PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS & THE 2012 ELECTIONS

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: While the news media has been focusing on public sector unions in Wisconsin and Ohio, the Obama administration has quietly encouraged the unionization of 45,000 airport screeners. The Transportation Security Administrator, John Pistole, a pro-union advocate, has been lauded by federal unions, who have wanted to unionize airport screeners for many years. This is an extraordinary development in light of the anti-public-union sentiment that has swept the county in the last few months. As the Obama Administration and Democratic legislators gear up for the 2012 elections, they will surely enlist the vast armies of unionized workers to deliver their election victories. As we get closer and closer to 2012, we can expect to see ever-increasing pro-union directives emanating from the White House.

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PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS WANT HIGHER TAXES

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: Throughout the country, public sector unions are campaigning for higher taxes as a means to prevent government cutbacks. From Oregon to New York and states in between, unions are waging ferocious fights to prevent states from balancing budgets by cutting expenses.

Unions, such as SEIU and AFSCME, are spending extraordinary sums to promote higher taxes as a means to prevent cutbacks that they feel will result in fewer members, lower amounts from union dues, and less money to spend on political campaigns.

In Oregon, the Oregon Education Association and the SEIU spent millions of dollars to pass ballot initiatives that ultimately raised business and income taxes by approximately $727 million.

In Arizona, unions were behind an effort that increased sales taxes from 5.6% to 6.6%, thus helping to raise one billion dollars.

In New York, the United Teachers union spent $750,000 to prevent the state from capping some of the highest real estate taxes in the nation. In fact, real estate taxes in New York State are so high that many middle class families and small businesses have left the state.

And so it goes from state to state, but it doesn’t stop there. It exists nationally as well. Unions give more money than do any other entities to the national Democratic party. And the purpose of their giving is no different from their state-by-state donations: generous donations to congressional, senatorial, and presidential campaigns require a payback, And that payback is legislation that will increase wages and benefits for public sector workers by raising taxes. Public sector unions benefit; public sector workers benefit. And the American people, their states and corporations foot the bill. The American people, who are not members of public sector unions, are the victims of a vicious cycle of union-government-union actions that are increasingly injurious to the health of the American economy.

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STEPHEN CABOT DECRIES OBAMA'S EXECUTIVE ORDER

From the desk of Stephen Cabot

The Executive Order for Project Labor Agreements, which had been issued by President Obama, has gone into effect this week. The rule encourages federal agencies to require that any company that performs a construction project for the government should have a unionized workforce, if the construction project costs more than $25-million.

Since only 15% of construction workers are unionized, 85% of construction workers will now be ineligible for government projects that cost more than $25-million. As a result, either workers will demand that they be represented by unions, which will drive up labor costs; or, more likely, non-union workers will not have an opportunity to work on government construction projects. This will prove highly injurious to companies and workers alike.

Since the construction industry currently has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates, at 27%, President Obama’s Order will only serve to drive up that figure.

In addition, the use of unionized companies will significantly reduce competitive bidding for projects, which will result in increased costs. That burden will add to the deficit and become an additional responsibility of tax payers.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that project labor agreements increase costs by up to 20% and invite significant cost overruns, just look at Boston’s Big Dig.

Workers should have the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union. The government’s action limits that freedom, propelling workers into the avaricious arms of organized labor while worsening the American economy.

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