Sunday, August 2, 2015

Public Sector Unions Oppose the Best Interests of Both Taxpayers and the General Public

Before proceeding, let's make three statements of fact:

(1) The clear majority of individual public sector employees, including teachers, police and fire fighters, do good work and generally act in the best interests of We the People;

(2) Private sector unions do not necessarily act contrary to the best interests of employees or companies; and

(3) Public sector unions are bad for taxpayers and the general public. They should be eliminated.


The best interests of public sector unions are unalterably opposed to the best interests and well being of the vast majority of American citizens and our overall American society.

The motivations and selfish interests of public sector union leaders are not remotely like those of their private sector union counterparts. Public sector officials are in it to win it only for themselves and frequently not even their members. They are absolutely unconcerned about doing what is in the best interests of the 'employer,' aka We the People.

They can and do take this 'taxpayer be damned' approach because taxpayers won't cease to exist and communities won't close their doors or relocate when the union's demands become too unreasonable. Accordingly, the union leadership isn't likely to act in the long term best interests of its members, members of the community, other citizens or taxpayers.

And it's even logical, albeit sickening at times, for them to act that way. Let me explain.

In the end, public sector union leaders are paid by taxpayers. The unions generate their revenues from the dues collected from the union's bargaining unit members.

This 'unlimited taxpayer support' in turn enables and emboldens the union leadership to sponsor and support (1) ever bigger government, (2) unproductive workplace inefficiencies and (3) higher taxes.

And they take this wasteful and anti-taxpayer stance for three very selfish reasons:

(1) The more public sector bargaining unit employees there are, the more dues the unions will collect from them;

(2) The more workplace inefficiencies there are, the more dues the union will collect due to a bloated and unproductive workforce; and

(3) The more taxes We the People pay, the more money there will be for public sector unions to access.

When a union negotiates its initial contract on behalf of bargaining unit employees, its most important demand is invariably a dues checkoff provision. From that point forward, a portion of what taxpayers intend to pay to employees is instead automatically 'siphoned off' to the union coffers. The taxpayer supplied funds become guaranteed union receipts, and no further effort to raise money is ever required of the union chieftains. All they have to do is get more and more bargaining unit employees on the payroll. That in turn results in higher union revenues and higher paychecks for union officials.

They can instead focus much of their time and membership dues lobbying on behalf of and supporting the Democratic Party's nominees. This in turn means that the Democratic politicians will support the union leadership with 'favorable' legislation. Thereafter the unions and Democrats play an ongoing effective and simple game of  'you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours.' And it's all paid for by the taxpayers.

Doubt what I say? Then consider what Critics blast loophole that forces taxpayers to support public sector union work has to say:

"Bob Nicks has firefighting in his blood, but for the last four years, the Texas battalion chief has earned his six-figure salary sitting at a desk doing union work instead of running into burning buildings and saving lives.

As president of Austin Firefighters Association/IAFF Local 975, Nicks is office-bound by order of the chief, even though he believes he could handle union business with one weekly shift and spend the rest of his time on the job doing what he loves. He is paid for what is known as "release time," hours public sector union officials spend doing union business that are paid by their employers - taxpayers. . . .

Nicks, who calls himself a "different kind of union president," hates getting paid to ride a desk. His rank earns him more than $100,000, he acknowledged, but he spends none of his 40-hour work week in a firehouse. . . .

Release time costs local, state and federal governments hundreds of millions of dollars. . . .
“It’s an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee. “There’s no reason for it and that is the problem with unionizing the public sector. They [unions] have become the most powerful lobby group in politics.". . .

Pending legislation in Michigan would curb release time and also end a practice known as “pension spiking.”. . . Michigan Education Association bargained for the Lansing school district to contribute $50,000 annually to the state pension system on behalf of state union President Steve Cook. The deal allowed him to collect a much larger pension despite not working for the school system."

Summing Up

Private sector employers either must satisfy customers and make a profit for shareholders, or they will go broke and out of business. Hence, customer focus and employee productivity are the hallmarks of successful private companies. Private sector unions know that and often are guided accordingly.

The public sector has no such existential need either to satisfy customers or act in the best interests of the 'sponsoring' taxpayers. 

Public sector union leaders have internalized this 'sponsoring' feature of taxpayer supported public sector bargaining. So unlike their private sector counterparts, these union leaders don't concern themselves with the best interests of the 'sponsoring' shareholders, aka taxpayers.

It's time for We the People, aka the 'sponsoring' taxpayers, to make clear to public sector union leaders that we know who's really 'sponsoring' the union officials and paying all the union bills.

The long term best interests of our kids, our citizens, our money, our schools, our cities, our states and our nation are at stake. It's time for We the People to act accordingly.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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