Our Nation is involved in a major dispute over Public Service Unions. Should they Exist? Are They too Powerful?
In the interest of fairness , I must point out, I have been a Building Representative in a teachers union. In addition, I have held office as an official in both a Local and State Administrators Union.
The discussion must first start over why we needed Unions in the first place. Unions came about over several basic issues. Salaries were low and raises too infrequent. Benefits were poor and too often people were replaced based on the “Spoils System” not on ability. If a new mayor was elected and he had a friend that needed a job , you could be let go. Public Employee Unions successfully addressed the abuses.
Fast forward to today. In general, today salaries and benefits are excellent. Some officials are complaining they are too good and Government cannot afford them.. The greater majority of our public employees do a great job and are dedicated public servants. The real issue is if the Public Employee Unions have too much political power.
Some of the facts are easy to understand. Unions have a large political war chest and spends millions and millions of dollars supporting candidates for public office. Obviously, they support candidates that are sympathetic to their cause. In addition, Unions can put together hundreds of people to make calls for a politician or to canvas an area handing out political information. All of this is within their rights to do so. Politicians understand how invaluable this support is both financially and with manpower.
The issue becomes what happens next. As these same Unions negotiate new contracts, they are negotiating with the same people who they helped get elected. If not the elected officials themselves, then the people they appoint.The people doing the negotiations for the Government, owe the unions there very jobs. The Unions have become so powerful , they can reach above the local level of Government to the State or even National levels to get additional finances to fund and support their contract negotiations. The next problem occurs several years later when State of Federal money dries up and the localities or states must continue to fund the raises or new benefits.
For whatever reason, over 95% of Public Unions campaign contributions go to the Democratic Party. This makes it hard for the Democratic Party Leaders to represent the people when dealing with Contracts with the Unions. They know if they stray too far, those very same Public Service Unions will back someone else and they could lose in the next election.
Further examples of too much power in the hands of Public Service Unions include:
- In Orange Connecticut a ruling from A State Agency requires the Local Government to continue giving free milk and coffee to its employees.
- The leader of the State Employee Service Union ( SEIU) meets with the President almost weekly
- It is estimated that about 75% of the Stimulus Bill did not go to create new jobs but in fact went to States to keep from laying off public employees.
- In Wisconsin, the State Eduction Association provides Insurance to local districts to support their public employees. Each Local manages to get the requirement into the contract they must use this plan.
- Unions in Wisconsin are threatening to boycott any business that does not publicly support them against Governor Walker and his position.
- Who represents the People in the negotiations?
- My solution? I recommend the following:
- First, Public Service Unions should not lose their power to negotiate for wages and benefits.
- Next Public Service Unions should not be permitted to contribute money to any Candidate or Party or through any other organization. What an individual does is their own issue, but contributions of money or manpower should be forbidden to be organized by Public Service Unions.
- When this is accomplished a level playing field is established and the People win!!!!
- You might respond that Corporations still give money to candidates and parties. I would say yes, since I am not suggesting Private Sector Unions lose their ability to support parties or candidates. These private sector unions have the money and personnel to match Corporate donations. However Corporations that have Government contracts should be banned from giving political donations also.
- In defense of private unions, The bargain to get as much as they can but realize they must be careful not to cause the business to fail and have job losses. The Public Sector Unions believe they can get money from Government at any level and continuous raises in taxes are okay to fund their needs.
- In summation, the greater majority of Public Sector Employees are hard-working and dedicated people. It is the absolute power that developed at Union Leadership level that needs to be curtailed for the good of the nation.
- You Decide!!!
- Remember to Stay Active 2012 is coming!!!!!