Archive for the ‘Collective Bargaining’ Category


Friday, October 5th, 2012


BOOK REVIEW: ‘Shadowbosses’

Reviewed by Grover G. Norquist – Special to The Washington Times


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

By Mallory Factor with Elizabeth Factor
Center Street, $24.99, 336 pages
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  Why can President Obama impose expensive regulations on coal miners and steel workers? Because those industries he is damaging are small potatoes compared to the public-sector unions that now fund his campaigns. He doesn’t care about unemployed coal miners. They are not paying customers. Most miners now are non-union.

Mallory and Elizabeth Factor have written an important and powerful new book, “Shadowbosses,” that explains the symbiotic relationship between the modern Democratic Party and today’s labor unions. One is not possible without the other. Democratic politicians pass laws that give union leaders power over workers, and union leaders use that power to take “dues” money from workers to give to Democratic politicians.

Last year, in 2011, 16.3 million workers who belong to unions (in every sense) had $14 billion taken from them in union dues. Much of that money flowed into political campaigns as cash and to pay “volunteers.” Labor unions are the skeleton and muscle of the modern Democratic Party.

Before the federal government passed the Wagner Act in 1935 forcing workers to join unions as a condition of employment, only 8 percent of Americans chose to join unions voluntarily. Thanks to Franklin Roosevelt’s legislation giving unions power over workers, once a union was in place, it did not need to ask workers to join. They paid dues or did not work.

Before the creation of government-empowered unions, the Democratic Party was the party of the discredited Confederacy, and from 1860 to 1932, of 15 presidents only two were Democrats: Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson. Wilson only won because Teddy Roosevelt ran as a Progressive, splitting the Republican vote.

When Herbert Hoover imposed massive tariffs, hiked the new income tax to 75 percent and spent like Barack Obama, he deepened a recession, and Franklin Roosevelt was able to win the 1932 election. FDR continued Hoover’s policies of higher taxes, “stimulus” spending and government regulations. He might have lost the next elections. But FDR created a new extension of government — labor unions with powers over workers to extract union dues. With government relatively small, those unions were in factories and there was a limit to how high wages and work rules could go without bankrupting businesses. Union power was constrained by its interest in the health of the overall economy.

Over time, unions killed off much of the auto, steel, mining and manufacturing industries in the United States. They went on the prowl, looking for new sources of dues money — and they found it in government workers: police, fire, teachers and generic bureaucrats. (more…)



Monday, June 11th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • June 7, 2012

What’s Changed After Wisconsin

The Obama administration suddenly looks like a house of cards.


What happened in Wisconsin signals a shift in political mood and assumption. Public employee unions were beaten back and defeated in a state with a long progressive tradition. The unions and their allies put everything they had into “one of their most aggressive grass-roots campaigns ever,” as the Washington Post’s Peter Whoriskey and Dan Balz reported in a day-after piece. Fifty thousand volunteers made phone calls and knocked on 1.4 million doors to get out the vote against Gov. Scott Walker. Mr. Walker’s supporters, less deeply organized on the ground, had a considerable advantage in money.

But organization and money aren’t the headline. The shift in mood and assumption is. The vote was a blow to the power and prestige not only of the unions but of the blue-state budgetary model, which for two generations has been: Public-employee unions with their manpower, money and clout, get what they want. If you move against them, you will be crushed. 

Mr. Walker was not crushed. He was buoyed, winning by a solid seven points in a high-turnout race.

Governors and local leaders will now have help in controlling budgets. Down the road there will be fewer contracts in which you work for, say, 23 years for a city, then retire with full salary and free health care for the rest of your life—paid for by taxpayers who cannot afford such plans for themselves, and who sometimes have no pension at all. The big meaning of Wisconsin is that a public injustice is in the process of being righted because a public mood is changing.

Political professionals now lay down lines even before a story happens. They used to wait to do the honest, desperate, last-minute spin of yesteryear. Now it’s strategized in advance, which makes things tidier but less raggedly fun. The line laid down by the Democrats weeks before the vote was that it’s all about money: The Walker forces outspent the unions so they won, end of story.

Money is important, as all but children know. But the line wasn’t very flattering to Wisconsin’s voters, implying that they were automatons drooling in front of the TV waiting to be told who to back. It was also demonstrably incorrect. Most voters, according to surveys, had made up their minds well before the heavy spending of the closing weeks.

Mr. Walker didn’t win because of his charm—he’s not charming. It wasn’t because he is compelling on the campaign trail—he’s not, especially. Even his victory speech on that epic night was, except for its opening sentence—”First of all, I want to thank God for his abundant grace,” which, amazingly enough, seemed to be wholly sincere—meandering, unable to name and put forward what had really happened.

But on the big question—getting control of the budget by taking actions resisted by public unions—he was essentially right, and he won.


Associated PressWisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. (more…)



Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

The war on Wisconsin; Update: Sarah Palin’s call to arms

By Michelle Malkin  •  March 28, 2012 02:52 AM

The war on Wisconsin
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2012

Now is the time for all good tea partiers to come to the aid of Wisconsin. Fiscally conservative leaders in the Badger State are under coordinated siege from Big Labor, the White House, the liberal media and the judiciary. The yearlong campaign of union thuggery, family harassment and intimidation of Republican donors and businesses is about to escalate even further. This is the price the Right pays for doing the right thing.

The most visible target is Gov. Scott Walker, who faces recall on June 5 over his tough package of state budget and public employee union reforms. Three state GOP legislators — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Sen. Van Wanggaard and Sen. Terry Moulton — also face recall. A fourth target, staunch union reformer and Second Amendment advocate Sen. Pam Galloway, announced she was stepping down last week — leaving the legislature deadlocked and Democratic strategists salivating. (more…)



Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • FEBRUARY 11, 2012

The States Are Leading a Pro-Growth


The message from Indiana and elsewhere is that aligning yourself too closely to unions is a losing strategy.


After the 2008 election, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and, of course, the presidency. They used that victory to push through an agenda as radical as any seen in this country since FDR—unprecedented deficit-financed stimulus spending, more regulations, a new health-care entitlement, etc.

In 2010, the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives and seven Senate seats in a startling reversal of fortune. But instead of rethinking their agenda, Democrats in Washington have doubled down, marching in lock-step toward ever bigger government.

Well, the states are now starting to change the playing field. The latest shock to the Democratic agenda is Indiana’s adoption of a right-to-work law that bans contracts that require private-sector employees to pay union dues. And there are many more such changes on the state level to follow.

Most high-school civics students would agree that no American worker should either be prohibited from joining a union or required to join one as a condition of employment. And no union member—or anyone else for that matter—should be required to contribute to political causes they oppose. Yet in 27 states, if more than 50% of workers agree to create a union shop, workers are still required to join the union and pay dues even if those dues are used for political causes they disapprove of. (more…)



Monday, January 30th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • JANUARY 28, 2012

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker is facing a recall after his labor and spending reforms. If he loses, public unions will flex their muscles nationwide.


One Sunday afternoon last spring, as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was working in his front yard, a car rolled slowly by and blared its horn. He and his two teenage sons looked up to see two middle fingers directed their way as the car screeched down the street. A few minutes later another car rolled by and a voice shouted “Hey governor!” Mr. Walker reluctantly looked up—to find two thumbs up coming through the open window.

No American politician had a more polarizing effect on voters last year than Scott Walker. This time last year, thousands of irate protesters were occupying Wisconsin’s state Capitol, comparing Mr. Walker to Hitler for trying to reform the pension and collective-bargaining systems of public-employee unions. He needed an entourage of 25 security officers to escort him through the building at the height of the pandemonium.

Now he faces what he predicts will be his most bruising fight of all: a union-funded recall election intended to toss him out of office. His opponents last week submitted one million signatures to trigger a recall election as early as spring or summer. Mr. Walker expects this to be a $70 million brawl—a record for Wisconsin and twice the total spent in the 2010 governor’s race. Smiling, Mr. Walker says he hopes to be the “first governor re-elected twice during his first term.”


Associated PressWisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (more…)



Monday, November 28th, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

  • NOVEMBER 26, 2011

‘The New Tammany Hall’

The historian of the American city on what Wall Street and the ‘Occupy’ movement have in common, and how government unions came to dominate state and local politics.

New York

‘What has the country so angry,” says Fred Siegel, “is the sense that crony capitalism has produced a population that lives off the rest of us without contributing. They’re right. It’s not paranoid.”

The economic historian of the American city has spent a lot of this autumn on Wall Street. He met many of the protesters who camped out at Zuccotti Park, before the city’s finest cleared them out last week. He also knows the bankers and finds the theater of the Occupy movement ironic.

“They’re on the same side of the street politically,” he says. “They’re both in favor of big government. The Wall Street people I talk to, they get it completely.” What he means is that the Bush and Obama administrations bailed out the large banks, and that economic stimulus and near-zero interest rates kept them flush. “Obama’s crony capitalism has been very good for New York’s crony capitalism,” he says. Over at Zuccotti Park, “there are a few people there who do get it, but very little of their animosity follows from this.”

One can appreciate why the “we are the 99%” militants might resist Mr. Siegel’s logic. He links the liberalism of the 1960s, not any excess of the free market, to today’s crisis. The Great Society put the state on growth hormones. Less widely appreciated, the era gave birth to a powerful new political force, the public-sector union. For the first time in American history there was an interest dedicated wholly to lobbying for a larger government and the taxes and debt to pay for it. (more…)



Thursday, November 17th, 2011



Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

  • NOVEMBER 9, 2011

What it means when 90% of an agency’s workers retire with disability benefits.

The indictment of seven Long Island Rail Road workers for disability fraud last week cast a spotlight on a troubled government agency. Until recently, over 90% of LIRR workers retired with a disability—even those who worked desk jobs—adding about $36,000 to their annual pensions. The cost to New York taxpayers over the past decade was $300 million.

As one investigator put it, fraud of this kind “became a culture of sorts among the LIRR workers, who took to gathering in doctor’s waiting rooms bragging to each [other] about their disabilities while simultaneously talking about their golf game.” How could almost every employee think fraud was the right thing to do?

The LIRR disability epidemic is hardly unique—82% of senior California state troopers are “disabled” in their last year before retirement. Pension abuses are so common—for example, “spiking” pensions with excess overtime in the last year of employment—that they’re taken for granted.

Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio this year have led well-publicized showdowns with public unions. Union leaders argue they are “decimat[ing] the collective bargaining rights of public employees.” What are these so-called “rights”? The dispute has focused on rich benefit packages that are drowning public budgets. Far more important is the lack of productivity.

“I’ve never seen anyone terminated for incompetence,” observed a long-time human relations official in New York City. In Cincinnati, police personnel records must be expunged every few years—making periodic misconduct essentially unaccountable. Over the past decade, Los Angeles succeeded in firing five teachers (out of 33,000), at a cost of $3.5 million.

Collective-bargaining rights have made government virtually unmanageable. Promotions, reassignments and layoffs are dictated by rigid rules, without any opportunity for managerial judgment. In 2010, shortly after receiving an award as best first-year teacher in Wisconsin, Megan Sampson had to be let go under “last in, first out” provisions of the union contract. (more…)



Wednesday, October 12th, 2011



Thursday, September 1st, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

  • AUGUST 31, 2011
The National Labor Relations Board sided with unions in several cases involving rules for organizing and representing workers, further riling business groups as the board continues to push through decisions by year’s end.

The board’s three Democrats outvoted the group’s sole Republican member in all three of the cases.

[LABOR] Associated PressA union supporter takes part in a rally in Cleveland last April.

In a case known as Specialty Healthcare, the board decided that the union could seek to organize a group that consists only of nursing assistants at a long-term care facility. That was a blow to the employer, which wanted to include other nonprofessional employees in the unit.

Employer groups had been concerned the board would use the health-care industry case to endorse the formation of “mini-bargaining units” in a range of industries, which they said would allow unions to target small groups of pro-union workers.

In their written decision, the board’s majority suggested that while they were setting a new approach at many health-care facilities, they were simply clarifying longstanding policy in other industries. They said that if an employer thinks a union proposal improperly excludes some workers, the onus is on the employer to prove that the excluded workers share an “overwhelming community of interest” with workers in the proposed unit.

The board’s lone Republican, Brian Hayes, dissented, and business groups said they feared the decision would set a precedent for other industries. (more…)

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