Tag Archives: Big Labor

Amazing: California teachers challenge forced payment of union dues

Dad sent me this article from the Washington Free Beacon. It’s good news!

Excerpt:

A group of California teachers is preparing for a Supreme Court battle to overturn forced union dues in a groundbreaking lawsuits filed in June.

For nearly three decades, the Supreme Court has allowed closed-shop unionism, in which public employees must pay dues to labor groups handling collective bargaining negotiations.

The Supreme Court established Beck Rights in 1988 allowing workers to opt out of union dues for political activities, while continuing to pay for union negotiating expenses. The teachers are hoping to take that battle one step further by putting an end to all coercive union dues.

Ten California schoolteachers are challenging California’s policy of forcing all public employees to pay union dues for collective bargaining. The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is aiding their suit. The CIR views the issue through the lens of the Constitution, rather than as a contest of labor policy.

“Our efforts are not anti-union; we are trying to solidify the First Amendment rights of public employees to freely assemble,” CIR president Terry Pell said.

The plaintiffs filed a preliminary injunction on Tuesday asking the court to waive the teachers’ union dues during the ongoing trial. Pell is certain the motion will fail, which is all the better for the plaintiffs because it will “fast-track” the litigation to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and eventually the Supreme Court.

“This is a piece of strategic litigation—we’re trying to get the issue of compulsory union dues to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible,” he said. “We know that lower courts can’t overrule Supreme Court precedent, but this will expedite us through the system.”

The Roberts court opened the door to ending coercive unionism last year when it ruled 5-4 that Service Employees International Union improperly charged non-union members for political activities. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority in Knox v. Service Employees International Union, said the forced dues on non-union members were “indefensible”

One of the biggest problems with California is the stranglehold that public sector unions have on the state. This would be a good first step to getting the state to turn around. Even liberals stop paying dues when it’s not mandatory, because they want to keep their own money just like anyone does.

New study: private religious schools outperform public schools and public charter schools

Reported by The Public Discourse.

Excerpt:

I recently conducted a meta-analysis of more than ninety studies on education, and the results suggest that perhaps it is time for America’s leadership and the general public to take a second look at religious private schools. At the risk of immodesty, let me be frank. The study is hugely important because it is the first published meta-analysis to compare the three primary types of American schools: religious private schools, traditional public schools, and charter schools.

A meta-analysis statistically combines all the relevant existing studies on a given subject in order to determine the aggregated results of the research. This meta-analysis yielded results that surprised many by indicating that students from public charter schools did no better than their peers in traditional public schools. In contrast, youth from religious private schools performed better academically than their counterparts in both public charter schools and traditional public schools, even when the results were adjusted to account for socioeconomic status, selectivity, race, and various other factors.

[…]Examining results from all ninety studies, I found that the average academic outcome for religious school students was .28 of a standard deviation unit higher than for traditional public school (TPS) students, while the average for charter school students was only .01 of a standard deviation unit higher. If one converts these numbers to percentiles, the average academic outcome was 11 percentage points higher than that of TPS pupils, while charter school attendees scored about the same as their TPS counterparts.

Translated into more tangible numbers, students who attend private religious schools attain educational levels that average about twelve months ahead of those attending regular public schools. Even when the meta-analysis employed sophisticated controls, which included measures for socioeconomic status, selectivity, gender, and race, youth who attended faith-based schools achieved at levels seven months ahead of both TPS and public charter school students.

One of the most intriguing results of the study is that the racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps are roughly 25 percent narrower in religious private schools than in public schools. This finding is particularly interesting when one considers that over the years the government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to bridge the gaps, with only limited success. Higher expectations for students, and school leaders’ insistence that pupils take demanding courses, could help to explain these circumstances in faith-based schools.

The meta-analysis focused primarily on scholastic performance, but it also examined student behavior. The results indicated that youth from faith-based schools maintained even a larger edge in behavior than they did in school academics. That is, pupils from religious private schools exhibited fewer behavioral problems, even when socioeconomic status, selectivity, race, and gender were also controlled for. This translates into fewer gangs, lower levels of drug abuse, and greater racial harmony than one typically finds in public schools.

Many people, even this researcher, expected public charter school students to perform somewhere in between the levels achieved by students attending faith-based schools and those attending traditional public schools, given that they were trying to mimic certain aspects of private religious schools.

To the extent that neither traditional public schools nor charter schools are succeeding on a broad scale, it appears that the best hope for American education is religious private schools. Not only are they considerably more economically efficient, but their students also achieve better academic and behavioral results.

I think that it is noteworthy that Democrats opposes allowing parents – especially poor parents – to have a choice of what school their children will attend. The Obama administration even de-funded a voucher program that served poor-minority students. Teacher unions are one of the strongest pro-Democrat special interests. If the Democrat Party has to choose between poor, minority students and their powerful allies in the teach unions, the choice is not a hard one. They choose the teacher unions.

Conservative leader Tim Hudak to push right to work and secret ballots

Political map of Canada
Political map of Canada

Wow, the Canadians are trying to imitate Scott Walker and John Kasich.

Excerpt:

In a move certain to upset the organized labour movement, Ontario workers would be able to opt out of collective agreements and union dues under dramatic changes to provincial workplace laws proposed by PC Leader Tim Hudak.

Employers would no longer be required to collect dues on behalf of unions and secret ballots would be restored in certification votes.

“The rules that are governing the workplace, they haven’t changed. And the way that many of our unions are run, particularly public sector unions, haven’t caught up with the times,” Hudak said. “No business would be caught today operating with a typewriter or a rotary phone, but our union laws and many union practices are still stuck in the 1940s.”

Hudak released a white paper Tuesday, entitled Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets, which calls for significant rewrites to the labour laws in Ontario which he says would make the province’s business environment more competitive and create jobs.

[…]Hudak’s real goal is to strip unions of their funding, in particular the Working Families Coalition that actively campaigns against Conservatives, he said.

[…]The white paper says the provincial government should lead the way by ending automatic paycheque deductions for dues and give private sector employers the same option.

The monopoly that union shops enjoy in bidding for public contracts across Ontario’s municipal and broader public sectors would also likely end under the Tories.

Unions should be required to reveal how they spend the dues they collect, that workers have a right to know when their dues are spent on political causes, like anti-Israel campaigns and Quebec student protests, Hudak said.

While it’s true that many (or even most) of the people who are stuck in unions are good, patriotic, hard-working people, union leaders are generally secular socialists. They support all kinds of nasty leftist groups. The best way to defund them is to allow workers to not have to have union dues automatically deducted from their pay checks. I would expect that most union workers in Ontario would elect not to pay dues to their unions – at least if they are anything like the workers in Wisconsin.

How much influence do labor unions have in the Democrat party?

I found this amazing Milwaukee Journel-Sentinel article on Marathon Pundit’s blog. It explains where the political contributions of the biggest unions go. Let’s take a look at a few of the unions.

Excerpt:

• National Education Association. Membership: 3.2 million; assets: $216 million. The NEA, representing most of the nation’s teachers, has 31 headquarters officers and employees who earn more than $200,000 in pay and benefits. The president, Dennis Van Roekel, received $397,721 in salary and benefits. Of the $3.7 million NEA spent on political activities in the last election cycle, 98% went to Democratic candidates. The NEA has 98,000 members in Wisconsin.

• Service Employees International Union. Membership: 1.8 million; assets: $187 million. The SEIU, whose membership has increased in recent years, has been organizing hospital, home care and nursing home workers, along with local and state government employees, janitors and security officers. The union has nine headquarters officers and employees who earn more than $200,000. The former president, Andy Stern, was paid $306,388 in salary and benefits from the union in 2009. Stern resigned in 2010 and was replaced by Mary Kay Henry, formerly the executive vice president. Over the past two years, SEIU gave almost $2 million to Democratic candidates and $8,500 to Republicans. It has 18,000 members in Wisconsin.

• United Food & Commercial Workers. Membership: 1.3 million; assets: $157 million. The UFCW, whose members work in meatpacking, food processing and retail grocery stores, has 17 headquarters officers and employees who earn more than $200,000. The president, Joseph T. Hansen, received $360,737 in compensation in 2009. Of the $1.9 million the union donated to political candidates over the past two years, 99% of it went to Democrats.

• International Brotherhood of Teamsters: Membership: 1.3 million; assets: $175 million. The Teamsters, whose origins date to the horse- and mule-team drivers of the late 1800s, represent truck drivers and a wide array of blue-collar and government workers. Eight headquarters officers and employees received more than $200,000 in 2009. The president, James P. Hoffa, was compensated $364,869. Over the past two years, the Teamsters have donated $2.3 million to Democratic candidates and $46,500 to Republicans.

• American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees. Membership: 1.5 million; assets: $78 million. AFSCME, one of the fastest growing unions in the United States, was founded in Wisconsin almost 80 years ago. At union headquarters in Washington, 10 officers and employees receive more than $200,000 a year. McEntee was paid $479,328 in salary and benefits in 2009. Over the past two years, AFSCME has donated $2.3 million to Democratic candidates and $78,500 to Republicans.

Emphasis is from Marathon Pundit. The Democrat party is basically owned lock, stock and barrel by the unions.

Should government unions get inflated salaries and pensions during a recession?

First, the raw facts from Fox News.

Excerpt:

The battle in Madison has become the epicenter of a national fight between newly empowered small-government conservatives and Democrats backed by government worker unions.

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.

Tea Party groups, meanwhile, have planned a counter demonstration for Saturday at the capitol in support of the measure, raising the prospect of a clash between the activist groups.

Thousands of union activists have tried to shut down the process at the statehouse, which swung to the GOP in the 2010 elections. The efforts to block access to the state Senate and disrupt debates have been described as “mostly peaceful,” though union groups have expanded their protests to the homes of individual lawmakers.

Nine protesters have been arrested so far for disorderly conduct.

The holdup in the vote is due to the fact that the Democratic members of the Senate are on the lam, denying Republicans a quorum and the chance to vote. The Democrats are holed up at a resort just across the Illinois border, putting them beyond the reach of Wisconsin law enforcement agencies that could otherwise compel at least one Democrat to appear in the Senate so a vote could take place.

So far, the hideout seems to be backfiring. Moderate Republicans who had been on the fence over the legislation are denouncing the shutdown as undemocratic.

The lower chamber of the legislature may take up the bill today if Senate Democrats remain in hiding.

The measure would increase the contributions of public employees to their own retirement and medical benefits. The plan, put forward by new Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., would have public workers make equal contributions to their retirement funds (teachers currently contribute $1 for every $56.94 from the state) and increase workers’ share of health insurance premiums to 12.6 percent. Teachers in most districts currently pay less than 5 percent of their insurance costs. The national average for workers is 27 percent.

This is important because Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow are lying about the facts. But what do you expect from MSNBC?

Here’s McCain’s latest from the American Spectator. (H/T Hyscience)

Excerpt:

Quin Hillyer’s observations about the Obama-led “thugocracy” illustrate the yawning chasm between the intimidation tactics of the Left and all the prattling about “civility” liberals dished out last month.

The still-greater chasm is the economic gap between the striking government employees and the taxpayers who pay their salaries. Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard points out that the average teacher in Wisconsin receives $77,857 in total compensation, when the value of their generous benefit package is added to their salaries. Given that the median household income in Wisconsin is just above $50,000 (and the typical household has more than one wage-earner), this means that the striking teachers are earning substantially more than the people whose taxes pay their salaries. Furthermore, the basic bone of contention between them and Gov. Walker is his plan to make them contribute a larger share toward their pension and health benefits.

Michelle Malkin has more eye-opening facts about the economic realities of the Wisconsin strike. It is obvious that if voters and taxpayers pay attention to the facts, Walker wins and the strikers lose, as I said this morning:

The unemployed, the under-employed and regular folks trying to pay their bills aren’t likely to have a lot of love for people who (a) have jobs, (b) work at taxapayer expense, (c) get paid more money than the average taxpayer, and (d) go on strike because they don’t want to pay a dime toward their own generous benefits.

The thuggish behavior of the left-wing unions, supported by Barack Obama, has even radical leftists from Time and the Washington Post crying foul.

Larry Kudlow of CNBC has more.

Excerpt:

Wisconsin parents should go on strike against the teachers’ union. A friend e-mailed me to say that the graduation rate in Milwaukee public schools is 46 percent. The graduation rate for African-Americans in Milwaukee public schools is 34 percent. Shouldn’t somebody be protesting that?

Governor Walker is facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit, and he wants state workers to pay one-half of their pension costs and 12.6 percent of their health benefits. Currently, most state employees pay nothing for their pensions and virtually nothing for their health insurance. That’s an outrage.

Nationwide, state and local government unions have a 45 percent total-compensation advantage over their private-sector counterpart. With high-pay compensation and virtually no benefits co-pay, the politically arrogant unions are bankrupting America — which by some estimates is suffering from $3 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Exempting police, fire, and state troopers, Governor Walker would end collective bargaining over pensions and benefits for the rest. Collective bargaining for wages would still be permitted, but there would be no wage hikes above the CPI. Unions could still represent workers, but they could not force employees to pay dues. In exchange for this, Walker promises no furloughs for layoffs.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is also pushing a bill to limit the collective-bargaining rights of teachers for wages and wage-related benefits. Similar proposals are being discussed in Idaho and Tennessee. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich wants to restrict union rights across-the-board for all state and local government workers. More generally, both Democratic and Republican governors across the country are taking on the extravagant pay of government unions.

Why? Because taxpayers won’t stand for it anymore.

Neil Simpson comments:

Let me get this straight: Union-loving Dems shirk their duties and leave the state?  And what, exactly, is bad about that? (That’s horrible behavior on their part of course, but if they leave and don’t come back that would be swell.)

Unemployment is stuck at 10% — which means non-union unemployment is much higher — and they think this will improve their reputations?

Poorly performing teachers close at least 15 school districts to go fight for their entitlements?  Yeah, that’ll garner a lot of sympathy.

I have been super busy at work and working weekends, so I haven’t been covering this story as much as I should be. But like Neil, I am extremely excited about this. I picked two winning issues for the GOP in 2012: School choice reform and de-funding abortion. Those are two issues that fiscal conservatives and social conservatives agree on. I’d like to now add two more issues to the list: a federal right-to-work law (can work without having to join a union) for ALL employees – public and private, and reforming public sector pensions to be in line with private sector pensions.

We have to go after Democrat special interest groups hard and stop them for collecting all of this private sector taxpayer money. Social conservatives should support this because unions are notoriously pro-abortion and anti-marriage. We need to stop giving them taxpayer money to fund their left-wing political activism.