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  • Wisconsin and Government Unions - Let the Voters Decide

    President Obama calls Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to curtail the collective-bargaining rights of state employees an “assault.” But the real assault is the conspiracy that has existed for decades between elected officials and public-employee unions — and taxpayers are the ones who wind up battered.

    The unions get salaries, health benefits, and pensions far in excess of what the average taxpayer in the private sector earns. In exchange, the unions contribute huge amounts of money to the elected officials who agreed to these outrageous and fiscally bankrupting perks.

    This history shows the unresolvable conflict of interest that exists between being a government employee and the member of a union. In fact, as Heritage analyst James Sherk explains, the only way for Wisconsin and other states to have responsible, fiscally sound government is to restore voters’ control over their government and to depoliticize the civil service.

    Unions have no “right” to bargain with the taxpayers over tax and spending decisions. There are no profits in government for unions to negotiate over.

    In fact, unions are unneeded in the public sector. Government workers in Wisconsin are covered by some of the strictest civil service rules in the country. These rules, similar to those that protect federal workers, make it almost impossible to fire even incompetent employees. They enjoy far greater protections and job security than anyone in private employment.

    Read the rest at FoxNews.com

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Wisconsin and Government Unions - Let the Voters Decide

    1. J T says:

      .If public school teachers spent more time teaching in classrooms and less time community-organizing in political war rooms, maybe taxpayers wouldn’t feel as ripped off as they do. Before the Big Labor bosses start complaining about “teacher-bashing,” let’s be clear: An increasing number of rank-and-file teachers feel exactly the same way.

      Retired New York teacher Vinne Cusimano, who was required to pay forced union dues in order to work, wrote me this week after receiving the March 2011 edition of his union’s monthly publication. The cover of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) magazine reads: “Defend What Matters! Educate. Collaborate. AGITATE.” Inside the pamphlet, NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi rails against “malicious politicians” in Wisconsin and elsewhere proposing “extreme anti-union” budget cuts. He urges his members to join “advocacy” efforts to “maintain critical resources” and lectures about the need to “value education over ideology and greed.”

      Cusimano, who taught for four decades in the Empire State, fired back at Ianuzzi in an open letter:

      “As a member for over 40 years, I have never been so disappointed at the stand you are taking to call members to ‘AGITATE!’ We are trying to tamp down the rhetoric and you are outward(ly) inciting agitation. How dare you! You are supposed to be for the students/teachers. … How can you support ‘EDUCATE,’ ‘COLLABORATE,’ and then encourage agitation?”

      More to the point, what business does Iannuzzi — a fat-cat union official who rakes in nearly $300,000 a year (plus a $100,000 pension) while his organization’s net assets are more than $117 million in the red — have lecturing anyone else about “ideology and greed”? Instead of imposing fiscal discipline on NYSUT, Iannuzzi and his cronies have gone on a spending spree — dumping nearly $10.5 million into left-wing Democratic politics this past year alone. The NYSUT boasts a lobbying staff of 500, a 200,000-square-foot palace in Albany and a $213 million operating budget — paid for through compulsory union dues of about $300 a year from some 600,000 members.

      “Agitation,” of course, is a full-time job for teachers union officials in New York and across the country. As the New York Post reported exclusively this week, the city Department of Education compensates some 1,500 teachers for their union activities and also subsidizes other teachers who take their places in the classroom: “It’s a sweetheart deal that costs taxpayers an extra $9 million a year to pay fill-ins for instructors who are sprung — at full pay — to carry out responsibilities for the United Federation of Teachers.”

      The UFT soldiers “collect top pay and fringe benefits, but work just one class period a day.” Nice non-work if you can get it.

      NYSUT, by the way, is the parent of the double-dipping UFT, which itself rakes in $126 million in member dues — but only reimburses the city less than $1 million out of the $9 million it costs to take teachers out of the classroom to serve at the altar of Big Labor. UFT is also a chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which spent nearly $2 million on the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. (In return, you may recall, the Obama administration granted the UFT one of its coveted health care Waivers for Favors last year — exempting the behemoth union in a sweetheart deal from the federal mandate’s costly rules on phasing out annual health coverage limits.)

      The forced-dues racket is big business for teachers unions crying poor. In Ohio, the state’s education association siphoned nearly $23 million from rank-and-file school workers to fatten up its union staff. The Ohio Education Association donated more than $1.6 million to Democratic campaigns last year and tossed off five-figure checks each to union and progressive allies in Oregon, Colorado and Policy Matters Ohio, a left-wing think tank funded by radical billionaire George Soros.

      At the federal level, the National Education Association squandered $13 million in teachers’ dues on every pet liberal cause and crony from the AFL-CIO ($150,000) and AFSCME ($90,000), to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate ($200,000), Media Matters for America ($100,000) and the White House brigade at Health Care for America Now! ($450,000).

      The goals of the teachers union machine are not academic excellence, professional development and fairness. As former NEA official John Lloyd explained it: “You cannot possibly understand NEA without understanding Saul Alinsky. If you want to understand NEA, go to the library and get ‘Rules for Radicals.’”

      The goals are student indoctrination, social upheaval and perpetual agitation in pursuit of bigger government and spending without restraint. No wonder the signature “solidarity” color of the teachers union protests this month is red.

    2. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "Unions have no “right” to bargain with the taxpayers over tax and spending decisions. There are no profits in government for unions to negotiate over."

      This is the core of the argument.

    3. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      Better yet – let the rank and file decide. No card check. No automatic dues deductions. Let the union bosses earn a living like everybody else.

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    4. Bobbie says:

      Why not remove based on ethics? As this is in direct conflict and opposition of the private sector and tax payers who've been cheated by evidence of corruption, fraud, thievery and bribes for votes tampered with without consequence to those accountable. They're numerous impositions of unethical proportions. Immediate correction with removal and accountability to criminal charges.

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    6. Brad, Detroit, MI says:

      If you want a great article – also linked on The Morning Bell – review this :


      It is unbelievable how much money these Union bosses make for basically doing nothing, but trying to recruit more people, broaden their "empire", and get more money. They are not interested in the rights of the workers or their well-being. I hope that this cycle of campaign contributions and closed shop union devotion to the Democratic party is broken by "We the People". Elections have consequences and look who is whining because they didn't win.

    7. Tom, Okinawa, Japan says:

      If pensions & medical benefits are so important to the union leadership, why don't they form their own medical & pension programs for their members. Look at all the lobbying money they waste promoting the govt sponsor these programs when they could do it themselves and give the members something for the money they pay in dues. This also goes for the private sector. By offering this type of union benefits don't you think that they would have people running to join them. Leave the unions manage their own programs. Or could it be that the unions don't have qualified people to manage this type of work.

    8. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      I thought the "voters" have spoken on this issue.

    9. David North, Galva, says:

      In my opinion, there is another element present in Wisconsin worth mentioning. The legislators who have fled the state not only hold up the legislative process but also avoid having to go on the record having voted, in effect, "for" or "against" the taxpayer.

    10. Scott Carver says:

      I say let the people decide. Put together a special ballot iniciative to decide the several issues at question.

      (1) Let the voters of the state decide if they want the WI government to invalidate the Unions so called right of "Collective Barganing". If vote goes in favor of the Union, as the Union voicepieces all claim, so be it. But if the vote goes against the Unions, then the public-sector unions loose that right immediately.

      (2) Let the voters of the state decide whether or not the Absentee Democrate Lawmakers should be recalled and replaced for violation of their duties. If the vote goes against them, then another special election should be held to replace them.

      I'm sure that there are several other issues in play that I am not in a position to complement on, but the simple fact is that the People should have the chance to make these decisions.

    11. ROY S. MALLMANN II says:

      The voters already have decided when they voted overwhelmingly Republican in the last election. Look at the large number of states with overwhelming deficits and financial problems and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has strong public employee unions which are the root cause. California is a great example as it is literally run by the public employee unions. If you want your state to be in the same financial condition as California, then vote for the unions and don't try to stop them. It is your astronomically high taxes that keep going up and up as a result of higher union wages and benefits. Just remember, you pay for their high wages and benefits in taxes. Soon you may have to get a second job to pay these taxes as they keep going higher and higher. It is your decision.

    12. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Hans, what a luxury we all have here at Heritage Foundation! Thank you so much for using the Magic Word, "Conspiracy!" I don't know how you feel, but I am just about beside myself! What has happened to American Law when a Governor can't see High Crimes being perpetrated by members of their own State Senate, WI. Oh! I am not complaining about Gov. Walker's proposal, sure Arrest Them. They are in violation of their Sacred Oath! What I would like Governor Walker to do is to Prosecute the Winconsin Senators for Treason. They serve their Special Interest to the exclusion of the People's Interest.

      What those Wisconsin 'heroes' have done is nothing less than Subvert Representative Government in Wisconsin! High Crime against the Wisconsin Constitution! Then! They compounded that crime by Crossing State Lines To Avoid Prosecution! That is a Federal Offense. Equal Justice means Corrupt Senators have to obey the Law just like us little people! Impeach them, Recall them, I don't care what, but they are destroying their State. Their example is destroying our Nation, and I remind you Bankruptcy has always been on the List of "Destruction" prima facie!

      The whole damned Progressive liberal Socialist and Communist Agenda is perpetual High Crime! The only Form Of Government that is legal in these United States is Representative Democracy. So gangsterism coming out of Chicago is High Crime to the extent that it has supplanted Representative Democracy. Same thing on the Federal Level. It isn't legal to Bankrupt the Nation! It is High Crime, especially if you are Communist Infiltrators and Glenn Beck will tell you who they are. What those Wisconsin Senators are clearly guilty of is the Conspiracy to Bankrupt the great State of Wisconsin! RICO country if you ask me!

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    14. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      What? Am I wrong?

    15. Gina says:

      I don't think any of you people that are against unions even understand what it is to have your job and your benefits protected by a union. It is like an insurance company. A premium is paid and the employee benefits by, yes big wigs, but the employee is represented by someone that knows how to bargain. If it wasn't for unions it would be like every right to work state. In a right to work state if they don't like what u look like, they can fire u and u have no recourse. But if there is a union, there are rules and your job is secure. This is just another example of Gov take over. One day the US will be a 3rd world country. Even Bush said it would be easier if he was a dictator. Who are you all trying to kid. The people are not stupid. We actually know what is going on.

    16. Bobbie says:

      Gina you seem to fail to understand that people who are incompetent shouldn't take on a government job just so their incompetence is protected. Why would anyone want to live under that?

      Unions aren't needed today as government has regulated and mandated businesses to meet what the unions once fought for yet turn around and government is using them at their advantage and at the disadvantage of the private sector.Seems a little oxy-moronic that government employers can't live up to what government mandated the private businesses to. Kind of a slap in the face! Unless no one has a voice of their own, mute, government unions are not necessary and proof of corruption and out of touch with no consideration of the private sector that pays their demands.

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