Keeping the Gravy Train Rolling

Keeping the Gravy Train Rolling

After bailouts and billions of dollars worth of taxpayer handouts, the big public employee union bosses are spending freely to keep the train rolling.  From the Wall Street Journal: The National Education Association, the largest U.S. teachers union, has independently spent more than $3.4 million that must be disclosed, including ad buys and direct-mail campaigns, for the key electioneering period from Sept. 1 to Oct. 14. The NEA spent $444,000 during the same stretch in 2006. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has nearly matched its 2006 midterm outlays. It has spent $2.1 million on electioneering since the beginning of last month, according to FEC filings for two campaign committees associated with the union. That is just shy of the $2.2 million spent for that period in 2006. Unions that represent government workers say this year's election is crucial to them, given the uproar over public-sector budget issues. Officials elected this year will face tough choices on matters such as further fiscal assistance for the nation's cash-strapped states and local governments. The issue of campaign-related spending by public-sector unions has received more attention in recent years, as state and local governments struggle with pensions and other costs. Conservative critics and business leaders have said the unions largely seek to expand their influence at taxpayers' expense. Some states have approved restrictions on political use of union dues, for example requiring unions to obtain permission from workers before spending dues on campaigns.

Forced Union Dues-Funded Incumbent Protection

Forced Union Dues-Funded Incumbent Protection

Will Big Labor Machine Rescue Unpopular Union-Label Politicians? (Source: September 2010 NRTWC Newsletter) Over the past two years, Big Labor bosses have repeatedly succeeded in getting their favored federal politicians in competitive U.S. House districts and states to cast "politically difficult" votes. Top AFL-CIO union official Richard Trumka is going all out this fall to help U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) retain the power to keep pushing forward his forced-unionism agenda in 2011 and 2012. Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America Early in 2009, for example, union lobbyists twisted arms to secure majorities in both chambers of Congress for controversial "stimulus" legislation. Since it became law, the "stimulus" has bilked taxpayers of hundreds of billions of dollars to ensure that bloated, unionized government payrolls stay bloated, but furnished no detectable help for America's private sector. And, more even than President Obama or any other elected official, top union officials are responsible for Congress's narrow votes to reconstruct America's enormous health-care system in late 2009 and early 2010. As the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported March 22, 2010, "in the final push before the vote," many union bosses and union operatives "displayed their clout through threats to withhold endorsements from lawmakers who failed to back the bill. They also vowed to support primary challenges or third-party bids against incumbents who opposed" ObamaCare. Now polls indicate that voters across the country are poised to punish vulnerable U.S. representatives and senators for doing what Big Labor told them to do.

Top Union Boss Huffs and Puffs, But Cannot Blow the Facts Down

Top Union Boss Huffs and Puffs, But Cannot Blow the Facts Down

(Source: June 2010 Forced-Unionism Abuses Exposed) It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes or an Hercule Poirot to deduce that state policies promoting “exclusive” union bargaining and forced union dues and fees in the public sector have played a major role in driving multiple states to the verge of insolvency this year.  All it takes is the willingness to look at, and respect, the facts. In 2009, according to respected labor economists Barry Hirsch and David Macpherson, 41% of public employees nationwide were subject to a contract negotiated by their employer with a union monopoly-bargaining agent. However, in 22 states, none of which authorize forced union dues for government employees and most of which don’t authorize public-sector union monopoly bargaining, either, fewer than 30% of public servants were unionized.  Not one of these 22 low public-sector-unionization states was to be found on Business Insider’s list, published just last month, of the nine states “most likely to default.” 

New Jersey's 'Day of Reckoning Has Arrived'

New Jersey's 'Day of Reckoning Has Arrived'

Government Union Monopolists Have Brought State to Brink of Ruin (Source: May 2010 NRTWC Newsletter) From 1999 to 2009, according to the U.S. Labor Department, New Jersey's private-sector employment fell by 2.4%, a percentage decline seven times worse than the national average. Over the same period, New Jersey's state and local public employment jumped by a whopping 15.2%, substantially more than the hefty-enough nationwide increase of 12.5%. For most hard-working Garden State workers and employers, these statistics sum up why New Jersey is in even worse shape, economically, than the nation as a whole. For years, the state's heavily unionized public sector has been sucking resources and vitality out of beleaguered private-sector employees and businesses. But for government union officials, the relentless expansion of the Garden State's public-sector employment from 1999 to 2009, even as the state's private-sector employment alternately stagnated or shriveled, is a magnificent achievement that must be preserved and built upon, whatever the cost. During his successful campaign for the state's highest executive office and since he was inaugurated in January, GOP Gov. Chris Christie has sided with the vast majority of New Jerseyans who appreciate that state and local government must now be rolled back to give the private sector room to grow.