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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