Union Czar's Famous Boast Illuminates Today's State Fiscal Crises

Union Czar's Famous Boast Illuminates Today's State Fiscal Crises

'In a Sense,' We 'Elect Our Own Boss' (Source: May 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) An October 27, 1975 New York magazine feature article by journalist Ken Auletta examined the causes of the Big Apple's financial implosion that year. Three-and-a-half decades later, the article is still remembered for a remarkable quote from government union bigwig Victor Gotbaum. The then-head of the extraordinarily powerful, Manhattan-based District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union had "recently remarked," the story reported: "We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss." Mr. Gotbaum was alluding to the fact that, in jurisdictions like New York, where union monopoly bargaining over the pay, benefits, and working conditions of public servants is authorized by law, union bosses negotiate with government officials over such issues. At the same time, government union chiefs funnel a huge portion of the (often compulsory) dues and fees they collect from unionized workers into efforts to influence the outcomes of local and state elections. And the outcomes of those elections often determine who represents the public at the bargaining table. "In city after city and state after state, union bosses wield their privilege to force public employees to pay union dues, or be fired, to amass huge war chests, with which they support and oppose candidates for public office," explained National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix. "Big Labor thus determines who sits on one side of the bargaining table, and heavily influences who sits on the other. It is a terrible conflict of interest, which Victor Gotbaum plainly recognized, even as he bragged about it.

Union Czar's Famous Boast Illuminates Today's State Fiscal Crises

Union Czar's Famous Boast Illuminates Today's State Fiscal Crises

'In a Sense,' We 'Elect Our Own Boss' (Source: May 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) An October 27, 1975 New York magazine feature article by journalist Ken Auletta examined the causes of the Big Apple's financial implosion that year. Three-and-a-half decades later, the article is still remembered for a remarkable quote from government union bigwig Victor Gotbaum. The then-head of the extraordinarily powerful, Manhattan-based District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union had "recently remarked," the story reported: "We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss." Mr. Gotbaum was alluding to the fact that, in jurisdictions like New York, where union monopoly bargaining over the pay, benefits, and working conditions of public servants is authorized by law, union bosses negotiate with government officials over such issues. At the same time, government union chiefs funnel a huge portion of the (often compulsory) dues and fees they collect from unionized workers into efforts to influence the outcomes of local and state elections. And the outcomes of those elections often determine who represents the public at the bargaining table. "In city after city and state after state, union bosses wield their privilege to force public employees to pay union dues, or be fired, to amass huge war chests, with which they support and oppose candidates for public office," explained National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix. "Big Labor thus determines who sits on one side of the bargaining table, and heavily influences who sits on the other. It is a terrible conflict of interest, which Victor Gotbaum plainly recognized, even as he bragged about it.

Committee Members Actions Trip Up Government Union Sneak Play

Committee Members Actions Trip Up Government Union Sneak Play

(Source: August 2010 NRTWC Newsletter) Public-Safety Forced Unionism Still High on Capitol Hill Agenda The American people do not support Big Labor's legislative scheme to establish a new federal mandate imposing union "exclusive representation" (monopoly bargaining) over state and local police, firefighters, and other public-safety employees nationwide. And powerful union-label politicians like U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) know this public-safety scheme (H.R.413/S.3194) is unpopular. That's why they have repeatedly tried to sneak it through Congress. Most recently, in June, Ms. Pelosi and her top lieutenants cut a deal with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other union bigwigs to attach H.R.413, the House version of the Police/Fire Monopoly-Bargaining Bill, to a massive spending bill that provides funding for U.S. troops. International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) union boss Harold Schaitberger openly admitted to helping concoct the scheme to tack H.R.413 on to H.R.4899, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act, in a June 30 message to officers of his union subsidiaries. Early last month, the National Right to Work Committee obtained a copy of Mr. Schaitberger's communication. Firefighters Union Chief 'Argued Strongly' For War Supplemental Strategy Mr. Schaitberger reported that he had "argued strongly" for attaching H.R.413 "to the War Supplemental funding proposal for our troops in Afghanistan." The backroom deal between House leaders and the union hierarchy allowed the public-safety forced-unionism measure to come to the floor so quickly that Right to Work members and their allies had virtually no time to mobilize for the vote.