I am certainly not a union buster, nor am I opposed to labor unions. But I must say that I simply do not understand the reason people join labor unions, or what if any benefit they actually derive from them. From 1974 to 1983, the Teamsters, as well as AFL/CIO, tried to organize my workers, an effort that failed miserably when my people realized that they had a far better deal with me than with organized labor. My employees had; Social Security, Workman’s Comp, 100% healthcare, a wage at minimum, five times minimum wage, 100% access to me, coffee breaks with food, loan help when needed, and more. I had an investment in my workers that in numerous cases exceeded several thousand dollars per employee in education and training costs, I had every interest to keep them in my employ.
Organized labor is, in fact, a revolving door between politicians and union organizers. This is especially true of government unions like SEIU, ASFCME, and teachers unions like AFT and NEA. It’s an old story about abuse of power and the corruption that results from it. Union bosses recognize that the power of organized labor is a political process and that they must feed the political process (DNC) to prevent the growing right to work movement. To explain the right to work is simply a set of laws that demand that workers cannot be forced to join a union against their will to be employed in the public or private sectors. Nationally the entire south, most of the mid-west, and western states not bordering the Pacific Ocean are right to work states, in which no one can be forced to join a union. Mid Atlantic, New England, Pacific, and five other states are union locked states, in which you can be prevented from employment unless you join a union.
The process used by unions is simple. Through government mandated laws, unions collect dues from their members under the guise of providing pensions, but use the bulk of forced dues to buy politicians as I said before it’s a revolving door. The only real beneficiaries are the union bosses and politicians. What this is, when government workers are involved, is a two tiered organized crime cartel. Union bosses promise their members protection to keep their jobs for a fee, their union dues, with which they buy politicians through political contribution. Private sector pensions are by government mandate protected through ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) laws, and labor unions are exempt to ERISA. The law basically forces any employer with a pension plan to fund that plan based on the number of employees and their age to a fixed contribution. The politicians fixed ERISA so that labor unions would have more funds to finance them. The process is uniform and has two prongs. Firstly is the establishment of laws that make it virtually impossible to fire any worker and secondly to perpetuate the unions. This has reached the point where union teachers that have committed felonies in NYC, cannot be fired and are placed in what they call “Rubber Rooms,” where they read or watch TV while collecting full pay.
Just like organized crime, the unions threaten the employees and force them to join and threaten employers not to hire non-union workers. In this process, they harm the entire community. The process is expanded by public sector employers who then fund the pensions of the workers. These public pensions are, in almost every case, unaffordable and often based on ridiculous retirement rules crafted by the politicians and labor bosses in unison. For example, an NYC City worker’s pension is based on an average income of his last three years of employment. By taking no vacations working on every Sat and Sun and all holidays their income nearly doubles over the previous three years. Garbage collectors have pensions of over $100,000. This is why most Democrat run cities are functionally bankrupt. They simply cannot afford the labor contracts that the union bosses and the politicians agreed upon. Since most politicians and union bosses are long gone when the time comes to pay the piper, they don’t care.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that it is against the law to force public sector employees to pay union dues. In 1979 the law was changed by congress, in that non-union workers paid a portion of union dues, but not full dues. This was based on the unions support of politicians whose basic positions were opposed by the individual union member, and the dues were therefore used in an extortive manner to project a position opposed by those union members. What had been a policy before those changes was that union bosses and their political allies used the mandatory dues paid to further their political agenda, which was often in conflict with that of the dues paying member. The unions provide the local chapters negotiators for their employment contracts, thereby pitting professional negotiators against local politicians. The outcome is predictable. Politicians want to get the union endorsement and therefore, always side with the unions position and concluded labor contract that then bankrupts the municipality. By the time the citizens of the municipality realize what is taking place, they are broke. Labor unions universally support only progressive Democrats.
An examination of any municipality of large population demonstrates the eventual outcome. WJ news lists the ten worst managed cities in America. Washington DC, NYC, Detroit, St.Lewis, Atlanta, LA, Chicago, Cleveland, SF, and Oakland are the eight worst run cities. DC is funded by congress, which tells us a whole lot about our elected fools. All cities are Democrat, three are in CA, all are at the verge of bankruptcy, all have projected employee pensions debt that is unsustainable. The six categories used to rate the cities were; financial stability, education, health, safety, economy, infrastructure and pollution. Financially they judged the operating efficiency, taking into account how well government officials managed the spending of government funds and the quality of service provided to citizens. This was done in 2018, if it was done today FS, Seattle and Portland would be at the top of the list. SF can today be best characterized as what president Trump called, Haiti. It is also the home of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the long standing Sen. Diane Feinstein, which tells us a lot about the progressive wing of the DNC and what they think of their own communities.
Remember the last presidential election? In the DNC convention, a full 20% of the delegates were unelected by anyone “Super Delegates” 758 of them. Just imagine belonging to a labor union as a Democrat supporter of Bernie Sanders and the Party giving Hillary 758-super delegates supported by your union boss, just to sideline your vote. That is exactly what took place, the AFT (250,000 members) AFSCME (1.3-million members) and NEA (3.2-million members) the largest labor unions together with the SEIU (2-million members) were the primary supporters of Hillary Clinton along with the big banks, the Business Round Table and the National Chamber of Commerce. What strange bedfellows politics makes! Not really that odd, if you think about it, all of them have the same agenda; keep those elected in office, keep wages low, open the gates for more immigration, help big business in which is mostly unionized to keep wages low, play ball with the progressives in congress and power.
Another union AFSCME is the largest municipal employees union in America in the last election they doled out $85.7-million to democrat candidates. They have 1.3-million members. Most of the money spent on progressive candidates was through forcibly collected union dues. Not one of these unions have made any contributions to any organization that was not progressive i.e. socialist. New employees, in most unions, are requested to sign a union membership form authorizing the employer to deduct and pay dues to the union directly—new members never even get to see the money. In that agreement is a clause that prohibits any change in that payment arrangement for the first 12 months of employment. This is a clear violation of the Supreme Courts mandatory agency fees provisions.
Labor unions were a necessary social labor product of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today they do not serve any purpose on behalf of workers. The business and social changes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries make organized labor a dinosaur that serves no useful purpose. This is especially true when we have national labor participation, which is the highest in decades and the lowest unemployment in over 60-years.
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