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Old 02-24-2011, 09:07 AM   #61
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I am a "public gov't retired worker". Although I am from a non-union state, I must admit that health insurance package seems to be excessive. Does that pay for a whole family? We had our individual health paid for, but that was $500 a month with $1k deductible. You had to pay going rate to add family. Seemed fair to me. I am not oppossed to unions, but our state doesnt have them for gov't workers, and our compensation has been fair, I believe.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:08 AM   #62
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Nobody is "busting the union." ... What is being proposed is the elimination of mandatory union membership ...
Once a teacher can obtain the wage and salary benefits negotiated by the union without paying union dues, what do you think will happen? Think it through.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:15 AM   #63
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Once a teacher can obtain the wage and salary benefits negotiated by the union without paying union dues, what do you think will happen? Think it through.
And when the union membership gets low enough that they can't effectively gain concessions, more workers will see it is in their best interest to join and they will do so. When they are comfortable with their wages and benefits, or fed up with the union's political expenditures, etc, they'll decide to stop paying union dues and quit the union. It makes the unions more responsive to their membership, and it is self correcting. If the unions need the government to force people to join, that speaks volumes. Think it through.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:37 AM   #64
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Having been member of two Unions, and ran a w*rkplace with all union crew, I am opposed to unions which are forced on the employees.

Both unions I was in were mandatory. They were in states which did not have a "right to work" law.

One example is in Maryland a transit worker's union. The transit system is state owned and operated. The initiation fee 20 yrs ago was $300+, plus of course monthly dues and special assesments for building fund which was never built to this day, and legal defense for arbitrations of general screwups.

In the early days of my coerced membership I calculated that the local was raking in well beyond $1.2 million per year. And posted the results on the bulletin board which was required to be maintained for union business. Within 10 mintes the shop steward tore down the posting and started giving me a ration of $hit.

I offered to step outside with him to settle his profanities, whereupon he became a bit more polite.

Further: The membership initiated a law suit to have the union open their books and provide full accounting of the sources and uses of funds. Two years of litigation later the court ruled that the union did not and does not have to account to the membership of what happened to the funds.

In my opinion public entity unions are nothing but transfer stations for funds to union lobbying and the furthering of their own existence.

It is OK with me if employees of their own free will want to join, but closed shops stink to high heaven.

Another words I am in strong agreement to eliminate all unions which are in public (read state and federal) workplaces.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:43 AM   #65
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Jimmy Hoffa comes to mind.

All that Union money and nobody is watching. Although I believe there are now strict accounting and disclosure rules in place for union funds.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:46 AM   #66
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Jimmy Hoffa comes to mind.

All that Union money and nobody is watching. Although I believe there are now strict accounting and disclosure rules in place for union funds.
Just try and see if you can get an audited financial statement of the Teamsters or AFL-CIO.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:48 AM   #67
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Things are different now. Accounting and disclosure are required.

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Private-sector unions are required to file reports annually with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service. The Labor Department form is mandated by the Landrum-Griffin Act, and is referred to as the LM-2. The IRS filing is on Form 990, required from all non-profit organizations.
LM-2 forms require complete information concerning assets and liabilities at the beginning and end of the fiscal year; all receipts and the sources of all receipts; compensation of all union officer and employees who received more than $10,000; loans made to officers, employees, or members, of more than $250; loans to any business enterprise; and other disbursements made by the organization ...
Current Disclosure Rules [Mackinac Center]

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The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (also "LMRDA" of the "Landrum-Griffin Act"), is a United States labor law that regulates labor unions' internal affairs and their officials' relationships with employers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_M...Disclosure_Act
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:58 AM   #68
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Thanks for the info.

I'll try and see if I can get a filing for the Maryland transit union. I am still curious where all of that money went. Though to dig into it might be construed as w*rking while retired.

Be interesting to see if the rules you describe take precedence or the court ruling. I presume the document filed with the Dept. of Labor are public documents.

I'm reasonable sure that the average Joe can't get a copy of their IRS filings.

Edit 2: suing for info- as discussed by the Mackinac link:

"Union members may sue in state or federal court to force their union to turn over "any books, records, and accounts necessary to verify" the report if there is just cause to believe the report is inaccurate. But given the financial burden of a lawsuit and the ill will generated by suing the union, this course of action is impractical for rank-and-file union members."

Edit add: reading the Macinac center link, the quoted bit is interesting:

"Financial information required of unions provides little insight into the various functional areas where union money is spent, such as collective bargaining, politics, lobbying, or grievances."

So I guess there is not much point in pursuing the Maryland union's filings. They can still hide the most relevant bits of info.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:27 AM   #69
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Management's proper role is negotiating the lowest wages and benefits it can, and that's fine.
I would add, though, that management doesn't have the same "adversarial" role in the public sector as in the private. As long as management can get increased budgets year after year to give labor what it wants, everyone's happy. This, of course, doesn't happen in the private sector, as shareholders demand more of the increased revenues in the form of higher profit, not higher employee compensation.

And in the private sector, unions know that if they ask for too many golden eggs, they will kill the goose. Until now, public unions have rarely faced that pressure.

In reality, "management" in the public sector (with respect to bargaining with the union) is really not the management of the government agencies, but the politicians and the voters. Management will give labor all it can, consistent with the budget legislators provide.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:31 AM   #70
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And when the union membership gets low enough that they can't effectively gain concessions, more workers will see it is in their best interest to join and they will do so. When they are comfortable with their wages and benefits, or fed up with the union's political expenditures, etc, they'll decide to stop paying union dues and quit the union. It makes the unions more responsive to their membership, and it is self correcting. If the unions need the government to force people to join, that speaks volumes. Think it through.
There are other problems. I don't think a lot of private sector employees, especially in right-to-work states, feel comfortable about advocating for organizing -- especially when their prospects for finding other employment are so awful.

I don't believe laws that force unions on private sector labor (or force people to join a union) are good, but I also think we need a better ability to advocate for unions if we want them, without the fear of reprisal that exists today.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:33 AM   #71
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Reading the thread I don't see any mention of the fact that one of the biggest drivers of the battle in Wisconsin, and many other states, is that the pension plans for these public employees are under water and the states can't meet their pension obligations. If you look at many of these plans you will see the states have been funding them assuming an 8% return on investments. Hellooooo!!!!! Had they been using more realistic numbers we wouldn't be in such bad shape but, hey, they're politicians, what do you expect?

I'm no fan of the unions but not everything is their fault. We're fighting the same battle here in Indiana and I'm married to a teacher. Her pay is $47.5k per year after 14 years on the job with a Master's degree in secondary ed. She also pays $470/mo for family healthcare. The local school district does a 1% match on her 403b plan and she can retire at 55 and receive a pension of $18k per year until age 65. I'm pointing these numbers out just to show that teacher pay and benefits do vary widely across the country.

Some of our Democrat legislators have also fled the state to avoid similar votes along the lines of what WI is looking at. This is plain BS! They lost elections and are now thwarting democracy by running away? There should be a way to hold them accountable for such despicable behavior.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:35 AM   #72
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Btravlin:

Your point is valid, Nonetheless they spent the money already. What should they do now is the question. Not what should they have done.

Ditto for Social Security and Medicare.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:01 PM   #73
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I heard this is a big bone of contention. Is it true that the state is hindered because they are forced to buy health insurance through some union dictated insurance company? How did this come about?
Collective bargaining............ The state taxpayers could save almost $70 million a year in costs if the teachers could have other options, as WEAC insurance trust would have to lower their premiums they bill the state or lose a lot of teachers to other plans. NO WAY do the unions want to lose that cash cow..........
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:05 PM   #74
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Unions do other things for their members than try to get them better wages and benefits -- representing them in grievance procedures, e.g. I don't know whether the Wisconsin teachers are getting their money's worth for their dues, but that's up to them, isn't it? They're the ones paying the union dues.
Not UP TO THEM, required and forced upon them. Payroll deduction for $900 a year whether you want to join the union, or not is fair?
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:11 PM   #75
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Reading the thread I don't see any mention of the fact that one of the biggest drivers of the battle in Wisconsin, and many other states, is that the pension plans for these public employees are under water and the states can't meet their pension obligations. If you look at many of these plans you will see the states have been funding them assuming an 8% return on investments. Hellooooo!!!!! Had they been using more realistic numbers we wouldn't be in such bad shape but, hey, they're politicians, what do you expect?
Actually, the Wisconsin plan is funded about the best in the US. However, healthcare and other benefits negotiated through collective bargaining are killing the goose (taxpayer).

One of my mom's former students is a nurse at one of the prisons. She was allowed to "opt-in" a disability policy that is 100% funded by the state, and after 90 days pays 100% of her compensation irregardless of the nature of the disability, even stress was counted as a reason to pay.......can we really afford those types of benefits??
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:11 PM   #76
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Btravlin:

Your point is valid, Nonetheless they spent the money already. What should they do now is the question. Not what should they have done.

Ditto for Social Security and Medicare.
Agreed. I just wanted to make sure that those bashing the teachers see the other side of the story. Along these same lines, states have often skipped funding their public employee pension plans for a year with the intention of catching up the following year and often times that doesn't happen. Similar to credit card debt jumping up and biting you in the rear because you really did intend to pay that balance off!

It all gets back to the real problem which is spending. Government never has learned to LBYM.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:13 PM   #77
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Actually, the Wisconsin plan is funded about the best in the US. However, healthcare and other benefits negotiated through collective bargaining are killing the goose (taxpayer).

One of my mom's former students is a nurse at one of the prisons. She was allowed to "opt-in" a disability policy that is 100% funded by the state, and after 90 days pays 100% of her compensation irregardless of the nature of the disability, even stress was counted as a reason to pay.......can we really afford those types of benefits??
Agreed, and again the situation varies from state to state. And, no, we can't afford those types of benefits.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:17 PM   #78
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Agreed, and again the situation varies from state to state. And, no, we can't afford those types of benefits.
The benefits seem not to be benefits but rather entitlements. Walker is taking a very unpopular stand in a state that is the birthplace of unionized labor and has loads of state employees, both working and retired. He has some cajones, that's for sure. Other Governors have slapped band-aids and passed the buck, Walker is making a stand.

The alternative is laying off folks and unpaid furloughs for those who keep their jobs. Walker feels there is nothing to negotiate because he has nothing to give, he was handed a $3 billion deficit from the last governor..............
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:20 PM   #79
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He has some cajones, that's for sure.......
I think you may mean cojones, not cajones. As: His boxers are kept in his cajones, and his cojones are kept in his boxers. (Different pairs of boxers one hopes! )

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Old 02-24-2011, 01:24 PM   #80
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The benefits seem not to be benefits but rather entitlements. Walker is taking a very unpopular stand in a state that is the birthplace of unionized labor and has loads of state employees, both working and retired. He has some cajones, that's for sure. Other Governors have slapped band-aids and passed the buck, Walker is making a stand.

The alternative is laying off folks and unpaid furloughs for those who keep their jobs. Walker feels there is nothing to negotiate because he has nothing to give, he was handed a $3 billion deficit from the last governor..............
It's hard to negotiate in good faith if you don't have the funding. I admire his honesty and no-nonsense approach; pretty refreshing in the world of political weasel-speak.
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