And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Unions were once necessary but have gone too far.

Posted on: November 22, 2012

Workers unions were once very necessary to get workers and their families a chance at a decent living. It was bad, very bad indeed for workers before the labor unions came into their own and gained some power during the 1930’s and 1940’s. My entire family were union people. But before he did in 1969 my Daddy told me that the unions had gone too far in their demands and would eventually kill themselves off. I believe this is happening now and it saddens me to see it. At the same time the illogical and greedy demands of these unions thru their Mafia bosses are hurting businesses and the public.

In my father’s case the incident the convinced him was in his words “a dammed stupid workplace rules’. Dad was a mechanic at Olin-Matheson Aluminum. One day a machine broke down and Dad was called in to fix it. He had to slip a piece of 2×4 under the machine to lift it up enough for him to replace the broken part. No big deal and the job would be done in less than 10 minutes allowing the machine to operate and all the workers on that machine to get back to production. But Dad was stopped by the union representative and told he couldn’t put that piece of wood under that machine, that was a carpenters job. So they had to call for a carpenter while everyone stood around doing nothing. The carpenter came decided what had to be done and then had to go get a block of wood ( this because as a carpenter he could not use the block of wood Dad carried in his tool box!). Altogether the machine was down for over an hour and losing the company money every minute of that time. All because the unions and union work rules had stopped using common sense and make unreasonable demands.

This week we saw the Hostess Company go bankrupt and close its doors and again much of it due to stupid union rules that made it difficult to continue to make a profit as a company altho they were selling their products well. The company could not however raise their prices enough to cover all the costs related to their union workers demands. It was the Baker’s Union that finally held out and forced the company’s bankruptcy but they were merely the last straw in a long list of stupidities. One stupidity was that Twinkies and Wonder Bread could not be transported in the same truck. Both were Hostess brands and both went to the same outlets but union rules stated that they could not be transported together. Then after arriving at the store the driver of the delivery truck could not unload the truck! As a result of all this the Hostess Company after 80+ years in business went bankrupt and 18,000 (that’s eighteen thousand) people lost their jobs, benefits and pensions!

Over this holiday we have seen on the news were the Service Employees International Union (The infamous SEIU run by Mafia boss and frequent visitor to the White House Trumpka makes well over $300,000 a year in union dues paid salary) were out in the purple t-shirts interrupting the free flow of traffic at airports across the country. They also intend to storm WalMart Stores across the country on Black Friday altho WalMart employees have repeatedly voted down union membership in a free and open secret ballot election. If the employees wanted the union it was a secret ballot and the employer would have no idea who had voted for the union so no one needed to be afraid of losing their jobs! Now of course with Obama in the White House another 4 years I have no doubt that the “bosses” will unionize WalMart because they will probably get the so-called Card Check ballot thru which means no secret ballot but merely having as few as a few dozen employees sign a card saying they want a union and the union will be in.

Then there are the Public Employees Unions! Even a die hard liberal like Franklin D. Roosevelt would not allow government employees to unionize. But President John F. Kennedy with a Presidential Order approved and allowed the public sector employees to unionize and our trouble as tax payers began. It was never ever a law passed by Congress and now Congress can stop it all by passing a law rescinding the Presidential Order but like the cities and states Congress has for these past 50 years continued to buy the government employees votes. And since Obama is the union president nothing is likely to change except to get worse!

 

Public or government workers are not like workers in the private sector.  Governments don’t go bankrupt and lay off workers so those who have government jobs are pretty secure.    Private companies must make a profit with the product they produce or they cant’t pay their workers.  governments simply raise taxes on the tax payers!  Private companies when negotiating with their workers have an incentive (profits) for keeping the benefits and wages reasonable in order to keep their company from going bankrupt.  Government workers negotiate with politicians who don’t care and just want to buy the employees vote.    Government workers voted for Obama overwhelmingly—-like the greedy sons don’t have kids who will have to pay for this extravagance!

We have all heard of California and New York and Illinois and cities all over the country that are going bankrupt because of employee pensions and benefits. These huge pensions and benefits have been given to the government workers by politicians who are simply buying the votes. Some states are pushing back on the public sector unions and there have been some wins for the tax payers. We all remember the teachers in Wisconsin invading and almost trashing the capitol building while Governor Walker and the Republicans fought thru legislation to stop collective bargaining which was bankrupting the state. (You may remember the Democrats legislators left the state rather than vote or allow a quorum so the Republicans could vote) You may also recall that the unions finally got thru a recall election on Governor Walker but he won that election with even more votes than he had gotten when first elected!

Anyhow, I have said my piece and now  Heritage has some thoughts and some facts about unions that you may find interesting and useful because as I said previously we should be prepared for more and more thuggery from the unions now that their president has another 4 years in office. BB

 

Should We Pay Government Employees More?

Federal employees—who work on average a month less than private-sector workers and get paid more—are lobbying for higher pay.

Government unions know that Congress is looking for ways to nip and tuck the federal budget, and they’re counting on being left out of the deal.

“The Federal-Postal Coalition—a group representing more than two dozen federal employee unions—pleaded with Congress on Monday to spare their members in any deal related to the ‘fiscal cliff,’” Government Executive reports.

Government unions went all out to re-elect the President—the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent more than any other outside group on Obama’s campaign. While only about seven out of 100 private-sector workers are unionized, in government, that number rises to 36 out of 100.

Now they’re complaining that they don’t get paid enough.

Federal employees and Members of Congress are working under a two-year “pay freeze,” though “individual employees still remain eligible for raises if they receive promotions, step increases or performance awards,” explains Government Executive.

Of course, these are employees who are paid by the taxpayers. So their compensation deserves every measure of scrutiny. Unfortunately, faulty comparisons to the private sector have been muddying the waters—something Heritage’s Jason Richwine and the American Enterprise Institute’s Andrew G. Biggs have been working to correct.

When Richwine and Biggs wrote in The Washington Post November 18 that government unions were using bogus numbers to push for raises, a firestorm of reader comments erupted. As of this morning, there were 2,480 comments on the piece.

One of the main issues: “The Federal Salary Council, an advisory body of academics and leaders of public employee unions, suggested last month that federal workers are underpaid by an average of 35 percent relative to nonfederal employees.”

What’s behind the huge gap the council is claiming? For starters, a huge omission: benefits packages. Richwine and Biggs note:

First, the pay agent doesn’t consider fringe benefits, even though benefits for federal workers are famously generous. In addition to a 401(k)-type pension with a handsome employer match, federal workers receive a traditional defined-benefit pension—for which they contribute less than 1 percent of salary—as well as retiree health coverage. A Congressional Budget Office study published in January found that the federal retirement package was 2.7 times more generous than what is paid by large private-sector firms. Federal workers also receive more paid vacation and sick days.

According to their own reporting, government employees work fewer hours than private-sector employees. To measure this in the fairest way possible, the American Time Use Survey allows workers to record all of their time, including any hours spent working from home or outside normal business hours. Using this data, Richwine found that government employees worked about one month less per year than private-sector workers.

And not only do they work less, they get paid more.

A January 2012 report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showed that federal government employees receive substantially higher compensation than similarly skilled workers in the private sector. The report’s methodology and conclusions were broadly similar to previous studies from both The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. Richwine, Biggs, and Heritage’s James Sherk concluded:

Federal compensation should be scaled back and reallocated to reward the most productive federal workers. The government should replace the seniority system with performance pay, paying higher salaries to good workers without guaranteeing raises for mediocre performers.

Government unions worked hard to re-elect President Obama, and now they’re expecting a payout at the expense of taxpayers. Any suggestion that their pay is below market levels is completely false.

>>> Watch Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs discussing federal pay in yesterday’s Google Hangout on The Foundry.

1 Response to "Unions were once necessary but have gone too far."

Your title says enough for me Brenda. Times changes, along with situations, which require different approaches. That is so powerful.

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