Posts Tagged ‘collective bargaining’

In North Carolina, collective bargaining in the public sector has been banned by the state for over 50 years.  A statute implemented in 1959 declared collective bargaining by state and local government employees “to be against the public policy of the State, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect.

To unionists, it seemed like a drastic and unfair law, but for years it has protected the individual’s right to choose whether or not to join a union and the right to work without being forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.  In addition, it has protected the interests of the taxpayers of the state of North Carolina.

But a 2007 decision issued by a United Nations agency against the North Carolina law is back in the spotlight today, as labor unions are gearing up to use the argument in a mass campaign to repeal all currently existing Right to Work laws in response to Wisconsin’s collective bargaining outcome.

In an Emergency Labor Meeting that occurred last week in Cleveland, Ohio, nearly 100 labor leaders and activists met to construct an emergency action plan and strategy for the future to deal with what they say is an “assault on the unions.”  The meeting produced plans to hold a National Day of Action on March 12th and again on April 4th, as well as a “Perspectives” document that will serve as a framework for 15 key objectives.

Within the framework document are two specific objectives that are of special concern to supporters of the worker freedom movement and Right to Work laws. Labor unions and solidarity federations in the US and across the globe intend to use the UN-based International Labor Organization (ILO) decision to put pressure on US government officials and the public to repeal the Right to Work laws that exist in 22 states.

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State public employees protested today in Wisconsin against Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to help close an immediate $137 million budget shortfall and a two-year budget at $3.6 billion beginning on July 1st.  Under Walker’s plan, state employees would:

  • Contribute 5.8% toward pension funds
  • Contribute 12.6% to health care premiums
  • See pay increases capped at the rate of inflation; however, larger increases may be voted upon via voluntary referendum
  • No longer have union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks, as they’ll gain the ability to opt out of paying union dues (once current contracts expire)
  • Lose some collective bargaining rights:  State government cannot currently touch any elements of the public sector union contracts in an effort to make budget adjustments; therefore, reducing some elements of collective bargaining such as hours and expanded benefits (those outside of health/pension) will give the state more flexibility in the future to reduce spending without being forced to cut jobs or enforce any furloughs.   Police, fire and various emergency/safety workers would be exempt from this provision.

Apparently, that triggered the Myan Apocalypse.  Or maybe Woodstock.  I can’t really tell the difference.

As you can imagine, Democratic allies flipped out.  Organizing for America and the Democratic National Party got right to work, ginning up the rhetoric beyond what the plan really entails and organizing the protests for this week, including many that closed schools all across the state.

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[original post 4/8/2010]

I don’t know about you, but my benefits are shrinking and my wages have been reduced for 2010. And I certainly won’t be seeing any major increase in my salary this year.  My employer is struggling in this economy.  I know it, I see the sales and operating numbers.  Amazingly, no one in our company has complained once about the state of their salaries and benefits.  And after a recent round of layoffs, we’re all working two and three people’s jobs, too.  But we get it, we’re all a team, and together we have to do what we can to pitch in and help cut costs during a rough patch in time.  That’s just how business works.

Every single friend, family member, and neighbor I know is in the exact same position.

That’s why so many of us are appalled at the behavior of some of the union bosses these days.  Even some of the most ardent union defenders I know (the few people who typically argue with me over union policy) have had enough with all the headlines like this:

As National Bargaining for 100,000 Union Members at Kaiser Permanente Begins… SEIU-UHW Members Tell Kaiser: Keep Your Hands Off Our Healthcare Benefits

And they have also had enough of behavior like this:

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[original post 1/3/2010]

On Christmas Day, what was intended to be a far worse terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted, thanks to the prudence and bravery of a handful of airline passengers and flight crew.  No one knows yet how Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (aka “Farouk1986″) made it past every airport security checkpoint, with bomb materials literally strapped to his groin, and boarded a Northwest Airlines flight ultimately headed for Detroit.  Nor does anyone know how the 23-year old made it onto one watch list but not the no-fly list.

tsa-2

But the now infamous PantyBomber incident has since sparked a heated debate over workers in the Transportation Security Administration that has both Democrats and Republicans fuming, and labor unions chomping at the bit to wage a war of an entirely different kind.

In October, 2008, then candidate Obama wrote a letter to John Gage, President of the American Federation of Government Employees union, promising collective bargaining rights to TSA workers and vowing to make it a priority for his administration.

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