on this issue will continue to be one sided in favor of the unions. We are clearly headed for BIG trouble.

"In states like California, New Hampshire, and New York, government unions have won passage in the legislature of so-called “evergreen” clauses, which require old union contracts to remain in force until new agreements are reached."

Which clauses in the California public worker's contracts did Governor Schwarzenegger fail to run over roughshod, ignoring the law? Evergreen? Meaningless.
While I applaud Walker, Christie and others for their principled stand to protect the people of their states from union financial corruption, it may come to the point where they simply have to tell the brainless voters they're giving them what they want, a bankrupt government, and to call the union bosses if they want a refund.
In other words, the unions have the rest of us by the short hairs.
more examples like this should be cited discussed and especially the near bankruptcy of new york city in yhe 70s
In my hometown, St. Joseph, MO, in the 1930's, unions dissuaded scab taxi drivers by throwing acid in their faces. They did the same to New York columnist Victor Riesor (sic)when he persisted in exposing the under belly of local unions. Left him blind. Unions have one thing in common with the Mafia; complete ruthlessness when necessary, make nice or we will shut you down. Be good and we will assure your re-election. This is the essence of politics: The art of lying to voters and the science of profitably trading favors. Sayles Law of Politics Number One.
Gilbert W. Chapman March 06, 2011 at 6:56 PM
My apologies; the partial sentence which follows, " . . . New York governor would agree!" should have been deleted
Gilbert W. Chapman March 06, 2011 at 6:50 PM
I found Morton Baum's comment (above) to be of interest. Not only do his observations about lobbyists have merit, but he could have reinforced his position by citing 'interlocking directorships' and 'professional organizations' (American Medical Association, et al) that insure obscene salaries for the corporate elite, tenure for professors, and an artificially low supply of doctors.

About the only 'professions' not benefiting from 'organized labor' today are probably commissioned salesmen and waitresses. Both are compensated for producing results. Otherwise customers don't buy, or 'tip'.

And finally, there is the 'oldest' profession, entirely unregulated, because it is illegal. Yes . . . It would seem that prostitution is really the only real form of free market/capitalism 'professionalism' alive and well today in our society. No doubt, at least one former New York governor would agree!

At the bottom line today, there is probably only one group within our society which is not beholden to some sort of union
What is most pathetic is the "Albany two-step" by Republicans, who shamelessly talk like conservatives at home, then go to Albany and get in bed with the labor unions. We know the Democrats were bought and paid for decades ago, but with the collapse of the GOP in NYS its all over. There is a special place in hell for Pataki, Bruno and now Skelos who betrayed the voters and their party.
A different scenario exists in Australia, where the Labor Party is partly funded by the unions, while the other major party, the Liberal party, is usually seen to be anti union. However, historically unions more often have more success influencing Labor governments than when the Liberals are in power. There are plenty of reasons surmised for this, but all are speculative
I would take more seriously the furor over Unions lobbying and negotiating tactics if the same analytical furor were also directed at the lobbyists that curry favor for the financial industry, the oil and tobacco interests et al. The costs to society from a political system awash in corporate as well as union money is a broader topic than the anti-union animus that is currently in favor.
Please excuse the typos in the initial comments.
Mr. Malanga: I have been a NYC employeefor close to 25 years(when you're yound anot aliberal you don't have a heart; older, not consrvative you don't have a brain. It is criminal that taxpayers are paying for my pension. I only found this out recently: hard working citizens funding the retirwements of govt. employees. I have a BS in Economics. Have written to with Nicole Gelinas. I will forward additional material to you. IF you knew what does and does not go on in city offices it would you scream. It does it to me.