Union Contracts ‘Take Precedence’ Over Nutmeg State Statutes
In forced-unionism Connecticut, a public debate is raging over what to do about the state’s dismal economic performance.
Since the last national recession ended roughly nine years ago, Connecticut has ranked dead last among the 50 states for economic growth. And breadwinners, along with their families, are fleeing the Nutmeg State in droves.
From 2006 to 2016, the number of Connecticut residents in their peak-earning years (aged 35-54) plunged by nearly 149,000, or 13.6%. That’s nearly double the aggregate 7.4% decline in 35-54 year-old residents for forced-unionism states as a group.
Meanwhile, in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the entire period from 2006 to 2016, there was no overall net decline in peak-earning- year population at all.
Extraordinarily Burdensome State Taxes Are Consequence Of Bloated Public Payrolls
One key reason businesses, jobs, and people who have to work for a living are moving out of Connecticut when they can is the state’s heavy and mounting tax burden.
Soon after he first became the state’s chief executive in 2011, Big Labor Democrat Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law a record $2.5 billion tax increase package, including a 20% surcharge on the earnings of incorporated businesses.
Just four years later, Mr. Malloy and union-label Connecticut lawmakers imposed an additional $1.3 billion in personal income, property, sales and businesses taxes.
According to a recent analysis published on the popular WalletHub financial web site, in 2018 Connecticut residents will be forking over 10.2% of their income in state and local taxes.
Connecticut’s combined state-local tax burden is heavier than those of all but four other states (all forced-unionism), and 27% heavier than the Right to Work state average.
Most of the state and local taxes extracted from hard-working Connecticut citizens are funneled into $19.2 billion (as of 2017) in annual compensation for employees on state and local payrolls.
Getting government compensation expenditures back under control is, therefore, absolutely necessary if meaningful state tax relief is ever to occur.
However, as veteran Connecticut journalist Chris Powell explained this February in a column for Manchester’s Journal Inquirer, state labor law effectively makes it impossible to reform the way public employees are compensated.
Invoking a study by the Hartford-based Yankee Institute, Mr. Powell explained that the compensation of Connecticut’s government employees far exceeds that of most other states “because it is determined by a system that puts government employees above the law … .”
Government Union Contracts ‘Can Nullify the Public’s Right to Know’
Of course, in addition to Connecticut, more than 30 states have adopted laws handing union bosses monopoly-bargaining power to codetermine with elected officials and/or their appointees the pay, benefits and work rules of unionized public employees, including those who affirmatively choose not to be union members.
However, as Mr. Powell noted, Connecticut law subjects to union monopoly bargaining “more of the compensation and work conditions” of public employees than do most other state monopoly-bargaining laws.
Moreover, so-called “binding arbitration” of government union contracts in Connecticut “prevents elected officials from exercising much authority over the terms of government employment.”
Connecticut law, Mr. Powell continued, even allows union contracts “to take precedence over state law.”
He explained: “For example while ordinarily the disciplinary records of government employees are public records, union contracts can nullify the public’s right to know so misconduct and incompetence on the public payroll can be concealed.”
National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb agreed, adding:
“Although Connecticut is an extreme case, the fact is that government union monopoly bargaining and binding arbitration laws operate against the interests of taxpayers and talented, conscientious public employees wherever they are on the books.
“Ultimately, as Chris Powell concludes, all such laws should be repealed because they ‘destroy democracy.’”
Mr. Kalb vowed that the National Right to Work Committee and its 2.8 million members would continue fighting to roll back and eventually repeal every state monopoly-bargaining law in the U.S., and also to block the passage of any more such laws.