Tag: Labour relations

It’s All The GOP’s Fault: Part 623

In the comments to the Detroit bankruptcy, we half-joked that it would be blamed on Bush.

Guess what?

ED SCHULTZ: Michigan used to be a symbol of industrial strength in manufacturing in this country. But thanks to a lot of Republican policies, the city is now filing for bankruptcy. Now, it’s the largest public sector bankruptcy in U.S. history, and the consequences could be devastating if you care about people. The already small force of police, firefighters and EMTs are in danger of future layoffs, that’s only going to make it worse. Roughly 30,000 retired workers are concerned about their pensions. You know, what they’re counting on.

Make no mistake, Detroit is exactly what the Republicans want. They outsourced manufacturing jobs, attack unions, cut public services, and this is the result. Now they can wipe the slate clean because now they can start privatizing city assets.

Detroit attacked unions and cut public services? Um, Ed? That’s the precise opposite of true. They haven’t cut public services and have one of the highest ratios of public employees to population in the nation. They didn’t attack unions and currently owe billion in unfunded liabilities. They tried to tax their way out of it and drove businesses away.

Detroit is a distillation of everything wrong with Democratic party priorities. Rather than defend that, they are going on the offensive. Schultz is not the only one spewing this line of garbage. But the facts will not let them get away with it.

Fallout from Wisconsin battle between DNC/Unions and Gov. Walker

And then there was one less money making machine for the democrats in WI:

The Teaching Assistants’ Association at the University of Wisconsin at Madison dates to 1966. In 1970, following a four-week strike, the graduate students at Madison became the first T.A. union to win a contract. Over the years, the union — affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers — has been a leader in the drive to promote collective bargaining for graduate student workers.

Last week, after hours of debate, the union’s members voted not to seek state certification to continue to act as a collective bargaining agent. Union leaders said that the vote was a close one (they declined to reveal the totals), and taken with very mixed feelings by both those seeking to continue state certification and those arguing against. Those who carried the day argued that the new state law designed to limit the power of public employee unions made it impossible to operate effectively, and that the organization will be able to do more for T.A.s by not seeking to be certified as an official union.

Under the new state law, pushed by Governor Scott Walker, public employee unions like the one that represents Wisconsin T.A.s must be “certified” with a vote of members each year. Typically, once unions win a vote to represent a bargaining unit, they do not need to return for elections year after year — if ever. Further, under the new law, the unions can negotiate only for limited wage increases; they can’t negotiate over benefits, working conditions or other issues.

As I predicted back when this battle came to my attention: when democracy was finally introduced to these funding machines for the very WI democrats that union bosses would end up “bargaining with” for more money and power, these unions would all wither like vampires exposed to sunlight. Walker’s new law was not opposed by the left and the union bosses because it was going to rob employees of their income, benefits, or barganing power: it was opposed by the left and the bosses, and opposed in a dragged out, no holds barred, scorched earth campaign that failed anyway, because without forced union dues and any real reason for the union bosses to serve the union membership – to earn their confidence and vote by wisely spending their dues, so to speak – which the previous system basically insulated union bosses from, they simply could not survive as an entity or keep doing what they have been doing to the WI tax payers.

Walker’s new bill made dues a voluntary thing for members, but more importantly, it required annual recertification for organized public labor unions, and it is obvious that these unions can not exist when their membership has both the freedom to vote to recertify or to withould dues if they don’t like what is being done with their money, and the response of the union bosses backed that assertion/opinion up with this admission:

Union leaders said that they couldn’t function well if they had to effectively be in a perpetual organizing drive for the annual union votes, and also if they had to pay annual fees to be certified. “Our membership was keenly aware of the sort of resources and energy it would take in order to hold on,” said Adrienne Pagac, co-president of the union and a doctoral student in sociology at Madison. She said that the leaders of the union did not make any recommendation to the members on how to vote, and that the AFT did not seek to influence the vote, opting to let the rank and file make the call.

Seeking certification year after year, she said, “would have meant diverting resources and neglecting all of the other things we do for members – representing them at the work site, being advocates for them, engaging our community.” Pagac added that “being a union member is not just about sitting across the table from management and hammering out a contract. It’s about democracy in the workplace.”

WTF is she talking about? Perpetual organizing drive? That’s al union bosses did anyway: campaign for democrats and live high off the hog, in the most undemocratic system possible to their membership. What really went down is that they did the math, figured out they wouldn’t be able to get anything like the money they where siphoning off their membership now that dues were voluntary, and more importantly, realized they would have to work at keeping members happy to get recertification every year, and figured it was not worth the effort. Especially with their perks all but gone. So now they are decertifying that union. Win-win for the T.A.s and the tax payers of Wisconsin, in my opinion. Huge loss for the democrat machine and the union bosses that lived large & in charge off their membership. Next please.

Dead on the Job

Raise your hand if you are surprised:

Federal employees’ job security is so great that workers in many agencies are more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Death — rather than poor performance, misconduct or layoffs — is the primary threat to job security at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and a dozen other federal operations.

The federal government fired 0.55% of its workers in the budget year that ended Sept. 30 — 11,668 employees in its 2.1 million workforce. Research shows that the private sector fires about 3% of workers annually for poor performance, says John Palguta, former research chief at the federal Merit Systems Protection Board, which handles federal firing disputes.

For those with seniority and big salaries, the firing rate is pretty close to zero.

The feds, of course, are simply declaring that this is a result of the sheer awesomeness of their work force. Most of you have dealt with the government know this to be true: federal employees are always highly skilled, attentive and personable.

Right? Right?! Oh.

Keep in mind, federal employee unions are a lot weaker than the state employee unions. Congress could, quite easily, make it much easier to fire federal employees. They have chosen not to, just the way they chose to raise federal salaries much much faster over the last decade than the private sector.

Something’s gotta give.

(Addendum: speaking of government employees, guess what issues has pretty much disappeared from the Wisconsin recall elections?)