08.01.15 – Swiss Independence Day
As a disclaimer I have never liked organized labor, because I think in this time it is an idea out of time. Let me clarify that. At the time of the Industrial revolution 1750’s and well into the 1920’s labor was badly treated and taken advantage of by employers. Some counter to that was societally necessary to stop exploitation of workers. Labor unions served that purpose. Today Labor Unions, and by that I mean every one of them, serve but two purposes; 1) to fiancé the Democrat political machine and 2) to enrich those apparatchik’s that run the unions.
For 37 years I ran Widder Corporation a small manufacturing enterprise, which at peak had 112 employees. The AFL/CIO, and Teamsters both tried to unionize my workers, they failed miserably when the worker’s concluded that the deal they got from me was far better than anything the unions could offer. My workers had full health care, profit sharing, pension trusts, and access to my office anytime I was in office- usually about 10 hours a day.
Today the only union growth sector is public service unions. Growth is only in public sector unions. Total US unionized labor stands at 14.5 million workers or 11.3% of the total labor force; private sector labor unions have declined in numbers every year since the 1970’s. The largest public sector union is SEIU; public sector unionization is 34.3% private sector is 6.7%. (1) Public service union operators have developed an ingenious strategy. Through forced union dues they collect money, they then use those funds to financially support politicians with whom they negotiate labor contracts, they do this by basically cheating their membership out of their pension funds, which is where most union dues are supposed to go. Government union oversight of pension funds is scant; ERISA (2) is not applicable to organized labor. By this association between politicians and union management, one paying off the other, many comunities have become finacially insolvent. Its Greece, Illinois, NYC, and Puerto Rico all coming our way.
The howling cry often heard from liberals like Hillary Clinton, who spent an entire week performing labor before she was fired from her first job, is “Social Justice.” Like so many other slogans of the progressive left like, Hope, Forward and Change it means absolutely nothing, but sounds good. If you disagree then please in the concept of this article, define those words meanings.
Organized labors most vocal complaint is being outspent by the private sector, this is in fact a lie, and from 2005 to 2011 organized labor spent $4.4 billion on politics and lobbying. Monies spent by unions went to some very peculiar places, lobbying for increased taxes, public works projects, instituting new taxes and in several states that don’t have an income tax, to establish one. There is no retort to the statement that progressives, communists, socialists and left wing radicals dominate today’s labor movements. People like John Sweeney (AFL/CIO pension $ 163,350), Richard Trumka, (Teamsters Income $237.750.) and Mary Kay Hernry, (SEIU Income $300K,) are all on the political and social left fringe.
The SEIU is not only on the political left; consider some of the things they support; ACORN (3) and support of the Gay & Lesbian caucus. AFL/CIO John Sweeney is an avid socialist and developed close ties with the American Communist Party CPUSA, which supported his union presidency. CPUSA in a press release stated, “We are in complete accord with AFL/CIO policy”.
It goes without saying that American labor especially the AFL/CIO and the SEIU are in the labor business for the political power of its bosses. They, long ago lost interest in advocacy on behalf of workers, (the Oppressed) by “evil management”. In today’s labor market most employers are desperate to keep able workers and due to competition for the services of labor are unable to unfairly exploit. People like Trumka just as Obama and Hillary Clinton are political and social ideologues whose opinions and future plans are vested in a dogmatic hatred of capitalism. All of them are multi-millionaires. They, in all honestly, believe that the failed socialist system, which in all history has never succeeded anywhere, is the answer to societal problems. Consider now all the socialist states that have failed; Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, China, of which Russia and China are reversing from socialism and Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, have softened to Euro-socialism, and all the rest have completely reject it. Sir Winston Churchill made the following commentary on it. “[Socialism] is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery”. The never-ending mantra of socialist is, “this time it will be different because we are so much smarter and we have evolved”. BS!
In a recent statement, a leader of AFSCME (4) said, “We have the ability, in any sense to elect our own bosses” (Politicians) who then after the election in the first labor negotiation give the union anything they want. I give you Detroit, Harrisburg, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pontiac, Woodstock, Pontiac, and scores more to come soon. American municipaleties and many counties are on the brink of bankruptcy because their negotiated labor contracts with public service unions are ridiculously generous, to the point of bankrupting those communities.
To make my point: New York City sanitation DSNY spends $ 431 per ton for garbage removal, private carriers in the city of which there are 250 spend $ 185 per ton. Nationally costs per ton are as follows, Miami $57, Dallas $83, Phonix $182, DC $231, Chicago $251. In NYC pay for a garbage-man is between $ 100,000 and $ 150,000 per year. Part of this is in productivity bonuses that are in no way related to productivity. Double overtime for snow removal. Special practices for establish pick up routes set up for the express purpose of creating inefficiency. The city also spent $629 per ton for recyclable materials, just over twice of what they spend on ordinary garbage. And the greatest of them all, in the last three years of employment the worker works every day and take no vacations. This will boost his income in the last year by double and triple time, all compounded in the last year, pension is based on the last year of income, I had a neighbor garbage man who retired from NYC in the early 70’s with $ 180,000 per year plus medical and hospitalization plus Social Security, for the rest of his and his families life.
The concept of unionized government workers is an anathema. They work for the people, and for these are granted pensions, reasonable pay, generous vacations, hospitalization and healthcare all paid for by taxpayers. Because their services are indispensable, America has laws that prohibited the unionization of government employees or strikes by them. These were good laws and they protected the public (Taxpayers) from extortion. That all has gone by the wayside, today government employees can in most case not be fired even for criminal acts. (5) The truly stupid politicians then began enacting legislation that exempted public service unions from antitrust laws creating a symbiotic relationship between the unions and their bosses the politicians. Many school boards then began to allow teachers to run for school board office. Since school taxes are in virtually every jurisdiction over half of collected property taxes this has created a situation dire for taxpayers. The worker, and the negotiating parties to labor agreements were one and the same. The outcome was predictable, the financial collapse of the municipality. Then under Title V of the U. S. Code named “Official Time” unionized government employees were allowed to carry on union business on government time, i.e. taxpayers are now paying for union organizers (Community Organizers”) out of collected taxes. Then the ever-communist FLRA (6) ruled that some union members would be allowed on government payroll to spend full time on union business. This has reached the point where in 2010 an estimate $ 130 million was spent by municipalities for union related work.
Now do you understand why Lois Lerner and other IRS stooges were not sent to jail or fired when they were caught in obvious violation of statute law?
(1) SEIU Service Employees International Union. A socialist directed organization on the far left political ledge.
(2) ERISA Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Requires pension plans to be solvent based on retention of collected payments based on the age of the employee. (Organized Labor is exempt)
(3) ACORN the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. (Indicted to voter fraud KC, MO, Convicted in Wisconsin and Colorado, Ohio 2004 giving out crack cocaine for voter registrations, bring suites against state for requiring voter ID cards lost all of them, the list is endless. [WSJ Nov. 3, 2006] support
(4) AFSCME American Federation of Municipal State and County Employees
(5) NYC AFT/NEA contracts prohibits the city from firing teachers who are thieves, pedophiles and rapists. IRS, Lois Lerner. State Department Hillary Clinton.
(6) Federal Labor Relations Board