Tag Archives: Labor Unions

Three cheers for the Janus SCOTUS decision and right-to-work laws in 27 states

Political contributions from unions are overwhelmingly given to Democrats and leftists
Contributions from unions are mostly given to Democrats and leftists

Some people think of unions as a force for good. Perhaps they were in the past, but a little reading of economics shows how they actually produce very bad results for workers. In addition to that, unions are actively trying to influence the outcome of elections in 2020, using the money collected from their members. Fortunately, there have been two great developments recently that limit their power.

Here’s a recent story from Just the News:

Leaders of several public and private sector unions are threatening to organize walkouts this fall for teachers, truck drivers and service workers in an effort to protest police killings.

“The status quo — of police killing Black people, of armed white nationalists killing demonstrators, of millions sick and increasingly desperate — is clearly unjust, and it cannot continue,” said a statement issued over the weekend by various arms of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union, and National Education Association.

[…]The union leaders also called for defunding police departments and universal health care.

You can see their progressive convictions coming out in how they distribute the money they collect from their members.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Organized labor has given more than $1.3 billion to Democratic Party organizations and liberal nonprofit and activist groups since 2010, while 1 percent went to conservative groups or causes, according to a survey of federal data.

The giving is starkly different from the beliefs of most rank-and-file union members, many of whom lean Republican.

Having said all of that, there were two pieces of good news about labor unions that I think we should celebrate during Labor Day.

First of all, there was a very good decision to allow teachers to opt out of having to pay union dues in all 50 states. Second, a large number of states have enacted right-to-work laws, which allow employees in union-dominated jobs to be able to work without being forced to join a union.

This article explains both:

While every public sector employee across the country now enjoys right to work protections under the First Amendment as a result of the 2018 National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation-won Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, private sector workers in the 23 states that have yet to pass a right to work law can lose their job for refusing to tender dues or fees to a union.

Right to work protects each worker’s freedom of choice, but the advantages of right to work hardly stop there. Enshrining workplace freedom also brings significant economic benefits to the 27 states that have passed right to work laws.

Between 2009 and 2019, right to work states saw the total number of people employed grow by 16.9%. That’s nearly double the 9.6% gain in non-right to work states, according to an analysis of federal government statistics compiled by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, or NILRR.

The study also found that, after adjusting for the cost of living, the mean after-tax household income in right to work states was about $4,300 higher than for households in forced-unionism states in 2018, the most recent year for which household income data is available.

The connection between right to work laws and better economic performance is not a surprise. Business experts consistently rank the presence of right to work laws as one of the most important factors companies consider when deciding where to expand or relocate their plants and facilities, where they will create new jobs and new opportunities.

Take the manufacturing sector, for example. The NILRR analysis revealed that employment in the manufacturing sector increased by 10% in right to work states from 2009 to 2019, over three times the 2.9% gain forced-unionism states saw over that same period.

Right to work laws clearly make economic sense, but protecting employee freedom has always been their central feature.

I really liked the Janus decision and right-to-work laws, because I don’t think that conservative workers should be forced to join a union in order to earn a living. The unions should not get access to worker money for free – unions should have to earn their worker’s money by providing value. And the worker should decide whether there is value there, or not.

You can see a full breakdown of union contributions by political affiliation for 2019-2020 here at Open Secrets.

Education Secretary Betsy Devos scores a victory against public sector union

Secretary of Education Betsy Devos
Secretary of Education Betsy Devos

Although you would never know it from the mainstream news media, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos is doing her best to advance a taxpayer-friendly agenda in education policy.

Here’s the latest from the American Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank:

In a noteworthy development, DeVos’s team this month radically revamped the collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) that governs the 3,900 employees at the U.S. Department of Education. The new CBA, between the Department and Council 252 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), includes big changes from the 2013 agreement negotiated under the Obama administration.

The new agreement doesn’t address compensation or benefits, of course, since those are governed by federal law, but it does include a raft of sensible, taxpayer-friendly changes.

The new CBA eliminates the set-aside of “official time” for union business. Under the old agreement, designated union representatives were free to work on union business during normal, government hours — all on the taxpayers’ dime. The old CBA stipulated that “no fewer than 75” (!) union stewards across the country could work up to 40 hours a year on “official time,” while another three union officers would devote 100 percent of their time to union business. Henceforth, union business will be done on union time, rather than on the taxpayers’.

Under the old agreement, department employees were given only a solitary 48-hour window each year in which they could opt out of union membership; miss that, and they were automatically enrolled. Henceforth, employees who wish to be in the union each year will be free to do so, and they will have an extended period in which to enroll — but they will have to actively choose to join.

The revamped accord also removes the requirements for “pre-decisional consultation.” Under the previous CBA, the department was required to consult the union before every agency-wide decision that could be construed as affecting the work of employees (such as transferring employees from one office to another, or even shifting employees from one project to another within the same office). Now, the department needs only notify the union of such decisions.

Under the new CBA, the union will be charged “fair-market rent” for the use of government office space and federally furnished equipment to conduct union business. Under the Obama-era accord, taxpayers were required to provide space and equipment to the union free of charge.

More generally, the new agreement removes a number of provisions that added burdensome procedural directives above and beyond statutory requirements when it came to things such as telework and grievance procedures.

If there is one thing I expected from Betsy Devos, it’s taxpayer-friendly education policy.

Unfortunately, the Republican party didn’t help her very much in that massive $1.3 Billion spending bill that they passed, with Democrat support. Betsy wants to cut federal spending on education, and return control of education policy to the states and municipalities. But the GOP just gave the Department of Education a bigger budget. We really need to switch out some of these big government Republicans for authentic conservatives.

Labor unions donated $765 million between 2012 and 2016, and 99% went to left-wing groups

Political contributions by the American Federation of Teachers union
Political contributions by the American Federation of Teachers union

Astonishing article from the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

Unions across the country donated $765 million to various organizations over the last four years, and 99 percent of that cash went to liberal-leaning causes.

Labor unions gave $764,952,394 to left-wing special interests between 2012 and 2016, according to the Center for Union Facts. Of the nearly $765 million, 99 percent of union political contributions went to left-wing causes. The Center for Union Facts compiled a comprehensive database of information about labor unions in the United States: outlining union spending, salary information, dues revenue data, and more using data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Examples of who gets the money:

The department’s data show between 2012 and 2016, roughly $240 million went to left-wing political groups. Labor unions gave $77 million to special-interest groups and another $13 million to environmental groups. Over $25 million went to groups like the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

During this same time frame, almost $307 million went to the Democratic Party and aligned groups, including Media Matters, the Clinton Foundation, Mi Familia Vota, the National Democratic Club, the Advocacy Fund, Progressive Democrats of America, and Planned Parenthood.

[…]Here’s how much a few pro-abortion groups received from labor unions since 2007, according to Luka Ladan, communications director for the Center for Union Facts:

  • Planned Parenthood: $1.18 million
  • Emily’s List: $810,000
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America: $45,000

Examples of who gives the money:

Here are the dollar amounts since 2007 that a few labor unions have given for abortion lobby funding:

  • American Federation of Teachers: $1,150,000
  • American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees: $520,100
  • International Association of Firefighters: $10,000
  • Service Employees International Union: $180,000
  • United Association: $40,000
  • United Auto Workers: $100,000
  • United Food and Commercial Workers International Union: $35,000

Teachers, non-import auto workers, government employees. All pro-abortion. I never buy cars made by union employees, I’d just be funding abortionists.

I think there was a time in America’s history where unions were actually doing some good, but that time has long gone. We can’t allow labor unions to take the country in the direction of Greece and Venezuela, otherwise none of us will have jobs, and we’ll be selling our bodies for food, like they do in other communist countries. I would like to see some legislation banning public sector unions outright, and then a national right to work law should finish off the private sector unions, since rank-and-file private sector union workers are typical not radical leftists. We definitely need a national voucher law to get the money out of the public schools and back into the hands of parents.

Whenever well-meaning people vote for more taxpayer more for union-dominated fields like education, keep in mind that a  significant portion of this money gets funneled back into anti-American causes. Be careful about wanting to spending more taxpayer money “for the children”, because it often turns out to just be more taxpayer money for the Planned Parenthood, or for the Clinton Foundation, etc.

Good news: Venezuela and Argentina eject socialist governments

Political Map of South America
Political Map of South America

Investors Business Daily has some good news for us. The Democrat Party of Venezuela has been CRUSHED in a recent election.

Excerpt:

Venezuela’s voters delivered a sledgehammer blow to the country’s ruling Chavista socialists Sunday, winning a likely supermajority in the National Assembly. It’s a great awakening from a 17-year nightmare.

Given the past two decades of near-victories, electoral fraud, chicanery and fractious political opposition mistakes, many Venezuelans are still in disbelief at the scale of the victory in the nation’s legislative elections, which have decisively handed one of Venezuela’s leading governing bodies over to the democratic, pro-free-market opposition.

As this was written, the opposition, known by its Spanish initials MUD, had declared a 112-seat, or two-thirds, supermajority in the National Assembly as a result of Sunday’s vote. The Chavistas won just 46 seats.

It’s total victory in legislative terms and will enable the legislature to throw out politicized Supreme Court justices and appoint honest ones.

The new Congress can also boot corrupt election officials and appoint fair ones. And they will even be able to declare President Nicolas Maduro — the late dictator Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor — mentally unstable and unfit for office, or remove him for incompetence. They can also stop his executive orders dead.

The Congress also will have the power to free the 71 or so political prisoners now rotting in Chavista dungeons without trial, including top opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. And Venezuela’s central bank will stop destroying the country’s money, now nearly worthless.

[…]Most important, the leftist government’s mismanagement of the economy — through currency controls that prevented imports of spare parts, created shortages of basics such as toilet paper and devastated the health care system — and the central bank’s infamous money-printing spree, which has pushed Venezuelan inflation to near 700%, made ordinary life for Venezuelans hellish. There also was corruption, with as much as 1 trillion dollars in oil earnings stolen or misappropriated over the years by high-living Chavista elites, whose lavish lifestyles mocked ordinary, poor Venezuelans.

Top it with the monstrous infiltration of the country by the drug lords, and the likelihood of an electoral housecleaning was perfectly clear.

Still, an element of disbelief remains, given how dirty the Chavista rulers have played their democracy game.

They have broken election rules, violated ballot secrecy, shut voters out and banned popular candidates from running. Many of those dirty tricks were evident in this election, too — the Chavistas illegally extended voting hours and campaigned at polling stations, to cite just a couple of examples.

But the opposition won anyway — with turnout so high, at 74.5%, and margins of victory so wide that the election was impossible to steal.

It helped that the the opposition had the wind at its back with the disastrous result of socialism. But it also helped that MUD had improved its electoral game over the years, learning from each near-miss election.

It also helped that MUD had strong leaders such as Maria Corina Machado and put out strong candidates with a clear, unified message — often summed up as “Down with the left.” And with all the pain of 17 years, it helped most of all that they never lost heart.

There is literally no different between the socialists of Venezuela and the Democrat Party in the United States. They are in lock step on every issue. Should the Democrat Party continue to hold power in America, we can look forward to a reckoning like this one in the future.

Two socialists shake hands: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez
Two socialists shake hands: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez

The Wall Street Journal says that the whole country is basically in the grip of ignorant socialists at every level, so there is lots to do.

Excerpt:

Pulling out of that death spiral, economists say, will require a series of painful and unpopular adjustments, rolling back more than a decade of populist and statist policies. Among the measures needed is raising the price of the world’s cheapest gasoline—which goes for less than one U.S. penny a gallon—overhauling a cumbersome and inefficient foreign-exchange system, and cutting generous social programs on which Venezuela’s poor depend.

[…]The government still controls more than 20 governorships, hundreds of mayors, the judiciary, much of the press and all auditing agencies. It will be up to Mr. Maduro whether to take steps to stabilize the economy, like loosening currency or price controls.

It’s not just Venezuela that has hit bottom under socialism. Recently, the people of Argentina also threw out their socialists after years and years of disastrous leftist policies.

The Chicago Tribune reports on last month’s election in Argentina.

Excerpt:

Under the current president, Cristina Fernandez, Argentina has become an international financial pariah. The country defaulted on debt last year in a long-running feud with hedge funds — remarkably, that was the eighth default in Argentina’s history.

Fernandez refused to settle. That’s left the country to squeak by in isolation, using protectionism and capital controls in a quixotic battle with globalism. The economy is stagnant, foreign currency reserves are dwindling and the inflation rate is around 30 percent. Last week, American Airlines said it stopped accepting pesos for ticket sales because it was tired of collecting revenue it couldn’t convert to dollars.

At times Argentina has embraced trade and economic openness, only to slip back into bad habits thanks to populist Peronistas like Fernandez. Macri, a conservative, wants to re-establish free market principles, but there are a lot of details he didn’t fully explain before his November victory because they will require some short-term pain, and he wanted to win the election.

Everything Macri is talking about makes sense. He says he will lift the capital controls that have wrecked the peso’s credibility. Like other backwaters it shouldn’t resemble, Argentina has a thriving black market because the government insists the peso is worth a lot more than its actual value. Freeing the currency would devalue it, a first step toward making Argentina more competitive.

The next big step would be to negotiate a settlement with the hedge funds that bought up Argentina’s debt after its previous default in 2002 and demand repayment. Fernandez got political mileage from attacking the “vultures,” but Macri seems to understand Argentina can’t get unstuck when it’s essentially shut out of international capital markets. He sounds like he wants to do a deal.

Macri’s got a tremendous balancing act to pull off: He’ll need to cut spending and reduce taxes without destroying the country’s big social safety net, while walking the country through a devaluation.

This is how countries that are ruled for a prolonged period by the political left eventually end up. I know so many of you lose heart and think that there is no hope, but there is hope. Even in countries where the left is running everything from the universities, to the judiciaries, to the mainstream media, there is hope.

Over the last 7 years, Obama added $10 trillion to the national debt. And although few of his Democrat low-information voters know about that, they will be able to tell the difference between prosperity and poverty when the United States reaches the Venezuela / Argentina tipping point. There comes a time when there are no more bailouts for the economics deniers. Reality wins in the end.

Public schools received more money, but produced lower student test scores

Now, we’ve already seen the dangers of Democrats like Hillary Clinton refusing to do her job at the State Deparment. During her term, she focused on promoting abortion abroad and on promoting LGBT rights, and neglected religious liberty and national security, i.e. – Benghazi and her insecure e-mail server. But what happens when Democrats in the education system focus on pushing a Democrat agenda, and neglect the task of teaching children the basic skills they will need to get jobs?

This article is from Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

For the first time in many years, national math and reading test scores have dropped for elementary-school kids. Who’s to blame? The better question is, who isn’t?

The biennial tests conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress measure reading and math comprehension among a sample of thousands of fourth- and eighth-graders.

Math scores dropped two points among fourth-graders and three points among those in the eighth grade. Fourth-grade reading scores were up a point, but reading scores in eighth grade dropped three.

Even the growth over the past two decades is unimpressive. The NAEP tests show that two-thirds of eighth-graders are less than proficient in math, and almost as many are below in reading. And proficiency levels in both subjects drop between fourth and eighth grades.

Educrats have offered lots of excuses for this year’s decline, but little explanation. It was the recession. It involved budget cuts. It’s a mystery.

But what the results show pretty clearly is that constant federal meddling and vast amounts of money have, if anything, impeded education progress, not spurred it on.

Per-pupil spending on elementary and secondary education has more than doubled since 1992, while math and reading scores eked out gains of less than 5%, on average.

Moreover, an endless series of Washington-based education changes have done little except cause disruption. In fact, Education Secretary Arne Duncan is now saying President Obama’s Race to the Top and Common Core measures are to blame for the sag in scores because the “improvements” are so sweeping. “Big change,” he said, “never happens overnight.”

Actually, when it comes to our centralized, bloated, bureaucratic, union-dominated public schools, big change never happens, period.

Spending on education has gone up a lot in the past decades, but test scores haven’t budged:

Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores
Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores

Although test scores are not going up, the teacher unions are donating millions of dollars to the Democrats so that there is no accountability:

Don't expect Democrats to put children's education needs over teacher unions
Don’t expect Democrats to put children’s education needs over teacher unions

(Source: OpenSecrets.org)

But there is some hope… when politicians embrace school choice, parents get to pull their kids out of failing schools and put them into customer-focused schools. Check out Bobby Jindal’s answer to a question about rising tuition costs in last night’s first CNBC debate:

Republicans should care about the education issue… because Democrats surely do not.