From the desk of Steve Cabot: As a labor relations expert, who represents employers globally, I examine most labor relations trends involving unions. What most of us do not understand is how biased President Obama is in favoring labor unions, particularly those in government.
A recent book authored by Mallory Factor entitled “ShadowBosses” portrays the influence of government unions while President Barack Obama has been in the White House. The author claims that “some union officials meet more often with the President and his staff than cabinet officials.” Factor contends, and I agree, that the Obama administration’s decision to allow the TSA to be unionized represents a growing threat to national security as well as deficit reduction efforts that could derail any possible economic recovery. As an illustration, ShadowBosses reveals that 20% of the workforce in the Department of Defense and a third of the employees working for Homeland Security are represented by labor unions. Furthermore, the unionized Homeland Security employees work for border patrol, customs and immigration, and FEMA agents.
Factor contends, and I agree, that the power of union leadership, which pursues political agendas, are not always supported by their membership, which is reflected in the billions of dollars of union dues that it can spend in support of politicians. For example, teacher unions have $2 billion/year in dues and a lot of that is used for political purposes. Also, government employee unions collect at least $14 billion in annual dues and much of that is also used for political purposes.
The growth of governmental unions also has a negative spin for our economy. Factor’s book makes the case that government unions are among the reasons for the growing size of the federal government and the national debt. Almost 500,000 federal government employees earn more than $100,000/year and receive up to 10 weeks of annual vacation. Union leaders, meanwhile earn as much as ten times that of rank and file members, with salaries reaching more than $800,000/year. ShadowBosses critically reveals that taxpayers subsidize this ballooning cost of government which effectively prevents us from more positively attacking the growing budget deficits.
Most labor relations experts, like me, are convinced that these abuses by union and government must end now. The election in November provides an opportunity to end these abuses. Voters must decide now on the correct course for our great country. I believe that a vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket is the necessary first step.