Many a truth is spoken in jest, and no one distills the situation more than editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez…
In any discussion about restoring our constitutional republic and restoring fundamental American values, we must consider the malignant influence of public employee unions on our local, state, and federal institutions.
Before examining the problem and proposed solutions, let me say that it is essential to separate the rank-and-file members from their corrupt self-dealing partisan leadership. I think highly of my postal carrier, my past teachers, and other individual members of public employee unions who are politically coerced into union membership using physical (thuggery), psychological (peer pressure), and financial (raises and promotions) means.
Public employee unions, a corrupt progressive communist democrat fundraising, and vote-gathering machine…
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that public employee unions overwhelmingly support Democratic politicians and candidates – driven mainly by the false perception that Democrats are more likely to be supportive of workers' rights, social safety net programs, and other issues beneficial to union members. Unlike private sector unions, which tend to be more politically diverse in their support, a 2018 report by the Center for Responsive Politics described how over 90% of political contributions from public sector unions went to Democrats during the 2016 election cycle. This pattern continued for the next seven years, partly because most public workers tend to be more politically liberal.
It's important to note that not all public sector union members necessarily support the political positions of their union leadership; they are rarely surveyed to determine how many employees may hold more conservative or moderate political views. Thus, they become accomplices to a cycle of the political corruption of the collective bargaining system and captives to their leadership's partisan position.
The union’s march to communism…
While most people think of unions as patriotic institutions, the politics of their leadership points leftward towards communism where Marxist theories resonate and reinforce the importance of collective action and the struggle between workers and capitalists.
Solidarity and Collective Action: Marxist ideas emphasize the importance of workers coming together in solidarity to achieve their goals. Public employee unions, which represent workers in government jobs, have historically used collective bargaining and strikes to negotiate better working conditions, wages, and benefits.
Opposition to Capitalism: Marxist ideas emphasize the struggle between workers and capitalists. Some public employee unions have used this framework to argue that their members are exploited by government and corporate elites, and that their struggle for better wages and benefits is part of a broader movement for social and economic justice.
Critique of Neoliberalism: Marxist ideas are critical of neoliberalism, which emphasizes free-market policies and privatization. Public employee unions have been critical of neoliberal policies that they argue have led to job cuts, wage stagnation, and the erosion of workers' rights.
Political Activism: Marxist ideas emphasize the importance of political activism and social change. Some public employee unions have been involved in political campaigns and social movements, advocating for policies that purportedly benefit their members and working-class people more broadly.
By definition, the politics of public employee unions are the inverse of the capitalist system that subsidizes the union’s very existence. Union leaders promote equity, the equality of outcomes, which destroys the workers’ incentive for superior performance and achievement relative to the lowest performing and achieving employees. Leading to both moral and financial bankruptcy as the elite leadership relies on the wealth redistribution of a shrinking pool of assets to maintain their power, until power must be enforced at the point of a gun wielded by a regime thug who is compensated above the wages of the truly oppressed.
The matter of internal union corruption…
Embezzlement: This occurs when union officials use union funds for personal gain. For example, in 2018, the former president of the Boston Carmen's Union Local 589, a public transit union, was sentenced to prison for embezzling more than $180,000 from the union.
Bribery: This occurs when union officials accept bribes in exchange for favors or to influence union decision-making. For example, in 2016, a former president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, a union representing New York City correction officers, was sentenced to prison for accepting bribes in exchange for union endorsements of political candidates.
Vote Rigging: This occurs when union officials manipulate union elections to ensure that their preferred candidates win. For example, in 2014, the former president of the Longshoremen's Union in Los Angeles was sentenced to prison for rigging union elections.
Intimidation: This occurs when union officials use threats or other forms of intimidation to prevent members from speaking out or challenging union leadership. For example, in 2017, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, a public transit union in Toronto, was removed from his position for allegedly engaging in intimidation tactics against union members who disagreed with him.
Nepotism: This occurs when union officials give preferential treatment to family members or friends in union hiring or other decisions. For example, in 2019, the former head of a union representing Illinois tollway workers was sentenced to prison for taking bribes and engaging in nepotism by hiring family members and friends for union jobs.
The matter of external political corruption…
Bribery: Public employee union officials may accept bribes or kickbacks from contractors or other parties in exchange for influencing municipal support and preferential treatment of vendors and contractors.
Racketeering: Public employee union officials may engage in racketeering activities, such as using their municipal connections to force kickbacks from contractors or other parties doing public business.
Conflict of interest: Public employee union officials may force public workers to support activities that conflict with their duties to the public in favor of the union agenda.
Election fraud: Public employee union officials officials may engage in election fraud, such as using union resources to support or oppose candidates, or by manipulating election results using union employees who agree to become election workers. Public employee union officials officials may provide off-the-books funds to cover a candidate's personal expenses and support their political campaigns.
False representation: Public employee union officials may misrepresent union policies or actions to members of the public, or may make false claims about public activities involving the union agenda.
Intimidation: This occurs when public employee union officials use threats or other forms of intimidation to prevent politicians from speaking out or challenging union positions, or voting for union contract provisions which disadvantage the public or artificially increase the cost of doing the public’s business. This includes the demand for the use of union-backed DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)factors in decisionmaking or mandated instructional programs.
The benefits of eliminating public employee unions.
Consider the impact of eliminating public employee unions:
- Cost Savings: Eliminating public employee unions could potentially reduce costs for governments and taxpayers. This could be achieved by reducing wages and benefits for public employees or outsourcing services to the private sector.
Increased Flexibility: Without unions, governments may have more flexibility to change staffing levels, work hours, and other working conditions. This could allow governments to respond more quickly to changes in demand for public services or to budgetary constraints.
Improved Accountability: Eliminating public employee unions could improve public employee accountability by making it easier to discipline or terminate employees who are not performing adequately. This could enhance the quality of public services and increase public trust in government.
Reduction of Political Influence: Public employee unions have too much political influence, and eliminating them could reduce the power of special interests in government decision-making.
Corrupted Pension plans are bankrupting government entities…
The most significant drag on a municipalities expenses is the artificially inflated pension funds resulting from "sweetheart" labor contracts or outright pension fraud that has been contractually or tacitly approved by politicians beholden to their union masters.
Unlike the private sector with its defined contribution pension plans (where both the employer and the employee contribute to an individual account for the employee, and the employee assumes the investment risk and has control over how the funds are invested), the public sector uses a defined benefit pension plan (where the municipality guarantees a specific retirement benefit to employees based on a formula that typically takes into account the employee's salary and years of service).
The critical difference between the two is how retirement benefits are determined and who assumes the investment risk. In defined benefit programs, the employer assumes the investment risk, which is guaranteed by the taxpayers no matter how much the benefits may actually cost. In contrast, in defined contribution plans, the employee assumes the investment risk.
There is no doubt that the defined benefit program is far superior to that offered in the private sector and has the potential to bankrupt a municipality over time. It is also rife with fraud, such as allowing officials to take early retirement, bump pension benefits upward by issuing an undeserved promotion before retirement, or allow municipal employees to "purchase" additional years of service using unused vacation pay or actual cash. Not to forget the lax investigation of disability claims or allowing multiple pensions for different public employee job functions. And for politicians, pensions and other benefits for minimal political service.
The dangers of defined benefit pensions are well known…
Funding Risk: Defined benefit pensions are usually funded by employers, who are responsible for ensuring that there is enough money to pay the promised benefits. If the investments of the pension fund perform poorly, or if retirees live longer than expected, the employer may be left with a funding shortfall.
Employer Liability: With defined benefit pensions, the employer is on the hook for ensuring that the promised benefits are paid, regardless of how well the investments perform. This can create significant liability for employers, especially if they are unable to meet their pension obligations.
One, eliminate public employee unions and rely on well-developed and established legal mechanisms to provide employee protections in matters of safety, security, and employee exploitation and abuse. To implement these legal protections, I suggest that we turn to the judiciary and use the lessons of small claims court, with no attorneys or advocates, to deal with minor grievances. The higher courts would handle more serious matters.
Two, eliminate defined benefit pension plans in favor of defined contribution pension plans with no special considerations for extraordinary plan contributions or benefits.
Three, eliminate double dipping and early retirement for employees working in an environment that would not be generally considered life-threatening, such as police, fire, and medical first responders: no early retirements and the opportunity to return as a consultant or per diem employee at higher wages.
Four, strengthen safeguards on medical benefits regarding disabilities, stress, and other common disabilities used to obtain early retirement or bump benefits upward.
I find it abhorrent that we are allowing the use of the voters' own tax money to push pro-union candidates and positions in such a manner as to encourage political corruption and the violation of our democratic principles.
Eliminating public employee unions is both a controversial and complicated issue requiring a significant change to public perception and existing labor laws -- and likely face strong opposition from politicians who benefit from union endorsements, the union leadership, and their Marxist supporters.
Some potential steps to eliminate employee unions:
Legal Action: It is possible, but unlikely, for government entities to file legal action against unions if they are found to be engaging in illegal political activities or violating labor laws. However, this would require overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing and would likely face significant legal challenges, especially from those benefitting from the current system.
Union Decertification: Public employees may seek to decertify a union by filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a decertification election. This would require a majority vote of public employees in favor of decertification and protections against union thuggery and coercion.
Anti-Union Legislation: A state legislatures could pass laws “right to work” laws that restrict the activities of unions or make it more difficult for unions to operate, again these measures would would most likely face significant opposition and legal challenges.
Employee Choice: Perhaps the best way to eliminate employee unions is to give employees the choice to opt out of union membership. This would require changes to labor laws to make union membership optional, rather than mandatory and would force public employee unions to prove a net tangible benefit to their membership. Off the table would be union-negotiated labor contracts and the promise of continually rising wages and benefits without a corresponding increase in productivity or a reduction of superfluous employees in a practice known as “featherbedding.”
Until the system is reformed, we are totally and thoroughly screwed.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS