Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What are unions advocating - and protecing?

  I wrote the following for City and the Boyne City Gazette:

  At a time when all Americans must be willing to cut back on expenditures and benefits in order to prevent bankruptcy, this country is besieged by union members who are failing to do the work we taxpayers pay them to do.  Wisconsin unions, including the police, are boycotting businesses which won’t publicly support them.  Some teachers in Michigan have received pay raises of 173% in as little as 11 years, and negotiated increases in health care and retirement benefits of over 200% in the same amount of time.  Keep in mind that their pay reflects a salary for only 9 months of the year. Teachers in several states are allowed to take retirement, immediately return to work full time, and then continue to retain their up to 90% of pre-retirement income while being fully paid for their new job.  It would be nice if we could do that, right? A recent poll in New York City shows that 78% of voters there think that layoffs should be based on performance and not on seniority.  Union thugs and some union members are making multiple death threats in Wisconsin, and making it personal and dangerous by protesting at the home of Wisconsin’s Governor.  We now learn that the Michigan Education Association Board of Directors have voted unanimously to “ratchet up their efforts”, authorizing “significant activities” including work stoppage.   
   This lines up well with the Madison Troublemaker’s School, wherein “working people” (union members) who are “under assault” learn techniques for “fighting back”, as they state.  Even if what they say is true about being under assault, that would be only the 10% of Americans who are unionized.  Many Americans feel they are under assault from having to pay budget-busting union contracts.
   While we are on the subject of troublemaking, the UAW Union recently called for the unionization of the workers for foreign automakers building cars in the United States.  BMW, Volkswagen AG, Toyota and Nissan have been told to either unionize their workers or be singled out with "the largest boycott in the history of the global economy."  This planned boycott will hurt not only the workers, but the American economy. The rationale?  Union membership has declined to the point that without picking up those targeted for membership, the UAW will have no long-term future. The plan is to boycott hundreds of dealerships with the help of retirees, community groups and other unions according to the Union's Secretary Treasurer.  "The UAW has 'enhanced' its relationships with unions in Germany, Japan and South Korea to help with the upcoming campaign" according to the Royal Oak Daily Tribune.
   Returning to our state, Michigan’s budget calls for a mere 5% decrease in funding to schools.  Michigan’s teachers are forbidden by law to strike, for that takes away from their students the right to be educated.  Teachers who participate in an illegal strike are by law  supposed to lose their pay for that day, and the local union is to be fined $5000 for each infraction.  Without weighing in on the proposal for the state to appoint emergency managers for failing school districts, if the schools and their unions had not put in place perks which cannot be supported, this proposal would never have been presented by our Governor.  When unions stop their demands that we the people must pay for their mismanaged pensions and contracts, and begin to pay for non-union pensions which are underwater, taxpayers will be happy to listen.  I don’t think that will happen.  Nor is there enough money to do so.
   This newly proposed law is being roundly protested, of course, because no district wishes to reform their labor union contracts to a position that actually makes fiscal sense.  Unions certainly don’t want to allow employees the right to decide if they even want to be in a union, or if they want part of their dues going to the Democrat party, for that would deny the unions millions of dollars.  Displaying the provocation rampant among unions, the president of our state teachers’ union has compared the management legislation to slavery.  I’m sure many of the 90% who are non-union taxpayers feel that it is they who are the slaves.

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