People Get Angry When You Take Their Free Money Away

Yesterday The National Review posted an article about some recent activities by the Teachers’ Unions. The headline of the article reads, “Teachers’ Unions Plan to Become ‘More Political, Not Less Political'” This is in response to the recent Supreme Court decision that no longer allows them to take union dues from teachers who do not want to joint the union.

The article reports:

For unions, the stakes could hardly be higher. Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, warns that surveys show “many [teachers] see dues as too high” and “political activity as too leftist”; she also notes that “only half of all teachers voted for Hillary Clinton.” Internal documents from the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’ union, anticipate that the union will lose a whopping 300,000 members. Things look even bleaker for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s other major teachers’ union, which has 15 of its 22 largest state affiliates in former agency-fee states — and already had fewer than half its members paying full dues.

By happenstance, both unions held their big national conventions in July, providing a chance to scour the tea leaves for subtle hints as to how the unions might woo reluctant members, especially the hefty share who take issue with the leftist bent that has characterized the unions in recent decades. Even before the shock of Janus, unions worked in concert with Senate and House Republicans in 2015 to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act in a push to roll back many of the federal educational excesses of the Bush and Obama years, so a shift in approach seemed entirely possible.

It turns out that the tea leaves weren’t that hard to read, after all. At the NEA’s annual convention and representative assembly in Minneapolis, things kicked off on day one with Parkland survivor and woke gun-control activist David Hogg joining NEA president Lily Eskelsen García on stage to exhort the cheering throng, “There’s nothing more powerful in America than a pissed-off teacher.” The NEA also made time to award its Human and Civil Rights Award — given to those who have “demonstrated remarkable courage and conviction to stand up for racial and social justice” — to recipients including First Lady Michelle Obama and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

No political bias shown here.

The article concludes:

Somehow, the AFT’s new policies leaned further left than the NEA’s. The AFT unanimously endorsed a “public investment strategy for health care and education infrastructure,” which includes: universal health care, “whether single-payer health care or MediCare for All”; free tuition at all public colleges and universities, as well as “funding for wage justice for adjuncts”; universal, full-day, free child care; doubled per-pupil spending for low-income K–12 districts; and “taxation of the rich to fully fund” a raft of education programs. AFT further resolved that they would “call on our endorsed candidates to support these priorities, and toward that end we will embed these aspirations in our questionnaires to potential candidates seeking our support.” Swing-state Democrats, beware.

For those who didn’t get quite get the message, AFT president Randi Weingarten told reporters, “We’re becoming more political, not less political.” Let educators, would-be members, and public officials be forewarned.

Somehow they never tell you how they are going to pay for all this free stuff–after a while even the rich run out of money to pay their taxes.

Taking Advantage Of Those Who Can Least Afford It

The Daily Signal posted an article today about another battle in the war on the involuntary taking of union dues.

The article reports:

Sally Coomer of Seattle, who cares for her disabled adult daughter at home, doesn’t like the fact that union dues are deducted from the Medicaid payment she gets for her services under a Washington state policy.

“The money that is taken out in union dues, if it was not siphoned off, could be used to provide for more care,” Coomer told The Daily Signal about the Medicaid stipend given to home care providers.

“A lot of family members forgo careers to take care of family members and are working in situations where they are really financially struggling,” she said.

Washington is one of 11 states where the state governments work with public-sector unions to automatically deduct a portion of the Medicaid stipend and divert it to unions representing state employee unions.

The other states are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont, according to the State Policy Network, a conservative think tank that focuses on state issues.

Nine states take money from Medicaid home child care workers: Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Taking care of your child at home should not result in having union dues taken out of money you receive for the care of that child.

The Trump administration agrees:

However, the states face pushback from the Trump administration and, potentially, the courts in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling striking down mandatory payments to public employee unions by employees who don’t belong to the union.

The rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would eliminate states’ ability to divert part of Medicaid payments from providers to a third party.

The article continues:

Caregivers may pay up to $1,000 per year in union dues, according to the State Policy Network, which says state governments are “dues-skimming” an estimated $200 million per year from home health providers and $50 million from child day care providers to give to unions.

Coomer’s daughter Becky, almost 28, has cerebral palsy and a disorder that causes seizures. She is blind and developmentally disabled.

Coomer, who has become an advocate for other families who don’t want to be forced to pay union dues, said many home care providers are not aware they have a choice in joining a union.

To qualify in Washington state, family members are required to go to an orientation run by the Service Employees International Union, which represents state government employees.

“At the orientation, they would tell people they are required to sign up,” Coomer said. “I don’t know what benefit we get from the dues. The only time I hear from the union is when they inundate me with a political agenda.”

The proposed new Medicaid regulation, announced July 10, is open for public comment.

Let’s hope that the practice of taking union dues from people caring for family members is ended quickly.

 

Responding To Union Extortion

On Saturday, PJ Media posted an article a recent lawsuit filed by seven in California.

The article reports:

Less than a week after that ruling, Janus v. Association of Federal, State, City, and Municipal Employees (FSCME), seven California teachers have filed a class-action lawsuit to recoup unjustly forced fees.

“This lawsuit will enable teachers like me to recover the agency fees that we were wrongly forced to pay against our will,” Scott Wilford, the plaintiff in the new lawsuit, told Education Week. Wilford filed the lawsuit in the Central District of California’s federal court on Tuesday.

Wilford and six others filed the class-action lawsuit against the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and others. The suit seeks “redress for the defendants’ past and ongoing violations of their constitutionally protected rights. The defendants have violated the representative plaintiffs’ constitutional rights by, among other things, forcing them to pay fair share service fees as a condition of their employment.”

The AFT, like other unions, used “non-political” agency fees for its annual convention in 2016, at which Hillary Clinton spoke.

It is not news to anyone that union dues were used for political purposes. It does seem unfair that people would be compelled to support candidates and causes that are against their political ideology.

The article concludes:

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”

The Supreme Court put an end to these ill-gotten gains last month, and Wilford, Friedrichs, and their fellow plaintiffs deserve an apology if nothing more. Wilford and Friedrichs especially deserve something, since their case was blocked for two years by a deadlocked Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, it seems unions are unlikely to give even that, as they staunchly attacked Janus as an unjust decision. Some contrition, and a direct settlement for Wilford and Friedrichs, might save the unions a huge headache — and a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Instead, it seems they’re in for the long haul.

Stay tuned. I suspect this is just the beginning.

This Is Not A New Idea

On Friday, The Daily Signal posted an article about a proposal before Congress asking taxpayers to make loans to private, union-run pension plans. This is a really bad idea. We have seen what has happened to the college loan program since the government took it over. Just in case you think the idea of the government bailing out union pension plans is far-fetched, I posted an article about this idea in October of 2010.

The article reports:

The Butch Lewis Act—a proposal to bail out private-sector pensions through loans as well as direct cash assistance—acknowledges the high probability of default by stipulating that pension plans that have trouble repaying their loans after 30 years of interest-only payments will be eligible for forgiveness or alternative repayment plans.

A loan with a zero-consequence default option for the borrower is not a loan—it’s a bailout.

But it’s not just defaults that taxpayers need to be concerned about. There’s also the cost of providing highly subsidized, low- or no-interest loans for 15 to 30 years, as well as the risk that plans will increase—rather than decrease—their unfunded liabilities over the course of their loans.

These features could lead to loans to insolvent pension plans costing taxpayers more than direct cash bailouts.

But those costs won’t be apparent in the official government score because the Congressional Budget Office is required to score loans under the assumption that insolvent pension plans are essentially riskless borrowers.

In reality, loans to insolvent pension plans could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. The most liberal proposals—which supplement loans with direct cash assistance—could cost more than the entirety of multiemployer pensions’ half-trillion-dollar shortfall.

Does anyone really believe that these loans will be paid back? Union membership is down, and various courts are hearing cases that will make the mandatory payment of union dues by non-union members who work in a union shop illegal. Both of these factors will make the union retirement plans (actually a true Ponzi scheme) unsustainable.

The article concludes:

Coping with roughly $500 billion in private union pensions’ unfunded promises will not be easy. There are ways to minimize losses to workers who have earned pension benefits and protect taxpayers from paying for private pensions’ broken promises.

Policymakers should look to improve the solvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.’s multiemployer program through premium increases and other reforms; end union pensions’ preferential treatment; enact and enforce sound funding rules; hold pension trustees liable for financial decisions; act sooner rather than later to enact needed reforms, including benefit reductions; and explicitly prohibit federal pension bailouts.

None of these actions provide a costless cure-all, but they offer more fair and rational solutions that don’t treat taxpayers as guarantors of private-sector promises or set the stage for even more mismanagement and reckless behavior.

There is no reason every American should pay for the fact that the unions have not sufficiently funded their retirement plans!

Should Your Family Caregiver Have To Join A Union?

Many families face the challenge of having to take care of elderly parents or disabled children. In certain states these family members are classified as public employees and required to have union dues taken out of the Medicaid funds that help pay for this care. If we are not careful, mom is going to be classified as a public employee so that unions can collect dues from her!

The Independent Journal Review  (IJR) posted an article today stating the following:

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will introduce a bill by the end of February “that would prohibit states from allowing unions to automatically deduct dues and fees from Medicaid funds that are intended to help family caregivers,” according to McMorris Rodgers’ aides.

The bill, which according to aides has at least some support in the Senate, will clearly state that withdrawing labor organization dues from a Medicaid payment to a family caregiver is an “improper use of Medicaid funds.”

A civil monetary penalty will be handed out for any violations of the proposed bill, according to the chairwoman’s office. “Due-skimming is robbing our nation’s most vulnerable who need Medicaid the most,” an aide told IJR.

The article concludes:

Caregivers took to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, calling on Congress to stop states — including California, Minnesota and Illinois — from classifying family caregivers as public employees. House GOP officials say ending the practice could save Medicaid and other programs as much as $200 million a year.

“What bothers me the most is, I know a lot of parents, because I’m in this community,” said Miranda Thorpe, a registered nurse who also cares for her 21-year-old daughter, according to Fox News.

“And none of them really understand that this is happening to them. They have no idea. I don’t think the state should be the factor that colludes with unions to take out this money without people’s knowledge,” Thorpe added.

“If they really wanted people to have a choice, then they should let them know what their options are. … I think it’s very unfair since this is a very vulnerable population.”

I don’t have a problem with unions, but they have become as corrupt as politicians (and sometimes the two work together very closely). Union dues should be collected from people who choose to join a union. Union fat cats live as well as the corporate fat cats they condemn (at least the corporate fat cats generally produce either a product or a service). It is time for the practice of penalizing family members who provide care for a family member to end.

 

The Challenge To Union ‘Closed Shop’ Laws Moves Forward

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that a California case challenging union ‘closed shoplaws is moving forward. The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) has been trying to get the case challenging those laws to the Supreme Court. Currently they will be appealing the case to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ‘closed shop’ laws require anyone who is hired by a company where there is a union has to pay dues to that union whether they choose to join the union or not. The supposed rationale behind that is that the person hired benefits by the fact that the union has negotiated the current wage and benefits package of the company, and since the employee benefits from that negotiation, he should be required to pay union dues. In a ‘right to work’ state, that practice is prohibited.

The article reports:

CIR’s case argues that unions should not be able to get “security clauses” in the contracts they negotiate management. These clauses, also called “closed shop” rules, say that anyone hired must either join the union or at least pay dues to one. The rationale is that the clauses prevent economic “free riders” since all workers theoretically benefit from union collective bargaining.

Such clauses have long been a standard feature of union contracts, though 24 states have “right to work” laws that prohibit the practice.

CIR’s case argues that the practice should be prohibited even in those states without right to work laws because they violate the individual rights of workers. “These fees do nothing but cause ongoing and irreparable injury to their First Amendment rights,” Pell (CIR  President Terry Pell) said.

If this case goes to the Supreme Court and the right of the individual not to pay union dues if he chooses, all states will become ‘right to work’ states. Obviously, the unions are trying to prevent that from happening.

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The Cost Of Bullying

On Friday the Washington Free Beacon posted an article about Jeff Richmond of Meadow Bridge, West Virginia. Mr. Richmond was a truck driver who began working for Penn Line Service, a trucking and construction company, in July 2012.

The article reports:

He never joined LIUNA, which represents other employees at the company, but that did not stop the union from deducting dues from his paycheck. The situation came to a head in October when Richmond refused to make “voluntary” contributions to three PACs associated with the union. He was fired from his job shortly afterward.

…Richmond challenged the forced dues program enacted by the union and the company before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after his firing with the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The NLRB issued a formal complaint against Penn Line Service and LIUNA but did not have a chance to rule on the matter before the settlement.

Richmond was not the only Penn Line Service employee to benefit from the settlement. The company and union agreed to reimburse an unnamed employee $600 for forced dues payments and political contributions he made in 2012.

Since the Supreme Court ruled on the Citizens United case, there has been a lot of talk about the amount of money in politics and particularly donations made by corporations. However, if we are going to complain about corporate donations, we need also to look at union donations unwillingly made by union members who do not necessarily support the candidates or causes the money is given to. At least in a corporation, the stockholders will hold the corporation accountable if the Chairman of the Board makes a donation to a cause the other Board members do not support.

The article concludes:

Mix (Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee) said the union’s actions are not surprising given the influence of organized labor in West Virginia. He urged lawmakers to change the pro-union atmosphere in the state to avoid future issues with compulsory union dues.

“West Virginia needs to pass a Right-to-Work law making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary,” Mix said.

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Under The Radar At The National Labor Relations Board

President Obama stacked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with pro-union people early in his administration. The lone Republican‘s term ended December 16th. At this time there are three Democrats remaining on the board, two were appointed by ‘recess’ appointments which were made while Congress was in session.

Breitbart.com  reported yesterday on some of the NLRB’s recent actions.

The article reports:

The NLRB now allows that unions no longer are required to provide proof, through audits of their finances, to so-called “Beck objectors” that their money is not spent on union politics.

In addition to saving unions from mandatory financial audits, the NLRB also decided that lobbying expenses are now “chargeable to [Beck] objectors, to the extent that they are germane to collective bargaining, contract administration, or grievance adjustment.”

These new rules mean that workers who are forced to join unions and pay union dues have less control than ever over how their money is spent by union leaders. Labor bosses can now spend those funds on just about any lobbying expense whatsoever and never have to justify it.

The NLRB also declared that a corporation is required to collect union dues during the time between contracts between the corporation and the union. In other words, if the union is on strike against the corporation, the corporation will collect union dues for them. Wow.

This is ultimately about money. The unions are the major fund source for democrat politicians. Union membership has been dropping over recent years. If the unions lose their power, the Democrat party loses a large percentage of its campaign funds.Enhanced by Zemanta

Do You Want Your Child Care Providers Unionized ?

Hot Air reported recently that Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has issued an executive order that calls for a vote to unionize child care providers. However, the only people who will be able to vote on the unionization are those providers that are state-licensed and state-subsidized. Not all providers are eligible to vote on the measure. However, if the vote is to unionize, all providers will quite likely have to join the union and pay union dues. Somehow, that seems like taxation without representation–they don’t get to vote on it, but they have to pay for it!

The article at Hot Air reports:

A well-documented detrimental product of unionization is less flexibility. Union contracts do not allow for flexibility (without lavish benefits). Families have ever-changing schedules that will conflict with union contracts. A likely outcome: an increase of unfair labor practices. Unfair labor practices will lead to increased litigation, escalating child care costs.

A number of families can only afford child care through subsides awarded by the state. Gov. Dayton’s E.O. not only restricts availability of child care to families in need, it forces the taxpayer to bear the added expenses from unionized child care.

If Minnesota’s desired outcome is to provide affordable child care, Gov. Dayton must rescind his executive order. Unionization requires forced dues payment, loss of worker rights, and restricts entry into markets. Reducing providers and making child care a less attractive industry for potential entrepreneurs are steps in the wrong direction. Maintaining worker rights and freedom to choose will afford Minnesotans ample quality child care. Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton’s choice will deny widespread access to affordable child care in Minnesota in order to line the pockets of Big Labor.

That pretty much sums it up. Paying back the unions at the voters expense tends to discourage private enterprise and slow the economy. It is where we are nationally right now. Governor Dayton will create more financial problems for families in his state with this executive order.

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