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Opinion: By R. Al Bain
Governor Rick Snyder and his budget proposal went to far in some area’s and not far enough in others! Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is doing not only what needs to be done but what the citizens elected him to do. Collective bargaining for Michigan’s Public Employee Unions is and has been bleeding the taxpayers! Mandatory arbitration has turned out to be a rigged game rigged in favor of government employees and their unions, and against the taxpayers who supply their wages and benefits.
If there were a hall of fame for ideas that sound great in theory but are disastrous in real life, “binding arbitration’’ for government labor contracts would be a major exhibit. To public-sector unions and the politicians who do their bidding, binding arbitration is sacrosanct. As state and local governments have learned to their chagrin, once binding arbitration becomes part of the collective-bargaining process, it doesn’t facilitate compromise it undermines it. The National Labor Relations Act (a.k.a Wagner Act) does not apply to government employers. The term “employer” shall not include the United States or any wholly owned Government corporation, or any Federal Reserve Bank, or any State or political subdivision thereof.
Perhaps the worst effect of binding arbitration, however, is the way it erodes self-government. It takes away from citizens and their elected officials the power to shape local budgets, and to establish wages and working conditions for public employees. Those essential civic decisions are made instead by an outside arbitrator who likely has no ties to the community, and who will not have to live with the consequences or be taxed to pay the costs of the settlement the he imposes. But as taxpayers find it harder to pay the bill for public employees, more are coming to see why collective bargaining and government service are a bad mix.
Why would a Michigan Republican Senator who calls himself a conservative introduce and sponsor an amendment in direct conflict to the principles of his Party and to the taxpayers he is supposed to represent in this regard? In 2010 Senator Randy Richardville introduced SB 1072 that would expand and mandate the scope of municipal binding arbitration. This Bill was tabled prior to the Primary Election in 2010 possibly for the implications it may have had on his re-election?
But like other controversial Bill’s he has introduced, sponsored, or co-sponsored such as to amend the Gun Laws to allow College Kids to Carry Weapons on Campus, (that was re-introduced by his fellow Democratic colleague in 2011), and the Carpenters Union Bill that that would be a form of forced unionization he co-sponsored along with his Democratic colleagues Ray Basham and Joel Sheltron, SB 1072 is sure to be re-introduced also. Don’t forget “Forced Unionization” of “Home Healthcare Providers” and “Home Daycare Providers” in which he also is onboard with!
The people ultimately responsible for setting wages of public employees are politicians: state legislators, school boards, county commissioners, city councils. They are elected to their positions, and need money to run their campaigns. This creates a special relationship between unionized public employees and the politicians: politicians are generous with public employee salaries; those salaries enable unions to extract hefty dues from unionized employees; unions use those dues to contribute to the campaigns of friendly politicians.
Collective Bargaining in Michigan Government Bleeds Taxpayers
In a 2/7/10 article titled Public-sector unions bleed taxpayers, Conservative political analyst Michael Barone says: Last month the Labor Department reported that private-sector unions lost 834,000 members last year and now represent only 7.2 percent of private-sector employees. That’s down from the all-time peak of 36 percent in 1953 and ’54. But union membership is still growing in the public sector. Last year 37.4 percent of public-sector employees were union members. That percentage was down near zero in the 1950s. For the first time in history, a majority of union members are government employees.
Collective Bargaining in Michigan Government Bleeds Taxpayers
Agema Finally Gets Action on Bridge Card Fraud Challenge
For more than a year, Representative Dave Agema has been talking about the fraudulent usage of Bridge Cards, the replacement for food stamps, by college students. He was unable to get any action out of Governor Granholm and the Department of Human Services until now. Agema said he has heard from many parents in his House district who say they are astonished their child is receiving the aid in college even though the parents are paying for all expenses. Now if we can only get our other elected representatives on board as to look out for the taxpayers of Michigan maybe we can right the ship! To many are worried about advancing their political careers than what’s in the best interest of those who elected them to serve as their voice in Lansing! Great job Mr. Agema keep up the good work!
Forget the Elections, Focus on Outcomes and how they Legislate
Voters should not take for granted that any lawmaker, once elected, will automatically do what he or she was elected to do. Limiting government is a necessary core function, but I must warn you, don’t expect Republicans, who now control everything, to just start sending Gov. Rick Snyder bills to accomplish these things. The reasons for this are many, but let me illustrate the situation with a statement made in a radio interview by Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, the new Senate majority leader. When asked about a right-to-work law, which would prohibit employers from firing workers who do not support a union, he said he did not “see it as being a top priority” this year. He added that a right-to-work law seems to me to be more disruptive with little positive results, and that it could possibly reduce the strength of our workforce. With one look at his campaign contributions from Unions one can clearly see why he feels it would be disruptive, disruptive to his campaign coffers! I bet a lot of voters who re-elected Senator Richardville would be unhappy to learn that the man who decides which bills come to the floor for a vote has already effectively nixed a labor reform adopted by 22 other states, all of which are outperforming Michigan!
Township Tackles Costs With Aggressive Privatization Strategy
In West Bloomfield Township, it’s no longer a question of whether there are savings to be had by privatizing city services. Now the question has become: How much can be saved by pushing the private contractors to compete against one another? The township recently saw its annual janitorial bill go from $43,000 to $18,900 through a competitive bid process. That 56 percent reduction came after dropping the private contractor that had been doing the service and hiring another one. By contrast, using a public employee for the job would have cost much more. Joe Munem, West Bloomfield’s deputy clerk, said an entry-level job, with benefits, working for the township costs taxpayers $52,342 a year.
Public-Sector Compensation Grows while Private Sector Shrinks
And you thought government budgets were cut to the bone!
Public employee pay in this state matched and began to exceed private sector pay back in 2005, according to a recent analysis by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. That is the year when government workers became the wealthiest class of workers in Michigan, relative to the average taxpayer who pays their salary. And the situation is perhaps worse when one considers the fringe benefits paid to government workers. According to Mackinac Center analysis, if government benefits were proportional to benefit plans in the private sector, taxpayers in Michigan would save $5.7 billion annually. Thus, Michigan taxpayers, who on average do not have Cadillac benefit plans, are paying an additional $5.7 billion each year so that members of government employee unions can have such benefits.
Some Michigan Republican Senators Friends of SEIU Government Employee Union
The Service Employees International Union, which is the parent union for many of Michigan’s state government employees, is the fourth wealthiest political force in American politics, according to the Journal report. They have already anted up $44 million in spending this campaign season. One-hundred-percent of SEIU cash to federal candidates went to Democrats. (However, in Michigan’s state government, the SEIU has also found some Republican friends). Just to mention a few Michigan Republican State Senators who have cozied up to this Union are Randy Richardville, his uncle Roger Kahn, might as well keep it in the family, Mark Jansen, and also of note is Richardville’s (good friend) and colleague from across the aisle who was “delighted” that he was elected Senate Majority leader Democrat Senate Minority leader Gretchen Whitmer.
Tea Party Targets Republican Senators in 2012
Tea-party activists, keen to build on their success toppling GOP incumbents in primaries this year, are already targeting more Republican veterans in the 2012 election. Tea-party activists have put certain Republicans and other incumbents on notice that the anti-establishment sentiment defining this year’s politics will not end on Election Day 2010. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Indiana) have all drawn fire from the right wing of their party. Not mentioned in this article is Thaddeus McCotter from Michigan’s 11th congressional district who has drawn fire for his support of “Union Bailouts,” “Homeland Security,” and the “Patriot Act” that is also on their radar! Michigan’s Tea Party groups will be watching closely it’s state lawmakers as well!
In Wisconsin, Teachers Take Students from Class to Protest
Teachers and students in Wisconsin are protesting Governor Scott Walker’s budget bill. But it’s not a mark of democracy: instead, teachers have been taking kids out of school to march on the Capitol in Madison. It’s being called a “sickout” — and it’s illegal. The students were asked what and why they were protesting and they haven’t a clue!
How Inflation Could Be 66% Higher Than the Fed Reports
Global food prices are at an all-time high, U.S. gasoline prices are at the costliest level ever for this time of the year and yet inflation. With what most folks’ experience at the gas pump or checkout counter as economist Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, told clients Tuesday: “I share the growing concern among the Fed’s critics that the official measures of consumer price inflation may be understating actual inflation and that excluding food and energy from these measures is OK as long as you don’t eat or drive.” Inflation is surging in U.S. and the first thing you should know is that the inflation numbers are a spoof, a spooky statistic, spoon-fed by Congress, to reflect the politics of Washington, not the reality of the market place. The costs of automobiles, carpets, homes, computers, TV sets, appliances a very important component of our market basket of goods and services are used to compute the rate of inflation.
America: Do you feel violated yet? Do You feel the Change Yet?
“Then I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and encumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.” —Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:455, Papers 15:393. The actual unemployment rate is 26.2%. The number of Americans on food stamps is 39.4 million – an increase of 5.9 million since last November. While Americans have nothing left after their paychecks are pinched for federal taxes and “entitlement” programs, usurper Hillary Clinton brokered a deal with Pakistan to steal more of the fruits of our labor.
We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.