I Want Your Money

The Fraternal Order of Police in Camden New Jersey proved without a shadow of a doubt, public union willingness to toss fellow officers to the dogs. In a 300-1 vote, the union rejected an offer that that would have saved 100 jobs. That offer called for three days a month of unpaid furloughs for patrol officers for six months, then one furlough day in each of the following 12 months.

Please consider Camden police union rejects concession deal that could bring back 100 laid-off officers.
Altogether, more than 15 percent of Camden’s municipal workers, including 68 firefighters and about 100 civilians, were laid off as the city tries to fill a huge budget gap brought on by rising costs, decreased tax revenues and diminished aid from the state.
But screw that, we just want the money and even more jobs is not enough for this Union.
CalPERS (the California Public Employee Retirement System) and CalSTRS (the California State Teachers Retirement System).  CalPERS has over 9,000 employees receiving $100k or more in pensions; CalSTRS has over 3,000.
And they can retire at 50. and take ANOTHER JOB!

Lines are being drawn and the fight to reduce overly generous pay and benefits to government employees at the federal, state, and local level is underway. Not too surprisingly, public employee unions are gearing up, rallying government employees, and exerting pressure to maintain the generous pay and benefits that has loaded government with unsustainable debt. Public employee unions are, even now, pressing the Obama Administration for additional benefits and power.

President Obama, either unwilling, or perhaps unable, to bring long-overdue accountability to powerful public employee unions, has instead issued guidance requiring greater Union representation and input into federal agency decision making. Obama’s decision will likely embolden union bosses to think they can escape accountability and an honest review of benefits, salary, and pensions of government employees.

Perhaps it is time to send a different message. President Obama, like many Americans, is probably unaware that the federal government actually subsidizes federal government employee union operations. In fact, the federal government provides unions with free office space, pays for union member time and picks up travel and per diem costs. These “perks” represent a tax that has never been approved by American taxpayers–perks which operate at a level below the radar of Congress and well below the radar of the IRS. These hidden “perks” provided to government employee unions cost American taxpayers millions of dollars annually.

According to official data, federal employees currently spend some 2.9 million official work hours, at government expense, engaging in collective bargaining and union activities, representing a taxpayer cost of approximately $120 million. But the taxpayer costs and subsidizes to public employee unions is much higher than the official report because government does not account for all the expenses related to union activity.

Federal government unions are, in essence, running a business within the federal government. As we begin the debate over the proper role (if any) unions should have in government, one step Americans should all be able to agree upon is that taxpayer money should not be used to subsidize union activities.

Many Americans may be unaware that unions exist in every federal agency. In fact, most agencies have several unions competing for employee participation and funding which means that federal agencies are subsidizing the costs for several unions at the same time!

These federal agency union representatives have a large presence in Washington, DC, the seat of the federal government. But, most federal locations throughout the United States also have a union representative. So, for example, in a city, such as Kansas City, where the federal complex houses multiple government agencies, there will be multiple federal union representatives, from each federal union, within each federal agency, all at the same building location.

Why is this important?

Federal government union representatives are actually federal employees. They hold GS ranks and civil service status, and actually have federal jobs that they were employed to perform. Their union duties are, supposedly, performed over and above the requirements of their regular day job. However, because of the pernicious and growing power of federal unions, oftentimes, union duties often are performed in lieu of their job. Paid time off from regular government duties is allowed, in most federal agencies, for the union representative to solicit federal employees (i.e. market services), to attend union meetings (i.e. work for an entity other than their government employer) or travel to have “face time” with their union bosses in DC. All at taxpayer expense.

In addition, union representatives often request and are provided with office space that is more expansive than is warranted by their GS rank or than their federal job duties require. The cost of this additional square footage is also paid for by the American taxpayer, and is paid for at each federal agency, for each federal union representative, for each federal union. Federal government union representatives total thousands of federal employees, all billing their time, travel and per diem, for non-government related work, to the American taxpayer.

Perhaps an even bigger problem is that the federal government union representatives sometimes seem to operate under the mistaken belief that they were hired by the government to work for the union—and that union work is more important than the federal job they were hired to perform.

Unions seem, at best, indifferent to the performance of government and are exclusively concerned with pay and benefits of union workers. Therein lies another irony for the American taxpayer. Unions are organized to negotiate against employers, but, since the federal government is the employer, and since the American people pay for the federal government, then, technically, federal government employee unions might be construed as organizing against the American people.

It is time to bring some accountability to public employee unions. A good first step would be for Congress to get a grip on the proliferation of benefits for unions in the federal government, whose activities are an additional burden on federal taxpayers. Congress should change federal policies on payment of travel, per diem and office space for federal government union employees.

Better yet, perhaps President Obama should take the lead.

But he won’t. He’s too much of a kool-aid drinking Union guy, plus the Democrats are beholden to them like no other group.

The next closest influence are Trial Lawyers, and guess where they fit in – Health Care.

Gee, what a coincidence!

That memo being (in part):

Federal managers should seek employee input before major decisions are made, not after solutions are developed, according to a memo from Obama administration officials.

In a meeting on Wednesday with federal management and labor representatives, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry and Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Jeff Zients reminded agency leaders to improve dialogue with employees by involving them before making final decisions. Managers should engage unions early in decision-making processes, as outlined in President Obama’s December 2009 executive order, said the memo.

Executive Order 13522 creates labor-management partnerships governmentwide and on the agency level. The order also requires the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations to launch pilot programs that will test bargaining over issues not normally negotiable by law in a small group of agencies and directs management to include pre-decisional involvement “in all workplace matters to the fullest extent practicable.” (Government executive.com)

In other words, Unions should be consulted before management makes any decisions. Making them, in effect, Managers.

Do you get that level of input at your job?

I know I don’t.

But Unions are special. They are the protected class in Liberal ideology.

They fight against the evil Corporations!

And they are killing us all.

“Ultimately, the goal is to allow employees, through their elected labor representatives, to have meaningful input, which results in better quality decision-making, more support for decisions, and timelier implementation,” the memo stated.

If you kiss our butt we won’t go on strike or we won’t work to destroy you. Sounds rather Mafia like doesn’t it?

The union idea of civil discourse is to protest outside opponents’ private homes. Now union supporters are targeting a developer , with fliers showing a bull’s-eye and his home address. Cue the chirping crickets. That will be the soundtrack for mainstream media reaction to the latest example of thuggery perpetrated by Wal-Mart opponents who are not happy that the non-union retailer wants to build a Wal-Mart-anchored development on the site of an abandoned Chevy dealership in Washington, D.C. The development would employ up to 1,200 people in a city with 10.2% unemployment.

A group calling itself Wal-Mart Free DC is organizing a protest, not at one of the proposed sites or at Wal-Mart headquarters, but at the private home of the developer. A flier produced by the group gives his name and home address and invites protesters to assemble on his front lawn. Oh, yes: There’s a smiley face centered on some cross hairs on the flier.

The group claims no formal union affiliation, yet prominently displayed on the group’s website are links to sites such as WalMartWatch funded by Service Employees International Union and United Commercial and Food Workers International Union. Certainly they are employing the thuggish tactics used before by the purple shirts of SEIU.

Last May, a frightened teenager was trapped inside his home as a mob of about 500 bussed in by SEIU demonstrated and chanted on his front lawn in an effort to intimidate his father, a deputy general counsel with Bank of America. Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton was a neighbor and provided the account of a story that might otherwise have received little notice.

As Easton reported, some 14 bus loads of people organized by the SEIU and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action descended on her neighbor’s home, armed with bullhorns, shouting about greedy banks and home foreclosures. After the mob was done, the buses took them to the nearby residence of a J.P. Morgan Chase executive.

Asked by Easton about the rationale behind such protests, SEIU representative Steven Leerner said:

“People in powerful corporations seem to think they can insulate themselves from the damage they are doing.”

So the union feels entitled to target — yes, we said target — them in their private homes.

The group that gathered at the developer’s home Thursday night was smaller and less-organized, but its purpose was equally clear — to intimidate those who would oppose it with the oldest threat in the book: “We know where you live.”

Wal-Mart is America’s largest employer outside of unionized government. (IBD)

And Unions want and need your money and your job to pay for their own, after all.

They are vastly more important that you.

They are warrior for the Cause.

American Federation of Teachers’ President Randi Weingarten has been doing her best to make sure Big Labor has a say in education reform. She wants to drive the train. The National Education Association, on the other hand, is taking the tact of putting dynamite under the tracks. While Weingarten says all the right things and uses all the necessary poll-tested phrases, she really wants to maintain the status quo. No tenure reform. No need to judge teachers by any measure other than seniority.

But in an interview with Newsweek, she made this curious statement, in response to Bill Gates saying, “We need to measure what they do, and then have incentives for the other teachers to learn those things:”

“Football teams do this all the time,” Weingarten responded. “They look at the tape after every game. Sometimes they do it during the game. They’re constantly deconstructing what is working and what isn’t working. And they’re jettisoning what isn’t working and building up on what is working, and doing it in a teamlike approach.”

That’s correct – they do. It’s too bad that public education does not operate more like the NFL.

Here’s an idea. Let’s have the NEA and AFT become the owners of a new NFL franchise. For a lack of a better name, we’ll call the new team the Thugs.

Players on the Thugs’ roster would receive tenure after two years, like they do in New York City Public Schools. They can play on the Thugs as long as they’d like, regardless of their skill level. And players would be judged not for their ability to score touchdowns or sack quarterbacks, but the number of years they’ve been in the NFL.

Over time, the Thugs’ roster would be filled with 50- and 60-year old players, raking in the big bucks while losing game after game.

Does anyone believe that the hypothetical Thugs, with their incredible job security, would be competitive with the teams that compensate players based on their performance and frequently alter their rosters to maintain an edge?

It would be wonderful if public education would operate more like the NFL, where you get paid for results and released for incompetence. Maybe then American K-12 students would receive the instruction they truly deserve.

Do what benefits you the most and proclaim to be doing it “for the children” is the fastest way to the Barf Bag for me folks.

But Unions don’t work that way. They just protect the incompetent and insulate themselves from any accountability for anything.

Oh, and they want ALL your Money. They deserve it. After all, they are special. 🙂

Political Cartoon