Big labor unions have recently been in the forefront of political expression.
Since last summer many unions have had their members clash with Tea Party protesters. Some even pretended to be Tea Party protesters and made and carried inflammatory signs in an attempt to define participants of the Tea Party movement as racists. On several occasions union members even physically attacked Tea Party protesters.
Recently in New Jersey, dozens of public service unions hired busses and bodies to attend what was billed as one of the largest protests of its kind. It was a protest aimed at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Not long ago, he blamed the New Jersey Education Association for creating two classes of people in the state, one that pays for rich pensions and the other that enjoys rich pensions. Then he proposed a cap increase on public employee wages and benefits at 2.5 percent annually and added to that a measure that would replace pensions with employee contribution plans. So more than 35,000 union members from allover the region descended upon Trenton to threaten Governor Christie for his fiscal responsibility.
Not long after that, hundreds of Service Employee Internationaly Union members trespassed on the property of a bank executive’s home to protest the activities of the Bank he works for, Bank of America. The man was not home, and so the 500 or more angry union hacks simply terrorized the bank executive’s 14 year old son, who hid from the unruly mob in the bathroom.
Now the SEIU is protesting the state of Arizona because they do not like the fact that Arizona is doing what the federal government fails to do…..enforce immigration laws.
All of this got me thinking about big labor unions and their activities, tactics and even their purpose.
Where do we begin?
Do we begin with the fact that many big labor unions have outlived their purpose and lost track of their original purpose?
Do we begin with the fact that they have become “for profit” businesses of their own that rake in lucrative salaries for big labor’s leaders and managers at the sake of their members? Do we even begin to address the fact that the liberal-Democrat federal regime is taking taxpayer money and the dividends of shareholders of auto companies and giving them, not to employees, but to unions?.
Labor unions were borne out of a true need for better wages and working conditions in the early 1900’s.
At the time, there was no Department of Labor, there was no minimum wage, there were hardly any federal safety codes, no OSHA, no inspectors, and essentially nothing that prevented a business owner from taking advantage of hard working people whose livelihoods were at the mercy of the business owner and managers.
Unions provided that, and ultimately led to the creation of federal laws that have in many ways made unions, less necessary. And so unions deserve a certain amount of credit for making life better for working Americans and overall, for improving the quality of life in America in general.
So while before the rise of unions in the 1900’s a working class American had no protections, now they have many. They exist in the form of federal and state laws.
The redundancy of these protections has essentially turned contemporary big labor unions into boondoggles for union leadership and management that make them rich off of the sweat of their working class membership. And while unions force the working class American to pay costly dues, the leaders of public unions also hold entire states hostage as they threaten to strike and stop the productivity of their workers in order to take more money from their customers….the citizens of those states.
Unions have destroyed a state like of New Jersey.
Between pensions, exorbitantly high minimum annual pay raises and state contracts that are hammered out through extortion and patronage, taxes can’t be raised fast enough to account for the unduly high costs incurred to state government by its public workers unions. In New Jersey, the biggest culprits are the teacher’s New Jersey Education Association union and the Communications Workers Association union. Governor Chris Christie has made it clear that these once well intentioned unions have become enemies of the state. So what do they do in turn? The teachers union, which cries poverty, has spent millions of dollars to put ads on the air against Governor Christie. For a bunch of people who are in such need of money, they sure know how to spend it, and it isn’t on “the children”.
And in the mean time, who is on board and in bed with this contemporary union Ponzi scheme……well in New Jersey, former Governor, liberal-Democrat Jon Corzine, was the boyfriend of now former Communications Workers Association President Carla Katz. And up until his recent resignation as head honcho of the Service Employees International Union, White House records show that Andy Stern, former president of the SEIU, was THE MOST FREQUENT VISITOR to the White House…..the most frequent visitor.
You see how much access to power you get when you donate $70 million in campaign contributions to Democrats, as did the SEIU?
Of course it is Andy Stern being wined and dined in the White House and bedded in the Lincoln Bedroom, not the hard working union members who have a portion of their salary garnished by the union that they are often forced to join in order to get the job that they want.
When you think about it, the marriage between big labor and liberal-Democrats is more than just a marriage of convenience. It is a perfect pairing of harmonious synchronicity where one hand washes the other so thoroughly, that you can hardly make out the fingerprints that they leave at the scene of their economic crimes.
One does not even begin to realize how much the liberal laws-to-union demand ratio, raises the price of everything and overall cost of life in America. And many refuse to see the basic problem that unions are presenting to entire economies.
While we see that private sector wages and benefits have stalled during the current economic climate, many state and local governments are continuously forced to increase the compensation packages and salaries of public workers.
In 2008, while state and local workers received combined salaries and benefit packages of $1.1 trillion. That amounted to exactly one half of the total spending by state and local governments. In 2009, those compensation packages amounted to more than half of the total spending by state and local governments. And in the coming years these costs are expected to continue to rapidly rise because of increasingly lucrative compensation and benefit packages. Not to mention health care costs too. Can you say “increased deficit”?
The bottom line is that unions have made themselves too expensive to do business with and states cannot afford their ponzi schemes. The financial costs of union demands are rapidly outpacing the revenue of the states that they hold hostage. And at the same time, the added costs of union demands which is built into the cost of everything from items purchased and services provided, often prices those goods and services out of the reach of the consumer. And ironically, it even puts many of those goods and services out of the reach of the consumer who is also a union member that is paying union dues to wealthy American labor leaders.
Now you can argue that while Democrats are in the pocket of big labor, Republicans are in the pocket of big business. But your argument would be weak. Democrats are on par with Republicans when it comes to donations from big business. Just look at BP and their contributions to President Obama. But when it comes to “big labor unions” few of them are donating $70 million to Republicans as the SEUI did to Democrats.
Furthermore; while the laws that regulate business in the areas of working conditions, minimum wages, time off, insurance, paid leave etc., are practically infinitesimal, the number of laws that regulate big unions pale in comparison. In fact if anything, there are far more laws that give big union all the advantages. No business can demand that you pay them back $45.00 a week to keep your job. Yet the laws are written so that in order to get certain jobs, you must pay a union to represent you whether you want them to or not.
Not all unions are abusive and there does still remain a need for organized representation of workers interests among management, but such a collective representation does not require it to become a business of its own that provides perks and pay to people who call a dinner meeting work. This does not mean that a public sector union such as a transportation union, should be able to shut down the entire infrastructure and economy of entire cities. It just means that unions that are sincere about their mission, need to scale back their political agenda and focus on the real needs of their members without screwing over the taxpayers and consumers who pay their salaries.