Friday, February 25, 2011

What’s really at Stake for Unions in America? By: Paul Krausett

What’s really at Stake for Unions in America? By: Paul Krausett
Is it the welfare of Joe and his family on Elm Street? Is it Gladys and her role in teaching our children? Is it Sam and Rebecca, neighbors who are employed as civil servants?
No – it’s all about money, and a whole lot of it that winds up in the hands and ultimate control of a very few!
Mandatory union contributions inherent with employment can run as much as $1000 to $2000 a year for thousands of households nationwide. When this money leaves the union member’s hands, a great deal of it winds up in the control of a small number of state and national union leaders with little or no consent or oversight by members at large.
How much money? Follow some hypothetical arithmetic for an imaginary national union:
Local Dues $75 Month $75 Month $75 Month 
#Members 5 Million 10 Million 15 Million 
Monthly Total $375 Million $750 Million $1.125 Billion 
Annual Total $4.5 Billion $9 Billion $13.5 Billion 
35% to National $1.575 Billion $3.15 Billion $4.725 Billion

This enormous amount of money would provide this theoretical union with the most powerful
political financial strength in America to influence politics. In addition to union dues, members
of this union would frequently be obligated to make further contributions to a city’s, county
state or a federal political candidate’s campaign fund, regardless of their voting choice or
political affiliation. There’s no question that unions similar to this, for years have decided many
state and federal elections in our nation dating all the way back to John F. Kennedy and further.
A few men in smoky backrooms, armed with millions of dollars and the support and protection
of legislators who owe their office to union involvement have controlled state and federal
legislation, the workplace and its effect on the majority of our state and national economy for
In the November elections of last year the unions lost their stranglehold on some of the states
they have substantially controlled for ages. The showdown between public unions and the
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker addresses his Senate with all Democrats on the run.governor of Wisconsin is drama likely to be replayed in other budget-challenged states during
the next few months and may determine whether American unions rebound or become a
fading fixture of the past.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states and Puerto Rico have
introduced legislation governing labor unions and collective bargaining.
In New York City, the No. 2 guy in the fire department retired on a pension worth $242,000 a
year. In New York State, a single official holding two jobs and one pension took in $641,000. A
lieutenant with the Port Authority police retired with an annual pension of $196,767, and 738
of the city's teachers, principals and such have pensions worth more than $100,000 a year.
Their former employers, it goes almost without saying, are steamed.
These examples of pension obesity were culled from the local newspapers, which never fail to
shock with revelations of how good life is for those who once worked for the city, the state or
any one of several public agencies. In some cases, retirement came a mere 20 or so years after
first reporting to the job, and if they were lucky enough to fake a disability – there were
virtually no limit to payments. Fully one-third of all New York City cops who retired during a
recent 17-month period did so, on disability.
All though Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has exempted police officers and firefighters
from his new legislation, it is clear that his intentions are to cripple government worker unions
in Wisconsin and become the champion of the common man. The Middle Americans
personifying the feeling of resentment and anger toward government workers who have so
gamed the system that some of them retire on larger stipends than the average citizen makes
in salary - and with greater and less expensive health care.
Gov. Walker has tapped into a feeling of disgust - that always-dangerous sense that the vast
majority  of workers in America have played by the rules and saved for their modest
retirements, while government workers, on everyone else’s dime, have run off with pensions
they do not deserve. Millions in Wisconsin and across America now, feel they have been played
for fools.
However, the unions will not surrender easily, if ever. There’s too much money and political
clout at risk. Union members will continue to exert their pressure on serving legislators and
pour into streets in righteous anger in attempts to save and protect their individual hierarchy
and lofty status in the workplace.

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