Bringing Efficiency Into Federal Employment

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about President Trump’s recent executive orders to change civil service regulations.

The article reports:

“These executive orders will make it easier for agencies to remove poor-performing employees and make sure taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used,” Mr. Bremberg said.

The move will promote efficiency, save taxpayer dollars and create better work environments for “thousands of employees who come to work each day and do a great job,” said another official.

as expected, unions objected loudly. The article reports some of the reasons for the reforms:

Office of Personnel Management data shows federal employees are 44 times less likely to be fired than a private sector worker once they’ve completed a probationary period.

A recent Government Accountability Office report showed that it takes between six months and a year to remove a federal employee for poor performance, followed by an eight-month appeals process.

The National Affairs blog posted the following this spring:

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

Many of our current civil service policies are the result of the unionization of government workers. It is time for that practice to end. Government workers are paid very well and should be subject to the same rules as the rest of the workforce. Unions should not be able to collective bargain with people whose political campaigns they help finance.

Hoisted On Their Own Petard?

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles labor leaders, who recently supported a minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are now asking for changes in the law that would exempt companies whose workforces are unionized.

The article reports:

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Laws for thee, but not for me. If a unionized company can be exempt in order to stay in business, why can’t a non-unionized restaurant be exempt?

The Council voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The increase in the minimum wage will be a problem for both restaurants and fast food places. The increase will also pose a problem for other small businesses.

An Unbelievable Labor Contract

Yesterday Mike Antonucci at Hot Air posted a few excerpts from the current contract covering National Education Association employees.

The article reports:

About 500 people work at NEA national headquarters in Washington, DC. A handful of unions represent them, the largest being the National Education Association Staff Organization (NEASO). NEA and NEASO negotiated a 136-page collective bargaining agreement in June 2012, and it runs through the end of May 2015. I have posted the full document on EIA’s Declassified page, but to save you the energy of mining it yourself, here are a few provisions I thought were worthy of highlighting:

…NEA must assume financial liability for an employee who is prosecuted or sued “because of any act taken by him/her in the course of his/her employment.” Under these circumstances, unless the employee is guilty of “gross negligence or gross irresponsibility,” he or she “shall be paid at his/her regular hourly rate for all time spent in jail.”

…NEA is required to provide “an appropriately furnished lounge” for employees at union headquarters. The contract specifically requires NEA to “make an ice machine available to employees in the building.”

There are many other provisions, including reserved parking spaces, valet services when traveling, and other things that most of us would never expect to see in an employment contract. Most of us would love to be covered by an employment contract that covers the items this contract does, but most of us realize that if a company wants to stay in business (and thus provide us with a job), they would probably not be able to afford a contract similar to the one that covers the NEA employees. The article unintentionally points out how big the gap has become between working in the private sector and working for an agency related to the government.

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The People Have Spoken, The Courts Aren’t Listening

Yesterday Legal Insurrection posted an article about the court’s decision in Wisconsin to overturn the changes made to collective bargaining laws by the State Legislature. As you remember, we have gone through recalls of legislators and the governor of that state and the people supported them. Well, the court decided not to.

The article reports:

First it was Dane County Judge Sumi who interjected herself into the legislative process by striking down the collective bargaining reform law, only to be overturned by the State Supreme Court which rejected challenges to the process used to pass it

Now a different Dane County judge has struck the law down again (decision here), this time on the ground that state employees have a constitutional right to collectively bargain, and has reinstated the law as if the legislature never passed the reforms.

This is Governor Walker‘s statement regarding the decision:

The people of Wisconsin clearly spoke on June 5th.  Now, they are ready to move on.  Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor. We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process.”

He is right. It is just a shame that we have to fight this battle again and again. The voters have clearly stated their choice, and the state is recovering from a financial disaster. The judges decision needs to be reversed.

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