Liberty News

The teachers’ unions have once again been caught red-handed. A manual distributed by the Michigan Education Association has come to light, and its contents are troubling.

The manual revels in the illegality of striking, comparing the unions’ efforts to drain more taxpayer dollars to the work of Gandhi. Strikes hurt children, of course, by depriving them of a stable school environment (it’s why they’re illegal, after all), but that argument would probably be unpersuasive to the teachers’ unions — they are unashamed about using children as political props:

“In terms of a bargaining message, the public responds most positively when we talk about children, quality in the classroom and the future,” the MEA manual states. “There may come a time when it’s appropriate to talk about money and benefits, but lay the groundwork first.”

The manual even suggests one slogan that it claims has worked for other locals: “It’s not about dollars and cents; it’s about our children.”

In other words: use the kids for political cover, and don’t let the public latch onto what we’re really after: “money and benefits.” Anyone who opposes using more taxpayer dollars to fund unions is “against children.”

Saul Alinsky

Image via Wikipedia

The tactics come straight from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals (an intriguing, oft-misunderstood book, one should note): the manual states, practically verbatim from Alinsky’s text, that union activists should “Pick a target—personalize—and polarize the opposition.” Who wants to be against children? It’s a delightfully deceptive piece of demagoguery.

Debate has raged on the right as to whether teachers’ unions are motivated by simple naivety or pure greed. Manuals like this lend credence to the latter view. (Albert Shanker, former head of the American Federation of Teachers, is reported to have remarked that “when school children start paying union dues, then I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”)

How our children benefit from teachers demanding a raise while everyone else has to tighten their belts — actually, at the expense of everyone else already tightening their belts — remains unexplained; it is simply taken for granted. Contrary to the unions’ suggested propaganda slogans, it is actually completely about dollars and cents; the handbook itself makes it quite clear that children are mere tools to aid in procuring more money and benefits to pad teachers’ pockets.

Teachers are not underpaid. The average high school teacher makes over $43,000 a year for roughly 200 days of work. Most teachers can additionally expect tenure, as well as full coverage for medical, dental, and psychiatric care. Teachers in my own county — Washington County, Maryland — receive a fourth of the day off for “planning,” and are able to “bank” unused sick days, saving them up for the future. Teachers around the country receive lavish pensions after just a few decades of work. Not only is this exponentially more exorbitant than what the vast majority of private-sector workers are used to — it’s funded at their expense. The image of the struggling schoolteacher making intense sacrifices so that she may teach inner-city children how to read is utter fantasy.

A recent political cartoon depicts two men at a bar. The first complains that evil Republican governors like Chris Christie and Scott Walker are trying to cut his pension benefits. The second turns to the first and says “What’s a pension?”

All of teachers’ outlandish, unsustainable benefits are funded completely at the expense of the taxpayer. The unions don’t care about the nation’s fiscal stability, let alone the children. While leftist protesters rage against “corporate greed,” they miss the astonishing avarice taking place every day amongst teachers’ unions and their cronies — as long as they can make out like bandits, the taxpayers — and their children — are just pawns in the game.

-Alex Knepper

What Is Government Collective Bargaining?

  • Legal Monopoly: Government collective bargaining gives unions a monopoly on the government’s workforce. The government must employ workers on the terms the union negotiates. It may not hire competing workers.
  • Private vs. Public-Sector: Unions operate differently in government than in the private sector. Private-sector unions bargain over limited profits. Competition from other businesses moderates wage demands. Governments earn no profits and have no competition. Government unions negotiate for more tax dollars.
  • Risking Public Services: When government unions strike, they can deprive citizens of essential services—such as education for children—until demands are met.

History of Government Collective Bargaining

  • Unions Once Rejected: Early labor leaders didn’t believe unions belonged in government. In 1955, George Meany, then-president of the AFL-CIO, said: “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” In 1959 the AFL-CIO Executive Council declared, “In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.”
  • FDR: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D) gave unions extensive powers to bargain collectively in the private sector but excluded them from government. FDR believed collective bargaining had no place in public service and that a government strike was “unthinkable and intolerable.”
  • A Change of Heart: Union membership peaked in the private sector in the 1950s. Unions came to see government employees as valuable new dues-paying members. Some states, like VA and NC, still do not negotiate public spending with government unions. 52% of union members in the U.S. now work for a government.
  • Leverage over Government: Granting unions a monopoly over work done in government gives unions enormous leverage over budgets and taxes. Unions use this power to raise taxes and get more of the budget spent on them.
  • Inflated Government Pay: Government unions win above-market compensation for their members. The average government employee enjoys better health benefits, better pensions, better job security, and an earlier retirement than the average private-sector worker, although cash wages are typically not inflated at the state or local level.
  • Forced Union Dues: In the 28 non-right-to-work states, unions negotiate provisions that force government employees to pay union dues or get fired. This brings government unions billions of dollars.
  • Politicized Civil Service: Government unions have the power to elect the management they negotiate with, so they spend heavily to elect politicians who promise them concessions. Government unions were the top political spenders, outside the two major parties, in the 2010 election cycle.
  • What about Wisconsin?

  • In Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker (R) is reforming collective bargaining. His proposal restores voter control over most spending decisions but does not completely eliminate collective bargaining.
  • Reforms: Walker’s proposal restricts government unions to negotiating over wages only, and not benefits or work rules (such as job guarantees for failing teachers). Voters would have to approve any wage increase beyond inflation. Unions would have to demonstrate that they have the support of a majority of members through an annual secret ballot. Wisconsin would stop subsidizing union fundraising by collecting union dues through its payroll system, and would no longer fire workers who choose not to pay union dues.
  • Is This Union Busting? A union is only “busted” if its members are forced to quit the union. Giving employees the choice to pay or not pay expensive dues is hardly union busting. Under Walker’s plan, Wisconsin unions would still have considerably more negotiating power than even federal employee unions.
  • See the video HERE.

    Source, The Heritage Foundation

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    -By Warner Todd Huston

    As a recap on the past recall effort that just occurred in Wisconsin, a final accounting shows that liberal groups spent over $14 million to beat the six Republicans that were up for recall. They failed in four of the six attempts and in the two they won, well, it was a pyrrhic victory to say the least. It all goes to show that money is not always the final arbiter of an election victory.

    The MacIver Institute of Wisconsin has created a great graphic to diagram the spending the left indulged to recall these six Wisconsin Republicans. It was mostly union money, of course.

    Click Image to embiggen…

    Of the totals, MacIver says:

    These figures include direct contributions from political action committee to candidates, coordinated independent expenditure campaigns, and individual third party expenditures. The overall effort, however, is likely much larger. Member-to-member communications and issue advocacy totals are not required to be reported to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board and are therefore not included in this total.

    It was mostly wasted money, too. The people of Wisconsin did not accept the union’s viewpoint that the eeeevil Republicans were destroying the state. In fact, just the opposite.

    This was a big victory against modern unionism. And what is most encouraging is that this victory has occurred in Wisconsin, a state traditionally one of the most left-wing, progressive states in the Union. If we can defeat union thuggery in progressive Wisconsin, we can do it anywhere.

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    -By Warner Todd Huston

    Oh, the union thugs in Wisconsin will certainly try to act as if winning a mere two of the six recall elections of the Republican State Senators in the Cheese State was a big win… but it wasn’t. In fact, this recall nonsense shows that the union issues were a huge failure. After all, they even shied from using the union issues to push the recall efforts after they got going because they were looking like a losing issue.

    In fact, the two Republicans that lost their effort to beat the recall were the two that were a bit odd as it is, so beating them doesn’t seem to be such a great triumph. And even at that the margins of defeat were not great. David Fredosso of the Washington Examiner puts it well:

    In the end, the union-backed Democrats picked up only two state Senate seats in Wisconsin last night, at a staggering cost in time, effort, and of course money. One of the seats was solidly Democratic, held by a Republican due to an apparent fluke of nature. The other was held by an alleged adulterer who had moved outside his district to live with his young mistress, and whose wife was supporting his recall.

    A Pyrrhic victory, there, for sure.

    Unions and left-wing Democrat operative told us that the people of Wisconsin were furious at Governor Scott Walker and his GOP partners. We were told that “the people” would swarm to the recall election polls and throw the rascals out. But aside from the two problem children above, none of the elections were even close.

    So, what happened? With nearly $30 million spent on the recall efforts the two sides were pretty even (though the GOP had a slight edge). So, it wasn’t money that flipped the vote toward the GOP.

    The truth is, the state is already seeing major benefits from Gov. Walker’s GOP agenda. Schools are seeing huge budget savings and some of them are even standing up to unions to find further savings. Even better, due to Gov. Walker’s efforts Wisconsin led the nation in jobs creation in June with 9,500 new jobs being created in the Badger State.

    Wisconsin is growing again at last. Unions were the reason Wisconsin was being held back. And voters know it.

    Mickey Kaus (a famous left-winger, but quixotic that he is often anti-union) makes some great points about this recall election, too.

    Unions Lose Again in Wisconsin: It looks as if the organized labor movement has failed to recall enough Wisconsin Republicans to regain control of the state senate. That’s a) in an off-year election where union turnout usually makes the difference b) in famously progressive Wisconsin c) after spending many millions d) with a nationwide media and organizing push e) when labor had a galvanizing issue in Gov. Scott Walker’s direct assault on the institutional collective bargaining power of public employees, which led to a dramatic walkout by Democrats.

    That puts it all well in perspective to show how badly the unions lost, doesn’t it?

    Lastly, this whole recall idea is idiotic. We have elections to put people in office. If we don’t like them we have the opportunity to be rid of them during the next election. This frivolous use of recalls is simply illegitimate. But that aside, it is good to see that most of the people of Wisconsin understood that the folks that were only just elected needed the chance to get a fair shot at doing the job they were voted in to do.

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    In yet another union-styled outrage, Democrats backed by union thugs in Wisconsin are using the personal information of voters found on recall petitions to harass them because they signed a petition to recall Green Bay Democrat State Senator Dave Hansen.

    Over the last few weeks thousands of Wisconsin voters signed a recall petition in Green Bay to recall Hansen and when voters sign such petitions they must give their address and phone numbers so that authorities can verify the voter’s signature in order to approve the petition. Now it seems that the Wisconsin Democrat Party has gotten hold of these petitions and have begun a telephone harassment campaign against the individual voters that signed the petitions.

    The Wisconsin GOP has discovered this disgusting campaign and have found that the Democrats are using a fake phone number and a fake caller ID in order to get voters to answer the phone only to be harangued about having signed the recall petition.

    The Democratic Party has targeted for harassment people who signed recall petitions against Senator Hansen, making calls on beginning on Monday April 25th using a fake phone number and caller ID that showed up on phones as “Bay Care Aurora,” a well-known Green Bay area medical center. Once recall supporters answered the phone, they were told they were speaking with a Democrat Party of Wisconsin operative, and were questioned about signing a petition to recall Hansen.

    Mark Jefferson, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, released a statement on this appalling tactic.

    “It’s disgusting that the Dems would use a fake call from a hospital to trick people into answering their phones – only so they could harass and intimidate them into saying they did not sign a recall petition. People who received that call may have feared the worst – an unexpected call from a hospital can bring terrible news about a loved one. The Democrats’ intent was obviously to confuse and upset people, hoping they would be disoriented and easily tricked into saying they had not signed a recall petition. Dave Hansen’s political career may be coming to an end because he fled to Illinois, but that doesn’t excuse this cruel, desperate tactic.”

    Imagine that you are a Wisconsin voter who is sick and tired of union thugs running your government, you sign a recall petition (as is your right as a voter), only to have the thugs in the Democrat Party calling your home under false pretenses in order to harass you about your signature.

    Democrat officials are claiming that the incorrect caller ID number was merely a mistake made by a staffer that typed the wrong number into the caller system. But the Party insists that it will continue the harassment regardless.

    Not the best way to win friends and influence people, eh? But it is a typical union-styled thuggishness of which voters from coast to coast are getting sick and tired.

    It all goes to show that not only are the Democrats bought, paid for, and wholly run by violence prone union toughs, but the Democrats have not learned a single lesson offered by voters about their old, profligate, overspending, union-sold ways.

    Still, it should be no surprise that Democrats are having a tough time learning this lesson. The thug life has been a way of life for well over 100 years, after all. It’s hard for old, worn-out donkeys to learn new tricks.

    If State Senator Dave Hansen was as upstanding as he wants to appear, he would condemn this activity in no uncertain terms.

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    Tens of thousands of those jobs are gone, some resurfacing at nonunion plants in other states or in foreign countries with cheaper labor costs.

    Now, barely one in seven Wisconsin workers is unionized, the lowest ratio since at least 1964, and they’re just as likely to earn their paychecks from taxpayers as they are from corporations.

    In placing a stranglehold on the state’s public sector unions, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has struck at perhaps the final source of union strength in the state, and the squeeze is being felt across the country.

    “I don’t want to overdramatize it, but we’re getting down to a last stand of the American labor movement and this might be it, and both sides seem to understand that quite keenly,” said Bruce Western, a Harvard University sociologist who studies labor markets. “This explains why there’s so much conflict in Wisconsin.

    “The battle has already been lost in the private sector, so it’s really a pivotal moment for American labor,” he said….

    Read the rest at Wisconsin State Journal.

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