Organized Labor : Other problems

Note:  You might want to start at the Organized Labor Index Page, especially if you arrived here by using a search engine.

Subtopics on this page:

    Overpaid leadership / mismanagement
    Disillusionment, declining membership, and diminished influence
    Constant attempts to expand
    Unions protect lazy and stupid workers
    Some workers would rather have a union than a job
    Unionized government workers

Overpaid leadership / mismanagement

Union using nonunion labor to build retirement home for former president.  The United Auto Workers has contracted with a nonunion builder to make the foundation for a Michigan retirement home for its former president, Dennis Williams.  The home will be owned by the union, but provided free of charge to Williams, who stepped down in June amid a widening scandal regarding misuse of union funds.  The union, through its nonprofit education center, hired Robiadek & Sons Excavating in Cheboygan, Mich., to lay the foundation and install the septic system for a three-bedroom, 1,885-square-foot home for Williams.

Ohio Teachers Union Officials Are Paid Twice As Much As Teachers.  Ohio's largest labor union is in the business of selling worker "solidarity," and for union bosses, business is good.  Ohio Education Association president Becky Higgins was paid $209,039 to preside over a union that took member dues and mandatory fees from 121,625 teachers during the fiscal year ending Aug. 31.  Regular OEA dues for full-time teachers are $504 — $42 a month — in addition to local OEA chapter dues and $183 in National Education Association dues sent to NEA's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Union boss making $505,000 attacks 'income inequality' and 'white privilege'.  The NEA convention had its humorous moments as well as a very disturbing one.  The National Association Education's yearly convention, which wrapped up last week, was mostly a tame affair with not much worth writing about.  But NEA executive director John Stocks did provide some unintentionally comedic moments.  His boiler plate lefty political ranting included solemn affirmations about "the insidious entitlements of white privilege" and the evils of "income inequality."  The latter is especially amusing since the latest available NEA tax filing reveals that Stocks' total yearly compensation is $505,288.  But upon further review, maybe his income inequality" gripe has some merit.  American Federation of Teachers president and fellow inequality-griper Randi Weingarten made $543,679 during the same time period.  So maybe Stocks is irked about the $38,391 gap.

Union Dispute Costing California Hundreds of Millions.  The federal government has withheld more than $500 million in funding to local California transportation agencies since January and could withhold $1.6 billion for the year as the result of a complaint filed by transit union members, losses that could cost the state tens of thousands of jobs.  The U.S. Labor Department has forced the state to sit down with transit unions several times since California Gov. Jerry Brown passed modest retirement reforms in October 2012 to address a dire pension shortfall.

Labor big a real heavy sleeper.  Union officials say he racks up $1,400 in monthly food bills on the union dime.

Union boss under fire for either being too fat, too lazy, too overpaid or on too many painkillers.  A less-than-surprising look into the world of workers' rights reveals that one union boss is under fire for either being too fat, too lazy, too over-paid or on too many painkillers (from being too fat), depending on who you ask.

Riches for unions, but not their retirees.  Organized labor has long pointed to pensions as a key reason to join their unions, but many of those promised benefits are now in serious trouble.  After decades of promising a secure retirement, unions need to chip in and protect their members' pensions.  Certain union pension plans, known as multiemployer plans, are collectively bargained between a union and several private-sector employers.  Many of these plans, however, are dangerously underfunded, and some could be headed toward insolvency.

Late Union President's Astonishing $800K Theft.  When former Auburn Teachers Association (ATA) president Sally Jo Widmer passed away last November after more than 35 years at the helm of the small New York teachers' union, former Auburn mayor Guy Cosentino eulogized her as "a true union leader who put her union first and personal niceties second."  That's because Cosentino didn't have access to her checkbook.  Members were informed this week that Widmer misappropriated at least $800,000 in union dues during the period 2006-2012.

Chicago Teachers Union Blows Its Chance for a Deal.  Rahm Emanuel, tough, irascible, and chronically profane, is a man of many faults.  But he knows how to count votes.  If only Karen Lewis, his rival in the ongoing Chicago teacher's strike, could say the same.  The head of the local union appears to have miscalculated, as a decision to put a new contract to an approval vote Sunday [9/16/2012] was punted amid rank-and-file confusion and internal differences over the deal.

Big Labor, Big Money.  Check in to the luxury $187 million Westin Diplomat Hotel on the beach outside Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and you'll be impressed by sumptuous, art deco features, hotel suites overlooking the ocean, flowing fountains, waterfalls in its infinity swimming pool, the plush green golf course and the top-notch restaurants.  It's a place even Donald Trump might envy.  You might also be impressed that this opulent hotel is owned by a labor union, and is frequently used for union junkets, government documents show.  As is the $15.4 million Hillcrest Golf Club in Saint Paul, Minn.  As is the $33 million lakeside resort and golf club in Onaway, Mich., owned by the United Auto Workers Union, a resort now hemorrhaging millions of dollars at a time of auto bailouts and auto job losses.

How Unions Just Shot Workers in the Foot.  Union bosses are excited that they have prevented their members from getting raises.  It's a bit mind-boggling, but that's what happened.  Last week, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) celebrated defeating a bill in the Senate that would have allowed raises, declaring that the legislation would have stripped workers' "fundamental rights."

Some N.J. union officials have been on paid leave for decades, investigation reveals.  Public employees, from school teachers to corrections officers, have cost New Jersey taxpayers millions of dollars by getting paid while on leave from their jobs to do union business, according to a report issued today [5/9/2012] by the State Commission of Investigation.  From 2006 through 2011, the commission found the government paid more than $30 million in salaries and medical benefits — not including overtime and pension costs — to employees who held government jobs but did little or no work.

Greedy Unions Raid Pensions, Then Blame Wall Street.  In a laudable instance of the mainstream media doing its job, the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, Bloomberg News and City Journal have all exposed "pension spiking" by California public employees.  Basically, they manipulate rigid unionized pay and promotion systems to raise their pensions well above what they earned during their working years.  The Los Angeles Times on Saturday pieced together tough-to-get data from Kern and Ventura counties and found a fiscal horror story:  In Kern, 77% of public employees with pensions greater than $100,000 actually get more than they did during their working lives.

Union Bosses Win, Ohio Workers Get Fired.  One month ago Ohio voted with its heart against reforms portrayed as an attack on public workers.  Ohio, DC, and New York union bosses spent more than $30 million drenching the airwaves in images of sad firefighters, sad police officers, and evil Republicans, convincing voters to overlook a broken status quo.  A month later, how are local governments celebrating the union victory on Issue 2?  Middletown is laying off nine firefighters, despite the city's police and fire budgets both increasing by nearly 1/3 in the past decade.  In Hamilton, a $5.9 million death tax haul will delay the inevitable.

Crunch time at America's richest union.  Two years after the wrenching restructuring of the U.S. auto industry and the bankruptcies that remade General Motors and Chrysler, the UAW is facing its own financial reckoning.  America's richest union has been living beyond its means and running down its savings, an analysis of its financial records shows.

Will the UAW run out of money?  I understand how the UAW could be in the middle of an existential crisis:  the Detroit carmakers that employ its members are facing very strong competition from auto companies that assemble cars in the U.S. but don't have to pay UAW salaries and pensions and don't have to deal with UAW work rules. ... But I don't understand why the UAW would collapse just because of its own impending internal financial crisis...

More about the UAW.

Unions Registering Inmates to Vote, Spending Dues at Strip Clubs.  The crux of the story involves getting inmates to register or change their enrollment to the Conservative Party, giving the Democrat challenger, Gary Gordon, an edge in the general election. ... Reports show a labor union leader for the corrections officers, Kevin Rogers, allegedly dropping off 140 voter registration forms that enrolled people in the Conservative Party, of which four have been confirmed to be inmates.

Union money went for strippers, beer.  The former leaders of a Rensselaer County jail officers union spent tens of thousands of dollars in union money for outings at top-scale restaurants, strip clubs, bars and to make contributions to political campaigns and organizations in which they had a personal interest.

Records shows welfare cash-withdraws at strip clubs.  After a three-month investigation, [KUSA-TV, Denver] has uncovered welfare cash-withdraws at ATMs in strip clubs, casinos, bingo halls and amusement parks despite a state law banning such transactions at some businesses.  [KUSA] also discovered more than $1 million in welfare is also going to ATM owners and banks through transaction fees per every year.
[Edited for clarity.]

Another union pay chart of the day.  Last week, blogger Jason Hart charted the pay of Ohio teachers' union bosses versus the rest of the state workforce. ... Jason asks and adds:  "If Ohio's public union members hang by a thread, why do union bosses take so much for themselves?  If overpaid private industry entrepreneurs and investors are the root of Ohio's fiscal troubles, why shouldn't Ohio taxpayers be concerned about six-figure union salaries?  For organizations solely dedicated to their members' well-being, Ohio's AFSCME affiliates throw money at most every leftist cause in the state.

Illinois teacher pension system nearly $40 billion in the hole.  The Teachers' Retirement System, the largest and costliest of Illinois' pension programs, is now almost $40 billion short of what's needed to cover future benefits — the deepest financial hole in 20 years of state records.

Unions pressuring banks to "go easy" on foreclosures.  Public-sector union pensions aren't known to be doing all that well.  No matter — they're going to pull out of investments based on politics anyway!

Union Bosses Blow Pension Funds on Politicians — Now Want Government Bailout.  The election cycles of 2006 and 2008 cost the labor unions many, many millions of dollars to get all those liberal Democrats elected and reelected to Congress and the presidency.  Where did those bribe bucks come from?  Were they in some union slush fund?  Do you suppose that all those bribes came out of the pension fund money that the suckers, er, members paid into for retirement benefits?  It is becoming common knowledge that the various union pension funds may not be there when Joe or Jane 'lunch pail' retires.

Hypocrisy Is Big Labor's Big Problem.  Amid Labor Day's parades and picnics, union bosses will bellow Monday about workers' rights and the alleged greed of management, especially inside Big Business.  Such class warfare sloganeering would be easier to stomach if Big Labor were internally consistent.  Instead, when their own workers channel Norma Rae and demand better wages and benefits, labor leaders imitate union-busting robber barons.

Electronic Voting Would Lead to Forced Unionization.  As union bosses have squandered the wealth that members' dues provided them, numerous national unions are suddenly finding that their pension plans have been so mismanaged and grossly under-funded, that they are in serious trouble.  In response, they are turning to the Obama Administration for bailouts — both financially and politically.  By coercing workers to join unions through systems such as electronic voting, labor bosses will be able to rake in more dues and replenish their members' pension funds, which they have squandered.

The Union Pension Bailout.  Feeling tapped out after stimulus, ObamaCare and everything else?  Senator Bob Casey has one more deal for you.  If the Pennsylvania Democrat gets his way, U.S. taxpayers will also pick up the astonishing tab for poorly managed union pension plans.

HuffPo and MediaMatters Omit Deadbeat Union's $90 Million Debt.  [Scroll down]  In 2007, the SEIU owed Bank of America nearly $95 Million.  By the end of 2008, SEIU owed more than $156 Million in total outstanding liabilities.  Only six years prior, its liabilities were $8 Million.  And we're not even addressing their debts to other banks, like $15 Million with Amalgamated Bank.  Perhaps all that campaigning for President Obama has emboldened the union to think that they deserve a free pass on their debts to Bank of America, and encouraged them to employ their usual thuggish shakedown tactics.

Union Hypocrisy Marching on Wall Street.  Union bosses are marching today in New York City to demand that the Senate pass the Dodd Wall Street Bailout Bill.  "It's time to hold Wall Street accountable," Heather Booth, one of the organizers of the march, told Daily Finance in an interview about today's protest.  Perhaps the rank and file union members would better spend their time marching on their own union headquarters demanding accountability for their pension funds.

Pot Calling Kettle:  Unions Say Banks are Corrupt.  Unions want Congress to institute financial regulatory reform because they feel that banks need to be "held accountable."  The first thought that comes to mind is to wonder when Congress will ever hold unions accountable for anything!

Look for the union agenda, and get ready to pay.  The mother of all taxpayer bailouts is right around the corner.  Union bosses want taxpayers to foot the cost for bailing out the labor organizations' many failing pension plans that millions of their members are counting on to "be there" when they retire.  Unfortunately, the average union pension plan has only enough money to cover 62 percent of its financial obligations.

Largest Union Theft in History Goes Largely Unreported.  While the mainstream media swarmed all over Bernie Madoff, AIG and corporate billionaires, the gentlemen of the press, who are so proud of fighting for the Little Guy, were mostly out to an expense account lunch when Melissa King allegedly made off with $42 million rightfully belonging to members of the Laborers International Union of North America.

Union Pensions in the Red.  We've all read about underfunded corporate pensions, but here's an unreported story: Union pensions are even more in the red, and it's one reason union chiefs are so eager to rig organizing rules to gain more dues-paying members. ... Poor management probably deserves a lot of the blame for the union decline, but the exact causes are a mystery.  An even bigger mystery is that the unions do a far better job with funds created for their officers and employees than for mere workers.

Your union dues at work...
Autoworkers Union Keeps $6 Million Golf Course for Members.  The United Auto Workers may be out of the hole now that President Bush has approved a $17 billion bailout of the U.S. auto industry, but the union isn't out of the bunker just yet.  Even as the industry struggles with massive losses, the UAW brass continue to own and operate a $33 million lakeside retreat in Michigan, complete with a $6.4 million designer golf course.  And it's costing them millions each year.

Bloated benefits for unions are sinking automakers.  The current auto-industry panic is instructive of Obama's dilemma.  The crisis facing America's Big Three auto manufacturers has, arguably, a single source:  legacy costs resulting from union contracts that were negotiated half a century ago.  The financial burden thus incurred weighs down their balance sheets to such a degree that, even if the industry in which they compete were thriving, it would be extremely difficult to maintain long-term profitability.

Union Pension Funds Go Green.  Organized labor officials are using their control over union pension funds to promote their own political agenda at the expense of rank-and-file union members.  By promoting shareholder resolutions that advance environmentalist causes, among other "progressive" goals — as part of the unions' "corporate campaign" strategy — unions are building a stronger political coalition, but they may be violating their fiduciary responsibility to their own members and putting workers' retirement security at risk.

UFCW Exposed.  The United Food and Commercial Workers' union bosses have a dirty secret:  While they rake in six-figure salaries paid by their member's hard earned dues, the union has done little to represent their members' interests.

Union Dues Spent on Golf, Cadillac, Resorts, and Even Wal-Mart.
  • Nearly $1.5 million in union members' dues money was spent on golf.
  • The Ironworkers AFL-CIO Local Union 40 spent $52,879 on a new Cadillac for a retiring president.
  • $7.9 million of employee dues money went to resort expenditures.
  • The Boilermakers AFL-CIO Local 374 spent $8,800 of employee dues money on Christmas gifts at Wal-Mart, despite the labor movement's smear campaign against the retailer.
  • Between six AFL-CIO locals, over $50,000 of employee dues money was spent at a single D.C. steakhouse.
  • The AFL-CIO alone spent over $49 million on political activities and lobbying — much of which is spent quietly on in-kind political expenditures like pro-Kerry brochures and websites.  That's almost $20 million more than it spent on representation activities.

Former AFL-CIO Union Joins Coalition for Labor Reform.  The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners left the AFL-CIO four years ago because it felt AFL-CIO boss John Sweeney was spending too much money and time on politics and not enough on labor organizing.

Labor's "Enron" Scandal:  Labor leaders like John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO seized on the opportunity to denounce scandals at Enron, WorldCom and other corporations to help drum up support for Democrats in the 2002 elections and shift political power to labor unions.  But then it was discovered that several directors of Ullico, a financial company serving union employees' pension funds, allegedly collected large sums of money in a stock-investment scheme.

Don't Place Stock In Big Labor.  Labor is signaling that it would rather employ a bad fund manager (if he agrees with it politically) than a good funds manager (if he does not).  If this happens, it'll be union members and retirees who lose, not the AFL-CIO leadership.  That fact alone could signal a violation of the unions' legal responsibility to manage retirement funds to benefit their members.

Michigan Union Accountability Act:  Unions are not very accountable to those who finance them.  It's ironic that unions, set up to empower workers, provide far less financial information to their members—whose mandatory fees support them—than a publicly held corporation must, by law, provide to its shareholders.

UAW May Have Spent Nearly $8,000 Per Vote At VW.  In the aftermath of the United Auto Workers stunning defeat last Friday night, an interesting statement in this article in Automotive News sheds some light on just how much the United Auto Workers may have spent to unionize Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga.

Disillusionment, declining membership, and diminished influence

Laboring After Members.  The percentage of government workers who belong to a union dipped again in 2018 and has hit a 40-year low.  Just 33.9 percent of government workers now belong to a union, according to government figures, the lowest point since 1978, and down from a peak of 38.7 percent in the 1990s.  Behind those numbers has been the failure of government labor groups to bounce back from a steep decline in government employment that began in 2009.  That year, unions boasted 7.897 million government workers.  Last year, however, just 7.162 million workers were in public unions, a loss of some 735,000 members, even though overall government employment has rebounded to near pre-recession levels.  Perhaps most ominously for unions, the trend downward doesn't seem to be slowing, with unions losing 50,000 members last year alone.  By contrast, overall government employment in 2018 grew by 167,000.

Right to Work Wins Out in Kentucky.  Labor unions were dealt another blow in Kentucky after the state supreme court upheld its right to work law.  The state's highest court upheld a lower court judge's ruling dismissing the lawsuit filed by Teamsters Local 89.  The 4-3 majority affirmed that the law, which prohibits mandatory union fees as a condition of employment, passed state constitutional muster and was appropriate under federal labor law.  "We hold that the Unions' constitutional challenges to the Act are without merit," the majority ruling in the 4-3 case says.  "In this area of economic legislation, the legislature and the executive branch make the policy, not the courts."

Arizona troopers' union pulls support from Democrat opposing GOP's McSally in Senate race.  An Arizona union that represents state public safety employees withdrew its endorsement of U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema this week after its members said the executive board voted on the endorsement without their input.  Sinema, a Democrat, is locked in a tight U.S. Senate race against U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, a Republican, for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.  After members objected to the board's actions, the Arizona State Troopers Association polled its members in an email Monday, asking whether they wanted to endorse Sinema or stay neutral, the Arizona Republic reported.

Supreme Court rules unions can't force non-members to pay dues.  The Supreme Court, in a major blow to big unions, ruled Wednesday [6/27/2018] that public sector unions cannot charge non-members dues.  In a 5-4 decision, the high court ruled that state government workers cannot be forced to pay so-called "fair share" fees to support collective bargaining and other union activities — whether they join the union or not.  While the current case, brought by Mark Janus, an employee at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services, applies only to public sector employees, the political and financial stakes are potentially huge for the broader American labor union movement, which had been sounding the alarm about the legal fight.

Conservatives Win 'Biggest Victory' Against Unions Since Supreme Court Decision On Forced Dues.  A Washington union agreed to stop skimming dues out of the paychecks of home health care workers caring for patients with Medicaid, according to the Freedom Foundation.  The free market think tank Freedom Foundation filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Washington state and [L]ocal 775 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in July.  The lawsuit stemmed from the state taking union due payments out of Medicaid payments to the home health care workers on behalf of their clients.

Why Young Adults Are Fleeing Forced-Unionism States.  Few people would deny that, as a rule, parents want what is best for their children and keep their children's needs, including their material needs, in mind when they make important decisions for their families.  If this eminently plausible supposition is correct, then there is clear evidence that government-authorized forced unionism makes it more difficult for parents to provide their children with a comfortable standard of living and good prospects for the future.  At this time, 22 states have yet to adopt Right to Work laws protecting employees from being forced to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union simply in order to keep their jobs.  And U.S. Census Bureau data show that, for many years, families with school-aged children have been fleeing these Big Labor stronghold states in droves.  Over just the past 10 years, for example, the total number of K-12 school-aged children (5-17 years old) in the 22 forced-unionism states fell from 25.66 million to 24.91 million.  That's a decline of roughly 750,000, or 2.9 percent.

Right to Work in Peril in the Show-Me State.  Naturally, no union boss who can limit the supply of labor to members of his own union wants to give up control over the labor market.  Who wants competition — when you are in the cushy position of not having to compete?  But the idea that competition is bad for growth and job creation is complete nonsense.  In fact, RTW states have consistently outperformed forced-union states in job growth, personal income growth, and economic growth.  That's not a matter of opinion; it comes from hard data provided by three federal bureaus (Census, Labor Statistics, and Economic Analysis) over the ten-year period from 2004 to 2014.  During this period, average job growth in the 22 states with RTW laws in place for most or all of that period was more than twice as fast (at 9.1 percent) as in the 28 forced-union states.

Trump is Cutting Off Big Labor From Skimming Americans' Medicaid Payments And Unions Are Furious.  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is blistering at a proposed regulation that would prevent the union from siphoning fees from American workers' Medicaid payments.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a proposed rule Tuesday that would require Medicaid payments to go directly to healthcare workers, ending a 2014 Obama-era rule that let third parties, such as unions and insurance companies, skim off a share of the paycheck before the worker saw any of it.

Trump stops Dem unions from stealing from parents of disabled kids.  There are policy areas that people of goodwill can disagree on.  And then there's the "You're going to hell for this" stuff.  Democrats and their union allies stealing from caregivers is a blatant example of the latter.  Unions, SEIU, in particular, are vital parts of Dem organizing and fundraising infrastructure.  When Dems siphon off more money for unions, they're really putting more money in the pockets of their political organizations.  And the contributions go to them too.  But forcibly unionizing or seizing money from caregivers to unions is a particularly indefensible act.  And now President Trump is putting a stop to it.

Is Trump the Most Fun President Ever?  [Scroll down]  In the Janus case, the court ruled that Illinois's extraction of "agency fees" from non-union public employees violated the First Amendment.  In doing so it is cutting off a major money train to the Democrats and offering up a means to prevent the bankruptcy of states and municipalities, where in recent years the public interest has not been served by union-funded officials "negotiating" with those whose largesse they depend on.  Public service employees who now choose not to join a union need not continue to kick in funds to one.  Facing what promises to be a substantial reduction in funds, Democrat candidates will find their purses lightened.

Supreme Court's Janus decision could change everything for our schools and kids.  In 20 to 30 years, we may look back on this week as the turning point when everything changed for America's teachers and their students.  That's because the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday [6/27/2018] that individuals who disagree with a union's political activity will no longer be forced to pay dues to the union.  The 5-4 high court decision in the case of Janus v.  AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) is a landmark victory for the First Amendment rights of 5 million public sector employees in 22 states.  In addition, a great opportunity for serious school reform may be a consequence as well.  The Supreme Court ruling may mark a watershed moment when teachers begin to take their profession back, forever changing the trajectory of America's public school system and the students it serves.

Judge Nap:  SCOTUS Deals 'Catastrophic' Blow to Labor Unions, Democratic Party.  Judge Andrew Napolitano said Wednesday the Supreme Court dealt a "catastrophic" blow to the nation's labor unions and the Democratic Party when it ruled 5-4 that state government workers cannot be forced to pay fees to support collective bargaining and other union activities.  While the current case applies only to public-sector employees, the political and financial stakes are potentially huge for the broader American labor union movement, which had been sounding the alarm about the legal fight.

Unions Stopped Advocating For Workers And Became A Political Arm Of The Democratic Party Long Ago.  Today, with the polarization in politics, many unions have moved away from being issue advocates and are now closer to being the political arm of the Democratic Party.  This is not the only reason for the shift and focus on litigation against unions.  As with any bureaucracy the larger they become the further away from the core mission they seem to move.  Soon the bureaucracy is more about protecting itself over protecting the rights of its members.

Janus Ruling Could Cost Unions Hundreds of Millions.  The Supreme Court has put an end to compulsory union dues and fees for government workers, spurring praise from labor watchdogs and public outcry from organized labor.  A five-justice majority ruled that mandating union fees as a condition of employment violates the free speech rights of workers.  The ruling in Janus v.  American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees overturned the 1977 Abood precedent, which allowed compulsory unionism as a means of promoting labor harmony.  Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said the government should not force workers to finance political speech against their will.  "The State's extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment," the ruling written by Justice Alito said.

Life after Janus.  Government unions dodged a bullet in 2016 when an eight-member Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on a case that would have ended the right of labor groups to collect fees from workers who don't want to be members.  In late February 2018, with Justice Neil Gorsuch replacing the late Antonin Scalia, who died before the Court rendered the 2016 decision, the justices heard a new challenge to the compulsory fees in Janus v.  AFSCME.  Though the Court isn't likely to render a decision on the case until late spring, worried labor leaders, anticipating that the ruling will go against them, are scrambling to prepare for the worst:  a world in which they can no longer forcibly dun workers.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Forced Public-Sector Union Fees.  In a decision that holds massive up-front ramifications for Democrats, the Supreme Court ruled today [6/27/2018] that non-union members cannot be forced to pay for union representation.  This is a devastating blow to the Big Club political caucus.  The justices said in a 5-4 opinion that state government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be compelled to pay a share of union dues for covering the cost of negotiating contracts.  This allows state union workers to withdraw funding for the political aspirations and objectives of union leadership who work against their interests.

Government Workers 'Free at Last'.  Rank and file government workers won big over union bosses Wednesday [6/27/2018] when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois state worker who refused to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.  The court struck down an Illinois law that allowed the union to deduct fees from Janus's paycheck despite his refusal to join.  The Janus ruling smashes laws in 22 states — including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and California — that compel nonmembers to support unions.  Until now, if you wanted a government job in these states, you had to pay up.  But now firefighters, teachers and other public employees won't have to fork over a penny to a union if they choose not to join.  For the average worker who opts out, it will mean hundreds of dollars more in take-home pay a year.

High Court declares government union mandates unconstitutional.  Government workers can no longer be forced to pay union fees to keep their jobs, which could cost labor groups hundreds of millions of dollars.  On Wednesday [6/27/2018] the Supreme Court declared coercive unionism an unconstitutional infringement on First Amendment rights, overturning the 1977 Abood precedent that allowed agencies to make all workers pay a labor organization dues and fees.  "The State's extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment," the ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito said.  "Forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable raises serious First Amendment concerns."

Workers win their right to boot the United Farm Workers union.  Big Labor took a beating in California of all places, with an appellate judge's ruling that ballots to decertify the United Farm Workers of America as the sole representative of the interests of farm workers on a Central Valley farm, would need to be counted. [...] One can deduce that the workers lost some of their paycheck due to the unwillingly paid dues, and then the union went on to pay for leftist political candidates with it.  The whole picture was one of workers losing out, both in their right to vote these thugs out, and their paychecks, too.  Quite a nice thing to do for farm workers, who have a back-breaking job and low wages to start with.

Court Orders Calif. to Count Ballots In Union Decertification Vote.  After five years California farm workers will finally see their votes to kick out their union counted after a state court unanimously ruled that a state agency had interfered with the election.  A three-judge panel from the California Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled that the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board improperly blocked a 2013 election to decertify the United Farm Workers from representing workers at Gerawan Farming, Inc.  The ruling called the labor board's treatment of the workers as "either arbitrary or punitive (or both)."  The Court found that the campaign to cut ties with the union was an organic "worker-initiated and worker led movement," rather than an employer-sponsored one.

Pilots Give Teamsters the Boot.  Hundreds of professional pilots voted overwhelmingly to cut ties with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  On Wednesday, pilots with the private plane company Flexjet voted to decertify Teamsters Local 1108, a decision the company hailed as historic.  Chairman Kenn Ricci said no other professional pilots have successfully severed representation with organized labor before.  He thanked employees for siding with company management, which publicly supported the decertification effort, over labor leaders.  "This is a historic moment not only for our company but also for the industry as a whole, since no other pilot group has elected to remove representation by organized labor," Ricci said in a statement.  "While this underscores the dissatisfaction our pilots felt with the union, it is more importantly a testament to the trust our pilots have in this Company and our leadership team, and a rejection of the tactics of fear and intimidation that the Teamsters used during this vote."

Union Walmart protests fizzle as a Black Friday tradition.  Unions have stopped trying to use Walmart's day-after-Thanksgiving 'Black Friday' sales to launch public relations blitzes against the corporation, effectively conceding that the once-high profile efforts were making little headway toward organizing a union at the nation's largest employer.  "We actually don't have any events planned for Black Friday," said Amy Ritter, spokeswoman for Making Change at Walmart, a nonprofit activist group funded and run by the United Food and Commercial Workers.

We can't let unions hold Medicaid funding for home health care hostage.  The state-run program paid for by Medicaid to fund home health-care is a win-win for patients, their families and the taxpayer.  The program keeps patients at home, where they are more comfortable and surrounded by loved ones, rather than putting them in nursing homes or other expensive institutions that would cost Medicaid far more.  But unfortunately, some states are diverting millions of these Medicaid dollars from home health-care to labor unions.  The most recent data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as reported by Truven Health Analytics, shows that Medicaid expenditures for the home health-care program totaled $45 billion in 2015 and covered over 1.6 million people in 2014.  With union membership and the amount of dues collected at historic lows, this makes the home health-care program a tempting target for union organizers.

It's 'Labor Day,' not 'Union Day'.  Earlier this year Kentucky and Missouri became the 27th and 28th states, respectively, to pass Right to Work laws.  Kentucky's law went into effect immediately, and the state has already seen a boom in economic development and job creation as a direct result.  Union bosses in Missouri — desperate to keep their power to order a worker fired simply for not paying union dues or fees — have been able to delay implementation of the law so far.  But with six new states adopting Right to Work laws in five years, there is no question that workplace freedom is on the march.

Expecting Defeat In Supreme Court, Public Sector Unions Try to Slow Exodus of Members.  A case titled Janus v.  American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31 is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on a petition for a writ of certiorari.  The 7th Circuit's opinion in the case is here.  It is widely expected that the Court will grant certiorari.  The case raises issues substantially identical to those in Friedrichs v.  California Teachers Association.

The UAW does what it does best, spend money and lose elections.  Last week, workers at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi overwhelmingly rejected years of campaigning from the UAW to receive union representation.  In a 2,224 to 1,307 vote, 63 percent of workers chose to represent themselves, continuing a strong direct relationship between the company and its employees.  Considering the membership in unions has dropped to a record low this year, unions like the UAW are frantic to combat the growing right to work trend.

Union Files Federal Complaints After Nissan Workers Overwhelmingly Reject Representation.  The United Auto Workers union has turned to federal labor regulators to boost its campaign in the south after workers overwhelmingly rejected its bid to unionize a Mississippi plant.  Nissan workers in Canton voted 2,244 to 1,307 against unionization, dealing a blow to the UAW's bid to establish a footprint in right to work Mississippi.  The union filed a slew of unfair labor practice complaints to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as the two-day secret ballot election drew to a close on Friday.  The complaints allege that the company's management violated federal labor law by threatening to close the plant or otherwise cut wages, benefits, or jobs if workers voted to join the union.

That Nissan UAW Vote Was Kind Of A Big Deal.  This is starting to turn into a repeating pattern, at least in the south and most right-to-work states.  When a business gets up and running, creating a significant number of manufacturing jobs, the unions begin moving in and attempting to force votes to convert the plants into union shops even if the workers seem to be quite content with the working conditions and compensation they've negotiated with management.  That happened once again at the Nissan plant in Mississippi, where a bitterly fought campaign led to a unionization vote this past week.  And once again the workers said "no thank you" to the union label by a better than two to one margin.

Nissan workers soundly reject UAW representation in Mississippi.  Workers at Nissan's plant in Canton, Miss., soundly rejected UAW representation after a multiyear union organizing campaign, delivering a major blow to the union's organizing efforts in the South.  Sixty-three percent of workers who voted, or 2,244 out of 3,551, cast their ballot against the UAW in an election that spanned two days.  "With this vote, the voice of Nissan employees has been heard.  They have rejected the UAW and chosen to self-represent, continuing the direct relationship they enjoy with the company," Nissan said in a news release.

Scott Walker Deals Another Blow to Big Labor in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that prevents local governments from requiring contractors to hire union labor for publicly funded construction projects.  Walker signed the legislation, which passed along party lines in February, at a local distributor of construction materials in De Pere, Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  The governor and Wisconsin Republicans have blasted project labor agreements as a waste of taxpayer dollars.

AFL-CIO cutting staff as union membership declines.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics union membership hit an all-time low in 2016 of just 10.7 percent.  That decline has consequences for unions like the AFL-CIO, which Bloomberg reports is dismissing dozens of staff members: [...] The union spokesman blamed the downsizing on "well-financed anti-union opposition" but it's really the result of former members who have been freed up by right-to-work laws to not have union dues taken from their paychecks.  Wisconsin saw a decrease of over 100,000 union members after the passage of ACT 10 in 2011.  Michigan, which passed a right-to-work law in 2013, lost 20,000 union members between 2015 and last year.

Boeing's North Charleston workers vote against Machinists union representation.  Organized labor suffered its biggest defeat in decades in South Carolina on Wednesday, with Boeing Co. workers stating overwhelmingly that they do not want to be represented by the International Association of Machinists union.  A total of 2,828 of the approximately 3,000 workers eligible to vote cast ballots, with 74 percent — 2,097 votes — against union representation.  "We're disappointed the workers at Boeing South Carolina will not yet have the opportunity to see all the benefits that come with union representation" said IAM lead organizer Mike Evans.  "But more than anything, we are disheartened they will have to continue to work under a system that suppresses wages, fosters inconsistency and awards only a chosen few."

The Slow, Steady March of Right-to-Work Laws.  At what point do private-sector unions become too weak for Democrats to fear crossing them anymore? [...] On paper, Missouri became a right-to-work state last week, meaning you can no longer be forced to join a union and pay its dues as a condition of employment.  But unions in the state have a shot at reversing the law.

A Fight For Survival:  Flagship German Airline Refuses To Bow To Union Demands.  Lufthansa AG's main pilots union has called on its members to not report to work this week, as the labor dispute between pilots and Germany's largest airline enters its second week.  The union, Vereinigung Cockpit, is reportedly asking pilots of short-haul flights to walkout Tuesday.  It is asking pilots of its long-haul flights to walkout Wednesday.  Lufthansa was forced to cancel thousands of flights last week after pilots initiated the strike Wednesday [11/23/2016].

The SEIU gets smacked down in Texas yet again.  You may recall that back in September we looked at the case of Professional Janitorial Services of Houston (PJS) and a lawsuit they prevailed in against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  The union had engaged in a public smear campaign attempting to shut PJS down because the company refused to allow them to force a secret ballot seeking to unionize the shop.  A jury sided with PJS and the SEIU was smacked with a judgment in excess of seven million dollars.

Union collapse doomed Hillary.  Tellingly, this year the biggest labor story was a total embarrassment — James O'Keefe's sting videos of Bob Creamer and the labor union bullies at Democracy Partners.  The whole Democratic Party and its friends in organized labor have run out of energy and ideas.  They couldn't draw flies to a Hillary rally so the best they could do was send paid thugs to make trouble at Trump events.  Pathetic.

Ford Is Moving All US Small Car Production To Mexico.  Ford is moving all small-car production in North America from the United States to Mexico, the company announced to investors Wednesday [9/14/2016].  "Over the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States," CEO Mark Fields told investors in Michigan, reports the Detroit Free Press.  The move is likely to draw fire from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has insisted he will stop companies from exporting U.S. jobs oversees to increase their profit margins.

Exclusive: Minnesota Union Faces Largest Decertification Vote In History.  Minnesota home health care workers launched a campaign to disband their union Monday [7/18/2016] in what could become the largest decertification vote in history.  Kris Greene has taken care of her daughter for almost 24 years including five years as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA).  She is now leading the fight to decertify the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents all 27,000 home health care workers statewide since 2013.  Greene believes the union won the vote based on misinformation and that it only cares about getting Medicaid funds.

Union Forfeits Decertification Vote Rather than Risk Losing.  One of the most powerful hotel unions in the country disowned workers at a New Jersey Holiday Inn rather than risk an election defeat.  The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council Local 6 cancelled an upcoming election at the Carteret, N.J., Holiday Inn after a two-year battle to evict the union.  "The Union disclaims interest in the bargaining unit," union attorney Joseph Farelli wrote in a Jan. 19 letter to the National Labor Relations Board.  "Please advise if you require anything further from the union."  A union spokesman declined to comment on why it abandoned the vote.  The union's attorney did not respond to request for comment.

Ready for a 26th right-to-work state?  Less than a year after Wisconsin became the 25th right-to-work state, West Virginia's on the verge of being number 26.  A right-to-work bill introduced Wednesday [1/13/2016] by West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole was voted out of committee Friday [1/15/2016].  Cole is running for governor and has made right-to-work his top priority for the state's 60-day legislative session.  If Cole's WV Workplace Freedom Act becomes law, West Virginians in unionized workplaces will no longer be forced to pay union "fair share" fees as a condition of employment.

SEIU Hemorrhages Members After Supreme Court Decision.  One of Washington state's largest unions lost thousands of dues paying members in the wake of a Supreme Court decision barring automatic enrollment of home healthcare workers in the union, according to a new report.  The Freedom Foundation, a think tank in Washington, found that thousands of the workers, many of whom were caring for family members, dropped out of the union after the state ended forced unionism last year.  Federal labor filings from Service Employees International Union Local 925 revealed that more than 3,000 of the 7,000 home healthcare workers previously in the union cut ties with the local in 2015.

California farmworkers rebel against union founded by Cesar Chavez.  Fifty-three years after Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers in California, the labor union is facing resistance from laborers at the largest U.S. peach farm, who are rallying against union representation and the state bureaucrats who refuse to count their votes to decertify the collective.  Gerawan Farming, a 12,000-acre peach farm in California's Central Valley, began a standoff with the UFW after the union demanded a new contract in 2012.  The next year, co-owner Dan Gerawan's workers petitioned the state to hold an election on whether to decertify the union.

NLRB Dings Union for Photo ID Requirements.  A top federal labor arbiter ruled against a Michigan union for requiring photo identification to withdraw membership as the state became right to work.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which monitors union elections and activity, issued a complaint against International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 58 (IBEW) for hindering the ability of workers to withdraw from the union.  "Respondent (IBEW) has refused to recognize and accept the Charging Party's revocation of his dues deduction authorizations and has continued to seek dues from the Charging Party's pay," the complaint says.  "By the conduct described above ... Respondent has been restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights."

SC Gov. Haley predicts workers at planned Volvo plant will drive UAW away.  Volvo's choice of right-to-work state South Carolina for its $500 million assembly plant puts the Swedish car maker on a collision course with the United Auto Workers, but Gov. Nikki Haley predicts the union will be the latest labor organization to find itself unwelcome in the Palmetto State.

Do Unions Represent The American Worker?  A full 93.4 percent of American workers in the private sector are not union members, according to the latest figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.  In other words, the overwhelming majority of American workers in the private sector, nearly all of them, are not union members.  According to the BLS, only 6.6 percent of workers in the private sector are members of unions, a small minority that is getting smaller.  A full 88.9 percent of all American workers, including public employees, are not union members, according to the BLS figures for 2014.

With membership now voluntary, Wisconsin AFSCME forced into big cutbacks.  Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled state legislature freed government employees from involuntary forced union membership, enabling them to choose or not choose to pay dues.  The results have shown that roughly two-thirds have not chosen union membership when given the opportunity.  And that has meant big cutbacks for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), one of the most left wing and biggest political contributors to Dempcrats among American unions.

Right to work map
Economic Benefits Of Right To Work.  This week Wisconsin became the 25th state in the union to pass and sign into law so-called "right to work" legislation.  Despite the pejorative light oftentimes associated with right to Work (RTW) laws, in reality all they do is proscribe the requirement that a worker join or pay dues to a union as a qualification for employment.  Unions often view laws removing compulsory union membership for work in the private sector as "anti-union," while advocates of right to work laws maintain it's a matter of personal liberty and economic freedom.  They argue that workers in given trades or industries should have the option to choose whether to join a union or not.  Arguably, if a union is doing a good job representing the interests of its members, it should not be threatened by the freedom to choose, as the benefits of union membership would be self-evident.

Wisconsin legislature passes right-to-work bill.  Compared to the demonstrations that took place four years ago during the Fleebagger crisis in Wisconsin, the Right to Work debate seems tepid in comparison.  Protesters occasionally demonstrated in the gallery, but this time legislators kicked them out quickly.

Walker's anti-union law has labor reeling in Wisconsin.  At the old union hall here on a recent afternoon, Terry Magnant sat at the head of a table surrounded by 18 empty chairs.  A members meeting had been scheduled to start a half-hour earlier, but the small house, with its cracked walls and loose roof shingles, was lonely and desolate.  "There used to be a lot more people coming," said Magnant, a 51-year-old nursing assistant, sighing.  The anti-union law passed here four years ago, which made Gov. Scott Walker a national Republican star and a possible presidential candidate, has turned out to be even more transformative than many had predicted.

Unions face tough fight against right-to-work bill.  Wisconsin union leaders may not get much help from judges if they file a legal challenge to Republicans' right-to-work provisions, as courts have done little to weaken similar measures in other states.  The proposal, which prohibits unions from reaching deals with businesses that require workers to pay fees to the unions as a condition of employment, is on a fast track for approval in the Republican-controlled Legislature, with Gov. Scott Walker promising to sign it.  That leaves the courts as a last-ditch option for unions and other opponents.

Union dues deductions on chopping block in Oklahoma.  Scott Walker did it.  So did Sam Brownback.  Now Oklahoma is considering getting state government out of the business of collecting union dues.  Even in the nation's reddest state (not one county voted for Obama in either of his presidential elections), the reform is drawing intense fire from the union political machine.  Oklahoma became a right-to-work state in 2001, protecting the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to participate in a union.  Yet like many right-to-work states, Oklahoma has continued to provide special perks and powers to public-sector unions.  One of these is collecting union dues.

Rauner Strikes Down Forced Unionism.  Bruce Rauner (R.), Illinois' newly elected governor, signed an executive order ending mandatory public sector union dues on Monday [2/9/2015].  As a result of Rauner's action, public sector workers will no longer be forced to join government unions, such as the politically powerful American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), as a condition of employment.  "An employee who is forced to pay unfair share dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree.  That is a clear violation of First Amendment rights — and something that, as governor, I am duty-bound to correct," Rauner said in a press release.

Hard work of fixing the Deadbeat State begins with confronting unions.  Thanks to years of poor and corrupt rule and an equally corrupt judicial branch, Illinois has become nearly ungovernable. [...] Yet hope springs eternal in Springfield — and perhaps it springs just a bit higher now that Gov. Rauner is in charge.  He has started off on the right foot with an executive order to spare unwilling government employees from paying dues to the public employee unions if they do not wish to join or be represented by them.  It is a very small step, but a sensible one that shows the governor knows where the problem is and that he isn't afraid to confront it.

Illinois' GOP governor goes about dismantling state unions' power.  Elections have consequences.  And, for Illinois' unions, the consequence of the 2014 gubernatorial election will be devastating.

More non-union teachers than unionized ones for first time in U.S..  Thanks to the good folks at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and we can examine the union membership status of teachers from 1983 through 2014.  The numbers do lump private school teachers and public school teachers together in one category, and they do not include other education employees, but they do confirm in 2014 what occurred for the first time in 2013:  There are more non-union teachers than union teachers in the United States.

Group appeals mandatory union fees to Supreme Court.  Seeing an opening to weaken public-sector unions, a conservative group is asking the Supreme Court to strike down laws in California, Illinois and about 20 other states that require teachers and other government employees to pay union fees, even if they are personally opposed.

National Right to Work Act Would Terminate Forced Dues Collection by Unions.  Today [1/29/2015], Congressman Steve King (Republican-Iowa) along with 76 cosponsors introduced the National Right to Work Act (H.R. 612) in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The one page bill would end Big Labor's federally-authorized power to force workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

Union membership in state below 15%.  Supporters of Michigan's right-to-work laws wasted no time Friday [1/23/2015] celebrating a 7.6 percent drop in union membership across the state as a victory for worker freedom and choice, while labor unions immediately cast the numbers as a threat to the future livelihood of average workers.  In 2014, the state's union membership fell to about 585,000 from about 633,000 the prior year, according to figures released Friday [1/23/2015] by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That means that about 14.5 percent of Michigan's 4 million workers belong to a union, down from 16.3 percent the prior year.

Union Membership Rate Falls to 100-Year Low.  New information from the federal government suggests workers' interest in unions continues to fall, with union membership reaching its lowest rate in 100 years.  According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today [1/23/2015], the union membership rate fell to 11.1 percent, with just 14.6 million wage and salaried workers maintaining membership.  In 2013, the union membership rate was 0.2 percentage points higher, at 11.3 percent.  The rate of union membership has been on a steady decline over the past three decades.

Foes of Unions Try Their Luck in County Laws.  Conservative groups are opening a new front in their effort to reshape American law, arguing that local governments have the power to write their own rules on a key labor issue that has, up to now, been the prerogative of states.  Beginning here in the hometown of Senator Rand Paul and the Chevy Corvette, groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heritage Foundation and a newly formed nonprofit called Protect My Check are working together to influence local governments the same way they have influenced state legislatures, and anti-union ordinances are just the first step in the coordinated effort they envision.

Hey unions, it's Labor Day, not 'Union Day'.  In the 26 states without Right to Work laws, workers who want to refrain from union membership can be fired for refusing to pay union dues.  What's more, millions more non-member workers have no choice but to accept union bargaining over their wages and working conditions, even if they want nothing to do with the union.  This, despite the facts that poll after poll shows that the American people overwhelmingly oppose forced union dues and affiliation, and over 93 percent of private-sector workers have chosen not to join a union.

On Labor Day, Farm Workers Reject Union.  On August 26, one thousand angry farm workers descended on a government office in Visalia, California to demand freedom — from a union.  The workers, from Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, voted in a decertification election last November to rid themselves of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union once and for all.  But the authorities at the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) are refusing the count those votes.

Government union membership climbs while private membership declines.  Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past half-century.

Two more costly losses for public unions.  Here's a little good news story you won't find in many places today.  First, it doesn't come out of Washington, D.C., which you already knew because it's Good News.  Second, it's another victory in the little-noticed ongoing legal guerrilla war between conservatives and state government unions.  Actually, two victories.  It concerns workers who provide daycare services for low-income families across Illinois and receive state subsidies.  Under executive orders of the last two governors — Rod Blagojevich and currently Pat Quinn, both Democrats — those daycare workers were ruled state employees, and union dues, called "agency fees," were involuntarily withheld and paid to the Service Employees International Union.  In turn, those funds totaling about $20 million a year, were used to support Democrat politicians, who support the unions, who support the incumbents, etc.

Wisconsin anti-union law: state Supreme Court ruling probably the final say.  Ever since it became law in 2011, Act 10 in Wisconsin — which essentially ended collective bargaining for most public workers — has sparked countless court challenges, generated angry protests at the State Capitol, and fueled a recall campaign of the governor.  A ruling Thursday [7/31/2014] by the state Supreme Court indicates the law will stand, leaving opponents with little choice but to move on.  "This is the end of the pending challenges and is unlikely to be replaced by some persuasive new challenge that hasn't already been attempted," says Charles Franklin, a law professor and polling director at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

'Harris' Ruling Could Cost AFSCME, SEIU Tens of Millions.  The [Supreme] court ruled 5-4 that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D.) violated the First Amendment when he forced home health care workers, many of whom were caring for sick family members, to pay union dues.  The ruling will impact the SEIU and AFSCME, the two unions that earned millions from the scheme, according to Paul Kersey of the Illinois Policy Institute.  "There's $20 million a year they are used to getting from home care people and [home] daycare people and they won't be receiving that soon," he said.  "This should bring an end to that."

"It looks like they knocked on the wrong door."
How a suburban homemaker humbled Illinois and Big Labor.  About 20,000 participants who care for the physically disabled have been part of SEIU since 2003 — and haven't had a say in membership since then.  They can now leave if they want.  (Harris belongs to a very similar state program that isn't unionized.)  That could be a serious blow to the union, which gets about $10 million annually in dues from the caregivers.  The union's allies in the Illinois Democratic Party will feel the pain, too, because much of that money would have become direct or indirect campaign contributions.

Supreme Court says home health workers cannot be forced to pay union dues.  The Supreme Court dealt a limited setback to the union movement Monday [6/30/2014], ruling that personal home-care employees cannot be forced to pay dues to a union.  But it refused an invitation to extend the ruling to all public employees.  In a 5-4 ruling written Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the court said home healthcare assistants, some of whom care for their disabled children at home, have a constitutional right not to support a union they oppose.

Supreme Court issues narrow ruling against labor unions.  The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 along ideological lines Monday that home-care workers in Illinois do not have to pay dues to public employee unions.  The opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was a narrow loss for organized labor.  It did not overrule the court's "agency shop" precedent applying to most public employee unions.  The challenge to the mandatory union dues, brought by eight home-care workers in Illinois, represented the biggest labor case to come before the court this term — putting at potential risk the future viability of public employee unions.

Supreme Court to rule on case involving unions, governor and Winthrop Harbor mom.  On Monday morning [6/30/2014], the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down its opinion on a case involving a Winthrop Harbor woman which could have a significant impact on the future of public sector unions.  Illinois state law allows Pam Harris to work as the full time caregiver for her son Josh, who is severely disabled.  She is paid by Medicaid.

Large majority of car manufacturing now in right-to-work states.  Even before Michigan passed a right-to-work law in 2012, U.S. car manufacturing was drifting south to places like Tennessee that had long had the law.  A study shows just how far the shift has happened:  An estimated 70 percent of domestic car and car parts manufacturing is now located in right-to-work states.  That is the finding of a National Institute for Labor Relations Research analysis released Monday [6/16/2014].  Right-to-work laws prevent unions and businesses from negotiating contracts that require all of the business' employees to either belong to the union or at least pay it a fee.  Currently 24 states have versions of the law.

Why Students Aren't Fighting Forever 21.  S]tudent activism over labor conditions is noticeably quieter than it used to be.  One reason is the continued decline of organized labor, which has traditionally trained student labor activists and helped to fund their campaigns.  In 1995, the year of the El Monte raid, nearly fifteen per cent of American workers were union members, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; labor unions were instrumental in the founding of United Students Against Sweatshops, in 1998.  By last year, only eleven percent of American workers were union members.  With fewer dues-paying participants, unions' political influence has waned.

Supreme Court could deliver crippling blow to Big Labor.  In the first year since the Wolverine State adopted a right-to-work law in 2013, SEIU Healthcare Michigan lost a staggering 80 percent of its members.  The case illustrates a dirty secret of the modern labor movement:  A lot of its rank and file members don't want to be in a union in the first place and will leave if given the chance.

Labor's lackeys stack the deck but workers keep leaving unions.  An unprecedented trend is reshaping the contemporary American workplace:  U.S. workers are headed in one direction even as union leaders and their bought-and-paid-for politicians and bureaucrats in Washington are going full-gallop in the opposite direction. [...] For their part, workers are leaving traditional labor unions and have been doing so for years.  Union membership in private sector companies was 6.7 percent in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Private sector union membership peaked at nearly 36 percent of the workforce in the mid-1950s.  It's been downhill ever since.

Why the Unions Declined.  [Steve] Early argues the "much expanded role of union staff experts, personnel managers, and outside arbiters" was never downsized as union membership dramatically declined.  Early highlights the U.S. ratio of "union officialdom" is now over 5 times greater than Sweden and 6 times greater than Britain.  He blames union bosses for spiking dues to protect their own dwindling empires as contributing declining membership.  Through a series of books, Early has gained a reputation for honestly chronicling the decline of private sector union membership from over 36% after World War II to 6.7% today.

Job security declining for people in unions.  Economist Allison Schrager points out a little-noticed shift in the workforce that explains part of the membership problem Big Labor is facing:  Union members are now experiencing declining job security.  This is notable because job security is a key benefit to joining a union in the first place.  Unions are supposed to pressure companies to preserve positions, even in hard times.  But even union-dominated industries have seen mass layoffs in recent decades.

The Suicide of Unions.  The recent vote by workers in Tennessee not to set up labor councils at Volkswagen operations is another stunning defeat for unions.  The power of these unions, once among the most feared in American politics, has imploded in the last three years.

Are public-employee unions toxic to their candidates?  The real news in the San Diego mayoral race isn't that a Republican won, but that the candidate backed by public-employee unions lost.  That is a real shift in California politics.  And it's the second time it's happened in a big-city mayoral race in less than a year.

The UAW's Waterloo.  The United Auto Workers Union suffered a devastating defeat on Friday, when its attempt to organize the workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga failed on a vote of 712-626 (53-47 percent).  The company had agreed not to resist the organizing effort and gave the union access to the plant and its workers.  If the union couldn't win an election under those conditions, it is a powerful sign of how weak, indeed toxic, unions have become in recent years.  If the UAW couldn't win this election, it seems doubtful it can win any election.

Why the Tennessee Volkswagen Workers Voted Against the UAW.  "The United Auto Workers union suffered a crushing defeat Friday, falling short in an election in which it seemed to have a clear path to organizing workers at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.," the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. [...] One cannot emphasize the magnitude of this loss.  What it clearly spells out is the irrelevance of the old industrial unions in today's world.  They have become nothing less than reactionary institutions.  It is no longer the heyday of the union movement, which once was necessary and helped create a middle class in our country in the 1930s and '40s.

UAW crashes in Volkswagen unionization defeat.  The United Auto Workers Union lost a hugely important unionization election vote at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant, going down to defeat in a 712-626 vote (53%-47%), with roughly 165 workers, or 11%, not voting.  Thus, in fact, only 41.65% of the total workforce voted in favor of unionization.

VW Workers in Chattanooga Reject Auto Workers Union.  The United Auto Workers union suffered a crushing defeat Friday, falling short in an election in which it seemed to have a clear path to organizing workers at Volkswagen AG's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.  The setback is a bitter defeat because the union had the cooperation of Volkswagen management and the aid of Germany's powerful IG Metall union, yet it failed to win a majority among the plants 1,550 hourly workers.

VW workers in Tennessee stun UAW, reject union by 712-626 margin.  The UAW suffered a devastating defeat at Volkswagen's plant here as workers rejected union representation by a 712-626 margin.  The defeat, which came despite Volkswagen's neutrality, tarnishes UAW President Bob King's legacy and could make it next to impossible for the union to extend its reach beyond domestic automakers.

Volkswagen workers reject UAW.  Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., have rejected the United Auto Workers, shooting down the union's hopes of securing a foothold at a foreign-owned auto plant in the South.  The vote was 712 to 626, said the UAW, which blamed the loss on "politicians and outside special interest groups."

The Editor says...
The UAW itself is an outside special interest group.

Workers at Tennessee Volkswagen factory reject United Auto Workers union.  Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation in a devastating defeat for the United Auto Workers union's effort to make inroads in the South.  The 712-626 vote released late Friday [2/14/2014] was surprising for many labor experts and union supporters who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches.

UAW Crushed. What Comes Next?  At Vokswagen's Chattanooga factory, the UAW was actually welcomed by the employer.  No union-busting propganada sessions.  VW, which already has a powerful union back home in Europe, wanted to set up German-style "works councils," where rank and file employees could have a say in production decisions.  But, according to many U.S. labor lawyers, it needed a union partner — otherwise, under the Wagner Act the works councils would be considered an illegal "company union."  The UAW seemed ready to be that partner.

The growing silence of 'union radio'.  The golden age of unions is long gone — and for the radio shows that focus on labor and workers rights, every day is a struggle just to stay on the airwaves.  There are a number of talk radio shows around the country covering — and funded by — organized labor that are still up and running, but like the labor movement as a whole, what remains is a far cry from the time when unions and the concerns of workers were a dominant part of the media landscape.

UAW Drive Falls Short Amid Culture Clash in Tennessee.  Now that workers have rejected the UAW in a close vote, attention turns to whether the GOP can fulfill its promises that keeping the union out means more jobs will come rolling in, the next great chapter in the flourishing of foreign auto makers in the South.

Bias alert:
The AP has apparently decided that unionization is the only way to create jobs, and if workers reject the unions, the Republicans are then responsible for any unemployment in Tennessee.

Obama Turnout Machine Crashes in San Diego.  Kevin Faulconer recaptured the mayor's office in San Diego for Republicans in a special election yesterday [2/11/2014].  The polls were skin-tight leading into yesterday's election, and unions poured in millions to keep control in the nation's eighth-largest city.  But in the end the vaunted Obama election model — flood the zone with negative attack ads and excite the base of the Democratic party — flopped.

Amazon Employees Vote to Reject Union. will not, it turns out, be getting its first labor union ever in the U.S.  On Wednesday night [1/15/2014], a majority of a group of 27 technicians at an Amazon fulfillment center in Middletown, Del., voted to reject an initiative to form a union under the auspices of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, according to John Carr, a spokesman for the IAMAW.  The vote was 21 to 6. workers reject unionization in Delaware vote.  A small group of Inc technicians at a distribution center in Delaware voted on Wednesday [1/15/2014] not to join a union, marking a victory for the U.S. online retailer which is strongly opposed to any kind of third-party representation for its employees.

Poll: Californians gradually souring on unions.  California has long been a union stronghold, but voters in the reliably Democratic state are gradually taking a more negative view of organized labor, a poll released Friday [12/13/2013] suggested.

California teachers taught how to dump unions, get rebates on dues.  There's a way out of the unions in many states, and way to get some dues money back at the same time.  Concerned teachers are encouraged to research their rights — which are frequently concealed by the unions — and learn how they can drop their ties to these increasingly radical groups that only represent the views and interests of a small group of elite union leaders.  In California, home to some of the nation's most radical and powerful teachers unions, two groups are providing teachers with the information they need to make a hasty retreat from their unions and recover some of the money they were forced to invest in left-wing political causes.

Union leaders get rich as membership falls.  Labor union membership as a percentage of the nation's overall workforce has been steadily declining from its peak of 35 percent in the 1950s.  The result is that unions now represent only 6.6 percent of all private sector jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The BLS data makes it clear that the trend isn't going to reverse any time soon, either, because unions lost 400,000 members last year as total employment grew by 2.6 million.  The only thing keeping Big Labor from becoming an incidental factor in the American workplace is that government employees are five times more likely to be unionized than those in the private sector.

Teachers of Third-Largest Wisconsin School District Vote to Decertify Union.  Teachers in Kenosha, Wisconsin have voted to decertify their union, putting a halt to the organization's ability to bargain with the state on behalf of educators.  Kenosha teachers took advantage of the opportunity to jettison the union after Governor Scott Walker's successful implementation of Act 10, a law that limits what unions can bargain for on behalf of members.

Labor, with union membership declining, will woo non-workers.  The AFL-CIO on Monday [9/9/2013] opened the door to becoming a group that is more representative of the left than of its members.  Facing what AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka called a "crisis" of membership, officials took the dramatic step at their annual convention of adopting a resolution that invites anyone in the country to join, regardless of union affiliation.  The move faced stiff resistance from union officials who fear the AFL-CIO's primary mission of representing workers will be left behind if the federation becomes a mouthpiece for liberal and progressive groups.

Labor Boss Loves Lefties.  The head of the AFL-CIO proposed the creation of formal partnerships with a variety of liberal special interest groups in the hopes that they will rally behind labor's political agenda during the group's national convention in Los Angeles on Sunday [9/8/2013].  Richard Trumka called on the union to welcome environmentalists, feminists, and other far left activists that have clashed with union interests in the past. [...] The union boss hopes that the proposal will help boost labor's political clout, which has dipped as membership roles have declined even though campaign spending on behalf of Democrats has skyrocketed.

Not National Establishment Press News: Longshoremens Union Leaves AFL-CIO Over Obamacare, Other Disagreements.  The AFL-CIO has just lost 40,000 of its most militant members, and it's not news at the Associated Press's national site (there is a regional AP story at the Seattle Times) or at the New York Times.  It is getting virtually no other establishment press coverage.

Citing Obamacare, 40,000 Longshoremen Quit the AFL-CIO.  In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation's largest private sector unions.  The Longshoremen citied [sic] Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation.

California's Union-Sponsored War on Farmers.  The United Farm Workers muscled its way onto the farm in 1990 but quickly lost support. [...] Then, after nearly two decades without negotiations, UFW organizers turned up last October and demanded a contract that would require employees to pay 3% of their wages in dues (between $600 and $1,000 a year). [...] The UFW needs the cash to pay its own bills.  Since its heyday in the 1970s, the union has lost roughly 90% of its members.  Last year, it spent $1.2 million more than it collected, based on Department of Labor filings.

Michigan unions lose their right-to-work court challenge.  Last winter, the state of Michigan officially became the country's 24th right-to-work state — it was a bold move for a state with so much manufacturing and so many sizable union interests on the line, and Big Labor was not at all pleased about the whole thing.  They raised quite the ruckus over it at the time, and they have since been trying to challenge the state's right to implement the change in court.

Kansas Teachers Opt Out of Big Unions.  In 2012-2013, KNEA and NEA annual dues were nearly $600, said Joel McClure, a lead negotiator for the Deerfield teachers.  "The more information teachers have about alternatives, truly professional alternatives, they don't want to give their money to KNEA or NEA," McClure said.  Only five teachers of the 27 in Deerfield had been speaking for all the others as the only certified union members.

Media Exaggerate Bakersfield Immigration Rally; SEIU Inflates Numbers by Factor of 20.  [Scroll down]  Of course, the vast majority of those demonstrators did not actually exist.  Earlier in the month, organizers had promised at least 5,000 activists would turn up to the event, which was billed as the climax of "Action August."  Yet Breitbart News' Lee Stranahan counted roughly 400 demonstrators at the start of the rally, a figure that matched my impression of the rather sparse throng.  If the bussed-in crowd, which included many self-declared illegal immigrants, swelled at all after that point, it did not do so by much, despite the free lunches dished out by union organizers.

Michigan Welcomes Right-to-Work, Last-Minute Demonstrations Flop.  Michigan's controversial right-to-work legislation went into effect Thursday night [3/28/2013] amid last minute contract maneuvers by teachers unions and a number of protests around the state that appeared to have a very weak turnout.

Union Blues.  It turns out that even though unions reached the zenith of power with the re-election of their tool Obama last year, they hit a nadir of support.  In 2012, union membership dropped an incredible 400,000 nationwide, which is a half-percent drop in just one year.  Union membership is now down to 11.3% of American workers, the majority now being government workers.

Unions Lose it Under Obama.  In 2008 and 2012 labor unions used everything, including a little body English, ballot stuffing and voter intimidation to elect a president who would bring the prestige of presidential backing to recruitment efforts for labor unions.  Since then not only have labor unions taken historic defeats in former union strongholds, like Wisconsin and Michigan, labor union membership is declining at a rate that will make them a footnote in the annals of history if the steady decline in membership keeps up at the current pace.

ICE agents union to AFL-CIO president Trumka: 'You don't speak for us'  The ICE Agents union responded forcefully to AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka's assertion Tuesday[1/29/2013] that "unions did have at one point some differences" but "the entire labor movement is entirely behind" the president's immigration reform agenda now.  "No President Trumka, there are still differences within the AFL-CIO, and you don't speak for us," the ICE union dispatched in a press release this week.

Kansas House panel endorses union fundraising bill.  A Kansas House committee has endorsed legislation to restrict political fundraising by public employee unions.  The measure would prohibit groups representing teachers and government workers from automatically deducting money from members' paychecks to finance political activities.

Unions in Decline.  Union members represented 11.3 percent of the American workforce in 2012, a drop from 2011's 11.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Labor unions have declined in size for years as the trade and manufacturing industries that supported union jobs have receded.

Courts Strike Down Challenges to Right to Work.  A pair of federal courts struck down union challenges to labor reforms in Indiana and Wisconsin last week, preserving major Republican gains aimed at cutting costs and attracting business.  Federal Judge Philip Simon on Thursday [1/17/2013] tossed out a lawsuit aimed at preventing Indiana from becoming the first right-to-work state in the Midwest.  He rejected the union's contention that Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels and the legislature overreached in pursuing labor reforms.

Unions Crumble Without Stimulus Spending.  President Obama laid out some ambitious liberal goals this week, including gun control, same-sex marriage, reversing global warming and increased federal spending.  But it's that last one that he'd better get busy with if he means to get any of the rest.  Obama's Department of Labor released the unhappy news for Democrats:  Union membership in America has fallen to the lowest level since before the New Deal laws to encourage union organization.

Union membership in the U.S. continues its long decline.  Union membership is continuing to shrink throughout the country, even as companies add jobs in one-time union strongholds such as Michigan.  Union membership fell to 11.3% of wage and salary workers last year, down from 11.8% the year before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today.  In 1981, 20.1% of wage and salary workers were unionized.

Federal Appeals Court upholds Wisconsin union law.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has upheld the Wisconsin union law that was the subject of massive protests in 2011, including a takeover of the State Capitol and widespread threats and acts of intimidation.  The decision was unanimous in most respects.

Unions Lose Court Battle to Roll Back Gov. Walker's Collective Bargaining Reforms.  A decision issued today by the 7th circuit Court of Appeals says collective bargaining reforms passed by Governor Scott Walker will stand.  Act 10 was the controversial reform law passed in Wisconsin in 2011 after weeks of protests and stalling by Democratic members of the legislature.

Power Hungry.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2011 union membership rate for the public sector was 37.0%.  For private sector workers, the rate was 6.9%.  Education, training, and library occupations were 36.8% unionized.  Particularly in the private sector, union membership is at historic lows, an issue unions have hoped to reverse with the assistance of President Obama.

Right-to-work victory in Michigan sends 'shock waves' across nation.  With Michigan the latest state to pass a right-to-work law, the national movement has its eyes on the next prize.  And that could be one of several other states.  "We've been active for a long time in a bunch of states where we'd like to see things move forward," said Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee.  "Those include Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky."

History will be made in Michigan today.  Thousands of union protesters are expected to descend on the Capitol in Lansing today [12/11/2012] as Gov. Rick Snyder preparesvto sign legislation making Michigan the nation's 24th right to work state.

Worker Liberation in Michigan.  The economic policy drift in Washington is antigrowth, but here and there in the states are glimmers of hope and change.  The best news of late is in Michigan, which is poised this week to pass a landmark right-to-work law.  You can tell this is a big deal based on the fury of Big Labor's reaction.

Michigan Madness: Thousands Plan To Lay Siege On State Capitol On Tuesday Over Right-To-Work.  Today's unions are not about freedom of choice, they are about power and politics.

Unions Hurt Democracy, Consumers and Economy.  Unions, which are diminishing in numbers in a down economy, may be in the twilight of their clout or even at the end of their stay as powerful interest groups.  However, in the 2012 election cycle, they spent their way to electing labor-backed candidates.

Wal-Mart: Only 50 employees protested; UFCW disputes.  Wal-Mart claimed today [11/23/2012] that the much-hyped Black Friday protests at the non-union retail giant fizzled out, with only 50 associates — their term for employees — taking part.  The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which organized the protests, disputed that figure though.  It said "hundreds and hundreds" joined in at events across the country.

Failure Of Walmart Walkout Underscores Union Decline.  Despite gaining a stranglehold over the public sector, unions are losing ground in the private sector.  This was seen again in the failed union walkouts against retail giant Wal-Mart.

Fail: Lone Union Worker Walks Out of Walmart.  The walkout was led by — and entirely constituted by — Vanessa Ferreira, 59.  She told her manager that she was going on strike.  The other workers watched her leave, shrugged, and went back about their business.

So, How Did Those Wal-Mart Protests Go?  Well, in Chicago, protestors were bussed in to stand with the lone store employee who decided to protest.  Our Walmart claims there were protestors in over 100 cities today, which would be an astronomical number of people protesting.  Walmart had a slightly different estimate.  "We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide.  In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year," Walmart chief executive Bill Simon said.

Union-Backed Walmart Work Action a Fizzle.  If the goal of the Walmart workers who walked out on Black Friday was to disrupt business and raise awareness among shoppers, their protest was a dud.  The company reported the largest Black Friday in its history and shoppers were far more concerned in bargains than in store employees bargaining.

Unions struggle to help Obama.  Organized labor is playing "Moneyball" this fall, and President Barack Obama isn't winning.  Four years ago, organized labor came out early and often for Obama, from major endorsements in the primary to multimillion-dollar ad buys later in the year.  Now, with smaller memberships, less excitement and a languishing economy, unions aren't guaranteed to be the help they once were.

Now union members are deserting Obama.  Two new and disturbing polls just out suggest that the road to reelection is getting tougher for President Obama.  In the most significant, Gallup found that union member support for the president is weaker than it was on Election Day.  While Obama took 67 [percent] of the union vote, according to 2008 election night polling by Peter Hart for the AFL-CIO, Gallup discovered that just 58 percent of union members back the president now.  Some 35 percent support Mitt Romney, 5 percent more than Sen. John McCain won in 2008.

AFL-CIO Pulling Funds From Obama Campaign.  The AFL-CIO has told Washington Whispers it will redeploy funds away from political candidates smack dab in the middle of election season, the latest sign that the largest federation of unions in the country could be becoming increasingly disillusioned with President Obama.  The federation says the shift has been in the works for months, and had nothing to do with the president's failure to show in Wisconsin last week, where labor unions led a failed recall election of Governor Scott Walker.

More Wisconsin Fallout: Obama's Union Support Drops.  A new Gallup poll shows that union member support for President Obama has dropped dramatically since his huge election victory in 2008.  During that election, 67 percent of union members voted for Obama.  Today, just 57 percent of union members back him.  Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has grabbed 35 percent of union member support, over John McCain's 30 percent in 2008.  Interestingly enough, there is very little gap between support levels among government union members versus private sector union members.

The national, non-union, conventions.  [Scroll down]  More than half of all union members in the nation are concentrated in just seven states:  California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and Michigan.  Here union density stands in the teens or better, the unions have a potent political voice, and politicians, sometimes even some Republicans, vie for union endorsements and support.  But this slice of blue America is steadily shrinking.

Union-owned Bank Bails Out Scranton's Unions but Ties Up the City's Finances.  In a remarkable turn of events, union-owned Amalgamated Bank, which had never lent money to a municipality before, has decided to loan Scranton, Pennsylvania, $6 million in order that union members get paid their full salaries.  As first reported [by The New American], Scranton's Mayor Chris Doherty ran out of money in June and put everyone, himself included, on minimum wage.  The unions protested and won a judgment that Doherty was out of bounds but by then the reduced checks were already in the mail.

Super-PACs swamp unions in campaign spending.  The army of labor organizations that helped President Obama win the White House in 2008 have seen their spending power drop off dramatically since then, not only because of the unions' shrinking membership but because so many other outside interest groups are this year spending more money than ever before.  Labor union spending on political campaigns accounted for 35 percent of all outside spending in 2008, when interest groups spent a total of $87 million.  But unions accounts for just 14 percent of outside spending this year, which has already reached $174 million, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Unions and the Path to Irrelevancy.  The evidence for declining union membership across the developed world is overwhelming.  According to the OECD's Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, just 11.9 percent of American employees were unionized in 2008, compared to peak numbers of about 35 percent in the 1950s.  The same report specified American unions were also experiencing an overall decline in membership numbers.

Dems Can't Make it Without Government Worker Unions.  The Wall Street Journal today reports that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest part of the AFL-CIO, has been shedding members even faster than overall public-sector job losses.  A 50,000-member drop from March 2011 to February 2010 may not sound like a big deal for an organization that boasts 1.37 million members and is surpassed in size only by the Service Employees International Union, which represents service workers, such as busboys and hospital orderlies, as well as government workers.

The end is near for public-sector unions.  [Scroll down]  The second harbinger was the plunge in public-employee union membership.  The most important of Walker's reforms, the change Big Labor had fought most bitterly, was ending the automatic withholding of union dues.  That made union membership a matter of choice, not compulsion — and tens of thousands of government workers chose to toss their union cards.

The End of the Public Employee-Democrat Machine is Nigh.  [Scroll down]  With the unions no longer in a position to garner lavish benefits for union members who must now bear a portion of their health and pension benefits, it's unlikely that many workers will voluntarily re-join them.  And without that, the unions' enormous campaign chests are a thing of the past.

Wisconsin Unions See Ranks Drop Ahead of Recall Vote.  Public-employee unions in Wisconsin have experienced a dramatic drop in membership — by more than half for the second-biggest union — since a law championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker sharply curtailed their ability to bargain over wages and working conditions.

More SEIU Workers Want Out Of Union.  "This is like a bad divorce.  We want a divorce and the SEIU doesn't want us to divorce," Kandy Gonzalez, a Job Specialist with the Department of Social Services, said.  Gonzalez doesn't expect the SEIU to let her or about 1,000 workers in the Department of Social Services leave the union without a fight.  "They're going to invest whatever money they're going to invest to keep us in this marriage.  And what's sad is they're probably going to be using our money to fight us.  They'll be using our dues to fight us," Gonzalez said.  But after a nine-percent pay cut and union-organized 'walk-off the job' in January, Kandy says they've had enough.

Obama Labor Board Slapped Yet Again.  Big Labor is beside itself that its membership numbers continue to dwindle despite giving half a billion dollars in campaign contributions to President Obama and Congressional Democrats.  In the absence of employees voluntarily choosing to join unions, labor bosses have decided to force them into collective bargaining units in an effort to line their own pockets.

Poll Shows Even In Michigan Unions Are Despised.  A new poll shows that labor unions are detested in, of all places, Michigan.  Maybe that has something to do with what they've done to that state's economy and their effort to recall the governor who aims to reverse it.

Freeing Workers from Union Bosses.  For the first time in decades, union power is under serious threat.  Indiana is on the verge of becoming the 23rd state to enact a right-to-work law, liberating workers from being forced to join a union.  New Hampshire may also adopt some form of right-to-work.  Murmurs about a national right-to-work law are growing.

Okla. Constitutional Amendment Pits Taxpayers Against Unions.  When Oklahoma State Senator David Holt discovered that Oklahoma was ranked the "most anti-taxpayer state in the southern United States" by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), he decided to propose amending the state's constitution to stop the unions' gravy train of collective bargaining contracts without taxpayer approval.

Union membership dwindles in Wisconsin, U.S..  If labor unions' strength lies in numbers, a new report indicates unions' most powerful days may be behind them.  Membership in organized labor unions dropped last year in Wisconsin by 16,000, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That left 13.3 percent of the employed population — 339,000 workers — represented by unions, down from 14.2 percent in 2010.

Decades ago, unions were a much bigger force in the blue collar job market.  In the 1950's, it took a certain amount of skill and training to operate machinery in a factory.  In the 21st century, most of the tedious manufacturing and assembly is done overseas, while Americans do much of their work on computer terminals.  The exceptions are in automobile assembly, steel mills, and heavy industry, but those jobs are not as plentiful now.  Labor unions are on the way out.

Here's why union membership keeps falling.  Folks in Springfield, Ill., witnessed a bizarre scene two years ago.  Thousands protested outside the Capitol, chanting:  "Raise my taxes!  Raise my taxes!  Raise my taxes!"  Who protests for higher taxes?  Government unions do.  The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees helped organize the rally.  This is the new face of the union movement.

Indiana House passes right-to-work legislation 54-44.  The Indiana House voted 54-44 for the controversial "right to work" bill today.  Five Republicans joined 39 Democrats in voting against the bill. Two members — one Republican and one Democrat — did not vote.  The vote came as labor union protesters in the Statehouse shouted their disapproval and after two hours of often emotional debate.

The New Face of Organized Labor.  When I was in high school, we had to read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle".  In that piece, Sinclair depicts the evils of the 19th/early 20th century meatpacking industry and how socialism and labor unions saved the day for the workers.  Now there were certainly times such as those when labor unions served a useful purpose in protecting the interest of workers, but...  Those times are past.  Today public opinion of labor unions sits at a historic low, despite having a very union-friendly President in the Oval Office.

Once-secure union jobs are on the chopping block.  At the close of World War II, more than 1 in 3 American workers were union members.  On this Labor Day, it's down to about 1 in 8.  Last year, budget stress forced state and local governments to cut more than 200,000 union jobs.  And as the pressure mounts, cracks are showing in what used to be very strong public-sector unions.

The Strike That Busted Unions.  Thirty years ago today, when he threatened to fire nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers unless they called off an illegal strike, Ronald Reagan not only transformed his presidency, but also shaped the world of the modern workplace.  More than any other labor dispute of the past three decades, Reagan's confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or Patco, undermined the bargaining power of American workers and their labor unions.

Unions appear to be on life support as memberships dwindle.  Five decades ago, one in every three nonfarm workers in Wisconsin belonged to a union — most of them in manufacturing, construction or other blue-collar trades.  They assembled cars for General Motors, produced and packaged Rayovac batteries, made Mirro cookware.  Tens of thousands of those jobs are gone, some resurfacing at nonunion plants in other states or in foreign countries with cheaper labor costs.

Bills Try to Curb Reach of Unions.  Lawmakers in New Hampshire and Missouri are advancing so-called right-to-work bills that would allow private-sector workers to opt out of joining unions, the latest such efforts to curb labor unions in the legislative season that in many states is now entering the home stretch.  The measures, if successful, would mark the first expansion in a decade of right-to-work laws, which are on the books in 22 states.

Phoenix Police Union Loses More Members.  Dozens more Phoenix police officers have quit paying dues to the city's primary law-enforcement labor union as the organization added to its growing list of lost memberships.  The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association lost 61 members this month, according to city payroll records.  The first week of January is one of two weeks in a year that city employees can drop membership to their labor unions.

Only 11.9% of workers in a union.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics says unions lost 612,000 members in 2010.

Delta customer service workers reject union.  Another group of Delta Air Lines workers has rejected union representation, in the last of a series of elections this year that appear to have closed the door on any wave of unionization at the company in the wake of its merger with Northwest.

Delta Ramp Workers Reject Union.  The National Mediation Board, the government agency that oversees labor in the aviation industry, said Thursday that 5,569 Delta baggage and cargo handlers voted against joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union.

Voters Side With Small Businesses, Not Labor Bosses.  Big Labor bet against small businesses, and in favor of job-killing legislation and policies that will set us back.  And they experienced a rude awakening on Election Day.  While labor bosses try to sugarcoat the news, I am hard pressed to find much for them to celebrate.  In Colorado, Kentucky, Nevada and New Hampshire, the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) formed state coalitions to inform voters where their candidates stood on economic policies, specifically the Employee 'Forced' Choice Act (EFCA).

Conservatives Should Not Be Celebrating the Election Results.  [Scroll down]  The government is infested with unions who have lost all shyness in forwarding their free-stuff-for-us agenda.  Through union dues collected from taxpayer-funded salaries, they use our tax money to run advertisements for candidates and issues.  On top of that, these unions still get health care plans that no one in the private-sector middle class can afford, and they still get ridiculous pension plans that allow some to retire at 55 with 85% of their largest career salary pension as well as health benefits for life.  Even this ridiculous compensation is not enough for AFSCME; they want more.

Delta attendants say 'no' to union.  In a labor battle that's loomed since the 2008 merger of Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines, 51 percent of flight attendants rejected a union for the combined workforce.

Union leader resorts to blasphemy for the sake of politics:
AFL-CIO official:  Jesus couldn't do anything more than Obama has done.  If you thought liberals stopped admiring President Barack Obama as the Messiah, think again.  In an October 15th piece about union membership's lack of enthusiasm for the 2010 campaign, the Associated Press interviewed Herb Johnson, secretary-treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO.

The Editor says...
If you belong to a union that is a subsidiary of the AFL-CIO, ask yourself this question:  Do you really want to be part of an organization whose leadership equates Barack Obama with God himself?  If you blow off this remark by saying, "he was only kidding," then do you really want to be part of an organization whose leaders will say anything to win an election?

Obama Kneecaps Airlines.  The Obama administration set Big Labor on the easy road to cannibalize the airline and rail industries and last week Senate Democrats stamped their imprimatur on the deal — at a time when taxpayers are getting full view of the cost of out of control unions bankrupting state and local governments and destroying public education.

Union Memberships Drop With Economy.  Union leaders will tell you organized labor is vital to the nation's economic health.  But in this brutal economy, there are plenty of folks who bristle when they hear about unions demanding pay raises or fighting against health care co-pays.

The Incredible Shrinking Labor Movement.  The outlook for organized labor has never appeared as bleak as it does this Labor Day.  Just 12.3% of American workers belong to a labor union, with government employees constituting the majority of unionized workers.  In the private sector, just 7.2% of workers are union members.  The anemic figure represents the lowest level of private-sector unionization in more than a century.  The trend predates the depressed state of the economy.

Choices Ahead For Today's Unions.  Less than two years ago, everything seemed to be breaking unions' way.  Now they're on the defensive.  Something went very wrong on the road to the liberals' idea of paradise.

People Vs. Unions.  Perhaps softer than the sound of a union rallying cry is the quiet protest some voters are staging at the ballot box, speaking out against union contracts they say are too costly.  "You are getting less product for a higher price and we believe in quality, accountability and value," says Eric Christen of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, a group that lobbies on behalf of non-union contractors.

Voters fighting back against union control.  Though it went unnoticed amid the flurry of primary races, the most significant election result this month might be the outcome of a local referendum in Chula Vista, Calif.  Voters in the San Diego suburb finally voted to rein in greedy local unions by banning Project Labor Agreements — a common arrangement whereby unions, usually with government backing, dictate the terms of construction projects.

Voters Reject Union Favoritism.  Two of the most important results from last Tuesday's [6/8/2010] primary have been drowned out by the coverage of other races.  Voters in Chula Vista, CA passed measure G by a 56 to 44 percent margin while voters in Oceanside, CA passed measure K by a 54 to 46 percent margin.  These measures prohibit discriminatory "project labor agreements" (PLAs) on city-funded construction projects.

Unions' Big Shift to Government.  Unionism is failing miserably in this age of a greater world market and an increase in competition for business across the globe.  More nations than ever have left behind the 18th century and are taking bold steps into a world made smaller by technology.  No longer is but a handful of nations leading the world in manufacturing while the rest wallow in abject poverty.  This greater competition is increasing the standard of living in nearly every corner of the earth but because there is so much competition, unions in the U.S. are dying out.

Bringing Back the Union Label?  Most Americans these days have little to do with unions.  Barely 12% of today's workers belong to a union, compared to over 32% at the high water mark in 1953-1954.  And most union workers today don't work in factories, mines, shipyards, on the railroads or driving trucks like they did in the 1950s.  Most of them are federal and state civil servants, policemen and firefighters and public school teachers with a few service workers and airline pilots and attendants thrown in.

Delta, Northwest mechanics reject union representation.  Mechanics at Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines, the two carriers that merged in March to create the world's largest air carrier, won't be represented by a union, the company announced Thursday [2/26/2009].

Another Obama favor for unions.  Barely 15 percent of all construction-industry workers in the United States are union members, while the remaining 85 percent are nonunion, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.  So why has President Obama signed Executive Order 13502 directing federal agencies taking bids for government construction projects to accept only those from contractors who agree in advance to a project labor agreement that requires a union work force?

Union Membership Drops 10%.  Organized labor lost 10% of its members in the private sector last year, the largest decline in more than 25 years.  The drop is on par with the fall in total employment but threatens to significantly limit labor's ability to influence elections and legislation.  On Friday [1/22/2010], the Labor Department reported private-sector unions lost 834,000 members, bringing membership down to 7.2% of the private-sector work force, from 7.6% the year before.

A Victory Against Obama's Unionism in New Hampshire.  In a victory for free labor, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has cancelled its solicitation for bids to build a new Jobs Corps Center in the state of New Hampshire.  Why is it a victory?  Because initial plans to receive bids would have discriminated against non-union construction companies per President Obama's orders.  Over 80% of all construction companies are non-union.

Political Wind Blowing Against Unions.  When Barack Obama won the election, Big Labor's ambitions soared.  It spent $400 million to elect Democrats and expected an easy ride ahead.  A hundred days into the Obama administration, it's playing defense.

Union blues:  The approval rating of one of the biggest supporters of Obama's attempt to impose a socialist system on America has plummeted.  Gallup has been polling on the public's attitude to Labor Unions since the 1930s.  They report public support of unions is at an all time low.

On Labor Day, support for unions plunges to all-time low.  This Labor Day brings word of a new Gallup poll showing that American public support for labor unions has taken a sharp dive in the last year and is at its lowest point since Gallup began polling in 1936.  In response to the question, "Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?" just 48 percent of respondents said they approve, while 45 percent said they disapprove.

The Union Fable.  Praise for organized labor was fulsome as usual over the Labor Day weekend.  But a poll showing public support for unions hitting an all-time low shows that Americans are seeing through the mist of deception.

Most Union Members Oppose Big Three Bailout, New Poll Finds.  A deal may be close, but even union members don't think a federal bailout of the Big Three automakers makes much sense, according to a new ATI-News/Zogby poll.  More than 57 percent of those who identified themselves as being union employees said Congress should say no to a proposed bailout, while only 30 percent of union members approve.  Approximately 13 percent are not sure.

States of the unions.  You just knew that when Joe O'Connell, former head of the local AFL-CIO, got on stage here with John McCain and Sarah Palin things were not going smoothly for the Obama campaign among union voters.  "I am a lifelong Democrat, an intelligent Democrat, who is supporting John McCain," O'Connell said last week as a crowd of 7,000 waved "Another Democrat for John McCain" signs and roared its approval.

Workers are fine with fewer unions.  Labor unions' importance in the workplace has fallen steadily since 1950, when roughly a third of American workers were unionized.  Today, that number is well below 10% in the private sector. ... Maybe unions aren't so crucial to worker well-being.  When more than 90% of the private-sector labor force isn't unionized, why do 97% of us earn above the minimum wage?  If our bargaining power is so pitiful, why don't greedy employers exploit us and drive wages down to the legal minimum?

Union Officials Forced to Drop $5,000 Retaliatory Fines.  Under federal law, workers who resign from union membership cannot be lawfully fined by a union — even if the union maintains a formal rule governing the situation, which it did not in this case.  In Patternmakers v. NLRB (1984) U.S. Supreme Court decision, the High Court ruled workers may resign their formal union membership immediately, at any time, and without restrictions.

Rescuing the Rust Belt?  When the American automobile industry was the world's leader in its field, many people seemed to think that labor unions could transfer a bigger chunk of that prosperity to its members without causing economic repercussions.  Toyota, Honda, and others who took away more and more of the Big Three automakers' market share — leading to huge job losses in Detroit — proved once again the old trite saying that there is no free lunch. … Many workers in the new plants being built by Toyota and others apparently already understand that.  They have repeatedly voted against being represented by labor unions.  They want to keep their jobs.

Union Math, Union Myths.  Since its peak in the 1950s, union membership in the private sector has steadily dropped.  To explain the decline, labor leaders have scapegoated businesses for intimidating employees during organizing campaigns.  But data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) do not — in any way — substantiate the notion that tens of thousands of employees are wrongly fired each year.

Unions' Latest Abuse of Power:  Union leaders [have begun] to lose touch with the men and women they were supposedly elected to represent.  Today, they are more likely to be found on the golf course or at pricey restaurants and nightclubs than at the negotiating table or on the picket line.  As a result, workers who were once proud of their union affiliation have begun to turn away in droves.  Less than 7.4 percent of the private-sector workforce in this country is unionized today, and the percentage is steadily decreasing.

Democrats pledge to reverse unions' decline.  Six Democratic presidential contenders, courting one of the party's most crucial interest groups, pledged Wednesday [8/15/2007] to work to reverse decades of decline in the nation's union movement.

Barack Obama, Control Freak:  Senator Barack Obama recently said, "let's allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country's middle class again."  Ironically, he said it at a time when Detroit automakers have been laying off unionized workers by the tens of thousands, while Toyota has been hiring tens of thousands of non-union American automobile workers.

Union Free Choice.  Union membership among non-government employees now stands at 7.4 percent, its lowest rate in decades.  So, the AFL-CIO, its affiliates, and several independent unions are trying to make it easier to force employers to recognize unions as exclusive bargaining agents through legislation.

Are Labor Unions Obsolete?  Hint:  Yes.  Whether or not you think that unions were necessary in the first place, it's clear that today they've become a dinosaur of our post-industrial society.  Like a dead whale washed up on a beach, unions are big, rotting, and avoided by a growing number of people each day — but nobody quite knows how to get rid of them.

Labor's political illusion:  [John Sweeney] wanted to restore union power through politics.  His project was a total failure, and the AFL-CIO is in ruins 50 years after its creation.

Witnesses to the AFL-CIO's Decline:  The AFL-CIO is faced with serious problems:  declining membership, failed political efforts, internal disputes over dues payments and funds for organizing, unions threatening to withdraw from the federation, and a potential challenge to John Sweeney's presidency.  None of this surprises observers of the waning labor movement.

Competing trade unions:  All that competition for union dues is bad news for the AFL-CIO hierarchy, but not necessarily for unions in general, much less for workers in general.  This seems an opportune time to reconsider what a trade union is, and what it can and cannot do.

A tough year for the AFL-CIO.  It's been a lousy year — indeed a miserable several decades — for Big Labor.  With union membership falling to historic lows and the unions' political clout on the wane, even while unions pour, literally, hundreds of millions of dollars into politics, the coup de grace for the AFL-CIO may come at the convention itself.

AFL-CIO Defections May Weaken Unions' Influence.  The defection of two major unions from the AFL-CIO has stirred questions about the possible impact on local, state, and national tax and budget policies.  The Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union dropped out of the AFL-CIO on July 25, during the organization's convention in Chicago.  Four other AFL-CIO unions boycotted the convention.  Most of the unions' campaign cash and foot soldiers have gone toward candidates, mainly Democrats, who advocate increased government spending and higher taxes.  With the apparent split, some political observers are suggesting Democrats will lose valuable support.

Fourth Union Leaves AFL-CIO for Reform Coalition.  For the fourth time in the past two months, a union has withdrawn from the AFL-CIO in favor of a coalition that seeks to reform the organized labor movement.

AFL-CIO Loses Third Union to Reform Coalition.  Just four days after two of the largest unions in the country withdrew from the AFL-CIO, a union representing 1.4 million food and commercial workers announced on Friday [7/29/2005] that it was also leaving the federation as part of an effort to reform the organized labor movement.

Union trouble:  Pilots, flight attendants and other members of different unions are crossing the picket lines manned by members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association.

Anchorage School Bus Drivers Vote Out Unwanted Teamsters Union.  Workers successfully challenge stifling of union-dissenting free speech.

Faltering unions:  The American labor movement is in a mess, and the current leadership doesn't seem to have a clue what to do about it.  … Fifty years ago, more than one in three workers belonged to a union, but this is not your father's — much less your grandfather's — labor movement.  Today's union honchos are more interested in politics than in collective bargaining.  And they've hitched Big Labor's wagon to the Democratic Party, to the detriment of both institutions.

Less is more:  I happen to know a bit about airlines and why they go belly up.  Both my parents worked for airlines for decades.  My mother was personnel director for the "old" National Airlines which used to be Florida's top carrier and a major source of jobs for those who lived in South Florida.  National Airlines grew and grew and grew, until it failed.  Was it a poor economy that did National in?  Nope, it was good old-fashioned bureaucracy, aided and abetted by the firm grip of organized labor.

Unions Turn to Public Sector as Membership Declines:  A new count of union members in 2002 reveals two significant developments:  union membership has declined dramatically, a shift driven by losses in private sector unions, and labor leaders are increasingly reliant on the growth of public sector unions to maintain their clout.

Union NO
Big Labor Loses Its Home County.  Dane County is the political base of Wisconsin's public sector unions.  It is home to both the state capital, with its thousands of unionized workers, and the University of Wisconsin, with its starry-eyed college students and aging hippie professors.  It is easily the most left-wing county in the state — think San Francisco in the heartland.  It is exactly the place where Big Labor and its champion, Kathleen Falk, who served as County Executive for 14 years, should have had their best showing in the primary.  Instead, she was absolutely trounced.

Illustration courtesy of Frost My Chaps.

Organized labor's popularity is rapidly eroding.
Union Issues a Loser with WI Dems.  Last year, when Gov. Scott Walker won passage of his budget reform bill, WI's public sector unions vowed to take the issue to the voters and oust Walker in a recall election.  In the interim, the unions tried, and failed, to wrest control of the state Senate in recall elections last year.  And, they tried, and failed, to take control of the state Supreme Court.  Today [5/8/2012], their leading candidate in the recall election, Kathleen Falk, is set for a thumping defeat to moderate Democrat, Tom Barret, mayor of Milwaukee.  It turns out that, even among WI Democrats, the union positions just aren't that popular with voters.

Anti-Romney/Koch Brothers Demonstration Is An Epic Failure.  [F]or some weeks, a consortium of left-wing groups including, Occupy Wall Street, the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Greenpeace, Strong For All, United New York, the Teamsters Union and others have been urging their members and supporters to turn out for a protest at David Koch's home. [...] Newsday estimated the "crowd" at 100.  An Occupier estimated the crowd at 150, while local law enforcement gave CNN a generous estimate of 200 protesters.  That is a pathetic showing.  The average high school graduation party attracts more people than that.  Remember when MoveOn was considered a potent political force?  When Occupy was being touted as the equal of the Tea Party?  When Greenpeace amounted to something, and the Teamsters Union at least had the ability to turn out lots of goons?  Those days are long gone.

IBEW Decertification cases.  Including:
WNJU Telemundo 47, Linden, NJ
WAOW/WYOW Television, Inc.
KSTS-TV, San Jose, CA
WTEN-TV, Albany, NY
WJAR-TV, Cranston, RI
KCPQ, Seattle, WA
WPTA-TV, Fort Wayne, IN
WIFR, Rockford, IL
KSBW-TV, Salinas, CA

Right-to-Work Showdown.  Twenty-two states have right-to-work laws, most of them in the South and West.  If New Hampshire passes such a law, it will be the first state in the Northeast to do so.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2023 by Andrew K. Dart

Constant attempts to expand

Unions are constantly trying to expand, which they do for the benefit of the union itself, not the workers.  When your union dues are spent on organizing the workers in other companies, you gain nothing.

Amazon Labor Union workers vote overwhelmingly in favor of an affiliation with the Teamsters.  New York City warehouse workers who are part of the Amazon Labor Union overwhelmingly voted to align themselves with the Teamsters as they try to get a contract from the online retailer.  The ALU members voted 98.3% in favor of the affiliation, which will give them access to additional resources in their effort to bring Amazon to the bargaining table, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said Tuesday.  Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  The ALU will essentially join the Teamsters as an "autonomous" local union with the same rights and duties as a standard chapter, according to the agreement.

Here is the non sequitur of the week:
Migration Advocates Use Bridge Deaths to Push for More Migration.  Advocates for more migration are exploiting the deaths of six migrant workers in the Baltimore bridge disaster to argue that more migration is essential for America.  "We know we can and we will rebuild," said a statement from Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, the Sri Lankan-born president of Global Refuge, an organization that is paid to help settle migrants in American communities.  "The contributions of our immigrant brothers and sisters will continue to be essential in that effort."

The Editor says...
Labor unions and socialist groups call their members "brothers and sisters" because it sounds better than "comrades."

Dartmouth University basketball team votes to unionize.  The mens basketball team at the New Hampshire-based Dartmouth University on Tuesday voted to unionize in a 13-2 vote, becoming the first college sports team to form a union.  The university itself will have until March 12 to file their objection with the National Labor Relations Board against the team who are set to join the local 560 chapter of the the Service Employees International Union, also known as SEIU.  Dartmouth called the vote an "isolated circumstance," stating their belief "the students on the men's basketball team are not in any way employed by Dartmouth" and that the university does "not believe unionization is appropriate."

The Editor says...
Here's how to fix this problem overnight:  Eliminate (or indefinitely suspend) the entire basketball program.  Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers, and Dartmouth can get by without a basketball team (and coaches) for a while.

Should libraries be "a site for socialist organizing?".  Pretty obviously not, but that is what they have become.  Don't take my word for that.  Instead, listen to what American Library Association President Emily Drabinski had to say on the matter at the Socialism 2023 conference held over the Labor Day weekend.  [Tweet]  You may have noticed that the audio in the recording is not the best, but that is because this session was not live-streamed (as some were) so the socialist organizers could speak more freely.  The person who recorded the session was there incognito, having been banned from attending under her name.

For Illinois unions, a perpetual free lunch is on the ballot.  Democrats are widely expected to lose in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.  But Illinois Democrats seem a bit too panicky even for that.  They have placed on this year's ballot a state constitutional prohibition on any law that "interferes with, negates, or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively."  Among other things, this would prevent right-to-work laws — laws that give workers the choice of whether to join labor unions.  That is why unions hate them.  Increasingly irrelevant to the modern workforce, labor unions and their well-paid executives are desperately looking for ways to survive and keep feasting at the expense of ordinary workers.

Union-Organizing Surges To Six-Year High.  Over the first half of 2022, 1,411 American workplaces filed union-organizing petitions with the National Labor Relations Board — the highest mark since 2015, reports the Wall Street Journal.  Out of the workplace petitions filed in the first half, about 400 have voted to approve a union and 150 have shot the idea down.  The balance have either withdrawn the petition or have votes still pending.  The 400 workplaces that approved unions represent over 21,000 employees.  While the petition activity represents a 69% surge over 2021, union membership hovers near historic lows, with only 10.3% of U.S. workers belonging to unions.  In 1964, almost 30% did, according to university research cited by the Journal.

Anti-labor Amazon clinches a massive government contract despite Biden's pro-worker pledge.  Since its founding, Amazon has been accused of exploiting its workforce.  Reports reveal that Amazon workers are injured on the job at a much higher rate than the average US worker.  Amazon is notorious for imposing inhuman time schedules on their workers such that they aren't given sufficient time for bathroom breaks.  Amazon also has a record of wrongfully terminating employees and incorrectly distributing benefits.  Amazon has aggressively prevented its warehouse workers across the United States from unionizing.  Last year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Amazon had violated labor laws in preventing its warehouse workers from unionizing in Bessemer, Alabama.  Recently, the Amazon labor union held a successful union vote at an Amazon facility in New York City to join the Amazon Labor Union that advocates for higher wages and job security.

Workers at Art Institute of Chicago Vote to Unionize.  Riding a wave of unionization swelling over museums across the country, workers at the Art Institute of Chicago voted to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.  The vote was 142-44, the bargaining unit said, with 20 votes "not counted due to management challenges."

Starbucks Store in NY Becomes First to Unionize.  That overpriced pumpkin-spice-and-soy-milk macchiato from a surly, over-pierced, henna-tattooed barista is about to get even more expensive for some upstate New Yorkers.  Starbucks workers at a store in Buffalo, New York, voted to unionize on Thursday, a first for the 50-year-old coffee retailer in the U.S. and the latest sign that the labor movement is stirring after decades of decline.  It may be a sign of things to come as other virtue-signaling companies capitulate to the cycle of sky-high inflation during the Biden administration.

Keep an Eye on This SCOTUS Labor Case.  Americans are proud of their right to property, not enjoyed by people in many democracies.  As the Cato Institute puts it, our founding fathers understood that private property is the foundation of prosperity and freedom.  But California's 46-year-old Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) violates that constitutional principle, and it even fails to protect farm workers.  It allows union officials and pickets to invade farms — for three hours every day, for 120 days a year — and harangue, coerce, and arm-twist farm workers into joining the union and engaging in collective bargaining with growers even when they're happy with their working conditions and pay.  The property-owner is powerless to stop the intrusion, as the regulation does not require the owner's permission.  Surprising?  That is why a forthcoming decision by the Supreme Court in a case involving a strawberry plant nursery and a packager from California and the state's Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) will be a watershed.

Amazon employees in Alabama have voted against forming a union.  Amazon workers at the company's warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama have voted against forming what would have been the company's first-ever union in the US.  The vote count finished early Friday afternoon.  The final tally was 1,798 votes against unionizing and 738 votes for the union, with 505 ballots challenged and 76 ballots being voided.  70.9% of valid votes counted were against the union.  With a majority of votes against the union, Amazon has successfully defeated the unionization attempt.  Since Amazon's margin of victory was higher than the total number of challenged ballots, the challenged ballots won't be opened and the votes inside them won't be counted.

Vote closes in Alabama unionization drive with implications for Amazon workers across the country.  Ballots will soon begin being counted after thousands of workers at an Amazon facility voted on unionization, a move that may have wide-reaching implications.  Workers at the company's Bessemer, Alabama, fulfillment center have been voting on representation by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union for the past seven weeks, with the official voting period closing on Monday.  The push comes as some employees there and at other Amazon facilities have alleged poor working conditions.

Democrats promote unionizing entire industries with 'sectoral bargaining'.  Cory Booker has become the latest Democratic presidential candidate to back unionizing entire industries by supporting a concept called "sectoral bargaining."  The idea dates back to the 1930s and involves the federal government creating union-management committees that would set wages and other work standards.  The change, if adopted, would radically shift the business landscape across the U.S.  Under sectoral bargaining, unions would be granted enormous power over industries, while businesses would be strictly limited in the workplace policies they could adopt.  All workers in an industry would be represented by the union officials on the committees.

An all-too-telling bid to stop you from bagging your own groceries.  When I buy groceries, I almost always use the self-checkout line.  I confess that I did not contemplate the broader social and economic implications of my choice until Tom Chamberlain enlightened me.  Chamberlain, the Oregon president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, announced that his organization will soon be collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would prohibit grocery stores from operating more than two self-checkout stations at a time.  His arguments for imposing that restriction point the way to a world in which efficiency-boosting innovations are automatically suspect, no matter how popular they may prove to be.

The Editor says...
Running a cash register at a grocery store is not a career.  There are bar codes on everything except the bananas, which makes self-checkout feasible.  The other big advantage is the freedom from unwanted conversation with the store employees.  Why not let the marketplace make the decision, rather than the union organizers?  If the self-checkout machine puts someone out of a job, that's bad — until it lowers the prices in the grocery store.

The Democrats Just Don't Get It.  Democrats just don't get it.  For some reason they continue to focus on the wants and desires of illegal aliens.  They appear to ignore the needs of Americans and foreign nationals who have waited in line and jumped through all the immigration hoops legally.  They scream "racism" at the drop of a hat.  Even the AFL-CIO, long a Democrat supporter and political donation generator, has now gotten into the act.  Here's a tweet by the President of the AFL-CIO , Richard Trumpka, regarding the ICE enforcement operation that arrested over 600 illegal aliens who were working with false documents and thereby taking jobs from Americans. [...] It's obvious who Mr Trumpka sees as his priority.  It surely isn't the majority of his membership.  It surely isn't American union members denied jobs because employers are hiring illegal aliens who by being here and working, drive down everyone's wages.

As long as the workers are unionized, the AFL-CIO apparently doesn't care if they are here illegally.
AFL-CIO Union Comes Out in Support of Illegal Alien Workers Taking U.S. Jobs.  In a remarkable admission today [8/8/2019] on Twitter AFL-CIO Labor Union President Richard Trumka supports the principle of illegal alien workers taking the jobs of American workers.  This is quite a bucket of sunlight upon a previously hidden agenda.

Not happy with Amazon, Whole Foods workers push to unionize.  Whole Foods employees are trying to unionize to fight for better benefits and improved corporate culture.  The move comes one year after Amazon bought the grocery chain.  On Thursday [9/6/2018], some current and former Whole Foods employees sent out an email to call employees nationwide to act.  The initiative, named Whole Worker, states its goal as to "organize team members companywide on a global scale and collectively voice our concerns to Whole Foods Market and Amazon leadership," according to the email Yahoo Finance reviewed.

Kavanaugh Rejects Sen. Durbin's Claim that Illegal Immigrants Can Form Unions.  Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin argued that illegal immigrants can join unions, and suggested that a 2008 decision by Judge Brett Kavanaugh shows he is hostile to "immigrants."  Kavanaugh countered by arguing that his 2008 dissent complied with the Supreme Court's Sure-Tan decision in 1984.  In the 2008 case, two other judges outvoted Kavanaugh and said the 1984 Sure-Tan decision allowed illegal migrants to join unions.  But Kavanaugh noted that the Sure-Tan decision had said illegals could join unions because Congress had not previously barred the employment of illegal immigrants.  So once Congress passed a law in 1986 barring the employment of illegal aliens, the Sure-Tan decision also ensured illegals were not allowed to join unions, said Kavanaugh.

Boeing workers vote to unionize at South Carolina plant.  A small group of workers at Boeing's South Carolina voted in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union on Thursday [5/31/2018], a rare decision in a state where labor unions are highly unpopular.  About 180 flight-line workers at the North Charleston campus will be allowed to organize into a "micro unit," potentially separating the group from the rest of the thousands of employees at the facility.  The vote gives IAM a foothold among Boeing's South Carolina employees.

Boeing technicians in South Carolina to vote on unionization:  WSJ.  Some Boeing Co workers at the planemaker's factory in South Carolina will vote on union representation later this month, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday [5/21/2018], citing U.S. labor regulators.

The Editor says...
Please show me a dictionary that includes the word planemaker.

Union Is Formed at Los Angeles Times and Publisher Put on Leave.  Journalists at The Los Angeles Times voted overwhelmingly to form a union despite aggressive opposition from the paper's management team, reversing more than a century of anti-union sentiment at one of the biggest newspapers in the country.  Shortly after the final vote count was announced on Friday [1/19/2018], The Times's parent company said that the newspaper's publisher, Ross Levinsohn, was taking an unpaid leave of absence while a law firm investigated allegations of coarse workplace behavior while he was employed by other companies.  The newsroom vote took place on Jan. 4 and the final count showed that out of the 292 employees who cast ballots, 248 voted in favor of joining the NewsGuild, which represents 25,000 workers at news organizations across the United States.  That ends a longstanding resistance to unionization that was shaped in part by a bombing at the paper's headquarters by labor organizers in 1910.

Unions Increasingly Shifting To "Shadow Unions" To Avoid Scrutiny.  While union membership has been declining nationally and the courts are taking a rather harsh look at the tactics they employ to extract money from members, the larger labor unions have had to find ways around the system.  One of these tactics has been prominently in use in New York City and it's spreading outward from there.  Some, like the SEIU, have been setting up what are euphemistically called "Worker Centers."  As Forbes reported last week, this has allowed them to skirt the rules and collect what amount to dues from workers without having to follow normal rules for establishing a formal union.

Unionization Will Kill Free Market Ride Sharing Like Uber and Lyft.  These services are the virtually unregulated, non-unionized, and much less expensive version of the taxi.  This is the real free-market at work and it's proving to work quite well without government and/or thuggish Union oversight. [...] Uber is one of those "only in America" ideas that can only spawn in a free-market.  In less than seven short years the company went from triumphantly tweeting that it had made its first $5 on March 27, 2010, less than four months after it began, to having a worth of almost $70 billion worldwide.  Many have taken notice of the success of ridesharing — not the least which are unionized taxi companies which have had monopolies in every major city in America.  With the backing of cab companies and their Union thugs, local and State political hacks have been able to see to it that these companies maintain their monopolies.

Labor board rules that university students can unionize.  Graduate students at private U.S. universities can unionize, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday [8/23/2016] in a decision that could upend the balance of power on campuses and deliver new members to labor unions.  Critics called the decision politically motivated, saying it will make it even tougher to cut costs and reform the country's higher education system.  But labor advocates cheered, saying universities have been maltreating graduate students for years, and this new ruling gives those students the power to demand better.  The NLRB said that students who are compensated for teaching classes or handling other official roles for their universities — "student assistants" — are employees of the schools, and are therefore covered under federal labor laws.

Seattle city council votes to allow Uber, Lyft drivers to unionize.  Seattle on Monday [12/14/2015] became the first city in the nation to allow drivers of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize over pay and working conditions.

Big Labor trickery on display in effort to unionize home care.  Connie Euston, of Moon Township, Pa., did not even know an election was happening until the day her ballot arrived in the mail.  It was marked:  "Urgent: Ballot Enclosed for Pennsylvania Homecare Attendants Election.  Deadline approaching: Vote Today!"  Euston takes care of her quadriplegic son, Greg, with help from a state-run program that provides funded subsidies to offset the cost.  The ballot asked whether she wanted United Home Care Workers as her state representative.  She could check yes or no.  The ballot said nothing else regarding the election or United Home Care Workers.  "There was precious little information available," she told the Washington Examiner.

Lawsuits seek to stop Pa. from creating unofficial union for home care providers.  Pennsylvania home healthcare workers likely will find out late this year whether they will have union dues deducted from their state subsidy checks as a consequence of an April vote in which just 13 percent of them voted in favor of collective bargaining. [...] The vote happened despite state law saying the caregivers are not state employees and therefore not eligible to unionize.  Democratic Gov. Peter Wolf nevertheless signed an executive order in February creating a "direct care worker representative" position that could be filled by a labor organization and would otherwise act as a union.

The SEIU stands to rake in billions by unionizing fast-food workers.  In the Spring of 2010, the Service Employees International Union's ambitious plan to unionize fast-food workers was exposed.  Although the SEIU's plan changed slightly from the orginal draft, the basic premise of tying the union's campaign to unionize fast-food workers to a "living wage campaign" has not changed all that much.  However, it wasn't until November 2012, that the SEIU launched the first of several fast-food "strikes" (most of the so-called strikers are not actual employees but paid-SEIU protesters) and its "Fight for $15 (and a union)" campaign commenced.  Since then, the SEIU has spent tens of millions — an astounding $38 million was spent in 2013 alone, according to Worker Center Watch — on its campaign to unionize fast-food workers.

Unions to Recruit Illegals Covered by Obama Amnesty.  Labor unions are eyeing an estimated four million immigrants who entered the United States illegally as a prize pool of new recruits for their struggling movement, now that President Barack Obama has used an executive decree of amnesty to shield the migrants from being deported, Fox News reports.  Labor groups including the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, and United Food & Commercial Workers have begun reaching out to immigrants covered by the president's executive order.

Forced Unionization of Fast Food Workers is the Real Plan.
Minimum Wage Hike [is] Only The Beginning.  The effort to raise the minimum wage in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois in general is not just about a higher salaries but about the ability to unionize, a labor leader said this week.  Speaking at a panel at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference in Washington this week, Kendell Fells a national coordinator for Service Employees International Union, said an increased minimum wage is not the ultimate goal of his group.

Michigan SEIU branch allowed to keep millions taken from home health care workers.  A Michigan court ruled that the state branch of the powerful Service Employees International Union does not have to pay back tens of millions of dollars in dues taken from home health care workers who were forced into unionization.  The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled last week that the SEIU Healthcare Michigan does not have to pay back more than $34 million in dues collected from over 40,000 home health care workers.  Many were forced into the union under state requirements that they join because they were taking care of sick family members at home.  The SEIU successfully lobbied for the plan in multiple states that classified unpaid family members as "home health care workers."  Dues were then automatically collected from the care recipients' Medicare or Medicaid checks.

Progressives exploiting low wage workers with 'fast food strike' today.  Left wingers are willing to sacrifice the actual interests of the poor in service to their aspirations of political power.  A perennial dream of the American progressives is to organize fast food workers into a union, a move that would be an absolute disaster for the intended beneficiaries.

Unions Ending Forced-Dues Collection of Home Healthcare Workers.  The Supreme Court ruling that freed home healthcare workers from coercive unionization in Illinois has led to unions ceasing automatic deduction of union dues from non-members in other states.  A Washington state chapter of the politically powerful SEIU announced that it would no longer force caretakers — many of whom are caring for disabled family members — to pay union dues, according to communications obtained by the Freedom Foundation, a free market think tank.

College Presidents Say No To Unions For Athletes.  Northwestern University on Thursday urged the National Labor Relations Board to overturn a regional ruling that would allow its scholarship football players to unionize, holding up the football program as exemplifying the university's integration of athletics and education.

Unionizing College Sports Pits Unions Against Socialist Principles.  The recent controversy over efforts to unionize college athletes rests on the presumption that those who receive scholarship money are in fact employees.  Unions see themselves standing for the little guy against the interests of the rich employer.  However, far from advancing the goals of socialism, unionization of college sports would make the rich richer, and the poor poorer, in the world of college athletics.

SEIU membership, revenues plummet after state ends 'underhanded scheme'.  A Michigan branch of the powerful Service Employees International Union saw its membership and revenues plummet after the reversal of a measure that forced caregivers tending to friends or relatives to be members with their dues paid by those they cared for.  More than 44,000 home-based healthcare workers parted ways with SEIU Healthcare Michigan after learning they did not have to join the union or pay dues, according to reports the union filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Reports: Northwestern football players overwhelmingly vote to reject unionization.  The regional NLRB's (immediately appealed) March ruling that Northwestern University football players are employees of the school, and are therefore entitled to form a union [...] precipitated today's vote — the official results of which likely won't be known for months, or even years, due to a lengthy anticipated appeals process.  The unionization push has become a hot topic in sports media and a political lightning rod.

Media Matters for America is resisting SEIU's effort to unionize its staff.  Media Matters for America is apparently resisting an effort by Service Employees International Union Local 500 to unionize its staff.  Last week, the union filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board, indicating that the nonprofit media watchdog organization rejected an effort by the union to organize MMFA's staff through a Card Check election.  A filing with the NLRB does not necessarily mean that the union and management are in direct confrontation.  For example, although Volkswagen tacitly backed the United Auto Workers' recent effort to organize its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, the company still insisted on an NLRB-monitored election.

An End to Forced Unionization?  Without a steady stream of water and electricity, child-care service providers who typically operate out of their own homes could go out of business.  Yet, hundreds of Rhode Island residents — not to mention others across the country — who offer these services must now pay union dues that can be used to support lobbying efforts aimed at securing anti-energy regulations at odds with their best interests.

A Reluctant Union Member Fights Back.  Susie Watts has paid Service Employees International Union (SEIU) more than $5,000 over the past eight years for representation she never asked for and does not need.  The union withdraws more than $60 each month from the stipend that Watts' physically disabled daughter, Libby, receives to help cover the cost of home care.  "They're profiting from the disabled," Watts, 57, said.  "They are taking money that my daughter is entitled to and repurposing it.  We're paying $700 [per year] for collective bargaining that we don't want to be a part of."

SEIU Fights To Force Home Caregivers To Pay Union Dues.  The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday [1/21/2014] in a case that will determine if a Medicaid recipient caring for her child is a state worker required to turn part of her meager resources over to union bosses.

Meet the Plaintiff.  A 55-year-old woman who earns less than minimum wage caring for her disabled son could unravel decades of labor law and strike a blow against one of the most powerful political lobbies in the nation.  Pamela Harris is fighting an Illinois law crafted by imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D.) and enforced by his successor Pat Quinn (D.) that forces her and other home healthcare workers to pay union dues.  Her case, Harris v. Quinn, begins oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning [1/21/2014].

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Forced Unionization.  The Supreme Court will hear arguments about forced unionization among government workers on Tuesday [1/21/2014] in a case that could greatly curtail powerful labor groups.  At issue is an Illinois law crafted by imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D.) and enforced by his successor Pat Quinn (D.) that forces home healthcare workers, including family members caring for relatives, to pay union dues.

Child-care union law blocked.  A hotly-contested law that was to allow in-home child care providers to vote on whether to unionize has been temporarily blocked by a federal appeals court.

Don't tell mom the babysitter's unionized.  If Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has his way, your babysitter soon could join a union and cost you a lot more.  The San Francisco Democrat has authored several domestic-worker unionization bills that have been vetoed by California governors.  Now he's back with Assembly Bill 241, which just passed both houses of the Legislature and is awaiting a signature or veto from Gov. Jerry Brown.

Labor, with union membership declining, will woo non-workers.  The AFL-CIO on Monday [9/9/2013] opened the door to becoming a group that is more representative of the left than of its members.  Facing what AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka called a "crisis" of membership, officials took the dramatic step at their annual convention of adopting a resolution that invites anyone in the country to join, regardless of union affiliation.  The move faced stiff resistance from union officials who fear the AFL-CIO's primary mission of representing workers will be left behind if the federation becomes a mouthpiece for liberal and progressive groups.

Boss Trumka Reaches Out.  So here is [Richard] Trumka's bright idea.  He will extend the AFL-CIO to include all members of the "progressive" movement whether they work or not, whether they are bird watchers or angry women, whatever. [...] There may be some bumps on the road ahead, for instance, when the United Mine Workers of America's 75,000 workers have to join with the Sierra Club whose 1.4 million members believe that coal power is "an outdated, backward and dirty 19th-century technology."

Experts Fear Backdoor Unionization in Tennessee.  This wasn't a typical example of a union organizing:  It was the company, not the union, that raised the issue of giving workers a voice in the plant's operations.  VW, a German company, approached the Tennessee manufacturing plant earlier this month, hinting that it would not receive additional investments if it did not establish an European-model works council to represent employee interests.

Senate Republicans quiz Labor Department on purported payments for labor unions worldwide.  Senate Republicans say the Labor Department appears to be spending millions in taxpayer dollars to establish labor unions and promote collective bargaining in foreign countries and are asking top Obama administration officials for a full audit.

One Man's Fight Against Union Power.  Entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley should pay close attention to the experiences of Dave Bego, the Indiana businessman who started a company from scratch.  By 2006, after years of unrelenting toil and sacrifice by Bego and his family, Executive Management Services, Inc. (EMS) had expanded into 38 states and had 5,000 employees.  Bego now had something so valuable it became an attractive target for unionization.

Robert Reich: Walmart, McDonalds and Every Hospital in America Should Unionize.  Former Clinton labor secretary turned MSNBC contributor Robert Reich has a truly nutty solution for America's current economic woes.  Writing at the perilously liberal Huffington Post Tuesday [1/29/2013], Reich called for some of the top employers in the nation to unionize.

The Drive to Unionize Fast-Food Workers.  I begrudge no one their right to organize and join a union if they so choose.  But these poor schlubs are being led down a primrose path to unemployment if they think that a burger or pizza joint can stay in business long if the workers are earning $15 an hour.

Former New York City ACORN office working to unionize fast food workers.  The New York Times reports that union organizers are trying to convince fast food workers to unionize.  The effort is being led by New York Communities for Change which is the name of the reorganized and rebranded former ACORN office in Brooklyn.  "I feel I deserve $15 an hour," said Linda Archer, 59[,] a McDonalds cashier.  "I work very hard."  Archer currently earns $8 an hour and averages 24 hours a week.

Labor Takes Lumps in Michigan.  Michigan voters rejected two union-backed efforts to amend that state's constitution on Tuesday despite heavy spending by big labor and a largely unionized population.  Government employees unions led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) proposed two amendments to the state constitution that would have made collective bargaining a constitutional right (Proposition 2) and forced family members that care for disabled relatives into the union (Proposition 4).

The Union Racket.  The union that launched the career of Democratic National Committee executive director Patrick Gaspard is being accused of strong-arming a group of nursing homes to increase membership rolls.  HealthBridge and CareOne, two nursing home companies, are suing the New England Health Care Employees Union (Service Employees International Union Chapter 1199 New England), accusing the labor leaders of using political threats and dangerous workplace sabotage to force several non-union shops into their ranks.

Nursing Home Companies File RICO Lawsuit Against SEIU.  The lawsuit claims the unions violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act through the use of threats, sabotage, and intimidation in a "shake-down" to coerce the companies to accept union demands.  The health care companies charge that SEIU's use of the help of politicians and liberal activists to intimidate them amounted to criminal extortion.

Care One, HealthBridge nursing homes accuse SEIU affiliates of extortion in RICO lawsuit.  Two of the largest health care labor unions are engaged in racketeering and endangering the lives of elderly residents, according to a federal lawsuit filed by a chain of nursing homes in New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.  Instead of bargaining, the Fort Lee-based Care One and HealthBridge companies say that two local affiliates of the Service Employees International Union are resorting to criminal activities, defamation and sabotage to get contracts approved and workers organized.

Airline union efforts threatening jobs, consumers.  With the summer travel season heating up and ticket prices continuing to rise, the last thing the airline industry needs is internal politics threatening to disrupt operations.  Yet that is exactly what is happening to American Airlines.  The company, currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is on the verge of imploding from within because of an attempted power grab by unions representing pilots, flight attendants and ground workers.

The Service Employees International Union lobbied for legislation requiring all home health-care workers to join a union.
Rep. Darrell Issa Confronts Forced Unionism.  [Scroll down]  The bill would require background checks and care instruction for all home health-care workers.  Many home workers are parents who have literally been with the patient for his or her entire life and need no care instruction.  [Theresa] Riffey's case, if the court takes it and decides in her favor, could be a massive blow to unions across the nation, which currently spend massive amounts of member dues to support political causes, primarily those of Democratic representatives.

AFL-CIO boss: Unionizing should be added to Civil Rights Act of 1964.  AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told The Daily Caller that the right to form a union should "absolutely" be added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Organized labor cares more about teachers' rights than kids' education.
Union hijacking of charter schools.  If you can't beat them, take them over.  That seems to be the new union strategy on charter schools.  Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are governed by private groups that sign a contract, or charter, with the state.  The charter requires that the school meet certain standards of accountability in return for taxpayer funding, but in other areas it exempts the school from many burdensome state or local regulations.  Some of the most burdensome are rules required by labor unions.

The Supreme Court Must Protect the First Amendment from Unions.  "Organized labor" brings to mind railroads, factories, and government offices, but the labor movement's biggest recent gains have been in the home.  Led by SEIU, unions and their political allies have pushed through executive orders and legislation in a dozen states to "organize" home-care workers, such as personal assistants and sitters, by deeming them state employees for collective-bargaining purposes alone.  California was the trailblazer in this campaign, with SEIU first trying to convince the state courts to designate Los Angeles County home-care workers as county employees.

Do President Obama and his fellow Democrats seriously believe that "government should not intrude on private family matters?"  Let us count the ways!
Obama's Government vs. Your Family:  [Scroll down]  When parents think about private family matters, one thing that comes to mind is babysitters.  Until now, you could negotiate a reasonable fee with a 16-year-old neighbor and, if you live in a neighborhood like ours, feel confident that your kids will be well cared for.  No longer; not here in Minnesota, anyway:  Minnesota's Democrats are pressing for unionization of all child care workers!  If they have their way, you and your wife won't be able to go out to dinner without dealing with union bosses — not because of your free choice, but because of government intervention into private family matters.

SEIU siphons 'dues' from Mich. Medicaid payments.  If you're a parent who accepts Medicaid payments from the State of Michigan to help support your mentally-disabled adult children, you qualify as a state employee for the purposes of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  They can now claim and receive a portion of your Medicaid in the form of union dues.

Unions 1, Workers 0.  The Obama administration, it seems, would rather propose rules to increase union membership than take steps to reduce unemployment.  One rule, which has already taken effect, permits the creation of "micro-unions."  Rather than all the employees at a specific plant or business joining one big union, there can be one just for cashiers or one just for those who stock shelves.  The attraction for union leaders is obvious:  They can cherry-pick the groups most interested in joining together for the purpose of collective bargaining, bypassing workers who aren't interested.

Labor's new strategy:  Intimidation for dummies.  In the past decade, unions have become increasingly desperate to obtain new dues-paying members.  An example of how desperate can be found in a 70-plus-page intimidation manual from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which only recently came to light in a pending court case.  The new union tactic is to use pressure on corporate boardrooms as a means of organizing entire companies nationwide rather than recruiting workers on a site-by-site basis; in short, to organize employers rather than employees.

After Losing Vote, Union Vows to Try Again at Target.  The National Labor Relations Board announced on Saturday morning that 137 workers had voted against joining the union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, while 85 workers had voted for it.  The unionization drive sought to make the store on Long Island the first of Target's 1,750 stores in the United States to be unionized.

Target workers at New York store reject union.  Workers at the Valley Stream, New York, store voted against union affiliation by a count of 137 to 85, Target said in a statement released Saturday [6/18/2011].

Labor's bull's-eye is on Target.  Target is having labor pains.  Until recently, the Minneapolis-based discounter largely had avoided the labor disputes and public relations challenges that have plagued Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer.  But now Target could face the same union opposition as its much bigger rival.

When Does "No" Mean "No"?  In November of last year, Delta Flight Attendants voted against unionization.  This was the third time in the past decade that the employees of Delta have defeated the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).  We defeated the attempt to unionize Delta despite a playing field that had been deliberately tilted in favor of the unions.

Government Unions Build Ranks, Court TSA for Membership.  Thousands of airport security screeners could choose a union to represent them as early as March, marking the latest expansion of union influence in the public sector, which now has more labor union members than the private sector.

Rep. Gingrey to introduce bill ripping into Obama Labor Department's airline unionization plans.  Republican Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey plans to introduce a bill that will restore the Department of Labor's union election rules for specialized industries, like airline workers, to what they were before President Barack Obama took office.  Obama's political appointees to the DOL's National Mediation Board lifted a longstanding requirement that mandated more than half of those who would be unionized to vote in favor of a union.  Now, under Obama's new rules, a specialized company or part of a company can be unionized by a majority of only those who show up to vote.

Gingrey: Unionize on your own time.  Rep. Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican, is spearheading legislation that would stop federal employees from doing union activities while on the clock.  Gingrey's bill, the Federal Employee Accountability Act of 2011, would stop federal employees from doing arbitration, collective bargaining and compiling lists of grievances for their bosses during working hours.

Big Labor's Attack on the States:  Last Friday [1/14/2011], the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced its intentions to sue four states — Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah — to overturn voter-approved amendments requiring any attempts to unionize a workplace be done with the same secret ballot system used for general elections.  The NLRB contends such amendments conflict with federal law and that federal law "pre-empts" them.

Labor Dept: If You Let Girl Scouts Sell Cookies, You Have to Let Unions Come in Too.  Obama's NLRB is trying to push a new rule that would force any business that allows Girl Scouts or any other local groups like baseball or football teams, school bands, charity groups etc. to sell their fundraiser items or solicit donations in front of or inside of their businesses to also allow unions into their businesses to cajole employees to organize.  Even when the purpose of many union actions are meant to drive customers away from the business in order to force the employer to accede to union demands, this rule would prevent a business owner from turning disruptive union activists away from their businesses.

Now It's Unions Vs Girl Scouts.  If this new request by union leaders is allowed to become law, its effect will be for many business operators like myself to have no choice but to close doors to any outside groups.  The impact to charities ability to operate and reach support would be devastating.  Ultimately, unions are trying to make sure that no one wins. ... This is not hyperbole.  This is a direct threat to the ability for small business to say who comes onto their property and how they affect their business.

Union Bosses Scheme to Be Girl Scouts' Next 'Tagalong'.  The same sort of deception and unfairness by Big Labor that would have allowed union organizers to replace workplace elections with coercion-prone "card check" is rearing its ugly head, and this time it may be Girl Scouts who pay the highest price.

CDW Warns of Latest Union Scheme: Unfair Access.  Today [1/7/2011], the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) filed an amicus brief with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the crucial question of whether the federal government will demand that a business allow organized labor union representatives to trespass at the workplace in order to harass customers and employees and otherwise harm an employer's business.

Feds threaten to sue states over union laws.  The National Labor Relations Board on Friday [1/14/2011] threatened to sue Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah over constitutional amendments guaranteeing workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections.

The Editor says...
Imagine that.  The federal government is threatening to file a lawsuit to prevent secret ballot elections.

NLRB to require workplaces to notify workers of their right to unionize.  The pro-union regulatory assault continues.  The National Labor Relations Board is now proposing new regulations requiring workers to be notified of their right to unionize.

Transportation union has Delta squarely in its sights.  A rule change made by the Obama administration last May aimed at making it easier to unionize has put Delta Airlines squarely in union sights.  The new rule approved by the National Mediation Board — the body responsible for ruling on labor issues in the transportation industry — makes it easier to organize by allowing a simple majority of those voting in a union election to decide its outcome.

The End of Our Legal System:  Judges Joining Unions?  Unions are meant for one thing and one thing only:  to "get" for its members.  They have one purpose and that is to take as much from an employer as they can take, to get as much money and benefits as they can get away with.  Unions are not interested in assuring quality workmanship, they are not interested in offering quality to customers, and they most certainly aren't interested in efficiency and modernization.  Unions have but one purpose, to extort as many goodies as possible from an employer regardless of what it does to a business or a profession.

Unions Try to Monopolize Green Jobs.  [Scroll down]  One of the more startling revelations at the forum came in testimony from Stephen Worth, President & CEO of Worth and Company, a merit shop mechanical contractor out of Pipersville, Pennsylvania, currently employing more than 400 people.  Amid testimony of union harassment and exclusion from contracting bids was a startling revelation of union methods to monopolize "green jobs" through illegitimate and discriminatory regulatory definition.

Home-care providers object to union label.  Sherry Loar and Dawn Ives take care of children out of their Petoskey homes so they were surprised to learn that their state-subsidized checks, which cover day care for some low-income families, now have union dues withheld.  Neither has ever voted for or consented to union membership.

Union Intensifies Efforts to Organize Workers at Wal-Mart.  The United Food and Commercial Workers union is ramping up organizing at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. after a five-year lull, dovetailing with its efforts to win support in Congress for a bill to make union organizing easier.

Unions plan organization push in Texas.  The unions, which include the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win coalition, enhanced their political muscle by campaigning heavily for Mr. Obama, who sponsored several labor-friendly bills during his brief career in the Senate.  The unions want the next Congress to quickly pass a bill at the top of their shopping list:  legislation that would allow unions to form as soon as a majority of workers sign cards saying they want one.

After Push for Obama, Unions Seek New Rules.  After making millions of phone calls and knocking on millions of doors to elect Barack Obama, the nation's labor unions have begun a new campaign: to get the new president and Congress to pass legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize.  Unions, delighted that they will have a friend in the White House after eight years of fighting President Bush, also plan to push for universal health coverage and a huge stimulus program to create jobs and counter the downturn.

Unions Grasp for Influence Over Private Equity.  When planning corporate campaigns, unions and activist groups research their target and identify its weaknesses.  One key pressure point is a company's need for capital.  Because they often have great influence over pension funds, many unions are able to pressure companies by having the funds offer shareholder resolutions at corporate annual meetings.

Unions' Grip on State Governments Tightens With Forced Dues.  Recent developments in Washington and Maine demonstrate why state government is the silver lining to the cloud that hangs over organized labor.  Although union membership in private industry is at an all-time low, one in three public-sector workers is unionized, and the number is growing.  Beleaguered state governments are agreeing to union contracts that force non-members to pay union dues.

Birdwatching, Government style.  Many of you who thought you had the stomach flu this year really had food poisoning from bacteria.  We should treat raw chicken as if it were covered in fecal matter — it's crawling with bacteria.  Keep it away from the salad, and wash the cutting board.  Local 2357 had a different solution:  The government must hire more union inspectors.  Apparently if more people stared at the birds, they'd be better at seeing invisible germs.

Little minds don't grasp big-box appeal.  People who buy their groceries from Wal-Mart — it has one-fifth of the nation's grocery business — save at least 17 percent.  But because unions are strong in many grocery stores trying to compete with Wal-Mart, unions are yanking on the Democratic Party's leash, demanding laws to force Wal-Mart to pay wages and benefits higher than those that already are high enough to attract 77 times more applicants than there were jobs at Evergreen Park's store.

Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions.  In six years as a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors, between 1986 and 1992, Hillary Clinton remained silent as the world's largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.

Sewing Discontent:  Globalization continues to be a boon to mankind.  Economic benefits once reserved to residents of the developed world are spreading rapidly throughout the developing world.  Thanks to free trade, companies from rich countries are bringing improvements in health, safety, and environmental quality to their overseas employees and their communities. … Yet another Western export threatens to derail this process.  Labor unions are beginning to globalize, threatening to spread overseas the onerous rules and inefficiencies for which they're renowned in the West.

What's next?  Unionized vagrants and panhandlers?

AFL-CIO to work with day laborers.  The nation's largest federation of unions agreed Wednesday [8/9/2006] to work with a network of immigrant day laborer centers to improve wages and working conditions for those who solicit work from street corners across the United States.

Warning: This Could Make You Sick.  The award for vilest politicization of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 goes to the AFL-CIO.  The organization has chosen to hijack the moment and turn it into a plea for anti-austerity union activism.  Consider this message from AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka, posted on its website.

Michigan Carpenters' Union Constructing a Fake Dispute.  As commonly understood, an American labor dispute is a rather simple matter:  Employees demanding a change in their pay or working conditions walk off the job and begin to publicly demonstrate against their employer.  But the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters is no longer playing by these rules.

Unions protect lazy and stupid workers

When it is nearly impossible to fire blue-collar workers, no matter how little work they do, it should come as no surprise that their motivation to do good work is diminished.  The unions have one common goal:  Less work for more money.

California DMV worker snoozed on job 3 hours a day for about 4 years, audit finds.  A California Department of Motor Vehicles employee slept three hours a day on the job for nearly four years — all while her supervisors knew, according to a state auditor's report released Tuesday [7/24/2018].  And the employee still works there.  Between February 2014 and December 2017, the employee snoozed through an estimated 2,200 hours' worth of work, costing California taxpayers more than $40,000, the audit said.  The worker, who was not named in the report, is a data operator responsible for updating information on address changes and new vehicle ownership forms.

Keywords:  Can't be fired, sacred cow, untouchable, token two-fer.
California DMV Employee Sleeps 3 Hours a Day on the Job, and There Are 1,480 Like Her.  The worker, a data operator who should have averaged 560 documents a day while updating information on address changes and new vehicle ownership forms, only completed 200 a day, leaving others to do her work.  Colleagues also revealed in the report that the employee's work was usually filled with mistakes.  A Supervisor said prior supervisors didn't write her up properly.  They finally did write her up after much urging in March 2018, but she was only given a warning.  The audit recommended action be taken against the supervisors who didn't do their job.  As a result, they were given some training.  Training is always the cover for not taking appropriate action.  What is really galling is that their training is something they should already know.

The Editor says...
My experience has been that employees hired because of their race and ethnicity believe that they cannot be fired because of their race and ethnicity, and their employers generally agree.

Public-Sector Unions Deserve To Be Destroyed.  As it is, workers in union-heavy industries are typically under incredible pressure to join — in my experience, few bigger bullies exist in everyday American life than the union boss.  Yet general union membership continues to crater.  Those who resist these efforts are often accused of being "free riders," because they purportedly benefit from collective bargaining but refuse to pay in.  This is an exceptionally peculiar argument coming from organizations for which the central mission, as far as I can tell, is to ensure that the least effective workers are protected at the expense of the most effective workers.

If you resent getting paid to nap, find another job.  It's hard not to feel a little sympathy for David Suker:  He's severely unhappy sitting around and even napping in libraries and lounges to "earn" his $94,000 salary.  On the other hand, he's free to find a real job — and the city Department of Education has every right to keep him out of the classroom.  As Susan Edelman reported in Sunday's Post, Suker is trying for a third answer — by suing to return to teaching.  DOE actually tried to fire him, but the courts — and the United Federation of Teachers contract — prevented his termination.  (He did have to pay a $7,000 fine.)

How to Get a No-Show Job.  What's the best place to get a no-show job? The federal government.  Uncle Sam pays corrupt or incompetent employees not to come to work, because it's easier than firing them, never mind the cost to taxpayers.  Congress is trying to get to the bottom of this outrageous waste.  So far, the Obama administration is stonewalling. [...] Right now, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R.-Iowa, is pressing for answers about the $3.1 billion spent on no-show jobs in the last three years.

Trouble in Dirty Water.  [Scroll down]  Despite the union, RNs and PCAs still get laid off.  Despite the union, middle management can still do as they please even when RNs file grievances against them.  When layoffs do occur, the union allows senior staff to "bump" newer employees out of their positions to other positions or, in many cases, straight to the unemployment line.  It allows someone who may actually be terrible at their job to replace someone new who is potentially quite skilled at their job.  It is all based on seniority not merit.

A Union Run Amok.  John Clark knew right from his job interview with AlliedBarton Security Services that there were problems at the Dearborn Ford plant.  "This one supervisor, she felt like the site was out of control," the 53-year-old Detroit native explains.  Clark says he was told that, as a former correctional officer, he was chosen to set an example of professionalism, so he accepted the job despite the issues.  When he arrived at work in August 2011, the superviser who had interviewed him was no longer there, but "I saw exactly what she was talking about the first week I was there," Clark tells me.  "The union rank and file just run amok, do whatever they want to do."

Chicago teacher can't even spell neighborhood right.  CTU believes in 'NEIBORHOOD' schools ... but can't even spell 'neighborhood.'  Yet one of their main reasons for striking is because, even though they've just been given a 16% pay increase ... they don't want a condition requiring teacher performance.  As is glaringly obvious, we can all see why.

Low Information Voter Thoughts.  We have weekends off, thanks to unions.  If enough people join unions, we can get the other five days off.

Federal Union Flips Out Over 0.8% Increase in Pension Contribution.  [Scroll down]  And, no, I didn't get that decimal point wrong.  It really is a 0.8% increase.  So, if, say, a federal worker is currently contributing $100 towards their pension in any given period, they will now have to kick in an extra 80 cents.  This is an "attack" on "working men and women"?

It's a shovel ready project!
Union Bosses Okay Digging Up — Then Filling Back In — Ditches on Taxpayers' Dime.  [Scroll down]  And when some of the Earth Supply and Renewal "employees" explain that they literally dig a ditch, then fill it up again, Hutchings says, "It sounds like, it almost is exactly the same as where we were with Green Jobs, Green New York."  Green Jobs, Green New York was a $112 million state plan that was designed to create environmentally-friendly jobs.  And it was sponsored, in large part, by unions.

The Editor says...
Labor leaders don't care if their union members are actually accomplishing anything — only that they are employed and paid union-scale wages.

Why the United States Will Never, Ever Build the iPhone.  This weekend, The New York Times published a long exploration of the many reasons why Apple chooses to build its iPhones in China. ... The article's core lesson might be tough to swallow:  Apple doesn't only choose China because work is cheaper.  Apple also chooses China because the factories and the workers do a better job.

Collective bargaining kills another company.
Unions Ate Your Twinkie.  There is no mystery surrounding the death of the Twinkie.  In its bankruptcy filing, Hostess reported a net loss of $341 million last year.  The company blamed reduced demand from a more health-conscious customer base, and rising costs for ingredients like sugar and flour, but above all, the cause of death was an overdose of collective bargaining. ... A union member assured the [New York] Post that "any significant concessions demanded from route people will be overwhelmingly rejected."  The mind-shattering horror of asking drivers to load their own trucks will be avoided by putting them all out of work.

Ding Dong, Hostess is dead, and wicked union did it.  Most observers agree that the company had been badly run.  It declared bankruptcy in January, the second time since 2004.  The recession certainly didn't help.  But companies can survive bankruptcy if given an opportunity to reorder their practices.  That's hard to do when you're juggling 372 collective bargaining agreements.

Rebuilding costs increased by $96 million under lax union rules.
No-work and all pay at Ground Zero.  The Real Estate Board of New York, a major developers' group, says antiquated rules let a cadre of crane and heavy equipment workers pocket six-figure paychecks for little more than showing up.  In the next three years the no-work jobs, controlled by Locals 14 and 15 of the Operating Engineers, could add $96.2 million to the cost of World Trade Center projects, the REBNY says.

Can't-Do America.  Reports from New York City say that union work rules pertaining the rebuilding of Ground Zero are going to cost taxpayers an extra $96 million.  But that's only a small part of the sordid story.

The Welfare State and the Selfish Society.  The welfare state enables — and thereby produces — people whose preoccupations become more and more self-centered as time goes on:  How many benefits will I receive from the state?  How much will the state pay for my education?  How much will the state pay for my health care and when I retire?  What is the youngest age at which I can retire?  How much vacation time can I get each year?  How many days can I call in sick and get paid?  How many months can I claim paternity or maternity care money?  The list gets longer with each election of a left-wing party.  And each entitlement becomes a "right" as the left transforms entitlements into the language of "rights" as quickly as possible.

Slacker America.  Why do college graduates now seek jobs in government instead of private industry?  It has largely to do with lack of ambition.  Why take the risks inherent in the private sector when you can have a position that is virtually immune from layoffs, and for which you get vacations, sick days, health insurance, pensions, and every holiday on the calendar including imagined ones?  Why accept a job requiring effort and productivity when you can get a government job in which your compensation and benefits have absolutely nothing to do with your performance?  In fact, you may actually be discouraged from working too hard because it would embarrass your colleagues.  Additionally, there is almost nothing that can cause you to be fired!  So why take any risks in the private sector?

Just 737 Of 1.2 Million Federal Workers Denied Raise For Poor Performance.  Just 737 federal employees were denied a pay increase in 2009 due to poor job performance, according to information obtained by the Federal Times, a D.C. newspaper for government employees.  That's about one out of every 1,698 workers, or a denial rate of 0.06%.  Believe it or not, that is actually up from recent years, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management.

The Editor is quick to point out...
Those are just workers who didn't get a raise.  How many federal workers were fired in 2009 due to incompetence or misconduct?  I suspect the answer is a single-digit number.

FAA chief suspends dozing air traffic controller.  The nation's top aviation official says he's suspended a control tower supervisor while investigating why no controller was available to aid two planes that landed at Washington's Reagan airport earlier this week.

Why Air Traffic Controllers Fall Asleep on the Job.  Controller fatigue is obviously a major factor.  The FAA has known about the problem for decades but has repeatedly swept it under the rug.  Finally, on April 17, the FAA implemented changes to scheduling practices that will allow controllers more time for rest between shifts.  But the changes only address part of the fatigue problem.  And they don't face up to the reason for the FAA's repeated failures to deal with the issue.

Are Unions A Detriment To A Good Work Ethic? You Betcha!  [Scroll down]  I was forced to join a union when I started working for the Vista Hotel at the World Trade Center in 1991.  During my training period as a hotel operator I noticed that the other operators would let the phones ring without answering.  One woman told me, "Don't answer it.  It makes us look busy and then we can get overtime."  I still had a work ethic and I would do extra work to make things go smoothly only to find that I was upsetting the cart so as the last person hired I was the first fired.

Why I Changed My Mind About Unions.  [Scroll down]  A few years later, studying for my Master's degree, I lived in a low-rent apartment.  A tenant in one of the other units was a union roofer.  From November to April, he'd get $400 a week in unemployment.  It seems that in our state union employees didn't have to look for non-union work.  If the union didn't call, the unemployment check was a certainty.  But the phone stayed off the hook all winter to make sure the union couldn't call anyway.  He wasn't idle, though; he worked "under the table" all winter doing side jobs tax-free while collecting unemployment.  In the summer when he did union work he'd tell stories about the roofers getting drunk and stoned at lunchtime and making $22 an hour.

Firefighters union boss' father a hefty user of sick leave.  As investigators probe the potential abuse of sick leave by firefighters, Clark County officials say they will find many instances of employees scheduling sick time off weeks or months in advance.  Among them is a firefighter who used the benefit to help carve out 53 consecutive days off in 2009.

The SEIU's Friendly Inquisitor.  Carole Jean Badertscher was a California nurse who just wanted to go to work and take care of her patients — but the SEIU was determined not to let that happen.  The union's contract with Badertscher's employer, the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, had expired, and the union had called a strike in response.  Badertscher and other nurses, unwilling to abandon their patients for the sake of a stronger SEIU hand in contract negotiations, resigned from the union and went to work.

The Editor says...
When Obamacare gets rolling, expect to see more unionized nurses and more labor union attitude at your neighborhood hospital.

SEIU sign misspelled
Union-quality workmanship:

SEIU Misspells 'American Dream' at Rally.  Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

$33-an-hour — For Sleeping On the Job.  Last week the NY Post ran a story about two late-shift, unionized public employees sleeping on the job.  According to the Post, "(S)leeping workers are a familiar nighttime sight along the streets of NoHo and SoHo around the Angelika theater, which is next to the transit crew entrance."  And what do these arrogant deadbeats get paid for shirking their responsibilities?  $33-an-hour.

Union Audacity:  Yes We Will!  [Scroll down]  I lived in New York for thirty-five years.  I've seen park workers drinking from 40 oz. malt liquor bottles while they were picking up leaves.  I've woken up cops sound asleep in their patrol car.  I watched a garbage man pick up a stack of newspapers, drop them on the way to the garbage truck, and leave them in the middle of the street.  I talked to a principal who didn't want to investigate the possible rape of a 13-year-old girl in his school because it was "too much trouble."  I knew a teacher who spent three years in a "rubber room" collecting a salary for doing absolutely nothing.  I've seen hospital workers completely ignore patients, and leave their break room strewn with litter.  I had a tollbooth operator curse at me for paying part of my toll with pennies, even though it was all the money I had left.

Libs Scold Black Conservatives.  In the eighties, I was a member of a team of six artists at a Baltimore TV station.  They hired a new kid.  Jeff was talented, enthusiastic, and ambitious. ... While the union could not nail Jeff for doing anything outside of the restrictions of our contract, the consensus was that he was too friendly with management and too eager to benefit the company.  The real conflict was that Jeff's nature drove him to excellence, but our union encouraged group mediocrity.

Unions can't stand to see unpaid volunteers do their work, because it shows how little their labor is really worth.
Union troubled by Eagle Scout project in Allentown.  In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park.  Little did the do-gooder know that his altruistic act would put him in the cross hairs of the city's largest municipal union.

When Big Labor Bullies and Volunteers Collide.  The Boy Scouts' motto is:  Be prepared.  Who knew it meant preparing to defend themselves against purple-shirted union thuggery over community service?  Kids, pay attention.  This is a teachable moment for all of you on power, politics and Big Labor's culture of corruption.

Pennsylvania Union Leader Criticized for Threatening Legal Action Over Boy Scout's Volunteerism.  A Pennsylvania union leader has come under fire after threatening legal action against the city of Allentown for allowing a Boy Scout to voluntarily clear a walking path in a local park.  Nick Balzano, president of the Service Employees International Union's Allentown chapter, said last week that the union might file a grievance against the city for allowing 17-year-old Kevin Anderson to clear the hiking trail, instead of paying some of the 39 recently laid-off SEIU members to do the work.

The Editor says...
Why hire unionized workers to perform work that can be done by unpaid volunteers?  The fact that civic-minded people will volunteer to do this work proves that the monetary value of the labor is zero.  Here is another example:

Volunteers save cities billions, but unions cry foul.  With budgets tighter than ever, cities across America are increasingly looking for more free labor.  Nowhere is that trend more evident than Yakima, Wash.  "More and more every year, a large part of what we do is volunteers," says Archie Matthews, Yakima's director of neighborhood development services, "It saves us a ton of money."

The SEIU Thugocracy.  Kevin [Anderson] and his Boy Scout volunteer helpers logged in 250 hours completing the trail project, clearing brush and plants, and removing trash and old tires.  The Mayor of Allentown, Ed Pawlowski, told Fox News that Anderson's work was a "great service to the community."  But not everyone is happy about the service project.

Now for the happy ending...

Pennsylvania Union Leader Resigns Amid Criticism.  A union leader in Pennsylvania has resigned after being criticized for threatening legal action over an aspiring Eagle Scout's volunteer project.  Nick Balzano, president of the Service Employees International Union's Allentown chapter, submitted an unexpected resignation letter Thursday, along with a few other employees, SEIU spokesman Matt Nerzig told

Why Public Sector Unions Will Go The Way Of Private Sector Unions.  The backlash against public sector unions being played out in Wisconsin, Virginia and elsewhere was a long time coming.  Now that it is here, it will likely remain front and center among the taxpayers who are on the hook for enormous unfunded union pension and retirement health care liabilities, and who are now becoming aware of the broader and very significant costs of hiring out government services to unions that face little or no competition.

Unions, Lenin, and the American Way (Part III).  On the construction site at Columbus Circle in Manhattan, an outside freight elevator was built to lift crews and materials.  It was operated by an "elevator engineer" who pushed floor buttons at the rate of $37 per hour, competing for the title of world's most expensive bellhop.  Two union goons, armed with crowbars, sat at the foot of the elevator all day in lawn chairs, sipping coffee, reading newspapers, or listening to the Howard Stern Show on the radio.  Their job was to tell the crews that the elevator was unavailable — at least that's what they told my friend when he needed to lift his workers.  But after his boss arrived from Queens with $500 in cash for the goons, the elevator became readily available to their crew for the duration of one week.

How Obama Cronyism Threatens Rail Security.  [Scroll down]  Biden, in turn, is tight with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the powerful union that represents the Amtrak Police Department.  According to OSSSO sources, the APD brass have been aggrieved over the non-unionized counterterrorism unit's existence from its inception.  A West Coast OSSSO team member told me that union leaders blocked police credentialing efforts by his office for more than a year.  An East Coast OSSSO team member told me that the FOP recently filed a grievance against one of its counterterrorism officers for assisting a train conductor who asked for help in ejecting a ticketless passenger.

AFL-CIO Hard Hats:  The AFL-CIO is passing around these hard hats today to every office on Capitol Hill.  Check out where they're made:  China.

Alan Grayson to introduce Paid Vacation Act.  Rep. Alan Grayson was standing in the middle of Disney World when it hit him: What Americans really need is a week of paid vacation.  So on Thursday [5/21/2009], the Florida Democrat will introduce the Paid Vacation Act — legislation that would be the first to make paid vacation time a requirement under federal law.

First pizza-delivery union formed in Florida city.  Eleven Domino's employees hoping to make a little more dough have formed the nation's first union of pizza-delivery drivers. … The union organizing drive was started by Jim Pohle, a 37-year-old Domino's driver who said he delivers pizzas because he likes to sleep late, smoke on the job and listen to the radio.

[That sounds like exactly the kind of employee that the unions work hardest to defend.]

10,000 autoworkers get paid without working.  About 10,000 autoworkers in the United States and Canada are getting full wages and benefits not to work, a Detroit Free Press survey shows.  All are hourly workers on long-term layoff at the traditional Big Three automakers and their biggest supplier, Delphi Corp., who are in so-called "jobs banks."  Most of the companies refused to say how much they are spending to pay all these workers, but it's likely well over $1 billion this year, given the number of workers and typical union wage-and-benefit packages.

Union Wants to Be Paid for Work It Didn't Do.  Volunteers from the Blackhawk High School recycling club removed illegally dumped tires from Buttermilk Falls State Park in Pennsylvania.  Now union employees of the Beaver County Public Works Department want to be paid for the cleanup.

A Slackening Nation of Work-Avoidance Wimps:  The AFL-CIO's support for federal ergonomics regulations is less about worker protection than union self-preservation.

Bad Coworkers Seem Safest From Layoffs.  In the age of layoffs, survivors often fall into one of two categories:  folks at the bottom who don't do a lick of work and superstars at the top who behave atrociously.

Boeing workers vote to decertify union.  Boeing Co. workers voted overwhelmingly Thursday [9/10/2009] to disband the union at the North Charleston factory, boosting prospects corporate officials will consider the Lowcountry for a second assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner.  Of the fewer than 300 International Association of Machinist organized workers at the local plant eligible to vote, 199 voted to decertify the union and 68 voted to keep it in place, Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said.

Unions Seem Determined to Kill Michigan Film Industry.  A lot can be said about unions supporting wage earners and creating a middle class.  However, a lot can also be said about unions ruining this country.  Case in point:  Michigan.  You would think that after the UAW destroyed the auto industry and the tax base in Michigan, the people of the state and the unions based there would have learned.  However, this is not the case.  In the latest union disaster for the state of Michigan, the IATSE has decided that the blooming film industry in the state must be stopped before it even gets started.

Inspector General: City wastes $18 million a year on truck drivers.  Chicago taxpayers are wasting $18 million a year on 200 motor truck drivers who shuttle city crews to work sites, then get "paid to do nothing more than sit in a vehicle" waiting for crews to finish the job, the city's inspector general has concluded.

Mail carrier who defecated in yard gets to keep job.  A mail carrier who was caught using a yard as his personal toilet will not be fired.  The incident happened last month at a home in southeast Portland and a neighbor, Don Derfler, captured the man in the act with his camera.

Absent Teachers, Untrained Substitutes.  About 5.2 percent of teachers miss any given school day, many more than in our peer countries.  In Australia and Great Britain, for example, the figure is near 3 percent.  The rate is also much lower among other professional employees in the U.S., around 1.7 percent.  Teachers most often miss Mondays, Fridays, and the days surrounding holidays — a pattern that suggests illness is not the main cause for their absences.

Look for the Union Label... Courtesy of the Smoking Union Brand.  It is simply amazing how obnoxious the UAW is, and how shameless.  It drove two of the three U.S. automakers into bankruptcy by its ceaseless efforts to extract ever more ridiculous increases in compensation for ever more obscene decreases in work.  It reached the acme of asininity when the union forced the automakers to pay workers who should have been laid off when their plants closed — and this to sit around in cushy halls and play cards.

Some workers would rather have a union than a job

Billionaire CEO Joe Ricketts shuts down DNAinfo, Gothamist after union vote.  Major Trump donor and billionaire CEO Joe Ricketts announced Thursday that he's closing the doors on two New York City local news outlets, DNAinfo and the Gothamist, amid financial hardships and a successful union vote.  Ricketts, who was CEO of DNAinfo and had bought Gothamist earlier this year, penned a letter to readers to explain his decision, noting "DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure."  Local outlets also owned by Ricketts in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., including DCist, will also close its doors along with the New York papers, leaving nearly 115 journalists without jobs, just one week after they voted to unionize.

Union demands send Japanese firm, obs packing from California town.  The California city of Palmdale was ready to roll out the red carpet this summer when a Japanese company agreed to build a $60 million factory on a city-owned, vacant parcel on the southwest side of town — but now the company is taking its project out of state and critics say union greed is to blame.  As many as 300 people were slated to work at the 400,000-square-foot plant, painting and wiring light rail cars under a huge contract with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  It was a coup for Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, and a plan that seemed to suit Kinkisharyo International, which last year moved its U.S. headquarters from Boston to El Segundo, Calif.

Labor Costs Killing Nursing Homes.  Lucrative union contracts have driven five Connecticut nursing homes at the center of a labor dispute into bankruptcy.  HealthBridge Management has entered five of its nursing homes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to escape labor contracts that left the company losing $1.3 million each month, according to senior vice president of labor relations Lisa Crutchfield.

The Parasite That Kills Its Hostess:  The news about the bankruptcy of Hostess, maker of the Twinkie and other legendary junk foods, touched off some memories of growing up in a mid-sized Midwestern town in the 1970s and '80s.  No, not that kind of memory, though come to think of it, the 1980s was the last time I actually ate a Hostess snack.  What I'm recalling has a lot less nostalgic charm:  the whole phenomenon of a kamikaze labor union that keeps demanding more for workers — who end up getting nothing when their employer goes belly-up.

United Auto Workers Local Costs 650 Jobs in Indiana.  Talk about chutzpah.  In what only can be described as pure stubborn selfishness, a United Auto Workers (UAW) local in Indiana voted this week to close a General Motors (GM) parts supplier employing 650 workers.  The closure is a harsh blow for a state with 10.2-percent unemployment and a unionized auto industry that has been in free fall for decades — UAW membership has fallen from 1.5 million in 1979 to only 300,000 in 2009.

Union rejects concessions at GM plant in Indianapolis.  A months-long battle to save a General Motors Co. stamping plant here that pitted rank-and-file UAW members against top union officials over whether autoworkers should accept pay cuts to keep jobs ended bitterly today [9/28/2010].  Addison, Ill.-based JD Norman Industries said it is dropping its effort to buy the factory after an announcement late Monday that United Auto Workers members had voted 457-96 against accepting the concessions.

Verizon union members say strike worth hardship.  Claudia Slaney did something that many people would consider unthinkable in this economy:  give up her paycheck.  She did just that on Sunday [8/7/2011] when she walked off the job, joining about 6,000 Verizon Communications Inc. employees in Massachusetts after the unions and the company failed to reach an agreement on a new contract.

Mercury Marine:  Union rejects changes, so we'll move south.  Following a union vote this morning to reject contract changes that company officials say would have kept Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac, Mercury Marine issued the following statement:  "Union workers at Mercury Marine voted this morning to reject a contract proposal that company officials said was necessary to keep Mercury in Fond du Lac. ..."

Hostess Brands permanently closing 3 bakeries following employee strike.  Hostess Brands Inc. is permanently closing three bakeries following a nationwide strike by its bakers union.  The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread said Monday that the strike has prevented it from producing and delivering products, and it is closing bakeries in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati.  The facilities employ 627 workers.

Teamsters Cross Picket Line, Fail to Save Twinkie.  The Teamsters, not exactly a shrinking violet, got a look at the company's books and realized the dire financial situation Hostess was in.  They even implored the Bakers' Union, which called a strike, to accept wage concessions and get back to work.  Alas, they didn't and now the company faces liquidation.

The Editor says...
In the last few days, I've heard that the unionized drivers would not carry Twinkies and Wonder Bread on the same truck.  [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]   If that is the case, they deserve to be unemployed.

Twinkie Maker Hostess to Close.  A victim of changing consumer tastes, high commodity costs and, most importantly, strained labor relations, Hostess ultimately was brought to its knees by a national strike orchestrated by its second-largest union.

Short-sighted Petulance.  Hostess employees insisted on continuing a strike, even as management noted that the company couldn't survive a prolonged union action.  Now the employees won't have jobs at all, as their action has forced the company to liquidate.

Manhandling Hostess, Big Labor Costs 18,500 Workers Their Jobs.  Union intransigence and unrealistic expectations at Hostess Brands have forced the bakery to shut its doors permanently and throw 18,500 people out of work.  So much for Big Labor caring about the little guy.

Maybe We Really Can't All Just Get Along.  Union workers voluntarily have driven Hostess out of business.  Seems they'd rather have no pay than less pay, no pension over a restructured one.  They commit economic suicide, and pampered, over-paid union bosses such as Richard Trumka blame the Bain Capitals of the world.

The End of Twinkies' Union Label.  If employees declare war on their employer, then the war can end only in the death of one or the other.  And who wants that?  The union bakers — the union former bakers — at Hostess Brands, Inc., that's who.

Twinkicide: Death By Liberalism.  This time it's Twinkies.  In October it was Newsweek.  Who's next?  What does this lemming-like liberal instinct mean for America?  What is it that bakers and editors had in common as they looked into the abyss that would spell their own professional death?  And then jumped?  Answer:  They'd rather be dead than Not Liberal.  Unfortunately for the rest of us — they are not alone.

Unions Kill The Goose That Made Hostess Brands Gold.  The Twinkies bankruptcy is a classic example of costs created by labor unions that are not confined to paychecks.  The work rules imposed in union contracts required the company that makes Twinkies, which also makes Wonder Bread, to deliver these two products to stores in separate trucks.  Moreover, truck drivers were not allowed to load either of these products into their trucks.  And the people who did load Twinkies into trucks were not allowed to load Wonder Bread, and vice versa.  All of this was obviously intended to create more jobs for the unions' members.  But the needless additional costs that these make-work rules created ended up driving the company into bankruptcy, which can cost 18,500 jobs.

Hostess faces bitter end in bankruptcy court.  Hostess Brands Inc. plans to return to bankruptcy court on Wednesday seeking approval to move ahead with liquidations plans that would throw 18,500 people out of work, after a last-ditch mediation effort met with failure.

Who killed Hostess?  The left is madly spinning (aka, lying about) the impending demise of Hostess, trying to blame the free enterprise system, and even Mitt Romney's former firm, Bain Capital.  This is a lie.  It was inside job of the left, with a prominent Democrat helping himself to consulting fees and a hundred thousand dollars a year sinecure for his son. [...] While the unions and their media allies like to cite executive salaries and consulting fees paid to executives as outrageous, they are ignoring left winger Dick Gephardt cashing in for himself, and more outrageously, for his son, who was appointed to the Hostess Board and paid one hundred thousand dollars a year.

Private Equity and Hostess Stumbling Together.  [Scroll down]  Ripplewood, which was founded by Timothy C. Collins, a major Democratic donor, is expected to lose most, if not all, of the $130 million or so it invested in Hostess.  The company's lenders, led by Silver Point Capital and Monarch Alternative Capital, are not expected to fare well either.  The behind-the-scenes tale of Hostess and Ripplewood may be the opposite of a project to buy it, strip it and flip it.  When Mr. Collins originally looked at Hostess, he was trying to make investments in troubled companies with union workers.

Twinkies bakers say they'd rather lose jobs than take pay cuts.  Interviews with more than a dozen workers showed there was little sign of regret from employees who voted for the strike.  They said they would rather lose their jobs than put up with lower wages and poorer benefits.

Death of Twinkies: A Union Contract Hit.  President Obama, ever grateful for the millions of dollars and thousands of foot soldiers provided by union support, will continue trying to end-run Congress and make it easier for unions to sink their hooks into business.  Yet unions are in stark denial of the need for significant cutbacks in their lush contracts if their employers are to survive.

Wal-Mart and Hostess: Two Union Stories.  The details are ugly when you see what was going on behind the scenes at Hostess.  It reportedly was dealing with 372 separate collective-bargaining contracts, 80 separate health and benefits plans, and 40 different pension plans.  Union rules said no Hostess delivery trucks could have both bread and snacks on board, despite the fact the goods were going to the same stores.  Drivers were not allowed to load the snacks onto their trucks, certain workers could only load snacks not bread, and vice versa.

Just How Potent Are Teacher Unions?  Hostess Brands is set to liquidate its 82-year-old company because it was unable to meet the salary demands of its unionized employees.  Roughly 18,500 workers will lose their jobs because 5,500 members of various bakers' unions can't appreciate that a tightening economy, stiffening competition, and an increasingly health-conscious America mean fewer Twinkies for all.

After Bankrupting Hostess, Union Workers Rake In The Federal Dough.  After driving Hostess out of business by refusing to negotiate, the White House has decided to reward the union bakers with Trade Adjustment Assistence, blaming foreigners.

Union That Helped Bring Down Hostess Gets to Snack on Federal Funds.  When Hostess filed for bankruptcy last year, several problems were to blame, but the bakers union refusing to accept a new contract and striking was the straw that broke the Twinkie manufacturer's back.  They refused to return to work even after the company warned them it would have to shut down.  The Teamsters even begged them to take the deal (though the bakers union has noted that the Teamsters were getting a better deal than they were).

Twinkies Return, Hostess Unions Won't.  The bankrupt assets of Hostess Brands, Inc., the company responsible for Twinkies, Ho Ho's, Sno Balls and Ding Dongs, are being put back to work by a buyout firm.  What's not being put back to work are the former Hostess unionized employees.  The unionized workers had been on strike when the company folded late last year.

Have Twinkies Killed the Union Movement?  Original Twinkies are coming back — but under new management — and with a vow to use nonunion workers.  Some five months after Hostess shut down over a standoff with its unions, the restructured company is expecting to put its snacks back on store shelves in the coming months.  The Hostess closing left more than 18,000 people out of work across the country — with the vast majority belonging to the Teamsters and the Bakery Union.  With Hostess back in business, labor analysts say the union movement may have taken a major hit just when it seemed to be gaining lost energy with recent walkouts or job actions.

Hostess reopens bakeries for Twinkies, Ho Hos.  The new Hostess Brands said Monday [4/29/2013] that it will open bakeries in Indiana and Illinois, following announcements last week that it will reopen bakeries in Georgia and Kansas in its effort to bring back some of its snack brands.  The predecessor to this Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012 after years of turmoil and later decided to go out of business after a nationwide strike crippled its operations.

Hostess: Twinkies to Return to Shelves July 15.  The company that went bankrupt after an acrimonious fight with its unionized workers last year is back up and running under new owners and a leaner structure.

On the other hand, these people would rather have a job than a union

Key Boeing factory goes non-union.  Even as unions revel in their access to political power with Barack Obama, actual workers handed the union movement a stinging defeat.

Some people would rather have a job than a union.
Who wants a union? Not Southern autoworkers, it seems.  Deric Golden has what he calls his dream job, fixing small flaws on the sedans being churned out at the Hyundai factory here.  So when two organizers from the United Auto Workers knocked on his apartment door one day, hoping to get him to sign a union card, he quickly sent them packing.

Unionized government workers

People make jokes about postal workers, TSA goons, and the pencil-pushers at the DMV all the time.  They work by the hour.  Many (if not most) of them are keenly aware that "it all pays the same" if they get any work done or not.  They don't care.  Why should they?

Who Is Really Manipulating Election Results?  While the world is reacting to the Trump verdicts, it strikes me as odd that it would be out of the ordinary to realize how much is done in government and society behind the scenes for self-serving reasons.  It should not be a surprise, especially when it comes to politicians and their campaigns.  But if we're going after one individual, there are plenty more to pursue.  One tragic example is governmental employees.  They literally control who is elected to be their bosses through the influence of their public employee unions.  The amount of money spent by this nation's public employee political action committees to influence the outcome of elections is a crying shame.  They use their financial largesse to keep pliable individuals in office, while uncaringly destroying the reputations of any candidate seeking office to provide some fiscal sanity.

Whistleblower report:  Here's a look at bad behavior by San Francisco employees.  Sleeping on duty.  Stealing city property.  Hiring family members.  A new whistleblower report detailed allegations that San Francisco city employees engaged in these inappropriate practices, among others, this year.  Every quarter, the San Francisco Controller's Office publishes a detailed report on its whistleblower program.  This quarter's report — spanning from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2024 — showed there were 192 reports of improper behavior, misuse of funds, wasteful government practices or poor delivery of services by city employees, 174 of which have been resolved.  Nearly a quarter of the closed investigations resulted in a city department or contractor taking corrective or preventive actions.  The number of complaints is small compared with the number of city employees and contractors — more than 35,000 people work for the city, as do thousands more contractors — most of whom work diligently and perform their duties appropriately.

No, the government is not to be trusted.  [Scroll down]  As for limited terms, time and again I know how popular it is, but unless the bureaucracy can be fired or their own service limited, they present the highest of all risks.

'Democracy' Means Never Having to Hear 'You're Fired!'  I just came across an article fresh from the online pages of Government Executive ("From Swamp Parasites, For Swamp Parasites" is the magazine's tagline, I assume). It's mundanely titled "OPM issues its final rule for Schedule F protections," and while that may not mean much to you it's worth us taking a closer look at it, because this is one of those great examples of where the quiet part gets said (almost) out loud.  The article reports with some self-interested excitement that:  ["]The Office of Personnel Management issued the final version of its regulation meant to safeguard the civil service from the return of a Trump-era policy that sought to convert most federal employees to at-will workers.["] [...] So federal bureaucrats (OPM) have designed new regulations preemptively creating an additional thicket of legal procedures and rules intended to cripple any attempt by a "future administration" to successfully fire federal bureaucrats.

Bureaucrats Control the Show.  The Civil Service Act of 1883 provided protection for non-elected federal employees.  It is nearly impossible to fire a federal employee.  Egregious infractions are generally dealt with by reassignment or demotion.  Once a bureaucrat is well established then agency politics and occasionally merit are the means used for promotion, influence and pay increases.  It is these well-established mid-level and senior management bureaucrats that direct or deflect based on the political climate of the day.  Probably the biggest obstacle that a President has in implementing his agenda is dealing with the government bureaucracy.  Just ask Donald Trump.  The so called "Swamp" consists of bureaucrat seepage into every aspect of government administration with political snakes guarding their territory with hubris and avarice.

The Cure for Poverty Isn't So Hard to Find.  Poverty is isolated in the private sector.  Public-sector workers' salaries are almost twice that of private-sector workers, and their pensions are enormous.  This is not meant to begrudge public workers, but they would do well to sympathize with their private-sector brethren, since about eighty-five percent of their pension money is paid by private-sector workers and their employers.  The fiscal health of public pensions is dependent upon wealth of the private sector.  So what is the ladder out of poverty?

Government Workers Are Trying to Take Over Congress Now.  During the Trump administration government employees took it upon themselves to undermine their boss because they didn't like him or his policies.  This is arguably an insurrection in itself, attempting to override the decisions of the elected leader and enforce the policy preferences of people who actually were elected.  [Tweet]  In the case of the Executive branch, even the MSM was bragging about and platforming staffers who brazenly admitted that they were defying President Trump.  Even Joe Biden staffers have been protesting — in public — against their boss' Israel policy.  They should be fired, of course, but they haven't been, of course.  Now, this same phenomenon is happening in Congress, where staffers are revolting and trying to thwart the will of elected leaders.  [Tweet]  As you can imagine, the revolt against legitimately elected leaders is coming from the Left.  The entitled brats who are being trained in our Left-wing educational institutions have been imbued with such a sense of moral superiority, and a belief that any and all activist tactics are justified are now safely ensconced in our government and corporations.

The lawless left.  On January 12, 2024 it was revealed that a group of hundreds of federal employees from twenty-two agencies were organizing a one-day job walk-out for January 16, 2024 to also protest Biden's alliance with Israel.  The walkout ended up getting stymied because three inches of snow forced a snow-day shut down of the entire federal workforce.  Feds United for Peace couldn't hold their temper tantrum walkout because none of them were at work anyway.  (That a mere three inches of snow caused a government shutdown is a subject for another column, as it indicates again the uselessness of these people.  It should take a lot more than a mere three inches of snow to prevent people from going to work.)  Yet, their intentions here are what matter.  These federal employees, many of whom it appears are political appointees, were actually making a blackmail threat to the elected officials:  Do what we want or we won't obey you.  The law, the Constitution, and the legal powers of elected officials don't matter.  Our cause is just and the law doesn't apply to us.

Government Employees Exceed 23 Million For the First Time.  Government employees in the United States topped 23 million for the first time in December, according to the employment numbers released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  In November, according to BLS, there were 22,951,000 people employed by the local, state and federal governments in the United States.  In December, there were 23,003,000.  "Government employment increased by 52,000 in December," said the BLS in its statement on the jobs numbers.  "Employment continued to trend up in local government (+37,000) and federal government (+7,000).  "Government added an average of 56,000 jobs per month in 2023, more than double the average monthly gain of 23,000 in 2022," said BLS.

Federal Employees' Political Donations Largely Went to Biden, Other Democrats in 2023.  Over 60% of political donations to prominent political committees made by employees of the federal government's 15 Cabinet-level departments flowed to President Joe Biden and other Democrats in 2023, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of Federal Election Commission records.  The Daily Caller News Foundation filtered donations in calendar year 2023 by individuals who listed their employer as one of 15 Cabinet agencies, and who donated to the Biden campaign, the Biden Victory Fund, the Trump campaign, the Save America PAC, and the respective congressional and senatorial fundraising committees for each party.  Federal employees donated almost $200,000 to Biden's campaign fundraising arms, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee between January and November 2023.

Public Sector Unions Aren't Doing Well.  Union strikes are all the rage these days. [...] Most strikes we read about today involve private-sector unions, which have struggled to maintain membership, especially compared to their public-sector counterparts.  The national union membership rate was about 10 percent in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  But when you separate union membership by private and public sectors, you'll notice quite the disparity:  The public sector union membership is five times greater nationally than private sector union membership.  This discrepancy is even more apparent in highly unionized states.  In Pennsylvania, unionization is slightly above the national average: 12.7 percent.  But the state's private sector unionization rate, 7.4 percent, is significantly lower than its public sector rate, 50.5 percent — a sevenfold difference.  Private-sector union membership has been steadily declining for decades.

Outlaw Public Sector Unions.  Money doesn't guarantee victory in political campaigns.  For proof, look no further than Meg Whitman, the California billionaire who in 2010 squandered $179 million in her futile campaign to beat Jerry Brown and become that state's next governor.  When money is married to institutional power, however, it makes all the difference.  This is why, 10 years after the Whitman debacle, Mark Zuckerberg was able to purchase the presidential election outcome in 2020 for $419 million.  Whitman's money paid consultants and bought ads on television.  Zuckerberg's money went to supplement the activities of election offices in swing states — election offices that employed workers represented by unions that overwhelmingly favor Democrats over Republicans.  This is a critical distinction.  Imagine if a pro-Republican billionaire had, like Zuckerberg, poured hundreds of billions of dollars into "nonpartisan" nonprofit organizations that in-turn used that money to launch get-out-the-vote campaigns in areas heavy with Republican voters.  What are the chances the election offices in these cities would have cooperated?

The 10% Rule:  These Congressional Districts All Elected Democrats.  Call it the 10% rule:  If 10% or more of the workers in a particular congressional district were civilian federal employees in 2022, then that district elected a Democrat to the House of Representatives.  The Congressional Research Service this month published a report entitled "Current Federal Civilian Employment by State and Congressional District."  "This report provides a snapshot of recent statistics for U.S. government employment in each state and territory, as well as estimates for how many federal workers live in each congressional district," said the report.  It then noted that "these figures do not include uniformed military personnel or federal contractors."  The report included a table that listed each of the nation's 435 congressional districts with an estimate — based on the Census Bureau's American Community Survey — of the total number of federal civilian employees who lived in that district in 2022.  The table also listed "a calculation of federal workers as a percentage of all employed civilians (aged 16 and older) who live in that district."

Thousand of Los Angeles City Employees Walk Off Job For 24-Hour Strike.  Thousands of Los Angeles city personnel, such as sanitation employees, lifeguards, and traffic officers, left their jobs for a 24-hour strike on Tuesday due to alleged unfair labor practices, according to The Associated Press.  Workers established picket lines before sunrise at Los Angeles International Airport and other sites, with a subsequent rally scheduled at City Hall later on Tuesday, according to the AP.

The Editor says...
A 24-hour strike and a rally amounts to little more than a tantrum.  What have they gained?  They're not winning friends among the people whose trash wasn't picked up.

L.A. City Workers to 'Shut Down' City on Tuesday, Joining Hollywood, Hotel Strikes.  Thousands of municipal workers in Los Angeles plan to down tools on Tuesday, joining a summer of labor actions that has involved Hollywood writers, Hollywood actors, and hotel employees across the city. [...] The issues behind the strike are vague, but the union is taking an opportunity to flex its muscle in the midst of negotiations with the city over a new contract.

The Editor says...
If Reagan was able to fire all the air traffic controllers, Los Angeles can fire all the garbage collectors. But the difference is that Reagan was a strong conservative leader, and there's no such thing in Los Angeles.

Report: Illinois, Chicago public pension crises [are the] worst in [the] U.S..  By multiple measures, Illinois' statewide public pensions are in the worst shape in the nation, a new report shows.  The same is true for Chicago-area public pensions.  Yet political leaders either don't get it or fail to admit it.  Gov. J.B. Pritzker and others are touting Illinois' financial improvements, but a new report by Equable Institute shows just how little improvement has been made on Illinois' biggest financial problem — pension debt.  The report examined state and local pension debt across all major state and municipal pension plans, with the analysis confirming Illinois' pension crisis is the worst in the nation.  Illinois ended the 2023 fiscal year with an estimated $429 billion in pension liabilities but only $218 billion worth of assets, leaving the state with $211 billion in unfunded state and local pension liabilities.

What if Federal Workers Never Showed Up for Work and No One Missed Them?  This is one of the greatest federal government scandals of all time.  Many hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been getting a full-time paycheck from Uncle Sam (meaning from all of us) without showing up for work for three years now.  They don't call it Club Fed for nothing.  To be fair, just because an employee is working remotely doesn't mean they aren't working.  Only a little more than half of private sector workers are actually in the office these days — although, with each passing day, private workers are returning to work sites.  But in the public sector, the percentage of remote workers remains much higher than that.  The Federal Times news outlet reports that at the end of 2022, only about 1 in 3 federal bureaucrats were on the job in the office.  Wait.  The COVID scare ended two and a half years ago, and most private businesses have demanded their employees show up for work at least some of the time — or find a new employer.  What's so special and privileged about government workers?

Somewhat related:
Detroit city officials seek 6-figure salaries after years without raises.  Detroit city officials are asking for a massive raise from commissioners in charge of determining their salaries.  City Council members and the clerk are seeking at least six-figure salaries, hiking their pay between approximately 28% and 68%, according to a memorandum from five councilmembers and the clerk.  The Elected Officials Compensation Commission, a seven-member body appointed by the mayor and approved by City Council, is expected to determine proposed salaries of the mayor, City Council members and city clerk next week.

The Editor says...
When was the last time you got a 28 percent raise, or even asked for one?

George Will reminder: Public sector unions are bad for everyone.  A solid column from George Will today arguing a point that can never be mentioned enough: Public sector unions are a menace.  He opens with an object lesson in why this is so involving public schools. [...] The obvious problems with public sector unions have been pointed out many times.  To put it succinctly, unions are meant to give workers a more even hand in tough negotiations with management.  But in the public sector there's not much incentive for management to drive a hard bargain.  After all, its not their money being spent, it's the taxpayers' money.  This also leads to a cozy and often circular relationship at the local level, i.e. unions fund the election of local officials who are already predisposed to give the unions what they want including generous contract that ensure almost no one is ever fired.

Policing in Democrat cities: Don't say we didn't warn you.  Democrats have defunded their police departments, elected or appointed weak prosecutors, abolished pre-trial confinement for violent criminals, legalized drugs, weakened sentencing laws, and released violent criminals early from prison.  Police unions have become typical left-wing unions that constantly demand more pay and benefits for police instead of advocating for better laws and policies to reduce crime and enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement while preserving constitutional rights.  Many local and national police unions actually support left-wing Democrats, who enact policies that put police officers at risk, enable criminals, and endanger public safety.  Police departments in big cities are adopting an unofficial "react after the crime" policy instead of being proactive and trying to prevent crimes from occurring.  All too frequently now, police officers in many jurisdictions hesitate to enter a situation involving a high risk of injury, death, or use of deadly force to accomplish their mission to uphold and defend the Constitution and protect citizens' lives.

Biden administration abolishes ICE labor union.  The Biden administration delivered a death sentence Thursday to the labor organization that represents thousands of employees at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  The Federal Labor Relations Authority's decision erases the National ICE Council and leaves its 7,600 members, mostly deportation officers, without a collective bargaining agreement or union representation, members said.  The move also dents a prominent critic of both the administration and the American Federation of Government Employees, the umbrella union that included the ICE Council.

Here's more evidence that the COVID pandemic was a massive vacation for hundreds of thousands of federal workers.  The United States government takes in so much money, is so massive, and so bloated that there literally is hardly any effort at all to make employees accountable.  That fact was laid bare again recently by a report in the Washington Free Beacon pertaining to federal worker behaviors during the years-long COVID-19 'pandemic' which, for hundreds of thousands of them turned out to be a massive paid vacation.  "In the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, a quarter of employees at the federal government's top health agency failed to even check their emails as they worked remotely, according to internal documents" obtained by the outlet.  And if this occurred at one federal agency, you can be sure it occurred at nearly all of them (of which there are currently 432).

A Commonsense Bill That Will Ensure IRS Agents Do Their Jobs.  President Joe Biden wants to increase taxes and ramp up tax enforcement, including spending an additional $80 billion to double the number of IRS agents.  But taxpayers deserve assurance that current and potentially new IRS agents will perform the jobs they were hired to do, instead of working for their union on taxpayers' dime.  That's why Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and John Boozman, R-Ark., introduced the IRS Customer Service Improvement Act to prohibit IRS employees from abandoning their posts during the busy tax-filing season as taxpayers continue to pay their salaries and benefits.  This bill is just one of many proposals introduced by Braun and others to improve the integrity and effectiveness of the IRS.  This notion that someone could not show up to their job and work for a separate, self-interested entity while collecting a paycheck for the work they did not do is an anathema to most Americans.  For public sector employees, it's simply "official time."  Originally created within the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act, "official time" is a process in which public sector employees are "released" from their official duties — the equivalent of receiving paid leave — so that they can work for their unions.

How Public Sector Unions Are Failing Government Employees.  Public employees across America are growing weary of unions that do not represent their interests, says Elisabeth Kines, the national executive director of Americans for Fair Treatment.  Kines helps public sector employees, such as teachers, to understand their First Amendment rights and to stand up to union pressure.  She says conservatives used to be the only ones reaching out for help.  Now, she receives lots of calls from politically liberal individuals who have been abused or bullied by their union and are asking for help.

Lockdowns: Class warfare of the rich and the professional class against the working class.  A year after "15 days to flatten the curve" began our lockdowns, we have enough data to answer the classic question about lockdowns (which still exist a year later in many places, including much of California):  cui bono? (who benefits?) [...] Small businesses, the bedrock base of the GOP, have been severely damaged and even bankrupted in mass numbers.  Government workers, the base of the Democrats, have not missed any paychecks, for the most part.

The Justice Department Is Gearing Up For A Big Fight With Immigration Judges' Union.  The Trump administration asked a federal panel to revoke the exclusive right of a public sector union to represent immigration judges in collective bargaining Friday [8/9/2019].  The union, the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ), has been at odds with the administration over substantive policy directives and the independence of the immigration courts.  Federal law defines management officials as "any individual employed by an agency in a position the duties and responsibilities of which require or authorize the individual to formulate, determine, or influence the policies of the agency." The Department of Justice told the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) that immigration judges qualify as management officials and therefore cannot be members of a bargaining unit.

Chicago's debt to its pension funds keeps growing.  Even after the third-biggest U.S. city raised taxes to pump more money into its cash-strapped retirement system, its unfunded obligation to the pensions rose by about $2.1 billion to $30.1 billion in 2018, according to its financial report released Friday [7/5/2019].  That's because the $1.2 billion that Chicago paid into its four retirement plans was only about half what actuaries said was needed to catch up with a debt that was built up over decades, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Keywords:  tantrum, hissy fit, insolent.
We Won't Go to Kansas City!  On Thursday [6/13/2019], a gaggle of civil servants protested the proposed relocation of a couple of Agriculture Department bureaus from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City, Missouri by boldly turning their backs on a speech delivered by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.  Perdue announced that the Economic Research Service, which provides research and statistical analysis for lawmakers, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which allocates federal research funding, would be moving most of their personnel and operations by the end of September.  These employees have had a year either to make peace or make plans, but instead, they decided to wait until the final announcement to purse their lips, cross their arms, and stare off into space.

Chicago's Hemorrhaging Housing Market.  Government-employee unions have pushed legislation that gradually forces local municipalities to ramp up pension contributions, even as efforts to control retirement-system costs have sputtered.  The result:  higher taxes.  Chicago's annual pension payments have doubled over the last few years, to nearly $1.2 billion, and are set to rise to $2 billion within three years.  In 2015, the city passed $543 million in property-tax increases, phased in over three years, to pay for the burden.  Every penny that the city collects in property taxes goes into the pension system.  The financially troubled Chicago school system has also been raising its share of local homeowner taxes, including a $224 million hike in the 2017 school year.  The combined bite now gives Chicago among the highest residential property-tax rates of any American city.

Want to Make Money?  Work for the Government.  Which class of full-time, year-round American workers has the highest median earnings?  Is it the class that works for private-sector employers?  Is it the class that works for the government?  Or is it the entrepreneurial class, who are self-employed?  According to the Census Bureau's Personal Income Table 07 (PINC-07), the competition isn't close.  When it comes to making money in the modern United States of America, government workers win.  Among Americans who actually earn income by working, they are the upper class.

LIRR worker who made $256K in overtime logged a dangerous number of hours.  A Long Island Rail Road track worker more than quadrupled his $55,000 salary last year by logging a seemingly impossible — and possibly dangerous — number of overtime hours.  Marco Pazmino raked in a staggering $256,177 in overtime pay for 2018, despite earning a base of just $54,985 — bringing his haul for the year to $311,162, according to new data from the Empire Center watchdog group.  That's more than twice the $135,969 he earned in 2017 — and some 4½ times the $68,677 he made in 2016 doing the same gig at just a few bucks less an hour.

The sheer size of our government workforce is alarming — and we can't afford it.  After eight years of reckless expansion of the federal workforce under Barack Obama, Donald Trump vowed to downsize the wildly growing bureaucracy of Washington.  In 2016, he promised to "cut so much your head will spin."  However, during the first two years of his presidency, there has been no significant effort to reduce the bloated federal payrolls.  In fact, the federal government is the largest employer in the nation.

Appeal Highlights Public Sector Union's Continued Pursuit of 'Fair Share' Fees Despite Janus Ruling.  In the months since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that precluded public sector unions from imposing "fair share" fees on nonmembers, a number of lawsuits have been filed in Pennsylvania by state employees over the practice.  But one case that has been ongoing for almost five years was also affected by the Janus v. AFSCME ruling, and it entered a new phase when an appeal was filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania seeking to overturn a lower court dismissal.

Tens of thousands of federal employees make more than governor in state where they work.  Federal employees are back on the job after the government shutdown — and many are doing pretty well for themselves, according to a new report that shows nearly 92,000 of them make salaries that match or exceed the governors of the states where they work.  Some are in traditional high-pay occupations such as doctors.  But the total also includes 18 painters, 22 welders and 25 pipefitters.  More than 1,000 clerical workers in Alabama make at least $120,000, or about the same salary as Gov. Kay Ivey.  In Ohio, 333 Ohio "transportation" workers, most of them air traffic controllers, make in the ballpark of Gov. Mike DeWine's nearly $149,000 salary.

Why I'm not attending any pity parties for furloughed federal workers.  Call me a hard-hearted, mean-spirited conservative if you will, but I am not bleeding from the heart over the plight of most of the furloughed federal workers.  While I am certain that some of them have not bothered to accumulate savings, and thus are running out of money with which to pay important bills, the rest of us in the private sector have had to live with the possibility of our incomes being cut off for our entire careers.  Moreover, federal employees, especially in the lower ranges of the income scale, make out like bandits compared to the rest of us with the same skills and responsibilities.

Government Shutdown:  Pampered Federal Workers Don't Deserve Anyone's Pity.  As the shutdown goes on, news accounts of the alleged suffering of federal workers mount. [...] In the meantime, let's remember who we are talking about here.  While there are certainly plenty of hard-working, dedicated federal workers, they are, for the most part, incredibly pampered.  They get better pay and more generous benefits than private sector workers doing the same things.  They work fewer hours.  And they have far greater job security.  An analysis of federal pay by the Congressional Budget Office found that when you combine pay and benefits, federal workers make as much as 52% more than their private sector counterparts, depending on their education level.  It also found that this gap has widened in recent years, because even when the economy was in a recession, federal workers kept getting annual pay hikes.

Mandatory Pay To Not Do Imaginary Government Work.  What IS the purpose of many of these jobs, other than to pay the employees?  The answer is, there may be little or no purpose to many of them, yet through some weird Kafkaesque logic, Democrats, in light of the shutdown, have now passed a bill (S. 24) to take all federal employees' salaries, which are currently discretionary and subject to the appropriations process, and make them mandatory spending.  Thus, says [Daniel] Horowitz, irrespective of whether Congress passes appropriations bills, under the Democrats' scheme all federal employees — whether essential or not — would be guaranteed pay for not working during an appropriation lapse.

I'm A Senior Trump Official, And I Hope A Long Shutdown Smokes Out The Resistance.  The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall.  It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.  On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country.  I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else.  But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results.  If they don't feel like doing what they are told, they don't.  Why would they?  We can't fire them.  They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade.

Trump was right to rein in federal workers' gravy train.  On Friday [1/4/2019], President Trump froze pay rates for the civilian federal work force, canceling their automatic 2.1 percent raise for 2019.  It's the right decision, notwithstanding the howls of union bosses and Democrats. [...] Federal workers already collect bigger salaries, on average, than workers in the private economy doing comparable jobs.  Their benefits packages are also on average 47 percent fatter, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  They get up to 49 paid days off a year.  And firing them is often impossible.  Then, at age 55, if they've put in 30 years, they get a gold-plated retirement package almost unheard of in private enterprise, including defined benefits that protect them from inflation.

USPS Loses Billions Per Year, But Not Because Of Amazon.  I've written before about the Postal Service's financial difficulties, and it's clear that their problems are largely unrelated to the fact that they have a bulk delivery contract with Amazon.  One of the primary factors, of course, is the aforementioned federal law that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund all of its retired employee obligations, including both pension and health care obligations, rather than operating under a pay-as-you-go system as most business entities do.  This regulation is due, of course, to the lobbying power of the unions for postal workers who wanted to ensure that their employee's benefits would be guaranteed notwithstanding the fact that the USPS was separating itself from the Federal Government.  This has added billions of dollars per year to USPS obligations at a time when its revenues are being squeezed due to other factors.

Activist federal staffer who said she 'can't really get fired' no longer working at DOJ.  Resistance leader Allison Hrabar said in an undercover video that as a federal employee, she couldn't be fired, but she may have overstated her case.  Project Veritas released a statement Monday from Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores indicating that Ms. Hrabar, formerly a federal paralegal, has either resigned or been dismissed.  "She is no longer an employee," Ms. Flores said in the statement.

The Resistance is Everyday, Everywhere.  We've all heard the phrase some of those servants have used:  "They're here for a term, we're here forever."  And they literally are, which is why the process of firing or dismissing civil servants needs to be reformed.  In perhaps the most egregious and notorious incident, one EPA employee was caught spending two to six hours per day watching pornography at work.  This employee was making $120,000, all the while watching hours of porn on his work computer, in the office.  Firing these lifelong bureaucrats is near impossible.  The good news is that Republicans are working on some of those reforms with the MERIT Act, and Trump signed three executive orders in May that made it easier to fire such federal employees.  But it's also past time for a massive downsizing and decentralizing of the government.  The largest employer in the country shouldn't be the federal bureaucracy.  We need to find and cut nonessential roles and devolve power back to the states.

Want to make federal employees easier to fire?  Project Veritas just released its latest undercover video, "Unmasking the Deep State."  This first video focuses on a State Department employee who is both a poster child for the Deep State and a perfect example of why the federal bureaucracy needs serious reform.  Providentially, there is new legislation being considered in Congress that would do just that:  the Merit Act (H.R. 559).  The Merit Act would greatly streamline the process for firing employees who are poor performers, insubordinate, or otherwise engaged in misconduct.  Since the election of President Trump, the bureaucracy, including numerous holdovers from the Obama administration, has been engaged in an unprecedented level of obstruction, leaks, and sabotage.  These bad actors call it "resistance."  FBI and Department of Justice misconduct in the Trump-Russia probe and the Clinton email scandal is only the most visible component.  This is nothing new.  President Bush faced similar resistance from the bureaucracy, and going as far back as 1986, the Reagan administration had to contend with a State Department relentlessly working to derail his foreign policy.  In the intervening period, we have been treated to stories of almost incomprehensible incompetence and corruption in the federal bureaucracy.

Obama-appointed federal judge ditches Trump's executive order making it easier to fire bad federal workers.  This has become the go-to tactic of the left in the Trump era:  When the president exercises any sort of executive authority whatsoever, all you have to do is find a liberal federal judge who is willing to rule Trump's action illegal.  Often these judges have no authority to even get involved with these cases (looking at you, Judge Derrick Watson), but ties up the administration and forces them to file appeals — often taking them all the way to the Supreme Court where the White House inevitably wins — thus exceedingly complicating the process of governing.

Blue states drowning in irretrievable debt thanks to 'grotesque' public sector pensions.  A number of blue states are drowning in "irretrievable" debt, and taxpayers are likely to be on the hook for a looming bailout.  That's the opinion of Mitch Daniels, the former governor of Indiana, who appeared on Fox Business Network to discuss his recent op-ed published in the Washington Post that highlighted the debt crisis facing Connecticut.

Public-Sector Unions and Gifts of Public Funds.  [A]ll state constitutions contain a Gift Clause that prohibits the government from making a gift of public funds to a private organization.  Originally these clauses were added to prevent states from gifting public lands to railroads, but recently taxpayers have made Gift Clause challenges to state funds provided to public employee unions.

Democrats Demand End To Firing Delinquent Government Workers, Union Reforms.  As we've recently discussed, President Trump signed a series of executive orders which seek to ease the process for firing delinquent government workers and institute reforms in how government worker unions operate inside of federal offices.  The National Treasury Employees Union has already gone to court to try to stop these reforms and HUD ran into problems when it tried to evict the union from its offices.  Yes, it's been a rocky start on the reform trail.  But now the Democrats in the Senate are getting in on the act, demanding that the reforms be canceled.  45 of them signed on to a letter demanding that the President rescind the orders and put an end to the madness of removing workers who spend their time watching porn on their government computers while being paid on the taxpayer dime.

How Trump is making it easier to say 'You're fired!' to bad federal bureaucrats.  President Trump has ordered a crackdown on poor performance and misbehavior within the ranks of the federal workforce, senior administration officials said Friday [5/25/2018].  Mr. Trump signed a trio of executive orders that reform civil service rules by expediting termination for cause, revamping union contracts and limiting taxpayer-funded union work at agencies, said a senior administration official.

Trump Signs Executive Orders to Speed Up Firing of 'Poor Performing' Federal Workers.  President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders on Friday that will expedite the process of terminating "poor performing" federal government employees.  The new rules will "require all federal employees to devote at least 75 percent of their work hours for agency purposes, senior administration officials said.  The administration estimates that these actions could save taxpayers at least $100 million a year, BuzzFeed reports.  "These executive orders make it easier for agencies to remove poor performing employees and ensure that taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used," Andrew Bremberg, the White House's director of the domestic policy, told reporters.

Trump signs three executive orders taking aim at unions.  President Trump signed three executive orders Friday [5/25/2018] containing sweeping reforms that weaken protections for federal workers and eliminate perks for the unions that represent them.  Under the new executive orders, estimated to save at least $100 million a year, unions will be charged rent for federal office space and will not be reimbursed for travel expenses or for hours spent appealing worker firings.  Going forward, federal workers must spend 75 percent of their time on government work — some currently spend none — and agencies must publicly post union contracts in an online repository.

Department of Education employee infected his government computer.  A Department of Education employee left government computers vulnerable to hacking after downloading a virus while searching for 'naked toddlers', 'little boys', a and references to child rape, a report has revealed.  Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by show the staffer typed in at least 18 illicit searches on his taxpayer-funded computer — included references to child porn. [...] As a result, his computer was infected with malware, putting massive databases at risk, including student loan information.

Let's talk Deep State.  [Scroll down]  To make matters more interesting, in 1962, by fiat, JFK did what no one had dared to do before:  Permitted the unionization, after the Italian Fascist form, of government employees, colective bargaining et al.  Nixon modified it in 1969, but the cat was out of the bag. [...] The unionization of government employees created a new class of American citizen:  A mass of untouchables who ran the daily business of government and who, through the alliance of their unions with the Democratic Party, created a state within the state.  Government contracts flowed in one direction guaranteeing the unions ever increasing revenues, and these let the campaign contributions flow at the same rate; and an army of "operatives" was ready to stuff envelopes, slash tires or, more recently, write absentee ballots.  If an opponent was elected by chance, he or she'd have to confront a sea of molasses slowing their every move.

Pity The Poor Government Worker, Says The NY Times.  The "Newspaper of Record" ran a big story this week that valiantly tried to show how state and local government workers have it so very tough these days.  The 2,240-word front-page story in The New York Times begins by lamenting that, while government jobs used to provide "a comfortable nook in the middle class," those days are gone.  "The ranks of state and local employees have languished even as the populations they serve have grown," the article says.  "The 19.5 million workers who remain are finding themselves financially downgraded."  The article goes on to quote Neil Reichenberg, executive director of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, who says that "it's a tough time to be working in government."

Bankrupt Public-Employee Pensions:  The Next Big Financial Crisis?  As the media relentlessly focus on the federal government's burgeoning debt, a new report says that states face their own ticking debt bomb:  the exploding liabilities for lavish state and local public-employee pensions.  Reform won't be easy, but there is no choice.

America's Sinking Public Pension Plans Are Now $1.4 Trillion Underwater.  After several years of steady investment growth and higher contributions from taxpayers, most of America's public sector pension plans are still awash in red ink.  According to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the states collectively carry more than $1.4 trillion in pension debt — and only four states have at least 90 percent of the assets necessary to meet their long-term obligations to retirees.  The Pew paper, which is based on states' 2016 financial reports, shows that pension debt increased by about $295 billion since the previous year, making 2016 the 15th consecutive year in which state-level pension debt increased.

These 5 Horrible Bureaucrats Beat the Clock and Kept Their Pensions.  Firing government employees is an onerous process.  It requires investigations, counseling sessions, appeals, union arbitrations, and court hearings, all of which can take years.  Managers are more likely to simply look the other way than go through the firing process.  Even for the most egregious offense, the minimum time it takes to complete the process is 270 days.  As a result, many disreputable federal employees are able to beat the clock and keep their pensions.  Here are a few famous examples: [...]

Time to protect public workers from unions' coercion.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is ostensibly a public worker union.  In truth, it is nothing more than an appendage of the Democratic Party.  One hundred percent of its political contributions go to Democrats, and it works tirelessly to increase government spending and stop Republicans who want to reform state government.  Should AFSCME be able to force public workers who disagree with its liberal agenda to pay union dues and support it?  That was the question before the Supreme Court this week, when justices heard oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, a case brought by Illinois child-support specialist Mark Janus, who argues that forcing him to contribute to union coffers violates his First Amendment rights by compelling him to support speech with which he disagrees.

It's time to protect public workers from unions who want them to finance their liberal agenda.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is ostensibly a public worker union.  In truth, it is nothing more than an appendage of the Democratic Party.  One hundred percent of its political contributions go to Democrats, and it works tirelessly to increase government spending and stop Republicans who want to reform state government.  Should AFSCME be able to force public workers who disagree with its liberal agenda to pay union dues and support it?  That was the question before the Supreme Court this week, when justices heard oral arguments in Janus v.  AFSCME, a case brought by Illinois child-support specialist Mark Janus, who argues that forcing him to contribute to union coffers violates his First Amendment rights by compelling him to support speech with which he disagrees.

Public-Sector Unions Deserve To Be Destroyed.  How does a public-sector union work?  Easy.  First the state creates a monopoly.  Workers in that monopoly create a union.  The monopoly forces taxpayers to fund those workers, whether they do a good job or not.  The union then coerces workers to pay dues whether they want to or not.  The union uses those dues to help fund political advocacy that perpetuates their monopoly and the union's influence.  So, in other words, racketeering.

Gorsuch's Confirmation Is Still the Best Argument for Trump.  For some liberals, it's the grudge that never dies.  As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in Janus v.  AFSCME, the eyes of the nation were riveted on its newest member:  Justice Neil Gorsuch.  As it turned, Gorsuch took a page out of Clarence Thomas's book, remaining silent as the two sides presented their arguments in a case that will determine whether municipal employees have a right to avoid paying union dues.  The last time a similar case was heard, the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the man whom Gorsuch ultimately replaced on the court, created a 4-4 deadlock.  Now, the conservative Gorsuch is poised to cast the deciding vote that deals a fatal blow to unions' taxation of workers who don't wish to be taxed.

Supreme Court Should End Unions' Stranglehold On State, Local Workers.  The case of Janus v.  AFSCME, now before the Supreme Court, pits an Illinois state employee against a giant government employees' union in a fight over forcing nonunion workers to pay union fees.  That U.S. law still lets states force public employees to surrender their constitutional rights in order to keep their jobs is as surprising as it is disappointing.  It should have been overturned long ago.

Supreme Court case threatens Democratic bosses' use of union muscle.  Can you be forced to give up money to someone else, who'll then use your cash to push a political agenda with which you disagree?  It is technically a First Amendment issue in the case of Janus v.  American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees that is being decided by the Supreme Court.  And it may just be the most important political story in America, about Democratic Party bosses in blue states who for decades have used public employee unions to maintain their power.  Politics is all about who gets what, when and how much.  But it's also about who pays for the generous public pension and health care plans for public workers in the 22 electoral vote-rich blue states, like Illinois and New Jersey.

A Not-So-Subtle Threat Issued by de Blasio In Public Unions Case.  The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday [2/26/2018] challenging laws in 22 states and the District of Columbia that force public employees to pay unions to represent them, even if they disagree with the union's demands and politics.  Mark Janus, a child-support specialist and public employee in Illinois, claims his First Amendment free-speech rights are violated when he's forced to pay money to a union — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.  The union "uses my monthly fees to promote an agenda I don't support," Janus objects.  Lawyers advocating for the union resorted to threatening labor strife if the longstanding Supreme Court precedent favoring mandatory union fees, which dates to 1977, is overturned.  Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who did most of the talking in support of the mandatory fees, grasped at straws rather than confronting head-on the free-speech rights of public employees like teachers, police officers and firefighters.

Janus v.  AFSCME.  The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday morning [2/26/2018] in a case set to undo a seminal 40-year-old precedent that required all public sector employees to pay their union a "fair share fee" whether or not they'd elected to join.  Janus v.  AFSCME is an effective redo of the 2015 case Friedrichs v.  California Teachers Association, which ended in a 4-4 tie following Justice Scalia's death — another opportunity to overturn 1977's Abood v. Detroit Teachers Association.

If unions lose the Janus case, how will they survive?  Back in 1977, the court ruled that states can require all public employees represented by a union-including teachers — to chip in part of every paycheck to cover the costs of collective bargaining.  They don't have to join the union, and they don't have to contribute to political activities, but they have to pay "agency fees" help fund the union's most basic functions.  That's because unions negotiate salaries and benefits for all the employees they represent-even the ones who don't want to join.  Now, in Janus vs.  AFSCME, a child support specialist in Illinois is suing his union because he believes that even agency fees violate his First Amendment right to free speech.  He disagrees so strongly with the union that he doesn't want to contribute a single penny to support it.  There's much more than free speech at stake here, though.

Unions sound alarm as Supreme Court takes up fees fight; Gorsuch seen as pivotal vote.  Mark Janus has worked for years as an Illinois state employee, and pays about $550 annually to the powerful public-sector union known as AFSCME.  While not a member of the union, he is required under state law to hand over a weekly portion of his paycheck — which he says is a violation of his constitutional rights.  "I work for Health and Family Services, and I'm forced to pay money to a union that then supports political causes that I don't agree with," Janus told Fox News.

Trump Administration Is About To Gut Public Sector Labor Unions.  As the participation in American workers in labor unions has plummeted for a variety of reasons, the sole bright spot for organized labor has been in the public sector where teachers, firefighters, and police officers are routinely part of bargaining units.  These unions are sustained, in some cases, by closed-shop laws that require union membership as the price of employment or the payment of an "agency fee" to the union to cover contract negotiations and grievance representation if you don't want to be a full member.

One in four government workers makes $100K thanks to overtime.  One out of every four New York City government workers pulled in pay of more than $100,000 last year — thanks largely to overtime, according to a new study.  "New York City can be a hub of opportunity, and not just for aspiring Broadway stars.  All sorts of city workers earn big bucks," said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of the government watchdog, which conducted the study.  About 37,000 of 295,455 full-time city workers receive a salary that tops $100,000.

The Supreme Court Will Probably Strike a Huge Blow to Public-Sector Unions.  The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the case Janus v. AFSCME.  It will likely prove to be one of the most consequential labor-law cases in U.S. history.  At issue is whether public-sector workers can be forced to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.

New Math Deals Minnesota's Pensions the Biggest Hit in the U.S..  Minnesota's debt to its workers' retirement system has soared by $33.4 billion, or $6,000 for every resident, courtesy of accounting rules.  The jump caused the finances of Minnesota's pensions to erode more than any other state's last year as accounting standards seek to prevent governments from using overly optimistic assumptions to minimize what they owe public employees decades from now.  Because of changes in actuarial math, Minnesota in 2016 reported having just 53 percent of what it needed to cover promised benefits, down from 80 percent a year earlier, transforming it from one of the best funded state systems to the seventh worst, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Kill The Alligators, Then Drain The Swamp.  [Scroll down]  Then there are 2.1 million federal employees.  They manage the federal government's agencies, execute the laws that they, not Congressmen, actually write, and judge whether the rest of us comply — collapsing together and usurping the separation of powers central to our Constitutional order.  And they do so without any accountability to the voters who pay their handsome salaries and Cadillac benefits (85% higher in value than private employees').  They are, no surprise, stalwart supporters of big-government Democrats, to whom this last election they gave 95% of their political donations.  And don't forget the 3.7 million federal contract-workers who also do the federal Leviathan's bidding.

To Save Public Higher Education, Defang Public Sector Unions.  In the New York Times last week, David Leonhardt denounced "the assault on colleges — and the American Dream" by state legislatures across the country that are gradually reducing their investments in public higher education.  These cuts, Leonhardt says, undermine social mobility by forcing state colleges to pass over low-income students and enroll less economically diverse freshman classes.  While there are reasonable objections to the way colleges spend the money they do have, the trend Leonhardt describes is indeed a cause for concern.  But why do public university budgets keep getting the ax?  It's not (at least not primarily) about the selfishness of wealthy taxpayers.  The real answer is more inconvenient for the Democratic coalition:  Namely, that exploding public pension costs are putting tremendous pressure on state budgets, and higher education is the softest political target for the belt-tightening needed to make up for it.

Public pensions in some ways mirror Madoff's Ponzi scheme.  A strong case can be made that public pensions are eerily similar to a Ponzi scheme, and that a similar collapse in some of the most underfunded systems in the country might be inevitable.  That would mean an untold number of new victims that would make the Madoff case seem relatively minor by comparison.  The difference between a Madoff-like Ponzi scheme and the public pension crisis is that government is complicit in the latter, and that dedicated public servants, state retirees and taxpayers are the ones at risk.  I think we all can agree that taxpayers and state workers who have spent their careers serving residents, teachers included, don't deserve that.  Doubt that will happen?  Let's start with Puerto Rico.

200 Cook County Jail officers call in sick on Mother's Day.  More than 200 Cook County Jail officers called off work Sunday — which also happens to be Mother's Day.  About 32 percent of the officers assigned to work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. did not go to work, according to the Cook County Sheriff's office.

The real 1 percent: The federal workforce.  The non-defense, non-postal service part of the federal government comprises about 2 million employees — about 1.37 percent of the total U.S. workforce.  Since 2004, federal government average hourly earnings have increased from $28.57 to $39.19 in 2016, while private sector average hourly earnings have only increased from $20.91 to $25.67, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  On average, private sector workers only make about 65.5 percent of their federal government counterparts.

Clock-watchers: Federal employees get raises about every other year on the job.  "Employees who occupy permanent positions earn [within-grade increases] upon meeting the following three requirements established by law:  The employee's performance must be at an acceptable level of competence.  To meet this requirement, an employee's most recent performance rating of record must be at least Level 3 ('Fully Successful' or equivalent).  The employee must have completed the required waiting period for advancement to the next higher step.  The employee must not have received an 'equivalent increase' in pay during the waiting period."  That is the federal government Office of Personnel Management's explanation for when pay increases are allotted for federal employees.  On the surface, this appears to be not automatic, but a merit-based system with a degree of seniority with waiting periods between steps in order to qualify for a pay raise.  As if the pay raises were rare.

Veterans Affairs has 346 workers who do only union work.  An estimated 346 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs do no actual work for taxpayers.  Instead, they spend all of their time doing work on behalf of their union while drawing a federal salary, a practice known as "official time."  That's according to a report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.  But exactly what those VA workers are doing and why so many are doing it is not clear.  The VA doesn't track that, and the GAO report offers no clue.

Trump White House Moves Forward With Plan Government Employee Union Dubs 'Dangerous'.  In six months, the Trump administration plans to produce a plan to shrink the size of government, eliminate programs, and reduce the federal workforce — and is seeking public input on how to proceed.

Donald Trump budget blueprint targets the do-nothings.  [Scroll down]  According to the Cato Institute, federal workers average $123,160 a year in pay and benefits, compared to $69,901 in the dreaded private sector.  That's a 76 percent income gap between the two sectors, up from 39 percent two decades ago.  Not to mention, it's almost impossible to fire any of these sloths for just cause — look at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Public sector employees take 38 percent more time off than people with real jobs.  And now they're increasingly avoiding their own offices.  They "telecommute," and what a joke that is, at least for federal employees.  Thanks to direct deposit, they no longer even have to appear twice a month to pick up their paychecks.  How overpaid are these slugs?  Seven of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest per-capita income are inside the D.C. Beltway.  Those who produce nothing are the most richly compensated.

California Law Enforcement Union Sues To Block Police Accountability.  Because there's just not enough opacity shrouding police misconduct and not enough slanting of the criminal justice system against defendants, California police unions have decided to get involved in a judicial dispute over lists of law enforcement officers whose half of "our word against yours" isn't quite as bulletproof as is normally assumed.

Make All Federal Employees Fireable.  The American people are paying for employees they can't even control.  Federal bureaucrats enjoy ludicrous protections that far exceed what average Americans can expect in their own jobs and thus isolate the bureaucracy from the will of the American people.  To correct this, Congress should pass a law to make all federal employees serve at will — just like Americans in the private sector.  If a bureaucrat underperforms, undermines policy, or is no longer needed, he should be dismissed.  Once upon a time, this was common sense.

Five easy pieces [to add to the Trump agenda].  [President Trump should] reform the civil service so that the large number of people who work for the government and are not doing anything but sitting at desks can be dropped from the taxpayers' expense account.  Once again, reconciliation could be used — in this instance, to direct a ten percent reduction in the workforces of all federal agencies, with the exception of the Department of Defense.  A system-wide cut in personnel, using attrition and allowing termination for non-performance, is the only way to get real action.

Federal Worker Union Is Blocking Republican VA Reforms.  President-elect Donald Trump promised to fire incompetent and dishonest Department of Veterans Affairs employees, but he will have to fight the American Federation of Government Employees — the largest federal worker union — every step of the way.  During the 115th Congress, Trump — along with Republican majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives — can enact sweeping reforms to improve every department and agency in the federal workplace.  Republicans controlled the 114th Congress, too, but outgoing Democratic President Barack Obama routinely threatened to veto GOP proposals.  Trump and AFGE already share some history.  When the GOP presidential candidate proposed expanding a VA program that lets veterans get private medical care, AFGE quickly blasted the idea.

Engineer in Metro-North crash that killed 4 to get lifetime pension.  The engineer who fell asleep at the controls of a speeding Metro-North train that derailed killing four people will receive a lifetime disability pension.  The Journal News reports that William Rockefeller will receive $3,200 a month from Metro-North Railroad.  Rockefeller was at the controls of a Metro-North train that derailed in the Bronx in December 2013.  Four passengers were killed and dozens were injured.

Democrats Make Millions More Off Federal Unions, Bureaucrats Than Republicans.  Federal civil servants and government employee unions donated far more money to Democrats seeking public office than Republicans in 2016, campaign contribution records show.  More than 82 percent of $4.3 million in donations from nine major federal unions went to Democrats, Center for Responsive Politics data shows, reported Wednesday [12/21/2016].  Likewise, Democrats raked in 82 percent of $6.6 million in donations from employees of 11 federal agencies and Senate and House of Representatives staff.

Pension Collapse in Big D.  When Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013, the city's emergency-financial team said that high levels of retirement debt could prevent them from rescuing the Motor City's finances.  Detroit had been in economic decline for decades, and the pension problem — including billions of dollars in bonuses handed out while the city was hurtling toward insolvency — was just one part of the depressing financial picture.  Dallas, by contrast, has been one of the fastest-growing American cities in recent years.  Becoming a magnet for investment and opportunity, however, hasn't protected the Texas city from experiencing its own Detroit-style financial crisis.

Federal government workers union is ready to "fight back" against Trump.  With the Republicans back in charge across the board there was bound to be a showdown coming with the unions sooner or later.  In the case of federal workers, some union leaders apparently aren't willing to even wait for the new administration to move into the office.  J. David Cox, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is drawing the battle lines early and plans to take the fight directly to Trump if he tries to meddle in the union's affairs.

Trump And GOP Congress Want To Make It Easier To Fire Federal Employees.  We live in an age when it is increasingly difficult to terminate employees.  Some companies go through an abundance of caution before terminating an employee unless they're caught doing some egregious.  Firing an employee for poor work performance is more difficult.  It is nearly impossible when the person works for the federal government.  The protections for federal workers often come as the result of federal unions negotiating with friendly Democrats in Congress to gain those protections.  The unions repay the favor by endorsing Democrats and donating to their campaigns.  It is quite a racket.  And it is one that is a drain on taxpayer dollars as well as efficiencies within government agencies.  If there is no fear of being terminated, what point is there in working hard?

Civil Service reform should be near the top of Trump's agenda.  The federal government requires structural reform.  Because it is very expensive and time-consuming to fire anyone, bad behavior is not just tolerated but propagated.  Civil Service protections originally intended to guard against a politicized bureaucracy have now become guarantors of the high-handedness and lack of accountability we saw with Lois Lerner, now retired with a six-figure pension after pleading the Fifth Amendment.  Government employee unions have become a mainstay of the Democratic Party, with employee dues, harvested from taxpayers via salaries, laundered into the party's coffers.  So the Democrats will fight like hell, up to and including a filibuster, mass demonstrations, and possible violence.  Donald Trump will need to persuade the public, and mobilize public opinion against those Democrat senators who resist the reform movement.  There are 23 Democrat senators up for re-election in 2018, and some of them must be made to get very nervous.

Fed Workers Make Nearly Double Private Sector Employees, Still Demand Pay Hike.  Federal workers make on average nearly twice as much as those in the private sector, but government employee unions want a pay increase more than three times larger than President Barack Obama proposed.  The American Federation Of Government Employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, American Postal Workers' Union and 20 other unions representing federal employees sent a letter to Congress seeking a 5.3 percent pay hike next year.  Obama proposed a 1.6 percent increase.

These states spend more on government employee pensions than they do on universities.  According to Chad Aldeman of Bellwether Education Partners, 10 states spend more on government employee pensions than on all public colleges and universities combined:  California, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania.  According to the Cook Political Report, eight of those 10 states lean Democratic.  "Like the insatiable Pac-Man, pensions are eating further and further into state and local education budgets, eating up dollars that could be spent on lots of other things," Aldeman says.  "That's true for all public services, but higher education is uniquely harmed by rising pension costs."  He says these 10 states are "near the bottom of the list in terms of responsibly funding their pension plans."

Surprise! Public Employees Unions Facilitate Corruption.  The very existence of public employee unions with their mandatory dues requirements used primarily for political purposes commands corruption absolutely.  (For today we will leave aside the fact that such mandatory dues payments violates a person's First Amendment rights — including the right to not associate politically with others.)  The recent incident involving Federico Buenrostros, the former chairman of CalPERS (Californian Public Employees Retirement System) and the indictment of former board member Alfred Villalobos (now deceased due to suicide) was just the most recent evidence of such corruption.

TSA's Union Power Grab:  Thousands Slowing Down Airports.  When it comes to public employee unions, there's no such thing as a coincidence.  All you travelers stuck in mile-long TSA security lines are pawns.  Convenient political pawns.  Big Labor bosses want more power and more money.  Stranded travelers are just the latest victims in this age-old game of D.C. extortion.  Union leaders want you to think the fault lies with a stingy Congress unwilling to fork over enough money to fill screener shortages.  White House spokesman Josh Earnest poured more partisan fuel on the fire last week by blaming the nationwide slowdowns on "the inability of Republicans in Congress to govern the country."

This Problem Could Push Much Of America Into Bankruptcy.  Puerto Rico's recent financial woes have deflected attention from a problem potentially far "yuger," as Donald Trump might say:  The $3.4 trillion black hole at the center of state and local pensions. [...] The problem is surprisingly simple:  States and cities overestimate returns on their pension fund investments, while systematically underfunding them.  The result is a growing deficit that will require massive tax hikes or dramatic and painful cuts in government services and promised pensions to public workers.

VA worker reinstated with back pay after missing time due to being in prison for armed robbery.  The VA is a place where people tend to somehow magically fail upward.  By that I simply mean that workers at all levels can be caught up in any sort of malfeasance or incompetence and not only retain their jobs, but apparently profit from their actions.

VA Worker Gets Job Back Despite Armed Robbery Charge.  A Department of Veterans Affairs employee in Puerto Rico was fired after being arrested for armed robbery, but her union quickly got her reinstated — despite a guilty plea — by pointing out that management's labor relations negotiator is a registered sex offender, and the hospital's director was once arrested and found with painkiller drugs.  The woman missed work while sitting in jail but was reinstated in March with back pay.  The incident illustrates how union-backed civil service rules that rely on precedent combine with VA's past failures to discipline problem employees of all ranks to keep convicted criminals on its payroll.

Here's Why It's All But Impossible To Fire A Fed.  Federal workers are far more likely to be audited by the IRS or get arrested for drunk driving than they are to be fired from the civil service payroll for poor performance or misconduct.  The odds are one-in-175 for the IRS audit and one-in-200 for the drunk driving arrest, while the odds for a fed to be fired in a given year are one-in-500, according to the Government Accountability Office.  The rate is higher for employees who are in the one-year probationary period that follows their hiring.  Private sector workers face just the opposite situation.

Supreme Court rejects NJ employees' appeal over pension fund.  The Supreme Court refused on Monday to disturb a ruling from New Jersey's top court that sided with Gov. Chris Christie in a legal fight with public worker unions over pension funds.

48.9% of Union Members Worked for Government in 2015.  The percentage of American wage and salary workers who belonged to a union was only 11.1 percent in 2015, but the percentage of union members who worked for government was 48.9 percent, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  "The union membership rate — the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions — was 11.1 percent in 2015, unchanged from 2014," the BLS said in press release published today [1/28/2016].

Obama grants federal workers a half day off on Christmas Eve.  This whole discussion kicked off when the nation's federal workers petitioned the President to get the day after Thanksgiving off with pay.  That effort fell through, but never ones to be easily deterred, they followed it up with a request for Christmas Eve off as an extra paid holiday.  The online poll never really needed to be run on this one because the President has relented to the cries of his unions, at least in part, announcing a half day off with pay on Thursday the 24th.

A third of Chicago city workers make $100k or more.  Nearly one out of every three workers on the city of Chicago payroll made $100,000 or more last year — a far higher percentage of six-figure employees than in state or Cook County government.  That's according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis that for the first time combines city workers' salaries, overtime and other extra pay.

Feds Gave Bonuses to Employees Caught Sleeping and Drinking on the Job.  The Social Security Administration gave bonuses to employees who were caught sleeping and drinking on the job, according to a new audit by the agency's inspector general.  The agency paid out $145,000 in bonuses in 2013 to employees who were written up or suspended for misconduct.  Some employees received performance awards after they were suspended for sexual harassment and bringing weapons to work.

America's Soft Tyranny is Hardening.  Lerner and Clinton are the tip of a very big iceberg.  Because there are so many federal union regulations to protect them, they literally cannot be fired.  They get away with doing no work, abusing their spouses, being pedophiles, watching porn on the taxpayer dime, bilking the taxpayer for extravagant vacations (the Obamas are the worst offenders on this score).  When such abuses are discovered, government employees may be chastised or demoted but will not be fired, no matter how egregious their misbehavior.  No matter what their crimes, they keep their jobs, their pensions, and their phony dignity.  Ask any divorce lawyer how many of his or her clients divorcing government employees who have abused them in countless ways get away with their abuse.  They can stalk, cheat, beat and bilk their spouses and will not be punished.  Government employees are a protected class, as surely as Obama and sanctuary cities have made criminal illegal immigrants a protected class, to the dangerous detriment of law-abiding citizens.

Walker's Plan To Erase Federal Unions Is Good Start.  In a bid to re-energize his presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has proposed eliminating federal employee unions if elected.  Good idea.  Now how about a plan to get rid of a few federal agencies, too?

Median total compensation for Redwood City firefighters — at least $226,365.  Back in February 2014 the California Policy Center publicly announced the Transparent California website, developed in partnership with the Nevada Policy Research Institute.  An article covering this announcement was posted on the Forbes Magazine website, entitled "Hundreds Of California Government Employees Are Paid Over $400,000 A Year," which a review of 2013 Transparent California data (2014 data is still being assembled) easily confirms.  As a matter of fact, in 2013, total compensation in excess of $400,000 was paid to 1,292 public servants in California.  A staggering 2,818 of California's public employees collected total compensation in excess of $300,000 in 2013.

Critics blast loophole that forces taxpayers to fund public sector union work.  Bob Nicks has firefighting in his blood, but for the last four years, the Texas battalion chief has earned his six-figure salary sitting at a desk doing union work instead of running into burning buildings and saving lives.  As president of Austin Firefighters Association/IAFF Local 975, Nicks is office-bound by order of the chief, even though he believes he could handle union business with one weekly shift and spend the rest of his time on the job doing what he loves.  He is paid for what is known as "release time," hours public sector union officials spend doing union business that are paid by their employers — taxpayers.

Chicago Public Schools lays off 1,400 so it can make pension payment.  In order to make a massive pension payment today [6/30/2015], Chicago Public Schools announced it will have to lay off 1,400 employees.  Even before these firings there were already more retirees collecting pensions than current workers paying into the pension system.  If that sounds unsustainable — it is.  The devil's bargain Democratic politicians made with the teachers unions is a disaster for Chicago taxpayers.  And for Chicago school children.

CPS Makes Full Pension Payment; 1,400 Layoffs Expected.  The Chicago Board of Education made its pension payment on schedule Tuesday [6/30/2015], but at a cost — massive layoffs.  The meet the $634 million obligation, the board used a combination of borrowed money, $200 million dollars in cuts and layoffs it promised before talks with the Chicago Teachers Union broke down last week.

Uproar over FDNY activist's 'white boy privilege' rant.  The leader of the city's female firefighters has sparked outrage for blasting "white boys" and "white privilege."  Sarinya Srisakul, president of United Women's Firefighters, is taking heat from fellow Bravest after some found her online comments.

Police union wants more exemptions from L.A. proposal to lock up handguns.  Los Angeles lawmakers have been mulling new rules that would require residents to lock up their handguns or disable them with a trigger lock when they are not being used.  But the plan, championed by Councilman Paul Krekorian as a way to spare children from deadly accidents, spurred opposition from the city police officers' union, which argues that current and former officers shouldn't be held to those rules.

Amtrak Employees Claimed to Work 40 Hours Per Day.  Timesheets for employees of Amtrak are riddled with abuse, according to a recent audit report, with cases of workers claiming over 40 hours of work in a single day.  The audit released by Amtrak's Office of Inspector General (OIG) Thursday [6/18/2015] found examples of abuse in the overtime system, which totaled nearly $200 million in overtime pay last year.  "[Calendar Year] CY 2014 timesheet data revealed trends and patterns that indicate potential fraud, waste, and abuse in the reporting of overtime and regular time," the audit said.  "Some of these trends and patterns may be justified because of the complexity of union agreement rules, the nature of jobs, and the functions employees perform."

Cash for Slackers.  Wouldn't you like to have a job where you get paid to slack off, and no matter what, have a powerful authority to back you up, winning battles to preserve your salary, benefits, and your every demand if your boss tries to fire you?  It's a fact of life for many government workers.  A dive into government labor fights at the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) reveals a nasty secret — the great lengths federal unions go to protect government slackers, at your expense.

Audit finds millions in overtime pay at L.A. transportation department.  Last year, the average employee who paints stripes on roads and installs street signs for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation made $48,100 in overtime, almost six times what most other city workers received.  Four supervisors claimed $70,000 in OT, and one manager drew $155,319, effectively tripling his salary.  Those and other findings were in a transportation department audit issued Tuesday by City Controller Ron Galperin.  It revealed in particular that workers in the paint and sign division collected what Galperin characterized as "staggering" amounts of overtime, costing the city $3.3 million in a single year and raising concerns that some of the extra pay might have been claimed improperly.

How Illinois Public Sector Unions Destroyed Chicago.  What happens when you've been kicking the fiscal can down the road for years, but the road suddenly hits a dead end?  That's what Chicago — and the state of Illinois — are about to find out.  Chicago's immediate problem is yesterday's credit downgrade by Moody's Investors Services, which turned its debt to junk and could force the city to immediately come up with $2.2 billion to satisfy debts and other obligations.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules That State Taxpayers are Now Slaves to Public Sector Unions.  Illinois taxpayers learned this week that they are essentially slaves if they live in the state of Illinois.  The Illinois Supreme Court just ruled that public pensions do not have to abide by the laws of mathematics.  This means taxpayers are on the hook for actuarially impossible to pay pensions for public employees.

Public, private sector wage gap heavily favors many L.A. city workers.  Among the city workers who are currently threatening to strike amid contract negotiations that have stalled over pay and other issues, many collect salaries higher than those who do similar jobs in both the public and private sectors, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found.  The analysis, which compared 2014 city and federal wage data, shows that three of the five largest job categories represented by Service Employees International Union Local 721 — the biggest and most prominent of the unions now in contract talks with the city — pay more than double the median salary of similar full-time, private-sector jobs in Los Angeles County.

Firing of Officer Who Shot Unarmed Suspect Shows Benefits of Non-Unionized Police Departments.  Americans were stunned last week by graphic video of North Charleston, S.C. Police Officer Michael T. Slager shooting an unarmed suspect in the back after a routine traffic stop.  The video led to Slager both being charged with murder and fired from the North Charleston Police Department.  Slager's quick dismissal from the department stands in stark contrast to similar incidents in other cities which, unlike North Charleston, have unionized police departments.

Taxpayers foot bill for union work, lawmakers seek change.  It's called "official time," and it was sanctioned into law by Congress in 1978.  Lawmakers voted to allow federal employees who are union members to spend part of their day addressing union issues.  The reason behind the law:  Federal employees are not required to join a union even if they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.  The Civil Service Reform Act was designed to make up the financial gap of unions having to represent employees who did not pay dues, by allowing federal workers to "volunteer" time during their working hours to address grievances, work on collective bargaining and deal with other issues.

Gov't Union: Obama's Weak Immigration Policy Is Inviting An Attack Worse Than 9/11.  President Barack Obama's lax immigration policies are inviting another massive jihad attack similar to the 9/11 atrocity, says Kenneth Palinkas, president of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees' union.  Obama's deputies are "lessening the vetting of each and every alien who applies for permanent residency or citizenship in the U.S.," Palinkas said in a statement Tuesday [3/3/2015].  "By not scrutinizing each and every applicant to the fullest extent possible to ensure America's security, we invite an even more catastrophic event than what occurred on 09/11/2001," he said.

CBS: Just how hard is it to fire a federal gov't employee?  Thanks to the litigious nature of American culture, employers in the private sector have a tough time firing people for poor performance.  Misconduct, especially that caught in the act, generally is an exception to that trend.  CBS News discovers that's not the case in the federal civil-service system, where chronic bad behavior and even spending half the day watching Internet porn doesn't qualify for immediate termination.  Instead, it starts a process that can last as long as two years, and often just means that managers shrug off bad behavior and bad performance ... even when the employee presents a threat to others:  [Video clip]

Stunning data on average compensation for municipal employees in California.  Would you like your kids to go to work for an outfit where employees average between two hundred grand and a quarter mill?  Forget about investment banks or law firms, tell them to go to work for a fire protection district in California. [...] The average full-time compensation for employees of 55 North Bay cities was $130,172 in 2013, with thousands earning more than $200,000 a year and hundreds more earning more than $50,000 in overtime alone.

Overtime bonanza at Port Authority; 13 officers set to make more than agency's director.  Three years after New York State issued a scathing report criticizing what it characterized as excessive overtime at the Port Authority, 131 of the agency's employees worked so much overtime in the first nine months of this year that they already more than doubled their annual base salaries.

EMT caught sleeping 12 times on job can't be fired.  She's the FDNY's "Sleeping Duty."  The city stripped EMT Serele Ehrlich of her lieutenant's rank after co-workers and bosses accused her of sleeping on the job an astounding 12 times.  The 57-year-old serial snoozer endangered the public for half a decade while on duty — snoring during training sessions, dozing at her desk and catching some Zs behind the wheel of her command vehicle, the FDNY contended.

Cops in Akai Gurley shooting texted union while man died: report.  The New York City policeman who fatally shot an unarmed black man in a housing project did not tell his boss or a 911 operator about the incident for more than six minutes, according to a report in the New York Daily News.  But as Akai Gurley lay dying, the cops were busy texting their union representative in those vital moments, the paper reported, citing unnamed sources.

VA's 5-day firing notice too long for Congress, too short for lawyers.  The Department of Veterans Affairs and Congress are battling over whether the VA is firing employees fast enough as part of a major management overhaul, but legal analysts say even the five-day notice the administration has settled on is too short and employees who have been fired could sue to get their jobs back — with taxpayers on the hook for back pay.  Veterans Affairs officials said they came up with the five-day notice based on the advice of their attorneys, though members of Congress said even that was too long because it gives targeted employees a chance to retire and collect lifetime benefits.

Labor union work by federal employees on 'official time' costs taxpayers millions.  Unionized federal employees spent 2.48 million hours working for their labor unions while getting paid by taxpayers during 2013, and more than 360 workers who are on the federal payroll spent 100 percent of their time working for their union.  Under federal rules, employees who are members of a labor union are entitled to so-called "official time," where they are dismissed from their duties as a government employee to engage in labor union organizing activities.

Why Sen. Ron Johnson Is Federal Workers' New Worst Nightmare.  Until now, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, has been the bane of federal government employees.  Issa has skewered the performance of the IRS, the Justice Department, Health and Human Services and other agencies and regularly called officials on the carpet to answer for allegations of government waste and mismanagement.  Now, government workers and their union leaders may be facing a lot more heat beginning early next year, when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is almost certain to head up the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees the federal work force.

Thousands of federal workers on extended paid leave.  Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show.  During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer.  The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.

Taxpayers Forked Over Back Pay for a Food Inspector Who Didn't Notice Rats in a Pasta Plant.  A food inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture who was suspended for failing to discover that rats had infested a pasta-making plant has won a fight to overturn his punishment and get back pay.  Now, a federal labor board has directed an arbitrator to consider whether taxpayers also should reimburse the $67,589-a-year federal worker for legal costs — which his union already covered — even though the food inspector didn't notice rat feces in a storage room where a bag of flour was ripped open.

Federal judge questions sacredness of government employee pensions.  When government employees buy the California legislature with huge campaign contributions, one of the benefits they expect in return is absolute protection of the lush pensions they are promised, even when their employer goes into bankruptcy.  Thus, California law insists that Calpers, the state-backed agency used to provide many government employees with their pensions, is granted very special powers, including the right to seize assets and liquidate them to provide for full payment of pensions, even when other creditors are paid a penny on the dollar.

Department Of Labor Employees To Rally Against Obama Officials Over Discrimination Claims.  The union representing employees of the Department of Labor (DOL) plan to hold a rally at its Washington headquarters next Wednesday, Oct. 1, to protest instances of alleged discrimination overseen by top Obama administration officials at the department.  The Daily Caller obtained a "12 Alert" document circulating among members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 12.

Pension 'spiking' to cost CalPERS nearly $800 million, controller says.  Taxpayers and local governments are on the hook to pay nearly $800 million stemming from "legal" pension spiking over the next two decades, the state controller said Tuesday [9/9/2014].  The price tag came as Controller John Chiang issued a new audit of the California Public Employees' Retirement System.  The audit of 11 state and local government agencies found no illegal pension spiking but concluded that the country's largest public retirement fund makes itself vulnerable to the practice by not aggressively reviewing its 3,100 member agencies' payroll records.

Emails: IRS worker got $138,000 to do 'nothing' — and union saved her job.  Underperforming IRS workers are being protected from firing by the National Treasury Employees Union in the tax agency that let workers devote 500,000 hours — worth over $20 million in salary — on labor activities last year, according to internal emails revealed Wednesday [9/10/2014].  The House Ways and Means Committee said that emails from former IRS executive Lois Lerner, being probed for her involvement in the agency's targeting of conservatives, show she vented at being blocked from firing one worker who did "nothing," yet still received up to $138,136 a year.

L.A. to pay $26 million for ban on naps by garbage-truck drivers.  The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday [8/12/2014] finalized a $26-million legal settlement to end a lawsuit over a ban on lunchtime naps by trash-truck drivers.  The expenditure, approved on a 9-2 vote, resolves a class-action lawsuit involving nearly 1,100 sanitation workers who said they were improperly barred from sleeping and engaging in other activities during their meal breaks.

Workers 3X More Likely to Get Fired in Private Sector Than in Gov't.  In May 2014, there were 1,491,000 layoffs and discharges in the private sector and 84,000 layoffs and discharges in government, meaning layoffs and discharges in the private sector were more than 17 times more likely than in government.

Assigned no work, federal employees entertain themselves with online pornography.  At the Environmental Protection Agency, a senior official spent so much time watching pornography while on the federal clock that the Office of the Inspector General dispatched a special agent to look into it — and the official continued watching porn while the OIG agent was in his office.  At the Federal Communications Commission — which, among other things, polices pornography — employees routinely spend the equivalent of a full workday each week watching porn.  At the General Services Administration — which, like the FCC, has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, being charged with minimizing federal operating costs — employees spend up to six hours a day watching porn on the taxpayers' dime.  At Commerce, paralegals were paid upward of $4 million to do no work — any guesses how they filled their days?

Patent workers paid to exercise, shop and do chores, investigation reveals.  Dozens of employees working for an obscure federal agency went years with little work to do, allowing them to collect salaries and bonuses while they shopped online, caught up on chores, watched television or walked the dog, an investigation revealed Tuesday [7/29/2014].  The probe by the Commerce Department's inspector general found that paralegals at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's appeals board were paid more than $5 million for their time even though there was so little work for them to do that supervisors didn't care how they used it.

Tenured Partisans.  Something has gone wrong in our civil service.  Consider some recent developments.  The IRS was forced to pay the National Organization for Marriage $50,000 for leaking the group's donor list.  Tea-party organizations and donors were much more likely than others to be audited by the IRS.  This misbehavior was not the work of a few rogue employees in Cincinnati.  In general, the IRS stalled tea-party applications for status as 501(c)(4) groups.  Meanwhile, April Sands, an employee of the FEC, recently pleaded guilty to violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from campaigning at the office.  Ms. Sands, who worked in the office charged with enforcing our election laws, recently said, "I just don't understand how anyone but straight white men can vote Republican."  What business does such a person have in that office in the first place?  Somehow the FEC managed to wipe her computer clean, weakening the case against her.  Perhaps that answers our question.  These cases reflect a larger pattern.

IRS Union Boss Colleen Kelley: The Missing Link to Obama?  On March 31, 2010, the day before the Inspector General's report says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began its scheme to target tea party and conservative groups, the White House Visitors Log reveals that President Barack Obama met with IRS union boss Colleen Kelley.  In a notable feat of investigative journalism, American Spectator reporter Jeffrey Lord exposed what appears to be an unholy alliance among the White House, Democrat members of Congress and the thousands of IRS employees, who are members of the far-left, anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

The President met with anti-Tea Party IRS union chief the day before agency targeted the Tea Party.
Obama And The IRS: The Smoking Gun?  In short: the very day after the president of the quite publicly anti-Tea Party labor union — the union for IRS employees — met with President Obama, the manager of the IRS "Determinations Unit Program agreed" to open a "Sensitive Case report on the Tea party cases."  As stated by the IG report.  The NTEU is the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies.

Government Employee Union Yanks Black Education Money After Charity Accepts Funds from Conservatives.  The United Negro College Fund, whose famous motto is, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," recently accepted a $25 million grant from the Koch brothers.  In case you don't listen to the Democrat's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Koch brothers are the "infamous" billionaires who subvert democracy by funding numerous conservative causes and organizations.  This has angered the largest government employee's union in the country — AFSCME.  In fact, AFSCME has pulled all of its funding from UNCF and said it will no longer work with them.

Ending the federal worker gravy train.  This month's congressional hearing on outlandish bonuses at the Veterans Administration is the latest proof that the nation needs to overhaul how federal workers in every department are paid and promoted.  They're on the gravy train, and taxpayers are being taken for a ride.  Back in 1883, Congress passed the Pendleton Act to replace patronage with a federal civil service in which workers would be hired and paid based on merit.  There is no MERIT anymore.  Scramble the letters.  What you have now is a TIMER system.  Workers put in time and get hefty salaries and bonuses, regardless of work quality, with virtually no risk of being fired.

Government Union Demands Major Upgrades to Taxpayer-Funded Research Facility.  The labor union representing employees at the National Weather Service is demanding major upgrades to a new water resources facility at the University of Alabama, including that each employee have a soundproof office, receive a pay increase, and have access to a community garden.  The National Water Center will soon open on the University campus in Tuscaloosa, after construction was completed in December 2013.  The National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) has submitted a list of demands to add to the $18.8 million facility before they begin their work.

'Do It Yourself, White Boy!' Life at the VA.  Another lifetime ago, those five words were spoken to me in a VA hospital in New Orleans.  Another typical civil service, morbidly obese nurse biding her time until retirement.  The patient was a WW1 vet (who'd been gassed, etc.) and he needed to have his bladder catheterized.  I wrote the order that was countersigned by a resident but it didn't happen.  A few hours later I returned.  I asked about it and was told,"Do it yourself, white boy!"  So I did, although I fumbled my way through the procedure since his 90-year-old prostate was the size of Delaware.  He'd been hurting for hours while this lady did her very minimal job as well as her nails.

While Vets Wait, VA Employees Do Union Work.  In 2012, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid at least $11.4 million to 174 nurses, mental-health specialists, therapists, and other health-care professionals who, instead of caring for veterans, worked full-time doing union business.  The list of these taxpayer-funded union representatives at VA offices around the nation and their salaries was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Georgia representative Phil Gingrey's staff and provided to National Review Online.

Public Unions Share the Blame For VA Deaths.  Encouraging vets on Medicare to use civilian care instead of Veterans Affairs' could cut the patient backlog at the VA by as much as half, solving a national crisis.  Almost half of vets are older than 65, and nearly all vets using the VA have Medicare coverage.  Often, they'd be better off getting their bypass surgeries and cancer operations at civilian hospitals that do higher volumes of these age-related procedures and have better survival rates, instead of sticking with the VA.  But the VA fails to tell them.  The culprit is the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that dominates the VA.  For AFGE, the VA is a jobs program.  The union wants more patients, bigger VA budgets, and more staff, never mind what ailing vets need.

Everyone gets a perfect score! Federal financial agency ditches employee performance ratings.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog department created in 2011 to create a level financial playing field for American consumers, has scrapped its internal employee performance review process following revelations that nonunion workers and caucasians routinely scored better than unionized employees and minorities in 2013.  The annual performance reviews award scores on a scale from 1 to 5 and are closely tied to salary raises, bonuses and career advancement.  Instead of keeping the scores in place, agency leaders have decided to award all of their 1,100 employees ratings of '5.'

33 Democrats Opposed a Bill to Make VA Bureaucrats Easier to Fire.  On Wednesday, the House of Representative overwhelming approved the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act, a bill that would relax the standard bureaucratic red tape that makes it exceedingly difficult to fire government employees, even those implicated in an embarrassing scandal.  The vote was not unanimous, however, as 33 Democrats for some reason voted against the legislation.  The opposition was comprised of union-backed liberals, as well as lawmakers such as Jim Moran (Va.), Steny Hoyer (Md.), and Chris Van Hollen (Md.), who represent the D.C. suburbs where many senior VA employees reside.

IRS workers spent 521,725 hours on union activities; cost taxpayers $23.5m.  The Treasury Department has revealed to the House Ways and Means Committee that Internal Revenue Service employees spent over 500,000 hours on union activities last year.  They estimated the cost to taxpayers at $23.5 million in salary and benefits.  Officials told [the Washington Examiner] that the exact hours IRS members of the National Treasury Employees Union dedicated to labor activities was 521,725 in fiscal 2013, which ran from October 2012 to September 2013.  That was slightly less than the 573,319 hours in fiscal 2012, according to the IRS, but the spending was significantly above that year's total of $16 million.

House votes 390-33 to speed up VA firings.  The House on Wednesday [5/21/2014] overwhelmingly passed a bill to grant the Veterans Affairs secretary expanded authority to fire senior executives for poor performance.  The measure passed on a 390-33 vote amid allegations that veterans encountered delays in access to medical care at multiple VA hospitals across the country, leading to dozens of deaths.  All 33 votes in opposition came from Democrats, including leadership Reps. Steny Hoyer (Md.) and James Clyburn (S.C.). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) voted to approve the measure.

House passes bill to allow VA chief to more easily fire workers.  The House easily passed legislation Wednesday [5/21/2014] that would make it easier for the Veterans Affairs secretary to fire or demote senior employees, a proposal that gained support after allegations of mismanagement at the agency.  The VA Management Accountability Act was first introduced before the recent firestorm over reports that VA medical facilities concealed long waits for healthcare.  But the recent developments led House leaders to accelerate its consideration.

The Editor asks...
Why just the VA?  Why not make every government employee accountable for his or her actions?  Here is the answer:  unions want absolute job security no matter what.

Fury as air traffic controller in 2009 crash returns to work.  An air traffic controller who was joking on his cellphone about grilling a cat when he could have been preventing a deadly midair collision off Manhattan is back on the job — and now he's routing planes around coastal Virginia, an area teeming with military jets.  Carlyle Turner, 42, is in a control tower again despite a federal investigation that faulted him in a 2009 accident in which a private single-engine plane crashed into a helicopter full of tourists over the Hudson River.  All nine people aboard both aircraft were killed.

SEIU thinks big for S.F. city workers' next contract.  The SEIU's proposed new contract with the city includes calls for:
  •   A 15 percent raise over the next three years.
  •   A $21-an-hour minimum wage for all city workers.
  •   A free clinic just for city workers to go along with the health coverage.
  •   A free $50,000 life insurance policy for SEIU workers.  Seven other city unions already have free life insurance.

Great moments in union contracts.  Following up on the sensational Blue Line crash at the Chicago Transit Authority's O'Hare Airport terminus:  "The CTA's contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union authorizes the agency to fire rail operators who have had two serious safety violations in a short period of time [emphasis added], and officials said the two incidents when [Brittney] Haywood dozed off qualify her for termination."  Falling asleep just once at the controls of a train wasn't enough!

Federal workers make up to twice as much as others doing same job.  Across the country, employees of companies with federal contracts make up to twice what others doing the same work in the region make, dramatically increasing the costs to taxpayers, a Washington Examiner analysis found.  Under the Service Contract Act of 1965, contractors are paid a minimum wage determined to be "prevailing" in the area by the Labor Department.  But those "prevailing wages" are often far off the mark, according to the analysis, which compared every SCA "district" with far more authoritative figures compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How to Become a (Public Pension) Millionaire.  Detroit and San Bernardino and Stockton, Calif. are in bankruptcy, and across the country the costs of maintaining pensions for city and state employees more than doubled to nearly $84 billion in 2011 from 2002.  Yet the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme) declares that public pensions are "modest," noting that its average member "receives a pension of approximately $19,000 per year after a career of public service."  The facts don't agree.  Data compiled from all state pensions show that, for employees who spend a career in state government, generous pensions put retired public workers among the highest earners in their state.

Double-Dipping Pensioners Bleeding NJ Dry.  There is no single cause for the public pension crisis threatening the financial stability of states, counties and local municipalities across the U.S.  Instead, its origins more closely resemble an actuarial version of the notorious death by a thousand cuts.  Fingers of blame can be pointed at self-serving politicians who doled out generous benefits to public employee unions seeking support at the polls in return.  Union leaders are accountable, too, accepting short-term perks without seeing the potential long-term harm. [...] Then there are the myriad loopholes and outright scams such as the age-old tactic of public employees loading up on overtime while approaching retirement to artificially goose their final annual payout.

Public Union Dust Still Settling in Wisconsin, Three Years After Act 10.  Tuesday marks the third anniversary of Gov. Walker signing Act 10 into law, restricting public unions.  It ended nearly all public union rights in Wisconsin, except for police and firefighters.  The law left first-responder unions, intact.  As for the others, some of their leaders say the dust is still settling.  Kim Kohlhaas has come up with what she believes is a great way to describe her union these days.  "We are evolving," Kohlhaas says.

Police detective tops Paterson's overtime list with $132,000 in extra pay.  City police officer Virginio Formentin made $132,269 in overtime in 2013, marking the second year in a row that he topped all municipal employees in that category, according to payroll records.

Only in New Jersey: Get a government job, retire on $195,000 per year!.  New Jersey's public pension system is $47 billion in the hole.  But that doesn't derail the gravy train.

Number of NJ public retirees with pension of at least 100K climbs 75 percent in 3 years.  In 2010, 992 retired New Jersey public employees pulled in a pension of at least $100,000 per year.  By the end of 2013, that figure had swelled to 1,731 — an increase of about 75 percent.  A new report from New Jersey Watchdog goes into detail on exactly who is getting a six-figure annual payout in retirement, although some still hold other tax-payer funded positions.  The Watchdog report comes after it was revealed that the state's pension fund is in a $47 billion hole.

Progressive Democrats are Going to Bankrupt One State at a Time.  Time to start watching U.S. cities go bankrupt.  Prior to Detroit, there was Stockton, California, and, according to Stephen Moore, now the chief economist with the Heritage Foundation, there are more than sixty of the largest cities that "are plagued with the same kinds of retirement legacy costs that sent Detroit in Chapter 9 bankruptcy" last year.  "Keep an eye on 'too big to fail' cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York," he warned.  Among the twenty cities he listed in an August 2013 Newsmax article, he cited Compton and Oakland, CA, Harrisburg, PA, and Providence, RI.  What these and other cities have in common is that "the vast majority are located in states with forced unions, non-right-to-work states." [...] At the time it declared bankruptcy, Detroit had 47 different public employee unions.

Retirement plan for Paterson cops, firefighters puts four-year tab at $11 million.  City officials are planning to borrow $1.65 million to pay nine firefighters and eight police officers for unused leave days when they retire.  This would represent the fourth consecutive year in which Paterson has borrowed money to pay severance to retiring firefighters and police officers at a total cost of more than $11 million over that time.

Taxpayers fund top-dollar federal employee union reps through official time.  Phil Barbarello insists his federal salary has nothing to do with his job as a top union official.  What matters, he says, is his experience as an air traffic controller.  But it has been years since Barbarello, eastern regional vice president for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, spent much time monitoring flights in a control tower.  His full-time job with the Federal Aviation Administration is working for the NATCA union, and has been since at least 2009.  As for his salary, $166,362 in 2012, that and his lucrative federal benefits are all paid by taxpayers.

Crony Capitalism in America: Public Sector Union Scandals Begin to Leak.  Many reporters reflexively support unions, and prefer not to acknowledge scandals related to them, especially at the local and state level.  Nevertheless, troubling news accounts have emerged:  [Example #1]  A New York City sewer engineer is paid $775,000 ($173,000 regular annual rate plus back payments from settlement of a labor dispute).  [#2] A Chicago union leader takes a leave of absence in 1989 from the city's sanitation department, where he earned $40,000, to work for a union.  He is then allowed to "retire" from the city at age 56 with $108,000 pension. [...] [#3] Another Chicago labor leader is allowed to return to the city payroll for one day in 1994, so that he can then take a formal leave of absence to work for a union.  His city pension is $158,000 a year.

Gov't Workers Work Less, Earn More — Pretty Good Deal, Huh?  A new study shows government workers are away from work more than their private counterparts, yet are better paid.  No surprise, really, despite claims to the contrary, the public sector is woefully inefficient.  During the sequestration, we heard a lot of complaints and more than a little whining from government workers about bearing the brunt of the government closure.  Fair enough.  But far from being a put-upon class of overworked public servants, government workers have it much better than the rest of us.

Federal Employees Receive Full Pay for Shutdown Period — Even If They Didn't Work.  Much ink was spilled earlier this month about the plight of federal workers who were furloughed due to the budget impasse.  One federal employee union even bafflingly likened its members to "indentured servants."  But now, quietly, federal workers are receiving full pay for the shutdown period, whether they worked or not.  In fact, some furloughed employees will receive special overtime and holiday premiums on top of their regular paychecks, just as long as they were scheduled to work overtime or on Columbus Day.

BLS: Gov't Workers 'Absent' 50% More Than Private-Sector Workers.  A government worker is 38 percent more likely to be absent from work for personal reasons or illnesses than a private-sector worker, and government workers miss 50 percent more of their usual work hours as a result of such absences than do private sector workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Way to Deal With Public Unions.  The average BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) worker makes over $76,000 per year, plus huge benefits.  Janitors make as much as $82,752. But the unions want more.  And they are willing to bankrupt the region to get more.  In my opinion, San Francisco is already bankrupt due to pension obligations that cannot possibly be met (but the city may not realize that yet).  Oakland is without a doubt bankrupt due to public union pension obligations.  Oakland city officials likely realize that (but they just do not want to admit the obvious).  In due time, both Bay Area cities will follow Vallejo, Stockton, and San Bernardino into bankruptcy.  In the meantime, unions are hell bent on driving cities right over the bankruptcy cliff.

Public Sector Unions Must be Abolished.  Cities are reeling under unsustainable pensions paid to government workers who are not working.  And those in state government jobs are receiving the largest pensions of all.  They are destroying the economy.  Their contracts are not approved by voters but by secret quid pro quo arrangements with the politicians they support. [...] The debt created by these union pensions may be unconstitutional:  the Constitution says Congress may levy tariffs and fees in support government services.  If employees are no longer working and providing services, then the tariffs and fees are not providing any services.

Let's Bring Out the World's Smallest Violin for Federal Workers.  You really have to feel for federal workers.  They feel so put upon because of sequestration, budget cuts, and other indignities like being criticized for holding meetings and conferences at extravagant resorts.  Now, on top of all that, the government is going to shut down.  You might think they'd be grateful for the vacation, but no; they are demanding that back pay be given them for the time they're off, even if they aren't working.

IRS wins fight to cancel bonuses — for now.  The Internal Revenue Service won a ruling from a third-party mediator that decided the agency isn't obligated to pay $70 million in scheduled bonus payouts that outraged many in Congress.  But the fight isn't over.  The mediator's ruling is being appealed to a federal panel by the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS workers.

We're No. 1 — In Public-Employee Pay.  Amid the recent hubbub over municipal bankruptcies and rising public-employee pension costs, pay for state and local government employees has gotten a great deal of publicity.  Lost in the press attention, however, is that federal-employee compensation remains a problem, too, and new data again indicate that Washington, D.C., may be overpaying for the two million workers it employs.

IRS Union Tied to FEC.  The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) represents the bureaucracy that staffs the Internal Revenue Service.  The IRS.  The NTEU also represents the bureaucracy that staffs the Federal Elections Commission.  The FEC.  The NTEU has a political action committee — the Treasury Employees Political Action Committee.  TEPAC.  TEPAC routinely gives over 90% of its contributions to Democrats.

Treasury Employees Union launches a campaign to help IRS goons elude PPACA exchanges.
IRS: Obamacare for Thee but Not For Me.  Among the most offensive features of the ironically titled "Affordable Care Act" is its designation of the Internal Revenue Service as the main enforcer of the law's many mandates, taxes, penalties, and reporting requirements.  It exponentially increases the power of a group of bureaucrats notorious for repeatedly abusing their authority.  Now, highlighting the growing gulf between the government and the governed that has become the hallmark of the Obama era, these IRS enforcers are asking their congressional representatives to spare them the indignity of enrolling in Obamacare's insurance exchanges.

The Liberal Union Behind the IRS.  Obama, IG Report refuse to touch powerful Treasury Employees Union headed by ex-IRS agent.

More about the IRS.

Study: Unions Warping State Finances for Their Own Gain.  Public sector unions use politics to suit their interests, and in doing so they create the incentive for politicians to kick the can down the road.  When politicians have the choice between raising taxes and cutting benefits for public sector employees, they choose to ignore both, according to a new Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University study, "The Public Sector 'Union' Effect: Pushing Up Unfunded Pension Liabilities and State Debt."  Instead, they borrow for promises they cannot keep.

Chicago Police Want 12% Raise.  Days after the Chicago Police Department announced it will no longer respond to 911 calls for criminal damage to property, vehicle thefts, garage burglaries, or other crimes in which the suspect is no longer on the scene, the Fraternal Order of Police (Chicago police union) is demanding a 12 percent raise.

To Serve and Protect — Police Pensions.  What is a powerful public union to do when it looks like a city's busted balance sheet is finally forcing some fiscal reform?  Naturally, buy a house next door to the city manager's and launch an intimidation campaign aimed at getting him to avoid any real fixes.  At least that's what the police union of Stockton, Calif., did in 2011 — with great success.  The police union claimed that the home purchase was meant to diversify its "investments."

How Unions Promote Wage Inequality.  Back in the early days of the labor movement, the idea of public-sector unions seemed absurd to trade unions and governments alike.  Calvin Coolidge, as Massachusetts governor, led in the firing of policemen after riots that took place during a labor walkout.  The future president said, "There is no right to strike against the public safety."  Even Franklin Roosevelt, the father of our most aggressive labor law, the Wagner Act, drew the line at public-sector unions.

Why Are Taxpayers Paying Union Officials' So Much?  Taxpayers are forking out $4.8 million for 35 union officials at the Department of Transportation.  But the beneficiary here isn't the taxpayer, it's President Obama, who is raking campaign cash from these unions. [...] That means taxpayers are actually paying for union efforts to shake down taxpayers for ever higher salaries and benefits for government workers.

Gov. Rick Snyder's change of heart seems to be born from frustration.  [Scroll down]  Public employee unions opposed Snyder's moves to put more teeth into emergency manager laws that would enable swifter action to rescue cities and school districts that bungled themselves into insolvency.  In Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing and a spineless City Council were stonewalled by employee unions at every turn, slow-walking needed reforms and cost-cutting while the city burned through cash at a frightening rate.

Union Made Camden Police Expensive, Ineffective.  Camden, N.J., is replacing its current 230-officer police force with a new, cheaper force of 400 in order to combat rising crime, according to NPR.  The city currently spends 75 percent of its budget on police and fire departments but it remains one of the nation's most dangerous cities.  The police cannot keep up with crime and the city cannot afford to hire more officers.

The Underworked Public Employee.  If public-sector employees just worked as many hours as their private counterparts, governments at all levels could save more than $100 billion in annual labor costs.  How do we know that?  Are we just dredging up well-worn stereotypes of government employees enjoying shorter work days, prolonged sick leave and extended vacation breaks?  In fact, new evidence from a comprehensive and objective data set confirms that the "underworked" government employee is more than a stereotype.

Unions want all of the benefits of goverment jobs without any of the risk.
Federal Workers to Congress: Leave Us Out of Deficit 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."  Federal workers, the coalition wrote in a letter, have contributed more than their fair share toward reducing the debt and are the only group that has been targeted so heavily.

Labor Bosses Fight Only to Protect their Jobs.  In Michigan, union bosses are testing a new strategy to increase their power and clout within the state.  A constitutional amendment known locally as Proposal 2, or the "Protect Our Jobs" (POJ) amendment, would invalidate much of the common-sense progress that Governor Rick Snyder has made as it relates to public-sector unions, potentially overturning upwards of 170 pieces of legislation.

California's chickens have come home to roost.  [Governor] Schwarzenegger's proposals would have increased eligibility for teacher tenure from two years to five years in the classroom, made the use of union dues for political campaign contributions voluntary, imposed state budgetary spending limits and redrawn the state's school district funding formula, and reformed the states' redistricting system.  The establishment couldn't have that, and so, in short order, the referenda were soundly defeated at the ballot box. [...] Fast forward to 2012, when California's debt has swollen to more than $117 billion according to data assembled by State Budget Solutions.  Its unfunded union pension liabilities total more than $500 billion.

Heritage: Feds put in fewer hours than private workers.  Federal employees have heard countless accusations that they're overpaid in recent years.  Now a new study from the conservative Heritage Foundation suggests they may be lazier than private sector workers.  Heritage on Tuesday [9/11/2012] released a report that concluded federal employees work, on average, nearly three fewer hours each week than workers in the private sector.  By the end of the year, Heritage said, most feds put in about a month less on the job than private workers when vacation and other paid leave is taken into account.

The Greatest Threat to our Democracy.  The American system of democracy is under threat.  It's under threat from an Obama campaign that seeks to polarize Americans along race and class lines.  It's under threat from a Democratic Party that seeks to pit those who pay taxes against those who don't.  But most of all, it's under attack from America's public sector unions.

Book: Obamacare law was designed to unionize 21 million health care workers.  In a book set for publication Tuesday [8/21/2012], a politics and government professor at The Citadel claims President Obama's 2009 health care reform law was, in part, a union-driven effort to organize 21 million health care workers.  In "Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind," Mallory Factor describes a December 9, 2008 memo from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare president Dennis Rivera to the Obama-Biden transition team.  That memo outlined a legislative proposal calling for "increasing the capacity of the health care workforce" as part of a larger health care reform initiative.

Only Morality Stands in the Way of Public Unions and Our Money.  If you follow the rule in life to follow the money, the money trail increasingly is leading to a union pension, a union wage or a union contract.  And it's putting America's cities out of business.  As more municipalities begin to eye bankruptcy proceedings as a way out of their financial mess, many believe that one great advantage of bankruptcy proceedings is that it will allow the nullification of fat union wages, pensions and other benefits that taxpayers in the private sector don't get.

Union Head Downplays Rise of City Bankruptcies.  A 2011 study by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management estimates that the states have roughly $3.3 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities.  Then you need to add another $574 billion to represent the unfunded pensions of all the counties and cities within the 50 states.  In Chicago, if all other spending were shut down today, the city would need to allocate about eight years of dedicated tax revenues to cover pension promises it has already made.  AFSCME has 20,000 members in Chicago and 1.4 million nationally.

Camden NJ, Population 77,344, Fires Entire Police Force.  Cities should strive to provide the most services at the least cost to taxpayers.  However, public unions strive to provide the fewest benefits at the most cost.  Is it any wonder cities are going bankrupt?  Police and firefighter wages and benefits are crippling cities across the nation.  Mayors are often in bed with unions rather than do what is best for the city.

Public Pension 'Stimulus' Claims Are Easily Debunked.  According to NIRS [The National Institute on Retirement Security] — whose membership consists principally of public employee unions, the pension plans in which they participate, and the actuarial and investment firms that serve them — the best economic stimulus is not tax cuts or unemployment checks, but increased pension benefits to public-sector retirees.  Each dollar of pension benefits produces $2.37 in economic output, NIRS says, creating millions of new jobs and billions in additional labor income.  Put simply, this is nonsense.

TSA Agrees To Allow Unionization Of Agents.  The Transportation Security Administration agreed to allow the American Federation of Government Employees to unionize its workforce.  In a press release, AFGE announced that the labor contract it agreed to with TSA on Thursday [8/2/2012] is the first-ever with TSA employees.

America's coming civil war.  On one side are those who create wealth, America's private sector — the very ones targeted by President Obama's tax hikes announced Monday [7/9/2012].  On the other are the public employee unions; left-leaning intelligentsia who see the growth of government as index of progress; and the millions of Americans now dependent on government through a growing network of government transfer payments, from Medicaid and Social Security to college loans and corporate bailouts and handouts (think GM and Solyndra).

Public Unions Are A Privileged Class Built On Greed.  The next time you see a city, county, state or federal public employee — be they teachers, postal workers, librarians, in the mayor's office, or even police or firefighters — don't view them as neighbors, friends or friendly civil servants, but rather as the destroyers of your economic future. [...] In large part because of the unchecked greed of the public employee unions and workers, San Bernardino this week became the third California city to seek bankruptcy protection.  Of course, if you were looking for that honest explanation from Democrats and pro-public employee union media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times or Reuters, good luck.

Mooching Toward Greece.  Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million).  This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960 when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.  On average, our nation has lost 10 factories and 2,000 manufacturing jobs every day during the past 10 years.

Midwest Unions' Desperate Last Stand.  The voters of Wisconsin and California spoke loud and clear.  They are tired of the special privileges and lavish benefits given to government unions and paid for by taxpayers.  Apparently unions in Michigan did not get the message.

Union Pension And Benefit Reforms Must Include Police, Fire.  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's victory over recall activists is rightly viewed as a nationwide rebuke to the public-sector union movement, and a sign the pendulum is swinging back in the direction of taxpayers.  Walker's win protects his Act 10 reforms that restricted collective bargaining power and reduced pension and other benefit costs within his state's public sector.  This was indeed a huge victory — one with national implications, as other states wrestle with oppressive pension debt and union work-rule restrictions that make contracting out and other cost savings impossible.

Beware the Union Label.  Public sector unions on the state and local levels have enjoyed enormous privileges for their 50 years of existence.  Like their private sector counterparts, they have used collective bargaining to maximize their pay and benefits.  Yet unlike trade and industrial unions, public sector unions essentially bargain with themselves.  They are such an integral part of the Democratic coalition — delivering to Democratic candidates and causes not just money but massive numbers of voters and volunteers — that the party dare not defy them.

More Bad News for Unions From California.  As if the epic defeat of their effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wasn't enough, the union movement got even more bad news from California last night when voters in San Diego and San Jose gave huge majorities to referenda that called for cutbacks to retirement benefits for municipal workers.

The "People United" Go Down In Flames.  A Democratic Party dominated by its public sector unions is a party married to government and to bureaucracy.  To the degree that the public unions shape its agenda, the Democrats become a lobby for the servants of the state.  For the unions who represent its employees, the bureaucratic, civil service state is a solution permanently in search of new problems to solve and new worlds to conquer.  The power of the public unions within the party pulls Democrats much farther to the left than they would otherwise go.  This is one reason the Wisconsin reforms stimulated such a powerful and united emotional wave of push back from virtually every section of the left.

Federal workers raking in millions in bonuses, new database shows.  A new in-depth database of federal worker salaries shows the government paid out a whopping $105 billion in salaries last year for most of its civilian workforce — to boot, the workers got $439 million in bonuses.  The information, which was obtained and number-crunched by The Asbury Park Press through a Freedom of Information Act request, challenges the old notion that government workers trade high salaries for job security and benefits.

Government Waste.  Government workers are among the employees most likely to cheat their employers, according to a new study.  The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the world's largest anti-fraud organization, found that public-sector administration employees are responsible for more than 10 percent of fraud cases, ranking behind only financial professionals.  In 141 cases examined, the group found that a crooked employee costs taxpayers a median loss of $100,000.

More Than Good Enough for Government Work.  State lawmakers face an uphill battle in trying to bring their governments' pension costs under control, largely due to opposition from government employee unions.  But the unions' resistance to reform is beginning to weaken, and a growing number of states are enacting reforms.  The momentum for pension reform is likely to mount as long as state budget woes persist.  And persist they do.

Not one 'union label' anymore as public, private sector unions diverge.  For more than a century, Democratic Party power has been based on private-sector unions and their workers — voters who actually produce such things as cars and steel.  But in recent years that political power also has been strengthened by the rise of government-worker unions and environmental groups, which are less about productivity and more about spending and policy.

CBO Says Federal Workers Get Higher Compensation.  Considering that four of the five wealthiest counties in the United States are in suburban Washington, DC, it's probably no surprise that the Congressional Budget Office has determined federal government workers receive substantially more in total compensation than their counterparts in the private sector.  The CBO in January announced federal government workers average 16 percent more in compensation — wages and benefits combined — than private-sector workers doing similar jobs.  The major difference is in fringe benefits.  Federal workers typically enjoy far more nonwage benefits than private-sector workers.

More than 1,200 former N.J. public employees collect pensions of at least $100,000 annually.  The number of retired public employees who collected pensions of $100,000 or more in 2011 has climbed to 1,244, according to a report on New Jersey Watchdog.  The list is topped by former Essex County College president A. Zachary Yamba, whose pension is $195,000 a year.  Former Rutgers athletic director and New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority head Bob Mulcahy has a pension worth $162,399 annually.  He also got a severance package worth about $600,000 when he was fired by Rutgers in 2008.

So When Are We Allowed to Be Intolerant?  Reductions in government employment costs are often blocked by unions.  States and cities could save as much as 50% of the cost of many services, such as police work, firefighting, public transportation, garbage-collection, administrative functions, and prison operations, through competitive bidding to private contractors.  But unions have blocked many of these efforts.  Public employees maintain that they are underpaid when compared to private-sector workers that are equally qualified, yet they are afraid of competitive bidding for government services.  If they are underpaid, of what are these people afraid?  Are we supposed to tolerate union actions?  Or are we justified at being intolerant?

Public-Sector Unions:  Labor unions play a diminishing role in the private sector, but they still claim a large share of the public-sector workforce.  Public-sector unions are important to examine because they have a major influence on government policies through their vigorous lobbying efforts.  They are particularly influential in states that allow monopoly unionization through collective bargaining.  Collective bargaining is a misguided labor policy because it violates civil liberties and gives unions excessive power to block needed reforms.

Video: Unhinged Lefties Heckle Scott Walker During Major Speech.  This is the game government unions play.  Their members' paychecks are extracted from public funds, and a portion of each paycheck (prior to Walker's reforms) went directly into the unions' pockets.  This was mandatory and automatic.  Those unions, in turn, donated generously to Democrats to protect their interests.  Democrats, in turn, steadfastly opposed any Republican effort to break the vicious cycle — even going so far as to flee the state to block votes.

California pays prisons guards for attending Las Vegas convention.  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has set aside about $350,000 to pay several hundred corrections officers while they attend their union's annual convention later this month in Las Vegas.  The arrangement with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is unique among the state's collective bargaining agreements.

The feds are hiring — and never firing.  A new analysis of federal workforce data shows that even in this time of retrenchment and downsizing, the federal government almost never fires or lays off workers.  In fact, in many corners of the federal government, it is virtually impossible for an employee to be fired.  "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," writes USA Today, which conducted the survey.

14 Cities That Are Being Eaten Alive By Public Sector Workers.  Public employee costs account for a large share of municipal budget woes.  While worker compensation accounts for just 30% of state spending, personnel costs tends to eat up between 70% and 80% of local government funds.  Skyrocketing employee costs — the result of overly generous union contracts, an aging workforce, and bad pension investments — are now pushing several municipalities to the brink of fiscal ruin.

Close the door on public-sector unions.  Massachusetts government is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, so there was no chance that a law limiting collective bargaining for municipal employees would resemble the recent laws passed in Wisconsin and Ohio.

Gimenez takes oath, then asks for union cuts.  Just hours after officially taking office as Miami-Dade County's new mayor Friday [7/1/2011], Carlos Gimenez sent eight key county unions a letter making a bold request:  Give up pay raises, benefits hikes and bonuses to help cover a swelling $400 million budget gap.

Connecticut Unions Have Trouble Reading Hand Writing on Wall.  Unions just don't get it, do they?  Their day of organized theft of the taxpayer's money is over.  It must be over if our governments are to stay solvent.  After this initial era of major cuts and layoffs is over, the next important step will be to eliminate the government employee unions entirely.  They should never have been allowed to exist in the first place.  And remember, they've only been around for about 50 years, so they are NOT some ages old American institution.

A San Francisco pension pays more than the average worker earns.  The average retiree from San Francisco city government earns an annual pension of $46,272, according to the San Francisco Employees' Retirement System.  The average retiree who worked at least 30 years in city government earns an annual pension of $76,981.  The average pension for a retiree from the Fire Department is $108,552.  From the Police Department?  $95,016.  And everybody else?  $41,136.

California makes huge payouts for some workers' unused time off.  Contracts cap unused vacation balances at 80 days but allow exemptions for those who are needed in emergencies or who perform 'critical' work.  Some have retired with six-figure compensation checks.

Office of Management and Budget Employees to Push to Unionize.  Peter Winch, deputy director of field services and education for the American Federation of Government Employees confirmed to ABC News that his organization, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, has been meeting with employees of the OMB in the past few months to discuss their work conditions and desire to have more say over the conditions of their employment.

Seven Lessons Still Not Learned from the Battle of Wisconsin.  [Scroll down]  Public workers essentially cannot be fired.  They're entitled to their jobs forever, at least theoretically, and their rage in the Wisconsin matter stemmed from the fact that they might not be entitled to permanently expanding benefits and salaries, forever.  "How dare you question our right to freebies!" is the whole underlying attitude and premise of today's labor union movement.

SEIU drops mask, goes full commie.  A May Day rally in Los Angeles, co-sponsored by the SEIU and various communist groups, as well as other unions, reflected yet another step in the normalization of self-identified communist and socialist ideologies in the Obama era.  Not only did the SEIU help to organize the rally in conjunction with communists, they marched side-by-side with communists, while union members carried communist flags, communists carried union signs, and altogether there was no real way to tell the two apart.

Commies on parade.  Blogging at Ringo's Pictures, the blogger Ringo provides scores of remarkable photographs detailing the events at the annual May Day parade held in downtown Los Angeles on May 1, 2011.  The images are frightening and illustrate the latitude we have allowed serious hate-groups and espousers of virulent anti-Americanism to move about freely and publicly call for the overthrow of the American political system.  Right smack in the middle of the reds we find a passel of disheveled, seriously overweight thugs from Barack Obama's favorite labor union, the SEIU.

Unions in Familiar Fight With New Foe.  Unions are facing off against an unlikely foe over a now-familiar issue, as Democrats in Massachusetts move to limit municipal workers' power to negotiate their health benefits.  The effort is the latest by lawmakers in a budget jam to roll back public-union rights.  In a state where Democrats control the House and the Senate as well as the governor's office, it shows how the pressures of skyrocketing health care costs on state and local budgets are undermining labor's political clout even in traditional union strongholds.

The Bell May Toll for Jersey Toll Collectors.  It was one of those little stories, a three-sentence job on inside pages of last Saturday's local newspaper.  But it illustrates a mentality that is so outrageous — yet so thoroughly typical of the government union mindset — it deserves far wider dissemination than it has received so far.  Last Thursday [4/21/2011], a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit in which union workers were seeking to prevent New Jersey from privatizing toll collector jobs on the New Jersey Turnpike, unless those workers got the "right of first refusal" to keep their jobs.  But it gets even better:  the suit argued that privatization violates workers' First Amendment rights.

A Government Union Shakedown.  "Raise our taxes!"  Can you imagine chanting such a slogan at a public rally?  Neither could most Americans.  There is one notable exception, however:  government-union activists.  They're pretty explicit these days about their desire to see taxes go up.  If that surprises you, you may be unaware of how dramatically the face of organized labor has changed over the last few decades.

The left begins to realize their welfare state is unsustainable.  Europeans are not the only ones that are beginning to notice that liberal social welfare states are unsustainable.  The citizens of the bluest state in the union, California, are also beginning to question the size and scope of their government.  The Los Angeles Times released a poll today [4/25/2011] showing 70% of Californians said they supported a cap on pensions for future government workers, 68% approved increasing government worker contributions to their pensions, and 52% support raising the retirement age for government workers.

Don't equate public, private unions.  When one criticizes public-sector unions, it doesn't imply at all that one is critical of labor unions per se.  Because public services are mostly monopolistic — one first-class postal service, one Medicaid, one DMV and road system, one public school system — and funded from involuntary taxes, public-sector labor unions are, basically, legally protected monopolies.

AFSCME Union Threatens to 'Weaponize' Government Jobs.  It's becoming clearer that the "public service" mentality is quickly slipping way from government employees, if it didn't hit the exits a long time ago.  Instead of government employees serving the public, it's clear now their belief is that the public exists to serve them.

Redistributing from the 'Have Nots' to the 'Haves'.  The Democratic Party and their union co-conspirators have been running a scam that takes the tax payments of the "have nots" and redistributes them to the "haves." ... Just who are these "haves"?  They are the 22.5 million public sector employees of city, county, state and federal government.  These are individuals who have close to life-time employment, pay that is often twice the level of an equivalent private sector employee, generous sick leave, annual leave, annual cost of living increases (even during recessions), great pension benefits, and health care benefits that private sector employees can only dream about.  The "have nots" are the private sector employees who pay the taxes that subsidize the public sector employees.

Gimme Gimme: A Tour of the Entitlement Mentality.  In the comment section of a recent NRB post regarding public employee unions and the related protests in Wisconsin, one of our readers demonstrated a curious inability to distinguish force from choice.  The exchange was instructive of the entitlement mentality propagated by the Left.  It is a worldview which includes relativism so extreme that it disputes the definition of words.

Public School Teachers and Unions are Failing Children and Bankrupting America.  Corruption, greed, incompetence, bureaucratic bungling:  Those are the things most likely to be found when the charade of public union outrage is peeled back to reveal the inner workings of collective bargaining.  There is no doubt America is engaged in an ideological battle.  On one side are the public sector unions and "workers" demanding the taxpayers cough up more to fund their fat paychecks and bloated pensions.  On the other side are the majority of Americans who work in the private sector, fund their own retirements and health care, and have no entitlement programs they haven't designed themselves.  The public sector is asking for more blood while the private sector is beaten unconscious and bleeding from every major artery.

Stop paying public unions to haggle for more money.  The Office of Personnel Management, a government agency that, among other things, tracks federal-employee efficiency, surveyed 61 executive agencies and departments for fiscal 2008 to assess how much official time was lost to union activity.  They reported that 3 million official hours were used for collective bargaining or arbitration of grievances against an employer during that fiscal year at a cost of more than $120 million to the U.S. taxpayer.

Unions vs. the little guy in Wisconsin recall fight.  If you're a Republican, it's a scenario straight out of "Alice in Wonderland."  Fourteen Wisconsin state senators, all Democrats, flee the state for three weeks, bringing government to a halt in an effort to stop Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill.  After three weeks, the fugitive Democrats return in failure.  And then, when a rich and highly organized effort to punish lawmakers is launched, it's directed not at the Democrats who ran away but at the Republicans who stayed home and did their job.

Writing on the wall for public unions.  The American public at last has come to realize — and is demanding that our elected officials address — the terrible consequences of public-sector unions:  Union health and pension plans are bankrupting state and local governments left and right.

Labor thugs threaten murder to preserve payola.  Public employee unions are bankrupting local and state governments, including Wisconsin's.  They have it cushier than the folks who are taxed to pay for it all.  A Spectrum Research Group report found that public employees make up 15 percent of the work force but lay claim to more than a third of the nation's $9.3 trillion in pension assets.  Many retire in their 50s and then double-dip with new jobs.

Why I do not have Solidarity with the Public Unions:  My wages are less than 50% of a few years ago, and that is when I can find work.  No guaranteed hours here.  Should I feel guilty for thinking the Wisconsin people, who are angry over a wage freeze and benefit cuts that are still way above average should suffer like the rest of us.  The rest of the country has had to adjust, why should not they?  It is not as if they are being asked to take these cuts for without reason.  Their state is bankrupt.

Ready for Unionized Airport Security?  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made some progress this week in rescuing his state from the public-sector unions holding it hostage.  Ever wonder how Wisconsin got into trouble in the first place?  Washington is providing an illuminating case study.  Even as state battles rage, the Obama administration has been facilitating the largest federal union organizing effort in history.  Tens of thousands of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners are now casting votes to choose a union to collectively bargain for cushier personnel practices on their behalf.

Wisconsin's Walker Has His PATCO Moment.  Remember the Patco strike of 1981?  The air traffic controllers' union had walked out, illegally shutting down the nation's air transportation system.  Their attempt at extortion was President Reagan's first big test, and the unions seemed to hold all the cards.  But Reagan held firm.  He fired the strikers, hired replacements and, despite claims by unions and their supporters on the left that it would lead to disaster, it didn't.

Obama's Edifice Complex.  Obama's justifies his plans by touting "green jobs".  This is a fiction.  Any green jobs generated come at great cost and are often temporary.  A fringe benefit for Obama is that these federally-funded projects often go to union members and are subject to the Davis-Bacon act that requires high wages be paid on federally-funded projects, a subtle method of replenishing the union coffers for the next election cycle.

5 Reasons Unions Are Bad For America.  Let's put it plain and simple: Government workers shouldn't be allowed to unionize.  Period.  Why?  Because you elect representatives to look out for your interests.  It's obviously in your interest to pay as little as possible to government workers, to keep their benefits as low as possible, and to hire as few of them as possible to do the job.  However, because the Democratic Party and the unions are in bed with each other, this entire process has been turned on its ear.

Who's to Blame for Union Woes?  The labor union movement is in deep trouble.  Only 6 percent of private-sector employees are union members.  Voters are beginning to realize, thanks to governors like Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, that public-sector unions have negotiated unsustainable levels of pensions and benefits — and that public-sector unions are a mechanism for involuntary transfers of money from taxpayers to the Democratic Party.

Terminal Ingrates Showing Their Terminal Ingratitude.  As much as I'd like to be sympathetic to the "plight" of public sector employees, it's just never going to happen.  The reason is simple:  in my entire life, I've never had a job where I got paid when I didn't work.  I never had one where I got automatic raises or had may health care paid for by somebody else.  And I've [certainly] never had a job where, after a certain period of time, I would be granted a "tenure" of guaranteed lifetime employment.

Ohio union bill speeds toward passage.  With barely a whimper of the protests that have convulsed Wisconsin, legislation to curb public employee unions is speeding toward passage in Ohio, an even bigger labor stronghold.

Union protests are a symptom of what ails America.  Unionized government workers who have taken to the streets to protest moves in Wisconsin and Ohio to limit their power are doing us all a favor.  How?  Our great nation today is sick and badly in need of therapy.  The screams and protests of these government union workers should help all Americans identify these public unions as a major symptom of the sickness that is dragging us down and what we need to do to fix it.

Union 'Rights' That Aren't.  There is no "fundamental right" to collective bargaining in government jobs.  Indeed, labor leaders themselves used to say so.

Economists: Government pension funds underestimating shortfall by $1.5 trillion or more.  The pension funds for state and local workers in the United States are understating the amount they will owe workers by $1.5 trillion or more, according to some economists who have studied the issue, meaning that the benefits are much costlier than many governments and taxpayers thought.

A General Strike In Wisconsin?  While it's not being widely discussed in the mainstream press, union activists in Wisconsin have begun mulling over the possibility of a general strike as their next move in the War On Taxpayers.

The Editor says...
Fire them all, I say.  Let those people work who really want to, and let all others starve.

A Union Education.  Unlike in the private economy, a public union has a natural monopoly over government services.  An industrial union will fight for a greater share of corporate profits, but it also knows that a business must make profits or it will move or shut down.  The union chief for teachers, transit workers or firemen knows that the city is not going to close the schools, buses or firehouses.  This monopoly power, in turn, gives public unions inordinate sway over elected officials.

Public unions must go.  Government workers were making good salaries in 1962 when President Kennedy lifted, by executive order (so much for democracy), the federal ban on government unions.  Civil service regulations and similar laws had guaranteed good working conditions for generations.  The argument for public unionization wasn't moral, economic or intellectual.  It was rankly political.  Traditional organized labor, the backbone of the Democratic Party, was beginning to lose ground. ... The plan worked.  Public union membership skyrocketed and government union support for the party of government skyrocketed with it.

Yes, They're Overpaid.  President Obama's late November announcement of a two-year pay freeze for federal workers has been poorly received by unions and left-wing activists, who see it as the end result of a year-long campaign to reduce federal salaries.  Taxpayers should hope it is just the beginning. ... Some politicians have accused federal workers of making double what they deserve, while government unions maintain they are underpaid by around 25 percent.

Public Employee Unions.  Given the relationship between politicians and public employee unions, we should not be surprised that public employee wages and benefits often average 45 percent higher than their counterparts in the private sector.  Often they receive pension and health care benefits making little or no contribution.  How is it that public employee unions have such a leg up on their private-sector brethren?  The answer is not rocket science.  Employers in the private sector have a bottom line.  If they overcompensate their employees, company profits will sink.  The company might even face bankruptcy.

Will TSA Unionization Jeopardize Air Safety?  I don't know about you, but when I see a slow, rude Transportation Security Administration agent going through granny's purse at airport security, I think to myself:  "What the TSA needs is more bureaucracy — if only they were unionized!"  Well, we might get our wish.

The good life (for unions especially).  Here's a quiz:  Who said that the prospect of a strike by a government union is "unthinkable and intolerable?"  Who said, "It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government"?  Was it Reagan?  Palin?  Did Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker utter these provocative words?  No, no and no.  The first quote is from Franklin Roosevelt — that champion of working people.  The second is from George Meany, the AFL-CIO's legendary first president.

Public Unions & the Socialist Utopia.  Unionized public-sector employment is the distilled essence of the left's moral ideal.  no one has to worry about making a profit.  Generous health-care and retirement benefits are provided to everyone by the government.  Comfortable pay is mandated by legislative fiat.  The work rules are militantly egalitarian:  pay, promotion, and job security are almost totally independent of actual job performance.  And because everyone works for the government, they never have to worry that their employer will go out of business.

Even FDR Understood: No Collective Bargaining for Public Servants.  Public servants — meaning government employees — don't work for greedy miscreants exploiting them for personal profit.  They work for democratically elected officials representing the will of the people.  This is just one reason why there is no legitimate role for government unions, and there should be no collective bargaining rights for public servants.

Desperate Wisconsin Unions Resort to Alinsky Tactics.  Public sector unions have grown in power, and are now the biggest contributor to political campaigns.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) spent $87.5 million last year to help Democrat politicians and influence their votes.  The number of government jobs rose even while unemployment during the recession tipped 10%.  Many public employees in Wisconsin can retire at age 55 with close to full pay, much earlier than the average private sector employee.  Schoolteachers in Madison are some of the best paid teachers in the country, earning an average of $56,000 a year in salary plus benefits totaling over $100,000 in compensation.

Unionized Public Servants Meet Their Enemy.  Upon reflection, we find that the liberal policies that led to these generous civil service compensation time bombs are in many ways the very reason that that they have become unaffordable.  Consider:  [#1] To fund a huge civil service, you need a huge tax base, but the crippling red tape and rules produced by this huge civil service of regulation-generators have driven employers and jobs overseas at a frenetic pace, stunting the growth of that critical tax base.  [#2] To finance a pension plan, you set aside money every year, and invest it in the stock market; but the recent assault on the private sector has robbed those Wall Street investments of their expected growth...

Collective Bargaining Doesn't Work In the Public Sector.  California enacted pension reforms in 1991 which limited the impact of pensions on the state budget.  But in 1999, Gov. Gray Davis and the state's Democratically controlled legislature wiped out those reforms, retroactively putting everyone who had joined the state's workforce in the 1990s into a new, richer system so that today California has unfunded pension liabilities ranging from $200 billion to $500 billion.  That's become a strategy of public worker unions.  They fight reforms, but if they lose they wait 'till they can elect a new set of more sympathetic legislators and then reclaim their gains.  Public unions are bolstered by the fact that government never goes away, unlike private businesses where unions overreach.  In the public sector, there are always taxpayers to turn to when a pension system or health care plan needs to be bailed out thanks to rich giveaways to unions.

The Showdown Over Public Union Power.  Government workers have taken to the streets in Madison, Wis., to battle a series of reforms proposed by Gov. Scott Walker that include allowing workers to opt out of paying dues to unions.  Everywhere that this "opt out" idea has been proposed, unions have battled it vigorously because the money they collect from dues is at the heart of their power.  Unions use that money not only to run their daily operations but to wage political campaigns in state capitals and city halls.  Indeed, public-sector unions especially have become the nation's most aggressive advocates for higher taxes and spending.

Public unions force taxpayers to fund Democrats.  Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.  Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say.  The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats.

Top ten ways to tell if you might be a member of a public-sector union.  [#9] On a snow day when they say "non-essential" people should stay home you know who they mean.  [#8] You get paid twice as much as a private sector person doing the same job but make up the difference by doing half as much work.  [#7] It takes longer to fire you than the average killer spends on death row.

The Public Worker Gravy Train.  [Scroll down]  State and local pensions effectively guarantee employees an 8% return on both their contributions and those made by their employer.  By contrast, a private-sector employee with a 401(k) can achieve a guaranteed return of only around 4% by investing in U.S. Treasury securities.  Most economists believe governments are foolish to base their funding decisions on the assumption of high investment returns, but the benefits for public employees are guaranteed in any case.  Over a career, the difference between a 4% and 8% return is significant.

Government pensions, an obesity epidemic.  In New York City, the No. 2 guy in the fire department retired on a pension worth $242,000 a year.  In New York State, a single official holding two jobs and one pension took in $641,000.  A lieutenant with the Port Authority police retired with an annual pension of $196,767, and 738 of the city's teachers, principals and such have pensions worth more than $100,000 a year.

Government Worker Unions: The Long Good-bye.  The Democratic Party has sold its soul to the public sector unions.  In the 2010 mid-term election, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees poured over $87 million dollars into the election.  (A new spending record).  AFSCME's $87 million was greater than the campaign spending by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($75 million) and American Crossroads ($65 million).  Other public sector unions also ratcheted up their spending such as SEIU ($44 million) and the National Education Association ($40 million).  The three major public sector unions spent over $171 million in the 2010 election plus an estimated $250 million equivalent value of so-called volunteer activity such as get out the vote efforts, door-to-door campaigning and poll watching.

The War On Taxpayers.  The War on Taxpayers is under way, and if you are not a union member, the Democrat Party is your declared enemy.  President Obama is a general in the opposing army.  As the Associated Press puts it, "President Barack Obama and his political machine are offering tactical support, eager to repair strained relations with some union leaders upset over his recent overtures to business."  The New York Times calls the protests "more organized than organic," and says the unions and Democrats see this event as "an opportunity to begin rallying troops for the next election."  Union machinery is already plowing a similar field of Astroturf in Ohio, where another broke state government is trying to gain control of crippling public union benefit costs.

GOP must be clear in Wisconsin labor fight.  In an American sequel to the demonstrations that swept Greece in the aftermath of that country's virtual default and necessary cutbacks on its bloated and unaffordable public sector, thousands of public-employee union members and their supporters swarmed Madison, demanding that their life styles, their medical benefits and their retirement payments be supported by taxpayers who are already paying for their own expensive health insurance and 401(k) plans.  The networks love the crowd shots.  But the voters love Walker.  And not just in Wisconsin, but across the country.

Labor faces a moment of truth.  The six days of protests against Walker's bill to curb collective-bargaining rights have mesmerized cable news viewers and shown a fighting spirit and cohesion that labor groups have rarely displayed during 12 months of serving as public enemy number one in the eyes of tea party insurgents and newly empowered budget cutters.

No Special Treatment for Government Workers!  There's no doubt that the government-union protests taking place in Madison, Wisconsin are about fiscal responsibility, and the public sector learning to live within its means.  But they're also about much, much more.  Above all, the conflict is about whether Americans will continue to be divided into two different classes:  Government workers, and the rest of us.

How Wisconsin Could Save The Democratic Party.  Public employee unions have become the kudzu of government — growing fast and choking off everything else in its path.  That liberal vision of high-speed rail, renewable energy, health care for all, more money for universities?  Sorry, that money is going to government workers and retirees.

64% say government workers should not be represented by a union.  I was shocked when I saw this number.  The gravy train is really over for public employee unions.  Citizens are sick to death of their strikes, threats of strikes, whining, caterwauling, and incompetence.  It wouldn't be this bad probably, if government, at any level, worked.  But Americans look at the [mess] that government has become and wonder why we are paying these bozos so much?

End Public Sector Unions... Period.  When you acknowledge the coming battle, you realize that Governors Walker and Christie — courageously as they are behaving — are only nibbling at the edges of the real issue.  And the real issue is whether public sector unions should even be allowed to exist.  Frankly, when even a modicum of common sense is infused into the equation, the answer is a resounding no.  And the foundational reason is simple.  There is no one at the bargaining table representing the folks who are actually going to pay whatever is negotiated.

Federal fraud:  Healthy workers took disability.  It's always good to see federal employees hard at work.  That is, unless they're collecting a check for being totally disabled at the same time.  That's fraud.

Wisconsin Labor Unrest Could Go National.  The grassroots political operation of President Obama, who on Wednesday denounced the austerity legislation as an "attack on unions," has swung in behind the government workers.  Organizing for America, the activist organizing wing of the Democratic National Committee is helping keep the pressure on Republican lawmakers who plan to pass the legislation today.  Members of the Service Employees International Union, the most influential union in national Democratic circles, have also joined the fray in support of the government workers.  The SEIU is helping man an around-the-clock occupation of the central halls of the state capital.

I Stand with Scott Walker.  Governor Walker is tackling this problem head on, rightly proposing to bring public employees' compensation in line with the private sector.  In response, President Obama, national Democrats and their union allies have gone on the attack, helping organize protests that have flooded the Wisconsin capitol and shutdown public schools in Milwaukee and Madison.  They're even lending moral support to the state Democratic lawmakers who fled the state to avoid a vote.  The nation's governors don't need a lecture from a President who has never balanced a budget.

More about the teachers' unions and the Wisconsin protests.

Labor union stronghold rethinking its position.  The nation's Rust Belt once ran on union power, its factories and steel mills employing Democratic-voting union members who got regular pay raises and good pensions.  Now the region is at the vanguard of a national backlash against organized labor, as newly elected Republican governors and legislatures try to control costs by weakening — or virtually eliminating — unions of government workers.

Is This How a President Should Act?  We are witnessing the logical conclusion of the Democratic Party's philosophy, and it is this:  Your tax dollars exist to make public sector unions happy.  When we run out of other people's money to pay for those contracts and promises (most of which are negotiated outside of public view, often between union officials and the politicians that union officials helped elect), then we just need to raise taxes to cover a shortfall that is obviously Wall Street's fault.  Anyone who doesn't agree is a bully, and might just bear an uncanny resemblance to Hitler.

Wisconsin bill ending collective bargaining will pass, Gov. Scott Walker says.  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he has the votes to pass a bill removing collective bargaining rights for public employees.  Walker says he is open to making changes to the measure, but that he will not "fundamentally undermine the principles" he is proposing.

Jurassic Unions Breathe Fire Against States.  As states struggle to slash budgets, Big Labor's two major confederations are spending big for a new PR campaign and recruiting drive to defend public employee unions.  Their act shows why they've got to go.

Laboring through airports.  There are many ways to improve air travel.  Unionizing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) isn't one of them.  Until recently, the TSA was operating under a very sensible policy:  no collective bargaining.  Why introduce the possibility of strikes and protracted negotiations to an agency in charge of ensuring the safety of millions of air passengers?

Big Union to Step Up Recruiting.  The Service Employees International Union is planning a major campaign to recruit members and counter political pressure on public-sector unions, according to an internal union memo and an SEIU board member.  The campaign — called Fight for a Fair Economy — will focus on mobilizing mostly low-wage minority workers in 10 to 15 cities, including Cleveland, Milwaukee, Miami and Detroit, according to the memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Unionizing the TSA.  After a mere nine years in existence, the Transportation Security Administration rivals the DMV and the Postal Service as a played-out comedy cliché.  And now the TSA is adding union bureaucracy to the mix.  Second-rate standup performers are licking their chops; the rest of us should be much less delighted.  The agency's head, John Pistole, recently gave its 40,000-plus employees the right to argain collectively on "non-security employment issues."  Two unions, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), will compete in an election tentatively set to begin March 9.

Labor unions seen as winners in TSA move.  The Transportation Security Administration is blocking airports that want to use private screeners instead of federal employees in a move the agency's critics say is a sop to labor unions.  Several dozen airports around the country are considering opting out of TSA screening and hiring private-sector firms to search passengers and luggage under federal supervision.  At least six airports already have applied for permission to hire private screeners, as they are allowed to do under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001.

TSA Chief "Willing" To Fire Employees En Masse If Need Be.  Trying to quell concerns over his decision to let security officers vote on whether they want unions to represent them, Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole told lawmakers Thursday [2/10/2011] he would be "willing" to fire TSA employees en masse should they go on strike or cause a slowdown in operations.

The Editor says...
Yeah, right.  That's what he says.  But Obama is no Reagan, and once the TSA goons are unionized and have the support of all the other unions, there's no way they will ever be teminated in large numbers.

Will Dems put unions ahead of air safety?  Air travelers and taxpayers alike are the biggest losers in Transportation Security Administration (TSA) chief John Pistole's decision to allow airport screeners to collectively bargain.  That may be why the decision was made public late Friday when it was bound to attract minimal media coverage.  Conversely, Democrats in Congress are the biggest winners.

Look who makes RomneyCare/MassCare's waiver decisions.  Before there was Obamacare, there was RomneyCare/MassCare.  Before there were Obamacare waivers, there were RomneyCare/MassCare waivers.  And just as the SEIU Purple Army is smack dab in the middle of exempting itself from Obamacare, it is smack dab in the middle of deciding who does and who doesn't have to follow the RomneyCare/MassCare rules in the Bay State.

The TSA Two-Step.  The tale of two Friday afternoon announcements as part of a plan to unionize TSA screeners and keep the process quiet until it's complete.

Safeguards must be installed to prevent voter fraud.  In the last presidential election, there were numerous reports of electoral irregularities, in particular of dubious actions believed to have been engaged in by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Some toll takers raking in $100G.  The dismantling of the Mass Pike authority didn't detour some toll takers from collecting $100,000 or more last year, state payroll records show.  The toll booth workers were among a select group of about 6,400 state employees who earned six-figure payouts in 2010, a Herald payroll analysis shows.

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere.  For the last 30 years, politicians outbid each other to offer more lavish retirement packages to union members and public employees — more eager for their votes than for ensuring the payment of what they had promised.  Receiving a generous retirement package was considered a right rather than an investment predicated on past savings coupled with modest interest and dividends.  There may already be an immediate $1 trillion shortfall in meeting what is owed current retirees.

Unions Head for Showdown With Senate Over TSA Representation.  Unions that want to represent thousands of airport screeners are heading for a showdown with the Senate as early as Monday, with some lawmakers looking to revoke the collective-bargaining rights the Transportation Security Administration just granted them.

A Case Against TSA Unionization.  [Katie] Gage voiced three main concerns with the decision:  1) that a unionized TSA would be less efficient, 2) that already-maligned TSA workers would only become more so, and 3) that TSA workers wouldn't get to hear the case against unionization as they decide whether to join/form one.  "If you want to see larger lines at TSA checkpoints, then let's bring a labor union in to run the show, because that's what they've brought us in the other places.  I don't think anyone would look at the Big Three as a model of efficiency and customer service," Gage said.

Call The Unions' Bluff — Or Perish.  It's well past the time for federal, state, county and city leaders to grow a spine and call the bluff of the public employee unions.  How?  By ending all pensions for new-hire public-employees.

Go Bankrupt, California, Please.  We're now 25 billion dollars in the red in California.  The governor along with his Democrat controlled legislature will never do the right thing.  They're the same folks who brought you this mess.  When Governor Brown was previously the governor he signed the Dills Act in 1978 that gave civil servants the right to collective bargaining.  He did this on his very first day in office as governor.  This revolutionary enactment was the beginning of the end or our state.

Ignore the Union Leader Behind the Curtain.  As discontent with public employee compensation grows, the latest fashion from the Left is to claim that public workers are being scapegoated.  Yesterday [1/4/2011], Gawker even ran a piece called "The Plan to Blame Unions for Everything," arguing that the real causes of states' fiscal woes are failures to properly fund pension plans and a financial collapse caused by greedy bankers.  Without problems caused by other people, there would be no crisis in employee compensation — so don't blame the unions.  The problem with this account is that it is false.

New York City's No-Show SEIU Snow Jobs.  Big Labor and politicians across the United States have transferred union costs to taxpayers.  For example, SEIU Local 444 (The Sanitation Officers Association) has six full-time union officials who are paid full-time city benefits and salary, yet work 0.00% of the time for New York City.  These Sanitation Officers are working on everything but New York City business — including political activities and golf outings — all on the taxpayers' dime.

New York's Union Snow Job.  New York's fierce winter storm that left snow-clogged streets unplowed for days, preventing emergency medical crews from saving lives and rescuing stranded residents, appears to be the result of a union slowdown to protest city budget cuts. ... The chief of the Emergency Medical Service was replaced amid warnings of further reprisals to come.  And a federal and city investigation was underway to determine whether Sanitation Department workers deliberately slowed down snow removal operations, leaving countless streets unplowed to protest demotions, worker layoffs and budget cutbacks.

New governors usher in era of labor union reform.  The AFL-CIO, the New York Times reported, recently distributed an internal memo warning its members that in several states around the country, Republicans may pursue new laws with the goal of financially starving labor unions.  This trend has public employee unions worrying that lawmakers will finally scale back the extent to which unions eat up state budgets.

East St. Louis Cops Get a Bad Case of the Blue Flu.  If they had been paying attention, criminals in East St. Louis could have had run of the streets on New Years Eve when nearly an entire shift of police officers came down with something highly contagious called a strike.  However, since police aren't legally allowed to strike, it's not called a strike.  Instead, it's called the "blue flu" and, like other union-related illnesses, it sometimes comes on all at once.

A Union Boss in Charge of Procurements — What could possibly go wrong?  If you're anything like me, until today, you probably had very little idea what the Government Printing Office is all about.  And, because there are more important things in life than keeping track of every little-known governmental agency and the administration's various political appointees, you might have missed the White House press release letting us know that President Obama just made a whole bunch of recess appointments on Wednesday [12/29/2010].  One of those recess appointments, as it turns out, is the appointment of William Boarman, one of eight sector vice presidents with the Communications Workers of America.  The President, it seems, has opted to bypass the Senate (again) and appointed Boarman to head the Government Printing Office as the Public Printer of the United States.

90-Year-Old Post Office Workers Still Getting Workers Comp?  Years after most Americans retire, in fact years after the federal retirement age of 68, more than 100 U.S. Postal Workers in their 90s are still getting 75 percent of their salaries (tax free, yet) of federal workers compensation payments instead of having been graduated to the cheaper retirement payments at 60 percent of their salaries.

Union Snow Sabotage in New York City?  In New York City, the Department of Sanitation, aka "New York's Strongest," are tasked with clearing the streets of snow.  The sixth most powerful storm in city history pounded New York on December 26, leaving as much as twenty inches of snow covering the Big Apple.  Three days later, hundreds of streets remained completely unplowed.

The case against public employee unions.  John Hinderaker at Powerline makes a powerful case against the existence of public employee unions.  This, in the wake of the news that the New York sanitation workers may have slowed down snow removal last weekend to protest budget cuts.

Bloody Snow.  A New York City councilman has exposed that labor bosses don't need "On the Waterfront"-style corruption to kill innocents.  Sometimes all it takes is a snowstorm.

Time to Rethink Public Employee Unions.  In New York, sanitation workers have reported that their union ordered them to sabotage the city's blizzard cleanup efforts.  If that claim is true, the union may be responsible for at least one death.  Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to investigate.  It remains to be seen what will come of this particular controversy, but the broader point is coming into ever-clearer focus:  it is time to ban public employee unions.

Big Labor's Snowmageddon Snit Fit.  Come rain or shine, wind, sleet, or blizzard, Big Labor leaders always demonstrate perfect power-grabby timing when it comes to shafting taxpayers.  Public-sector unions are all-weather vultures ready, willing, and able to put special-interest politics above the citizenry's health, wealth, and safety.  Confirming rumors that have fired up the frozen metropolis, the New York Post reported Thursday [12/30/2010] that government sanitation and transportation workers were ordered by union supervisors to oversee a deliberate slowdown of its cleanup program — and to boost their overtime paychecks.

Chicago Firefighter 'Priest' Uses Fellow's Funeral For Union Speech.  Father Thomas Mulcrone made [a fool] of himself at the funeral for fallen Chicago Firefighter Edward Stringer on Tuesday, Dec. 28 by delivering some union-like hectoring of the city from the pulpit during his dead comrade's eulogy.  Mulcrone's union-centric address was as disgusting a display as I can imagine and at the most inappropriate time imaginable.

As governments go broke, public employee unions must share the pain.  Michigan authorities aren't alone in facing years of collective bargaining agreements that promised public workers far more pay and benefits than taxpayers could afford.

Union Rollback.  A guest on Fox Business Network said last week that public employee unions are bankrupting state governments.  Isn't it time that legislators outlaw collective bargaining for public-sector workers?

The Public-Sector Ponzi Scheme is Collapsing.  You've been hearing for quite a while now that public-sector unions are a threat to the economic survival of the United States.  With an estimated unfunded liability of up to $3 trillion (and perhaps much more), public-sector pensions are a noose around the neck of America's taxpayers and it is threatening to strangle the nation.  More specifically, you've been hearing that the expensive wage and benefits packages that union-bought Democrats have given to their union benefactors could collapse our economy.  The question is, can we stop it before it it too late, or at a minimum, contain the damage?

Democrats diverging from unions.  Government employee unions have long been one of the Democratic Party's most loyal and dedicated constituencies.  For years, Democratic politicians have supported public employee unions' agenda of increased government spending, leading to more government jobs and thus, more potential union members.  For teachers unions — among the most politically powerful government unions — such support has paid off as Democrats have helped them resist popular school reform efforts that could threaten the government school monopoly, including school choice and charter schools.

Cuomo:  I'll spend more than $4M on union war.  Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo said he was girding for a multi-million-dollar war with public employee unions to defend his efforts to close a projected $9 billion budget deficit without raising taxes.

Eliminate Public Sector Unions!  Labor union dues are a huge factor in donations for an election cycle.  Of the top five contributors to the 2010 elections, unions claimed three of those spots.  The #1 big spender on the 2010 midterm elections happened to be:  The American Federation of State, County, and Municpal Employees (AFSCME) with $87.5 million in donations to Democratic campaigns.  All three of these powerful labor unions had a mission of electing Democrats to office with a sum total of $171.5 million to spend.

California Dreamin'.  The public employee unions are the most powerful political force in the state.  They got that way because, in 1978, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed a law allowing public-sector workers to unionize.  These unions funded Brown's recent campaign and own nearly every elected official in California.  And that's the (relatively) good news.  The really bad news is the exodus of private employers who have been driven out of California by high taxes, an anti-business culture, excessive fines and fees, and oppressive regulations.

Unions are hijacking our democracy.  Unions are spending like their very existence depends on liberals holding on to power in the U.S. government — which it does.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), in fact, "has spent more than any other outside group this election," according to Vincent Vernuccio, Labor Policy Counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  In the 2010 election cycle, the AFSCME has given nearly $90 million, "almost exclusively to left-wing candidates," says Mr. Vernuccio.  (Unions have long operated as little more than liberal re-election slush funds.  In the 2008 election cycle, labor unions spent a combined and whopping $400 million to elect their pet liberals, who could be counted on the vote for union-friendly legislation like card check and ObamaCare.)

Dependency, the Liberals' Natural Resource.  As the government workforce comes to outnumber those in the private sector, the constituency for even more government relentlessly expands.  In fact, as of 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a majority of all union members now work for government. ... When you add the ease of creating public versus private jobs, the march toward everyone being on the public payroll seems inexorable.

The sad story of how public employee unions have all but ruined California.  City Journal's Steve Malanga offers the most detailed and succinct history yet on how public sector unions grew from being toothless employee associations to having a virtually lock on all of the key power levers in California and how they've used that power to enrich themselves while all but ruining a once-goldern state.  As Malanga explains, what has already happened in California is well underway across the rest of the nation and in Washington, D.C.

TSA union to distribute leaflets at airport.  Informational pickets from the union representing security screeners at Indianapolis International Airport are expected today [6/17/2010] to begin passing out leaflets outside the passenger terminal.  The union that has limited rights to represent the 40,000 employees nationwide of the Transportation Security Administration is trying to win full recognition for collective bargaining.

The Enormous Cost of Public Unions.  Last year, it was widely noted, public sector unions pulled off a stunner, gathering in more union members than the total in the much larger private sector.  More than a third of all public employees are now union members, compared to the private percentage of 7.2.  Abetted of course by irresponsible office holders often eager for their political support, these public sector unions have done far more to indulge their members than helping to concoct pensions of a kind hard to locate in private employment.

Reid's Push To Nationalize Police Unions.  In an effort to please union backers ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is quietly trying to nationalize rules governing every police, fire and first responder union in the nation.

Their clout in peril, public employee unions push back.  Public employee unions are pushing Congress for $23 billion to extend stimulus payments to school teachers, including an ad campaign that shows children dressed as Wall Street bankers asking for a bailout.  But the union pressure may not be enough, as lawmakers reject new spending amid rising public anger over the nation's staggering deficit.

Tide of PR battle turns against public employee unions.  [Scroll down]  Unlike President Obama, who can use up 15 minutes and say nothing, [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie needed less than five minutes last week to rebuke the standard media narrative about what is unfolding in the Garden State.  Christie's pushback at the assumptions in reporter Tom Moran's question about the governor's alleged "confrontational" tone instantly shot across the country's many forms of media.

Government Funded Front Groups.  [Scroll down]  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is the government Union whose president boasts "We spent a fortune to elect Barack Obama — $60.7 million to be exact — and we're proud of it."  Apparently they've reaped windfall profits from their investment.  They're the nation's fastest growing union which isn't surprising since under the Progressives the government is the only sector of the economy that's growing.

Sounds like a win-win situation.

SEIU announces Arizona boycott.  One of the nation's biggest labor organizations announced today it will boycott Arizona.  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said its 2.2 million members will not attend any meetings or conventions in Arizona as long as the new immigration law is in place.

Public unions make a private sector power grab.  Public employee unions are getting fired up about the financial regulations chugging through Congress. ... Rallies and marches for a bank bill?  What does that have to do with working for the government?  Stephen Lerner, who is spearheading the movement for the Service Employees International Union, summed it up for Peter Dreier of the Huffington Post:  They want the banks' money.

Stern's Possible SEIU Successor Could Make Union Peace Elusive.  At a time when the nation's fastest-growing union is starting to fall victim to its own aggression, some question whether Anna Burger — who may be in line to replace SEIU President Andy Stern — can deliver anything but more of the same.

Andy Stern's debts.  Purple may be the official color of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), but Andy Stern is leaving the union deep in the red.  Last week, he surprised the labor community by announcing his resignation as president of SEIU.  Mr. Stern has claimed victories in helping pass health care legislation and getting President Obama elected, but his impact within his own organization shows gaping budget deficits and massive underfunding of pensions.

Seeing Red.  On Monday in the Washington Times, Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger — a protégée of outgoing SEIU President Andrew Stern — defended her and Stern's time in leadership at SEIU, claiming that the union is financially healthy.  Burger's letter to the editor was in response to my April 23 article in which I showed the poor state of SEIU's finances — and the even poorer state of its pension funds for rank-and-file members.

Public-sector unions bankrupting America.  California's public-employee retirement system stands in the most perilous condition, facing a half-trillion in unfunded liabilities.  That's not surprising when you consider a California highway patrol officer can retire at age 50 and collect up to 90 percent of his salary for the rest of his life.  According to the agency's website, a typical officer's pay will reach $109,147 after just five years on duty — an amount that can rise significantly with overtime benefits.  That means a fit and healthy 50-year-old "retiree" who began work at age 20 would receive $98,232 a year from taxpayers for the rest of his life, and nothing prevents him from taking another government job to collect two paychecks.  This form of double-dipping is rampant.

SEIU and the 'Cheapest Emotional Denominator'.  To an Alinskyite, "the end justifies almost any means" and an additional 12 million votes could usher in permanent Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress.  What happens thereafter to the nation's social fabric and our treasury is merely collateral damage.

Unions Now Starting Their Own Political Party.  Apparently the Democrats in North Carolina aren't sufficiently leftist enough for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  It appears that the SEIU, one of the largest and most powerful public employees unions in the nation, don't have their hand deep enough in the taxpayer's pockets so it is starting its own political party in the Tar Heel State, bypassing the Democrats altogether.

SEIU starts third party in North Carolina.  Apparently statewide Democrats aren't sufficiently pro-union in North Carolina.  So the nation's most politically influential union has decided to start a third party to run their own candidates in the state.  It's also being done to punish moderate Democrats that voted against health care.

Investigation shows Oregon taxpayers pay for union activities.  In 2009, Oregonian taxpayers paid $152,317 for Service Employees International Union activities, according to records provided by the State Controllers Division at the request of Oregon Politico.  State workers represented by SEIU are given paid time-off for certain union activities.  This time amounted to a total of 6,706.17 hours in 2009.

Federal Workers Aren't Feeling the Pain.  While the President touted the 160,000-plus job gains in February, it should be noted that this year government union workers will exceed private-sector workers in unions.  When the largest union membership represents federal workers, how do you cut the budget?

Denying the Truth at all Costs.  The facts are well known.  Government at all levels has grown faster than any other segment of the economy.  Government, also, pays far more than corresponding workers in the private sector and has lavish benefit packages unmatched by any private worker.  As the Cato Institute detailed in their January, 2010 Tax & Budget Bulletin # 59, the compensation scales and benefits of government are simply unsustainable.  They cannot continue; there must be an adjustment.  But blocking that "adjustment" is the primary goal of labor unions.

Unions Killing U.S. Post Office.  Union contracts are killing the U.S. Post Office, making it uncompetitive and driving costs through the roof according to the Government Accountability Office.  The U.S. Post Office lost $12 billion between 2007 and 2009 and has reached its borrowing limit of $15 billion already.

Public Sector Unions Tarnish the Golden State.  It's an ugly fact of life in California.  Public sector unions are slowly, painfully and inexorably choking the life out of the (once) Golden State.  Fully 54% of state government workers — that's almost 1.8 million people — are unionized.  And the unions' primary reason for existence is maintaining the privileges that state employees enjoy, at any cost to the rest of the state.

Jumping When Unions Holler.  Obama's promise of a better, cleaner, and more transparent brand of politics has not been fulfilled.  Not by a long shot.  The president appoints the SEIU boss to the deficit commission.  Congress behind closed doors churns out colorfully named sweetheart deals on ObamaCare.  And then they really reveal the depths of their dependence on special-interest patrons.

Portland firefighters union sticks it to the city.  Even Tom Hurley, it's safe to say, figured there were limits on how much you could milk the Portland Fire and Police Disability Fund.  For 12 years after an independent medical examiner ruled he could stop playing hurt and return to work, Hurley received a monthly disability check at the taxpayers' expense.  But even Hurley — the latest, and laziest, in a long line of firefighters — eventually decided the jig was up.

History of public sector unions shows why they should be banned.  Unions can make sense in the private sector where the purpose of an enterprise is to provide products and services needed by people who can pay for them and in the process allow the firm to generate a profit to be shared in mutually agreeable proportions among owner and employees.  The profit is the essential measure of whether the enterprise is viable.  But in the public sector, there is no such measure because the state can only tax wealth created by others.

Sinking By The Stern.  The White House picks its most frequent visitor to sit on its deficit commission.  He believes in big government, in big spending, and that the workers of the world should unite.  What could go wrong?

Obama Draws Fire for Appointing SEIU's Stern to Deficit Panel.  President Obama's decision to appoint his close political ally, union leader Andrew Stern, to the newly created National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has set off a firestorm of criticism from business and conservative groups who charge he is a political radical who should be investigated for failure to register as a lobbyist.

Andy Stern and Barack Obama:  Fiscal Responsibility Fraudsters.  Everything you need to know about President Obama's commitment to fiscal responsibility and cost containment can be summed up in two words:  Andy Stern.  The profligate, corruption-coddling head of the powerful Service Employees International Union was named to the White House debt commission last week.  If Obama thinks Stern holds the cure for our government spending woes, you can be certain his latest health care prescription will be fiscal hemlock.

USA Today: Average federal employee makes $38,000+ more than private sector worker.  [Scroll down]  Throw in benefits, and the average federal worker makes $38,000+ more than the average private sector worker — the very same one who's ultimately paying his salary.

For feds, more get 6-figure salaries.  The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.  Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Obama Names SEIU's Stern to Deficit Commission.  President Obama has named four members to his bipartisan deficit-reduction commission, including Andy Stern, the influential president of the Service Employees International Union.

Obama and the Government Employees:  Public-sector unions have amassed great power to extract taxpayer dollars from politicians.  Politicians reward government workers with our dollars, and they in turn are rewarded at election time by donations, free labor (phone banks, people who pass out flyers), and votes.  "Fully one-third of the 'stimulus' money went to state and local governments — an obvious payoff to public employee unions that contributed so much to Democrats," as Michael Barone noted.

Obama's federal jobs:  Employment is up, wages are up, and job security is as firm as ever.  Unfortunately, this is only true for federal government workers.  President Obama is presiding over the largest federal work force in decades.  In the current fiscal year, the number of civilian workers will grow by 153,000, to 1.43 million.

SEIU Boss Open to Serving on Obama Deficit Reduction Commission.  Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern said he was open to serving on President Barack Obama's proposed deficit reduction commission, after it was reported that the White House was considering him for the post.

SEIU PAC Spent $27 Million Supporting Obama's Election, FEC Filing Says.  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) political action committee made more than $27 million in independent expenditures in support of President-elect Barack Obama's presidential campaign, according to a filing the PAC made with the Federal Election Commission.

Hijacking the Private Sector, the SEIU and Blago Way.  As the union leaders' plundering of the private sector has continued, this doesn't mean that they have abandoned unionizing private sector workers altogether.  In fact, while the number of private sector jobs overall is down, the number of unionized private sector jobs is trending upward, right alongside the public sector growth.

SEIU Fat Cats Behind First Lady's Anti-Obesity Campaign.  Behind every seemingly good deed in the Obama White House, there's a deep-pocketed, left-wing special interest.  Take first lady Michelle Obama's crusade against childhood obesity.  Who really benefits from the ostensible push for improved nutrition in the schools?  Think purple — as in the purple-shirted army of the Service Employees International Union.

Public-sector Unions Bleed Taxpayers to Help Dems.  Last month, the Labor Department reported that private-sector unions lost 834,000 members last year and now represent only 7.2 percent of private-sector employees.  That's down from the all-time peak of 36 percent in 1953-54.  But union membership is still growing in the public sector.

GDP Is Up, But Government Unions Ate Your Raise.  Figures released today [1/29/2010] by the Bureau of Labor Statistics provide less encouragement than today's GDP report.  Total compensation increased by only 1.5 percent in 2009 (without adjusting for inflation) — the lowest increase on record.  If a turnaround has begun, workers are not feeling it in their wallets.

This should prove, to those who had any doubt, that the SEIU is primarily a political organization.
SEIU's Stern:  Dems may not get labor's full support in fall midterms.  A highly influential labor leader Friday [1/22/2010] suggested congressional Democrats might not the full support of unions in the upcoming midterm elections should they not pass a full healthcare reform package.

SEIU:  Building a New American Health Care Empire?  Most average Americans know little about the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  Some know them as the people in purple shirts that beat up attendees at the town halls this summer.  Some equate them to ACORN, or to the Obama administration.  While there is some truth to all of the above, there is for certain one title that every voting American should be bestowing upon SEIU, and that is the title of "special interest".

Obama's Jobs Summit:  The Invisible Hand of SEIU and ACORN.  As President Obama concludes his first jobs summit, almost a year into his presidency, the nature of the guest list hints at a deliberate initiative that's been underway for over 15 years — and it's not one of the obvious presumptions that most would make.  Notice that of the list of leaders invited, the majority are labor union leaders, leaders of businesses with government contracts, or leaders of businesses that operate on partial public funding.

Ban government employee unions.  There was a time in America when the typical union member was a blue-collar guy sweating in a Pittsburgh steel mill, screwing together Chevies in Detroit or loading and unloading ships on the San Francisco docks.  But things are radically different today because Joe Lunchpail has been replaced by white-collar Todd and Margo Yuppiecrat processing Social Security checks in Baltimore, conducting environmental audits in Denver or keeping the lines moving at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Tuesday's Biggest Loser:  the Union Agenda.  [Scroll down]  That man is Andy Stern, who has boasted that the Service Employees International Union, which he heads, ponied up something like $60 million for Barack Obama and other Democrats in the 2008 campaign cycle.  Altogether, Mr. Stern and other labor union leaders reportedly gave Democrats some $400 million last year.  This was, to borrow a word from Mr. Obama, an audacious gamble.  Unions these days represent only 8% of private-sector employees (and that's counting General Motors and Chrysler as private sector) and some unions went into debt to make these contributions.

Big Labor and Big Government — there's little difference.  A new Heritage foundation study shows that while the percentage of the American workforce that is unionized is holding steady, there's actually a huge difference in the composition of those union workers.  Private sector unions continue to dwindle, but public sector unionization is on the rise.

Obama puts union strings on federal jobs.  Delivering on President Obama's promise to boost the labor movement, the administration has announced a $35 million federal construction project in New Hampshire that requires union representation for the workers and forces nonunion employees to pay dues and contribute to a union pension fund.  Mr. Obama issued an executive order in the first weeks of his presidency that would make the requirement, known as a "project labor agreement" or PLA, the norm for all government contracts on large-scale construction jobs.

Some Criticize SEIU for Its ACORN Connections.  A rapidly growing union that represents nurses, janitors and other low-wage workers is coming under fire from conservatives because of its long-standing financial and leadership ties to ACORN, a liberal organizing group recently embarrassed by videos filmed covertly.  Some Republicans say federal agencies that recently cut ties with ACORN — the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — should also consider severing their relationship with the Service Employees International Union.

SEIU Hit by ACORN.  As the full extent of ACORN's corruption and criminality is revealed, we are also learning about ACORN's special friend, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the most militant and active unions in the country.  It turns out that the two organizations are quite chummy.

Not Far From the Tree.  While everyone in Washington is suddenly pretending they've hardly ever heard of ACORN, they might want to pretend they've never heard of the SEIU, one of the nation's largest unions.  The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and the Service Employees International Union are as tight as Heidi Klum and a new pair of jeans.

Did someone mention ACORN?

Read the Union Health-Care Label.  In the heated debates on health-care reform, not enough attention is being paid to the huge financial windfalls ObamaCare will dole out to unions — or to the provisions in the various bills in Congress that will help bring about the forced unionization of the health-care industry.  Tucked away in thousands of pages of complex new rules, regulations and mandates are special privileges and giveaways that could have devastating consequences for the health-care sector and the American economy at large.

More about Obamacare.

And You Thought This Was All About Health Care...  The all-consuming debate over health care has effectively sucked all of the oxygen out of the policy world leaving little room for discussion, let alone action on other major elements of the progressive agenda — or so it would seem.  The mammoth bills winding their way through Congress will certainly upend our health care sector, if they are enacted.  Little known, however, are several provisions that will provide an enormous pay-off to one of the Democrat parties most loyal constituency — Big Labor.

Labor Unions on Health Care:  Their True Motives.  Unions across the country are campaigning hard for Obamacare over Labor Day weekend.  The AFL-CIO has made creating a government run "public plan" their top priority.  Yet polls show that most Americans strongly oppose this.  So why have the self-proclaimed advocates for America's workers made government-run health care their top priority?

ACORN's "Muscle for Money" does the bidding of SEIU.  Corporate and political officials who defy workplace and community organizers risk being made objects of scorn by bright red-clad protestors in public and private, courtesy of an activist union and its close allies in the nation's most controversial liberal non-profit advocacy group.  It's officially called the "Muscle for Money" program within the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where it was started, and unofficially by the same name among activists of Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN).

Back to ACORN General Hospital.  Unlike 98.4% of you nurses out there, I have actually belonged to a union.  Years ago, after accepting a new hospital position I was filling out the obligatory HR paperwork.  Among the forms was an index card.  "What's this?" I asked.  "It's for the union."  I handed it to her.  "You don't understand.  I am an RN.  A professional.  I won't be joining a union."  She handed the card back to me.  "No, you don't understand.  This is a closed shop.  Fill out the card."  Except for irritation at the dues deducted from my paycheck, the union had no effect on my life.  Then, a few months later, the hospital informed us that they were in dire financial straits and needed concessions from all employees.  So, I made plans to attend my one and only union meeting.  We gathered to hear how our union was going to fight for our rights.  The representative got up to the microphone and said — I swear I am not making this up — "We've looked over what they're asking and we recommend you take it."  End of meeting.

State's budget crisis opens rift between unions and Democrats.  The Capitol's usual political alliances are being tested by the state's severe financial problems as interest groups scramble to hold onto as much as possible of the state's shrinking coffers.  The relationship between Democratic leaders and some of their labor benefactors has turned particularly frosty:  Many of the programs union members rely on for paychecks — and the unions rely on for dues — have been slated for deep cuts.

An obvious payback to the unions who supported Obama...
Davis-Bacon Wage Provisions Depress the Economy.  Congress has included a little-known provision in the economic stimulus legislation that wastes tax dollars and costs jobs.  All $188 billion worth of construction projects funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) must pay Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rates.  This requirement will inflate construction costs by $17 billion and depress the economy.

The Union Police:  Unions keep losing membership as a share of the national workforce, which explains why organized labor's main political focus is changing the rules to force more workers into unions.  Witness a bill that Senate Democrats are pushing this week to require that hundreds of thousands of local police and firemen submit to collective bargaining. … Sixteen states have considered legislation like this since 1996 and voted it down.  The bill, pushed hardest by the International Association of Fire Fighters, would impose it nationwide, superceding all of these state laws.

Heat on volunteer firefighters.  You probably haven't heard Congress is about to shut down many of America's volunteer fire departments.  Not intentionally, perhaps.  Yet a little-known bill advancing through Congress would do just that. … Who would want to shut them down?  The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), that's who. … The union's effort to ban volunteering is an assault on our civic fabric.  Doctors who provide free care to the poor, lawyers who work pro bono for the disadvantaged, and firefighters who volunteer for their communities make America a better country.

Labor-Liberal Incest.  In Stamford, Connecticut, where I live, police, fireman, and teachers unions, which constitute more than 70% of the budget, are driving property taxes upward at rates of 8% to 10% per annum.  Emblematic of the malevolent influence of these unions is the daily spectacle of uniformed policemen, at $70 per hour, doing an indifferent job of directing traffic around roadside work crews.  Such work could and should be done at no more than $10 per hour by lower-income people eager for such work.

Connecticut Public Employees Live On Easy Street.  "No, layoffs are not something we would ever consider," said former Connecticut House of Representatives Speaker Moira Lyons (D-Stamford) in November 2002, in response to a reporter's question about laying off state employees in order to close the state's budget deficit.

Overly Powerful Public Sector Unions.  The percentage of private sector workers who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement has plunged to just 8.5 percent, down from 23.2 percent in 1983. … Meanwhile, public sector union membership shows very little net change over the past 22 years, rising from 340,00 to 350,000.

Can the Postal Service Learn?  Employees of the U.S. Postal Service — the third largest employer in the country — should take note:  Asking for too much can sometimes turn big benefits into big layoffs.  Delphi, the nation's largest auto-parts supplier and employer of 34,000 hourly workers, is bankrupt.  It might have something to do with the fact that Delphi's unionized workers make on average $64 per hour in wages and benefits — more than twice what some of its competitors pay.

Air Controllers Strike Again?  In 1998, the union-dependent [Clinton] administration caved in to today's average controller pay of $166,000 (not counting the most generous pension and benefits in the world), with the top rate of $197,000 exceeding the pay of all cabinet secretaries — and costing $1.9 billion.  That apparently is not enough.

Discrimination by Unions:  The Davis-Bacon Act was passed by Congress in 1934 with the strong support of labor unions.  The Act requires construction firms contracting for the federal government to pay their workers "locally prevailing wages," and it was passed by lawmakers with the explicit intention of keeping low-skilled African-American workers out of federal construction projects. … In 1999, Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce testified before Congress on the "racist roots" of the Davis-Bacon Act.

How to Save $40 Billion:  President Obama said in his Inaugural Address yesterday that government must spend to rebuild roads and bridges, but that those "who manage the public's dollars" must also "spend wisely" and "reform bad habits."  With that ambition in mind, here's an idea to save tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in the months ahead:  Repeal Davis-Bacon superminimum wage requirements for construction projects.

Unions are Dangerous to Business and Taxpayers.  Every state and community across the nation is now facing powerful public employee unions when it's time to renegotiate public employee contracts.  The unions are aggressive, self-serving, and will strike, shutting down or crippling essential public services when it's to their benefit in order to intimidate and win larger concessions.

Washington State Workers Win Back Their Jobs.  Ten Washington state employees who were forced from their jobs for refusing to pay union dues are back at work.  In June the state employees settled their class-action lawsuit against the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE).  The union agreed to remedy its violations, rehire the fired employees, provide them back pay, and cover nominal damages and attorneys fees.

California's Union Blues.  The controversy surrounds an initiative called "paycheck protection" which is now headed to Golden State voters in a special election this fall.  The measure would require public sector unions to receive written permission from rank-and-file members before spending their dues on political activities.

Taxpayers are footing bill for union work.  In the wake of a controversy over a police union official who received a city salary while working full time for the officers union, a survey of city government, Muni and BART unions reveals a handful of other officials with similar arrangements, including a San Francisco sheriff's union chief who earned $60,000 a year but worked as little as one shift a month.

Union influence:  Bill Clinton's memoir will hit bookstores later this month, but one story you're not likely to read in its pages involves Clinton's friendship with Arthur A. Coia.  The debonair former president of the Laborers International Union of North America was one of the Democratic Party's biggest contributors when Clinton was in office.  In the first four years of the Clinton administration alone, LIUNA gave $4.8 million to Democrat candidates and the Democratic Party.  Although Clinton had contact with Coia no fewer than 120 times, their association is an awkward memory for the former president given the latter's ties to organized crime and that of the union he once headed.

Union politics:  President Bush's new campaign ads, which feature fleeting images of firemen removing the remains of victims from the attack on the World Trade Center, have ignited a firestorm of criticism from the union representing New York firefighters.  The union's complaints should come as no surprise since the IAFF was an early supporter of Sen. John Kerry; in fact, they were the only union to endorse Kerry before the New Hampshire primary.  Less well known, however, is the IAFF's own exploitation of those fallen heroes of September 11 to advance the cause of forced unionism for all public safety workers.

Watching over the unions:  Howard Dean wasn't the only loser in the Iowa caucuses.  Two of the nation's biggest, most politically powerful unions, the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Union), endorsed Dean.  AFSCME and SEIU are estimated to have spent $2.6 million in Iowa trying to win the state for Dean, who ended up with only 18 percent of the vote.

Is it safe?  President Bush tried to get rid of lazy, burned out, incompetent, uncaring or corrupt federal employees when he set about to establish a Homeland Security Department, but he met solid resistance from leftist union-loving Democrats who claim that if Bush can hire, fire or promote federal employees on merit alone, we'll be "headed back to the bad old days."  Most of us are realistic enough to realize that these are the bad old days.

Are Unions A Detriment To A Good Work Ethic? You Betcha!  One thing that the Wisconsin protests prove is that FDR was right about public unions.  In a National Affairs magazine article Daniel DeSalvo wrote:  "Meticulous attention," the president insisted in 1937, "should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government...  The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service."  The reason?  FDR believed that "[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied.  Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable."  Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor.  Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was "impossible to bargain collectively with the government."

The illegal New York City transit strike of 2005:

Struck by the Strike.  One of the principal elements of civil society is the rule of law.  Society depends upon most people obeying the law most of the time, together with tough sanctions for violation.  In this spirit, the full strength of any and all sanctions of the Taylor Law should be imposed upon the leadership of New York's illegally striking bus and subway workers.

You see, The Taylor Law  prohibits strikes by public employees.

Screws Tighten on NYC Transit Union.  The contract covering 33,000 New York transit workers expired last week, and the union called the strike Tuesday morning [12/20/2005] despite a state law banning public employee strikes.

Court Fines NYC Transit Strikers $1M a Day.  The city's subway and bus workers went on strike Tuesday [12/20/2005] for the first time in more than 25 years, stranding millions of commuters, holiday shoppers and tourists at the height of the Christmas rush.  A judge promptly slapped the union with a $1 million-a-day fine.

Despite an Illegal Strike, New York Transit Workers Win.  Barely a week after New York's 34,000 transit workers illegally walked off the job for three days near the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays, the union received a contract offer many people saw as a victory for the union.

Judge Ends Automatic Rake Of Dues for Transit Workers.  The Transport Workers Union must pay $2.5 million for the strike that brought subway and bus service to a standstill for three days last December, a Brooklyn judge ruled yesterday [4/17/2006].  State Supreme Court Judge Theodore Jones also penalized the union by halting its automatic collection of member dues.

NYC Mass Transit Local Makes Unorthodox Plea to Avoid Fines.  When Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) went on a three-day strike during last year's Christmas shopping season, it did more than disrupt the lives of millions of New York City bus and subway commuters; it also broke the law.  And in doing so, it opened itself up to roughly $3 million in fines.  On Friday, April 7, lawyers for the local argued before Justice Theodore Jones of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn that the fines, if levied, would bankrupt the union.  Therefore, stated the defense, the fines should be waived.

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Updated June 20, 2024.

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