Thugocracy: Most Union Members Have Ties to Government

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For the Associated Press, Tom Raum reports: Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past half-century.

A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity, at the federal, state or local levels.

Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector strike-union-tallworkforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, 11.3 percent of wage and salary workers in the United States are unionized, down from a peak of 35 percent during the mid-1950s in the strong post-World War II recovery.

The typical union worker now is more likely to be an educator, office worker or food or service industry employee rather than a construction worker, autoworker, electrician or mechanic. Far more women than men are among the union-label ranks.

In a blow to public sector unions, the Supreme Court ruled this week that thousands of health care workers in Illinois who are paid by the state cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union’s cost of collective bargaining.

The justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with stances taken by unions.

The ruling was narrowly drawn, but it could reverberate through the universe of unions that represent government workers. The case involved home-care workers for disabled people who are paid with Medicaid funds administered by the state.

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Chart shows change in union membership as percentage of wage and salary earners; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 …

Also in June, a California judge declared unconstitutional the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal and layoff laws. The judge ordered a stay of the decision, pending an appeal by the state and teachers union.

“The basic structure of the labor union movement has changed, reflecting changes in the economy,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University. “Manufacturing is a diminishing segment of the economy. Also, a lot of the manufacturing that’s being done today is being done nonunion.”

unionthugs-cartoonUnion members continue to be a powerful political force in politics, and Baker said he didn’t see the role of unions diminishing. “I just think the colors of the collars are changing,” Baker said.

In 2013, 14.5 million workers belonged to a union, about the same as the year before. In 1983, the first year for which comparable figures are available, there were 17.7 million union workers.

The largest union is the National Education Association, with 3.2 million members. It represents public school teachers, administrators and students preparing to become teachers. Read the rest of this entry »


WA State: 98% of UFCW Union Vote to Strike Because of Obamacare

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The Washington State United Food and Commercial Workers Union has voted to authorize a strike because of Obamacare regulations. Approximately 30,000 workers could walk picket lines as early as next week and the vote to strike was approved by 98% of the membership.

One of the new proposals in the current contract negotiations is to provide health insurance only to those employees working a 30+ hour work week.  “As with all employers, the Affordable Care Act will impact how we deliver health benefits to our employees,” said Allied chief negotiator Scott Powers. The previous contract provided healthcare for workers with 16+ hour work weeks.

Union officials say the President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act is being used as a convenient excuse to cut benefits.”The reason why the employers are doing this is it’s a big money grab,” said Tom Geiger of UFCW Local 21.

This could be the beginning of strikes around the country as the consequences of Obamacare become apparent.

The Conversation


If you want to know why people don’t trust the president on Syria, look at his promises at home

President Obama campaigning for health-care reform.

President Obama campaigning for health-care reform.

By Michael Tanner

As we debate intervening in Syria, there is a great deal of talk about possible damage to President Obama’s credibility abroad. But at least at home, Obamacare has already left that credibility rather diminished.

Remember when President Obama told Americans that if they liked their current insurance, they could keep it? In fact, just a few weeks ago, he reassured us that “if you’re one of the nearly 85 percent of Americans who already have insurance . . . you don’t have to do a thing.”

Read the rest of this entry »