Forgetting Why You Were Originally Formed

Unions in America were formed to give working people a voice in their negotiations with their sometimes unyielding employers. Most of the demands unions were created to pursue are now covered by government regulations, and the role of unions in the life of the everyday worker is not what it originally was. Union workers pay their dues, and union officials live very well. Somehow I don’t think that was what the original intention was.

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about how the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spends its money. For those of you who believe that big corporations provide the money in politics, some of this may come as a surprise.

The article reports:

Labor giant Service Employees International Union spent $60 million on politics and lobbying as well as $19 million on the Fight for 15 movement in 2016, and now finds itself laying off headquarters staff.

The union’s federal filing to the Department of Labor reveal that it experienced marginal growth in 2016, adding about 15,000 members from 2015. However, that increase did not correlate with financial growth as revenue fell by $17 million, fueling a $10 million budget deficit.

The union, which represents healthcare and public sector workers, spent $61.6 million on political activities and lobbying in 2016, roughly 20 percent of its $314.6 million budget, according to the filing.

However, those figures may underestimate its political spending. The union spent $19 million on activist groups and public relations consultants to assist with the Fight for 15 campaign, which has successfully pushed for dramatic minimum wage increases in New York, California, and Washington, D.C., according to an analysis from the Center for Union Facts.

Who represents those union members who don’t support the causes and candidates that the union leaders decide to support? Do union members ever get a chance to vote on the causes or candidates the union will support?

The article further reports:

“The SEIU has transformed from a labor union into a subsidiary of the Left, spending millions of dues dollars on left-wing causes unrelated to collective bargaining,” Berman (Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Union Facts) said. “Instead of fighting for workplace benefits, the union is going behind their members’ backs to bankroll Democrats and liberal advocacy groups.”

The International Franchising Association, a trade industry group whose members have been targeted by the Fight for 15 movement, said that political agitation and the expansion of membership ranks among fast food workers does little to benefit dues-paying members.

“Perhaps SEIU should spend more money helping workers it represents and less money attacking corporations and a business model like franchising that actually successfully lifts people out of poverty and gives them a ladder of opportunity to advance in their career,” spokesman Matthew Haller said.

I have no problem with unions spending money on political activities as long as the members of the union have a vote in which activities to support. Also, as long as unions are free to spend the kind of money they spend on political action, corporations should be equally free to do so, again at the discretion of their stockholders.

 

When The Government Tries To Control Families

The American Spectator posted a story today that illustrates how twisted the government’s involvement in families can be.

One night on his way home from work, Greg Euston was involved in an auto accident. As a result of the accident, he was partially paralyzed. His parents stepped up to the plate to help with his care.

The story reports:

Today, Greg works from home as a software engineer. Next year, one son will graduate from college, and the other will begin his service in the U.S. Navy. While Greg still needs help with daily care, he has succeeded at the most important task that we parents face. He provides a loving home, education, and parental guidance for his children.

Getting in and out of bed, dressing, meal prep, and almost all other daily tasks require assistance. For 13 years, Greg has had an aide for 40 hours of every week. Tom and I take turns going to Greg’s house in the evenings. We rarely spend the night under the same roof.

This isn’t a job for us. This is caring for our son. This is necessary.

However, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf didn’t see it that way.

The article continues:

Like us, most of Pennsylvania’s 20,000 home care workers care for a family member or close friend. We learned of this scheme by mail when we were asked to elect the United Home Care Workers of Pennsylvania — a partnership of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to represent us against our “employer.”

To represent us against our son.

Mr. Wolf went out of his way to share our names and contact information, without our consent or request, with those unions. The governor further stacked the deck by lowering the standard participation requirements for union elections. In the end, the union won with just 13 percent of home care workers voting “yes.”

I’m not opposed to unions, but forced representation? How could a union possibly improve our family’s situation? So far, the only “improvement” they propose is to limit when and how we care for our own son.

What’s in it for the union? As much as $8 million in dues annually. It’s a case of political payback, pure and simple.

AFCSME and SEIU were two of the largest contributors to Mr. Wolf’s gubernatorial campaign, donating nearly $1.5 million between them.

This is an example of elected officials working against the interests of those who elected them and for the interests of big donators. This was on the state level, but obviously things are not any different on the federal level. The fact that the unions can make large donations to candidates is the reason I support the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. If unions can buy candidates, corporations should also be able to buy candidates. At least that provides some degree of balance. If the people of Pennsylvania are smart, they will remove Governor Wolf from office when the next election occurs. If they do not remove him, they deserve what they get. In the end, the voters decide what level of corruption they are willing to tolerate.