Public Sector Unions Should Support the Public Agenda

In a special election last week, Brian Dahle defeated Kevin Kiley in the race to become the next California State Senator representing District One, which sprawls north from the foothills east of Sacramento all the way to the Oregon border.

Both candidates were Republican members of the State Assembly, competing in one of the few safe Republican districts left in California. If you study their legislative voting records, all but the most committed conservative wonks would consider these men to offer pretty much the same positions on most issues. But Dahle had one decisive advantage – endorsements and financial contributions from public safety unions.

What is Brian Dahle going to do in return for this support?

In a perfect world, any organization of public servants would be non-partisan and politically neutral. But here in California, public sector unions don’t spend hundreds of millions every year to elect candidates like Brian Dahle out of political neutrality.

It would be bad enough if the only “political” agenda of public sector unions was to back pay and benefits packages that are, in the case of pensions, threatening to bankrupt every public agency in the state. But that’s hardly the case.

For example, earlier this year, why did International Association of Fire Fighters president Harold Schaitberger to lead 1,600 firefighters in solidarity with striking teachers in Los Angeles? Was his membership asked, or have they even thought about what unions have done to California’s public schools? Are they actually against […] Read More

Public Sector Unions – The Other Deep State

When government fails, public-sector unions win. When society fragments, public-sector unions consolidate their power. When citizenship itself becomes less meaningful, and the benefits of American citizenship wither, government unions offer an exclusive solidarity.

Government unions insulate their members from the challenges facing ordinary private citizens. On every major issue of our time; globalization, immigration, climate change, the integrity of our elections, crime and punishment, regulations, government spending, and fiscal reform, the interests and political bias of public-sector unions is inherently in conflict with the public interest. Today, there may be no greater core threat to the freedom and prosperity of the American people.

In the age of talk radio, the Tea Party movement, internet connectivity, and Trump, Americans finally are mobilizing against the uniparty to take back their nation. Yet the threat of public-sector unions typically is a sideshow, when it ought to occupy center stage. They are the greatest menace to American civilization that nobody seems to be talking about. Ask the average American what the difference is between a government union, and a private sector union, and you’re likely to be met with an uncomprehending stare. That’s too bad, because the differences are profound.

While America’s labor movement has always included in its ranks varying percentages of crooks, Communists, and thugs, it derived its mass appeal based on legitimate and often compelling grievances. Most of the benefits American workers take for granted—certainly including overtime pay, sick leave, and safe working conditions—were negotiated by private sector unions.

Over time, […] Read More

Government Union Power in California and the Janus Ruling

AUDIO: A discussion of how government unions exercise nearly absolute power in California and speculation as to whether the Janus ruling will have any impact – 45 minutes on AM 870 Los Angeles “The Answer” – Edward Ring on Radio Free Los Angeles.

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A Post-Janus Agenda for California’s Public Sector Unions

“If you do not prevail in this case, the unions will have less political influence; yes or no?” Kennedy asked. “Yes, they will have less political influence,” Frederick answered. – an excerpt from the Janus vs. AFSCME trial, quoted in the Washington Post, February 26, 2018

Earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Janus vs. AFSCME case. Mark Janus, a public employee in Illinois, is challenging the right of unions to charge “fair share” fees, because he disagrees with the political agenda which he claims his fees help pay for.

What if government unions were accountable to their members? What if the politics of these unions mirrored the politics of the members? Would Mark Janus still want out?

It’s already possible for public employees to “opt-out” of paying that portion of their dues that fund explicitly political activity, although in practice the unions typically make that opt-out process very difficult. But Mark Janus is arguing that all dues paid to public sector unions are political, because the consequences of collective bargaining in the public sector impact taxes, government debt, budgets and spending priorities. He is arguing that the agenda of public sector unions, including collective bargaining, is inherently political.

In reality, saying all public sector union activity is inherently political is itself an understatement. In California, public sector unions spend about $300 million per year on explicitly political activity – funding political campaigns, political action committees, and lobbyists. But they spend at least another […] Read More

Union Members Should Want Pro-Business Policies

AUDIO: A discussion of public sector unions, how they are harming ordinary Californians, and how an insurrection within these unions could create a win-win scenario. If public sector union leadership truly embraced pro-business polices to lower California’s punitive cost-of-living, everyone would benefit – 37 minutes on 1380 AM KTKZ Sacramento – Edward Ring on the Phil Cowan Show with Katy Grimes as guest host.

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