Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Big Labor's Vendetta

Although Barack Obama was re-elected president in
the last national election, Republicans made significant
gains in statewide races, with painful consequences for
Big Labor and their allies. And the union chiefs are
still smarting from their wounds.

They went whole hog in the last election, with little to
show for their efforts besides returning Obama to the
White House, but they have publicly promised to do so
again. And they have specific targets in their crosshairs.
One such target is my state's governor, Scott Walker,
who has reformed Wisconsin's government in a way
benefitting taxpayers and small businesses while
clamping down on union influence in the cost of
operating government. Many was the time in years
past when governors and legislators in the Badger State
could not touch union compensation when looking
for parts of the state budget to cut in order to save
money and hold down taxes, until Scott Walker and
the Republicans created and passed Act 10 which
curbed the public employees' unions' increases in
pay and benefits, also requiring that union members
contribute a greater portion of their wages and
salaries to their retirement funds. The legislation
also ended mandatory union membership for getting
and keeping a job with the state, giving employees
the option of leaving the union if they so desired.
These reforms, of course, have gotten the AFL-CIO's
Fruit of the Looms tied up in knots, and their boss,
Richard Trumka vows to reverse this and similar
restrictions imposed on public employee unions by
newly-elected GOP governors in other states,
especially Michigan --- a newly created Right to Work
state (horror of horrors for the unions!).

Trumka and his allies can't stand the fact that the
majority of the people across the country don't want to
be forced to support unionized state workers with ever-
increasing taxes to give these workers ever-increasing
pay and benefits, far beyond the levels that workers in
the private sector holding comparable jobs receive.
Additionally, many workers now in unions are highly
dissatisfied with their unions and want to leave them
but they are denied this choice by their unions,
especially in states that do not have laws like Act 10
or Right to Work that would make this option possible.
These measures erode both union power and pocket-
books, you see. They believe that we in the private
sector should make financial sacrifices in hard times,
not themselves. They believe that they are in a higher
strata or class than the rest of us, that they are superior
to us. And Trumka and his pals want not only to knock
off courageous GOP governors like Walker, but turn
state legislatures, filling them with Democrats who
will eagerly do their bidding, the public be damned.

Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME and chairman of
the AFL-CIO's political committee, avers "It's about
survival ... What's ahappened didn't just hurt public
sector unions, it hurt the entire labor movement," in
commenting on Walker's law and similar laws passed
in Michigan, Indiana, and elsewhere. The AFL-CIO
and other outside left-wing interest groups poured
nearly $36 million into Wisconsin's recall elections
in 2012, in which they tried to undo the results of an
election that made clear the will of a clear majority
of the people two years earlier. This was like if a
football team lost the Super Bowl then it should have
a rematch, a do-over right away; never mind that the
footbal lseason has ended and they should try again
in the next season. The union forces and allied groups
got thumped again when Walker won by an even bigger
margin than in 2010, and that the Republicans still held
onto a majority of seats in the Assembly and the Senate
to keep the state firmly in GOP hands.

Big Labor has a big stake in defeating Walker and flipping
the Wisconsin legislature; even if they lose other races in
other states, if they can take out Walker they can crow that
they won the war despite losing a few battles. They would
thus become emboldened to make similar all-out efforts
in other parts of the country. And the taxpayers will get the
shaft along with a big, fat, raised middle finger from the
AFL-CIO and the Democrats. Meanwhile union membership
has remained flat in 2013, sitting at 11.3% of the nation's
work force. For contrast, union membership was at 35%
back in 1960, and has been falling precipitously ever since,
with a combination of factors including workers' disen-
chantment with union representation and treatment,
companies heading to the southern states where Right to
Work laws are more prevalent, and the consequential
disappearance of jobs because of burdensome
economic conditions exacerbated by unions inflating the
cost of labor, especially in the public sector as a result
of employers moving out or closing down. Your
prescient Peasant states here and now that we must gird
for yet another bruising battle to hold onto our hard-won
gains in the recent elections here in my home state of
Wisconsin and elsewhere. We can prevail again, provided
we don't slacken or falter. And let's not forget that Congress
is up for grabs this fall as well; we must hold onto the House
while taking the Senate. But the big reforms will come
not from Washington but from the states; we must kindle
these fires and get them to spread to Washington in
order to make the five years so far of the Obama regime
fade like a terrible nightmare and restore our country.
We must make it clear to Obama, the Democrats, Big
Labor, and their grubby little chums that We the People
rule here, that we are not their servants, their ATMS,
their lackeys, or their peons!

It starts with the states. Let's get busy.


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