Congress Nearly Federalized the Mess in Madison

Congress Nearly Federalized the Mess in Madison

(Source: March 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) Time For Politicians in Both Parties to Own Up to Their Mistakes In late February, many concerned Americans in other states were paying close attention to the fierce, and still unresolved, battle over public-sector union monopoly bargaining in Wisconsin. Many observing the Madison showdown from their homes inwere undoubtedly amazed by what they saw. These five states, like roughly a dozen others, have no statutes on the books empowering government union officials to act as state and local public employees' monopoly-bargaining agents. When elected officials in such states make a judgment that a reform in public-employee compensation packages and work rules is necessary and can be prudently implemented to give taxpayers a better return on their money, they have the power to proceed. It is then up to the voting public to judge whether the reform was a good idea or not. In Wisconsin, however, like in other states which statutorily mandate union monopoly bargaining over public employee pay, benefits, and working conditions, elected officials from the governor on down have far less control over the roughly 50% of public expenditures that go into employee compensation. In the Badger State, half of state and local government employees are unionized. Elected officials and their appointees cannot make any significant changes in the way these employees are compensated or in how they are instructed to do their jobs without government union bosses' approval. Today, millions of Americans whose state and local governments operate free from Big Labor constraints appreciate, after watching the bitter struggle in Wisconsin unfold, better than ever before the importance of keeping union monopolists out of the government workplace. Only Intense Right to Work Lobbying Blocked Monopoly-Bargaining Bill What most freedom-loving Virginians, North Carolinians and Texans probably don't realize is that, just last year, the U.S. Congress came within a hair of taking away their prerogative to decide how their state and local government workplaces are run. At the outset of the 2009-2010 Congress, the votes were there to pass the so-called "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act" in both the House and the Senate. Furthermore, President Obama was publicly vowing to sign this legislation as soon as it reached his desk. This measure, more accurately labeled the "Police/Fire Monopoly-Bargaining Bill," would have foisted Wisconsin-style labor relations on state and local public-safety departments in all 50 states.

Big Labor Disdained 'Alleged Religious Beliefs'

Big Labor Disdained 'Alleged Religious Beliefs'

(Source: February 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) Unjust Firing Helped Make Frank Partin a Right to Work Leader There are many paths to becoming a leader in the Right to Work movement. Frank Partin's was an unusually difficult one. In 1973, Mr. Partin was working for Philco-Ford at the New Hampshire Satellite Tracking Station in New Boston, when the facility was targeted by International Association of Machinists (IAM/AFL-CIO) union organizers. Mr. Partin’s Efforts to Keep His Job Honorably Ran Into Big Labor Wall The Big Labor campaign soon succeeded, and in short order IAM officials obtained from Philco-Ford a forced-unionism contract with a clause requiring the termination of any employee who refused to become and remain "a member in good standing of the Union" once the contract had been in effect for 30 days. Mr. Partin's problem was not simply that he didn't want to join the IAM union, but that he couldn't do so without compromising his faith in God. He was then, and remained for the rest of his life, a member of the Church of the Kingdom, a Christian denomination that teaches, as a matter of doctrine based on its understanding of the Bible, that no member may belong to, join, or participate in any labor union. But Frank Partin still hoped, for a time, that IAM officials would accept an alternative arrangement he proposed and thus allow him to keep his job without going against the doctrine of his faith. 'We Have No Alternative But to Process Your Termination' In a letter to the secretary-treasurer of his IAM local, Mr. Partin offered to "donate to the union the equivalent of initiation fees and monthly union dues if it was understood I was not a member of the union, and the union in turn donated that amount to a bona fide charitable organization." IAM Local 2503 Secretary-Treasurer Dwight Mercer was unmoved. Even a signed affidavit from Mr. Partin's pastor certifying that he was a member of the Church of the Kingdom and could not remain one if he joined or participated in a labor union did not cause Mr. Mercer to budge. In an icy letter, dated March 19, 1973, Mr. Mercer sneered that Mr. Partin's "current alleged religious beliefs" did not give him any protection from forced payment of a union initiation fee and full monthly dues. And IAM bosses would spend the conscripted money exactly as they wanted. Frank Partin refused to compromise his faith in the way the IAM hierarchy demanded. Consequently, on March 28, 1973, he received a letter from Philco-Ford stating that, in accordance with Article II of the union contract (the forced-unionism clause), "we have no alternative but to process your termination as soon as possible." 'He Was the Kind of Guy Who Really Loved Life' Subscribe to The National Right to Work Committee® Website Updates by Email

Big Labor Disdained 'Alleged Religious Beliefs'

Big Labor Disdained 'Alleged Religious Beliefs'

(Source: February 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) Unjust Firing Helped Make Frank Partin a Right to Work Leader There are many paths to becoming a leader in the Right to Work movement. Frank Partin's was an unusually difficult one. In 1973, Mr. Partin was working for Philco-Ford at the New Hampshire Satellite Tracking Station in New Boston, when the facility was targeted by International Association of Machinists (IAM/AFL-CIO) union organizers. Mr. Partin’s Efforts to Keep His Job Honorably Ran Into Big Labor Wall The Big Labor campaign soon succeeded, and in short order IAM officials obtained from Philco-Ford a forced-unionism contract with a clause requiring the termination of any employee who refused to become and remain "a member in good standing of the Union" once the contract had been in effect for 30 days. Mr. Partin's problem was not simply that he didn't want to join the IAM union, but that he couldn't do so without compromising his faith in God. He was then, and remained for the rest of his life, a member of the Church of the Kingdom, a Christian denomination that teaches, as a matter of doctrine based on its understanding of the Bible, that no member may belong to, join, or participate in any labor union. But Frank Partin still hoped, for a time, that IAM officials would accept an alternative arrangement he proposed and thus allow him to keep his job without going against the doctrine of his faith. 'We Have No Alternative But to Process Your Termination' In a letter to the secretary-treasurer of his IAM local, Mr. Partin offered to "donate to the union the equivalent of initiation fees and monthly union dues if it was understood I was not a member of the union, and the union in turn donated that amount to a bona fide charitable organization." IAM Local 2503 Secretary-Treasurer Dwight Mercer was unmoved. Even a signed affidavit from Mr. Partin's pastor certifying that he was a member of the Church of the Kingdom and could not remain one if he joined or participated in a labor union did not cause Mr. Mercer to budge. In an icy letter, dated March 19, 1973, Mr. Mercer sneered that Mr. Partin's "current alleged religious beliefs" did not give him any protection from forced payment of a union initiation fee and full monthly dues. And IAM bosses would spend the conscripted money exactly as they wanted. Frank Partin refused to compromise his faith in the way the IAM hierarchy demanded. Consequently, on March 28, 1973, he received a letter from Philco-Ford stating that, in accordance with Article II of the union contract (the forced-unionism clause), "we have no alternative but to process your termination as soon as possible." 'He Was the Kind of Guy Who Really Loved Life' Subscribe to The National Right to Work Committee® Website Updates by Email

Winners in Wisconsin: Taxpayers

Winners in Wisconsin: Taxpayers

Subscribe to The National Right to Work Committee® Website Updates by Email Wisconsin demonstrates the monopoly power of government unions can be broken and the Wall Street Journal takes notice: Congratulations to Wisconsin Republicans, who held together this week to pass their government union reforms despite unprecedented acting out by Democrats and their union allies. Three weeks ago we described this battle as a foretaste of Greece come to America, but maybe there's hope for taxpayers after all. The good news is that Governor Scott Walker's reforms have been worth the fight on the policy merits. The conventional media wisdom is that Mr. Walker "overreached" by proposing limits on the ability of government unions to bargain collectively for benefits. But before he offered those proposals, Democrats and unions had refused to support his plan that public workers pay more for their pensions and health care. Only later did they concede that these changes were reasonable and will spare thousands of public workers from layoffs. Unions can still bargain for wages, but annual increases can't exceed the rate of inflation. Unions will also have to be certified each year, which will give their dues-paying members a chance to revisit their decision to unionize. No longer will it be one worker, one vote, once. Perhaps most important, the state will no longer collect those dues automatically and give them to the union to spend almost entirely on politics. The unions will have to collect those dues themselves.The collective bargaining reforms also mean that this won't merely be a one-time budget victory. Government unions know that financial concessions (and layoffs) they agree to during recessions are typically won back when tax revenues increase and the public stops paying attention. They merely need to elect a friendly governor. Mr. Walker's reforms change the balance of negotiating power in ways that give taxpayers more protection. If Mr. Walker's effort can be faulted, we'd say it's for not stressing enough the value of these collective bargaining changes for taxpayers, and how public unions too often end up on both sides of the bargaining table.

Codependency

Subscribe to The National Right to Work Committee® Posts by Email Why are Democrats in Wisconsin and Indiana fleeing the state rather than vote on reform measures? It's because Big Labor and the Democratic Party are completely codependent upon each other, the Investors Business Daily opines: The fleeing Democrats in Wisconsin and Indiana say they are protecting state workers, but they have plenty of self-interested reasons to hit the road. Their self-imposed exile and national Democrats' support show just how key Big Labor is to their fortunes. Unions have long been a backbone of support for the Democratic Party. They have become even more important in recent years as they ramped up campaign efforts. Without them, Democrats have no chance of reversing the GOP's 2010 gains. The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, the top public-sector union, spent a reported $87.5 million nationally in the 2010 election cycle — 99% for Democrats. The Chamber of Commerce, by contrast, spent $75 million. The National Education Association spent $40 million, and the Service Employees International Union spent $44 million. That doesn't count the unions' importance in get-out-the-vote efforts, in organizing rallies and in other election activities. There will be 91 electoral votes at stake in the seven upper Midwest states from Minnesota and Iowa to Pennsylvania (excluding President Obama's home state of Illinois). In 2008, Obama won all those states, including a narrow victory in Indiana. But in 2010, Republicans in the area had their best election in decades, picking up 16 House seats, two Senate seats, and five governorships. Only Minnesota's governorship flipped from Republican to Democrat.