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.
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.
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.
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.
In a previous post, I explained four reasons why education is so expensive, despite the fact that teachers produce underperforming students. But one factor was not mentioned, namely that it is nearly impossible to fire underperforming teachers. The teacher unions prevents teachers from being fired, even for criminal behavior.
A new video from Project Veritas shows a New Jersey teachers union president explaining the methods he would use to cover for a teacher if the teacher physically or verbally abused their student.
Undercover employees for Project Veritas taped Hamilton Township Education Association President David Perry asserting he would misrepresent the events of altercations between teachers and students by back-dating reports as well as urging the teacher to remain silent about what happened.
Perry also stated that if a teacher abused their student, they should go to the union where a report could be created protecting them from students asserting that they had been abused.
Some sample quotes from Perry:
I got people who are on drugs. And she, five times she was fired, and I got her job back five times.
If nobody brings it up from school, I don’t say boo.
Interviewer: So, after a certain point, the cameras are erased. Perry: Exactly. That’s why I would never want to bring it up. The longer we wait, the longer there’s no cameras.
Now, if you go to the house of the board of education and report this, they’re going to call the police, call parents and all that s***. We don’t do that. We don’t do that here. I’m here to defend even the worst people.
But I don’t want him coming in here with a bunch of lies. We need to know the truth so we can bend the truth.
When I see teachers holding signs, demanding more salary and benefits, the first thing I think of is how they want all of these things regardless of performance. Because no matter how poorly they perform, it’s almost impossible to fire them. The union protects them. They’re not asking for more money because they’ve done a good job. They don’t have to do a good job in order to continue to be employed.
Here’s an example of how unions protect poorly-performing teachers from parents (their customers!), reported by the radically leftist CNN:
Former teacher Charlene Schmitz is behind bars in a federal detention center in Tallahassee, Florida, serving 10 years for using texts and instant messages to seduce a 14-year-old student.
She has been fired from her job as a reading teacher at the high school in Leroy, Alabama.
But she is still collecting a paycheck.
Schmitz is appealing her federal conviction — and her firing. State charges filed in connection with the case are pending. Under the law in Alabama, she is still entitled to her $51,000-a-year salary while she appeals her firing.
She’s a “reading teacher”. Sigh.
If you think that’s the exception, you should know that many, many teachers are kept in “rubber rooms”, where they are paid their full teacher salary long after they have been banned from teaching for various crimes and abuses.
Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that’s what they want to do.
Because their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire them, the teachers have been banished by the school system to its “rubber rooms” — off-campus office space where they wait months, even years, for their disciplinary hearings.
The 700 or so teachers can practice yoga, work on their novels, paint portraits of their colleagues — pretty much anything but school work. They have summer vacation just like their classroom colleagues and enjoy weekends and holidays through the school year.
“You just basically sit there for eight hours,” said Orlando Ramos, who spent seven months in a rubber room, officially known as a temporary reassignment center, in 2004-05. “I saw several near-fights. `This is my seat.’ `I’ve been sitting here for six months.’ That sort of thing.”
[…]Because the teachers collect their full salaries of $70,000 or more, the city Department of Education estimates the practice costs the taxpayers $65 million a year. The department blames union rules.
“It is extremely difficult to fire a tenured teacher because of the protections afforded to them in their contract,” spokeswoman Ann Forte said.
This is why we need to break up the government monopoly on education, abolish the federal Department of Education, break up the teacher unions, and put vouchers for education in the hands of parents. The only way this corrupt system is going to be fixed is to hand parents the money to choose their schools, and have schools and teachers have public reviews – like what you see on Amazon or Google reviews or Yelp. Teachers should all have to complete two years of full-time work in the private sector for whatever it is that they want to teach – to prove that they are at least capable of keeping a job where they can actually be fired for underperforming. Once parents are empowered to move their children around to get the best education (and to pay more to the best teachers and schools), then good teachers will be paid what they are worth, and bad teachers will be fired, and bad schools will close. This will raise the quality of education for EVERY student.
This story, which was written up in National Review by religious liberty defender David French, has two parts.
The first part talks about the police raids. I can only snip a little to capture the horror of the raid.
‘THEY CAME WITH A BATTERING RAM.”
Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking.
She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.
She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door.
“I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic.
“I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.”
She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee.
“I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.”
They wouldn’t let her speak to a lawyer.
The article talks about a few more of the home invasions, and the warnings not to tell anyone were the same.
Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t talk to anyone about this. Don’t tell your friends. The kids watched — alarmed — as the school bus drove by, with the students inside watching the spectacle of uniformed police surrounding the house, carrying out the family’s belongings. Yet they were told they couldn’t tell anyone at school.
They, too, had to remain silent.
The mom watched as her entire life was laid open before the police. Her professional files, her personal files, everything.
Now the second part. Who was ordering these pre-dawn police raids on law-abiding families, and why?
Here’s who and why:
District Attorney Chisholm was a Democrat, a very partisan Democrat.
Almost immediately after opening the John Doe investigation, Chisholm used his expansive powers to embarrass Walker, raiding his county-executive offices within a week. As Mr. O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth explained in court filings, the investigation then dramatically expanded:
Over the next few months, [Chisholm’s] investigation of all-things-Walker expanded to include everything from alleged campaign-finance violations to sexual misconduct to alleged public contracting bid-rigging to alleged misuse of county time and property. Between May 5, 2010, and May 3, 2012, the Milwaukee Defendants filed at least eighteen petitions to formally “[e]nlarge” the scope of the John Doe investigation, and each was granted. . . . That amounts to a new formal inquiry every five and a half weeks, on average, for two years.
This expansion coincided with one of the more remarkable state-level political controversies in modern American history – the protest (and passage) of Act 10, followed by the attempted recall of a number of Wisconsin legislators and, ultimately, Governor Walker.
Political observers will no doubt remember the events in Madison — the state capitol overrun by chanting protesters, Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state to prevent votes on the legislation, and tens of millions of dollars of outside money flowing into the state as Wisconsin became, fundamentally, a proxy fight pitting the union-led Left against the Tea Party–led economic Right.
At the same time that the public protests were raging, so were private — but important — protests in the Chisholm home and workplace. As a former prosecutor told journalist Stuart Taylor, Chisholm’s wife was a teachers’-union shop steward who was distraught over Act 10’s union reforms. He said Chisholm “felt it was his personal duty” to stop them.
Meanwhile, according to this whistleblower, the district attorney’s offices were festooned with the “blue fist” poster of the labor-union movement, indicating that Chisholm’s employees were very much invested in the political fight.
[Chisholm] launched yet another John Doe investigation, “supervised” by Judge Barbara Kluka. Kluka proved to be capable of superhuman efficiency — approving “every petition, subpoena, and search warrant in the case” in a total of one day’s work.
If the first series of John Doe investigations was “everything Walker,” the second series was “everything conservative,” as Chisholm had launched an investigation of not only Walker (again) but the Wisconsin Club for Growth and dozens of other conservative organizations, this time fishing for evidence of allegedly illegal “coordination” between conservative groups and the Walker campaign.
In the second John Doe, Chisholm had no real evidence of wrongdoing. Yes, conservative groups were active in issue advocacy, but issue advocacy was protected by the First Amendment and did not violate relevant campaign laws. Nonetheless, Chisholm persuaded prosecutors in four other counties to launch their own John Does, with Judge Kluka overseeing all of them.
Empowered by a rubber-stamp judge, partisan investigators ran amok. They subpoenaed and obtained (without the conservative targets’ knowledge) massive amounts of electronic data, including virtually all the targets’ personal e-mails and other electronic messages from outside e-mail vendors and communications companies.
The investigations exploded into the open with a coordinated series of raids on October 3, 2013. These were home invasions, including those described above. Chisholm’s office refused to comment on the raid tactics (or any other aspect of the John Doe investigations), but witness accounts regarding the two John Doe investigations are remarkably similar: early-morning intrusions, police rushing through the house, and stern commands to remain silent and tell no one about what had occurred.
This is how Democrats operate… and it shows what we can expect from them the more they gain political power.
Here’s how the families were affected:
O’Keefe, who has been in contact with multiple targeted families, says, “Every family I know of that endured a home raid has been shaken to its core, and the fate of marriages and families still hangs in the balance in some cases.”
Anne also describes a new fear of the police: “I used to support the police, to believe they were here to protect us. Now, when I see an officer, I’ll cross the street. I’m afraid of them. I know what they’re capable of.”
Cindy says, “I lock my doors and I close my shades. I don’t answer the door unless I am expecting someone. My heart races when I see a police car sitting in front of my house or following me in the car. The raid was so public. I’ve been harassed. My house has been vandalized. [She did not identify suspects.] I no longer feel safe, and I don’t think I ever will.”
Rachel talks about the effect on her children. “I tried to create a home where the kids always feel safe. Now they know they’re not. They know men with guns can come in their house, and there’s nothing we can do.” Every knock on the door brings anxiety. Every call to the house is screened. In the back of her mind is a single, unsettling thought: These people will never stop.
Victims of trauma — and every person I spoke with described the armed raids as traumatic — often need to talk, to share their experiences and seek solace in the company of a loving family and supportive friends. The investigators denied them that privilege, and it compounded their pain and fear.
The investigation not only damaged families, it also shut down their free speech. In many cases, the investigations halted conservative groups in their tracks. O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth described the effect in court filings:
O’Keefe’s associates began cancelling meetings with him and declining to take his calls, reasonably fearful that merely associating with him could make them targets of the investigation. O’Keefe was forced to abandon fundraising for the Club because he could no longer guarantee to donors that their identities would remain confidential, could not (due to the Secrecy Order) explain to potential donors the nature of the investigation, could not assuage donors’ fears that they might become targets themselves, and could not assure donors that their money would go to fund advocacy rather than legal expenses. The Club was also paralyzed. Its officials could not associate with its key supporters, and its funds were depleted. It could not engage in issue advocacy for fear of criminal sanction.
These raids and subpoenas were often based not on traditional notions of probable cause but on mere suspicion, untethered to the law or evidence, and potentially violating the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The very existence of First Amendment–protected expression was deemed to be evidence of illegality. The prosecution simply assumed that the conservatives were incapable of operating within the bounds of the law.
Even worse, many of the investigators’ legal theories, even if proven by the evidence, would not have supported criminal prosecutions. In other words, they were investigating “crimes” that weren’t crimes at all.
I really recommend that you read this entire article to get the details of the raids, and the trauma that was inflicted on families who thought that the police were their friends. It is literally the most astonishing and fearful thing that I have read all year, and I have read a lot of scary things. This is like my worst nightmare. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies “The Lives of Others”, which is a foreign film about the East German “Stasi” secret police. I didn’t think it could happen here. But I guess leftists are leftists.