OK, I made that last one up. Â But in a state with billions in unfunded liabilities, business-strangling environmental regulations, and anÂ overtaxed, overburdened private sector, unicorn rides are about as realistic as any of their other demands.
The stateâ€™s largest public-sector union released a list of its bargaining demands on Thursday, and a few of them venture outside the traditional parameters of bargaining.
The Service Employees International Union Local 503 is asking the state to restore financial cuts it has made in recent years by dropping furlough days, boosting wages, granting a cost-of-living adjustment between 2 percent and 6 percent in each year of the contract, and adding vacation days.
Know anybody in the private sector who has gotten a sweet deal like that since the Great Recession began four years ago? Â Yeah, neither do I. Â Why Â should they get perks that the struggling taxpayers who pay their salaries don’t get?
Sadly, this is nothing new. Â They’ve been pumping this revisionist garbage into the heads of new school teachers for decades, to make sure they teach America’s children a tainted version of history. Â It’s only now that they’re expanding the indoctrination to other fields that people are starting to take notice.
Footage of the United States Department of Agricultureâ€™s compulsory â€œCultural Sensitivity Trainingâ€ program reveals USDA employees being instructed to refer to the Pilgrims as â€œillegal aliensâ€ and minorities as â€œemerging majoritiesâ€ â€” at â€œa hugeÂ expenseâ€ to taxpayers.
[…] Â â€œI want you to say that America was founded by outsiders â€“ say that â€“ who are todayâ€™s insiders, who are very nervous about todayâ€™s outsiders,â€ he said in the clip.
â€œI want you to say, â€˜The Pilgrims were illegal aliens,â€™â€ he continued. â€œSay, â€˜The Pilgrims never gave their passports to the Indians.â€™â€
Throughout the session, Betances had the employees shout â€œBam!â€ to reinforce his points.
This is why liberals keep successfully advancing their agenda…because they NEVER stop agitating and campaigning. Â Unlike conservatives, who go back to living our daily lives until the next election, Leftists keep the pressure on ALL THE TIME. Â It’s the Chicago Brown Shirt way.
If we’re going to beat them for the long haul, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels between elections anymore. Â We have to stay in the fight year-round.
As President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address, activists involved in his new non-profit advocacy group, Organizing for Action, gathered in local meetings around the country to watch and cheer him on. The new 501(c)4 organization, which is an offshoot of his re-election campaign, aims to support the presidentâ€™s policies and to project the power of the White House beyond Washington into local communities and media.
[…] Â Immediately after the speech ended, organizers turned the sound down on Sen. Marco Rubioâ€™s response and set up a laptop to hear a special message from president Obama, who would be addressing Organizing for Action activists on a national conference call. After a few minutes, Obamaâ€™s voice came through the speakers, telling the activists that he would be asking for their help in pushing Congress to adopt his second-term agenda.
There was something slightly different in his tone of voice. This was not a head of state addressing a nation; this was a local community organizer talking to his volunteers–not over them, but at them. The contrast in style created a feeling of intimacy, which made listeners feel he was speaking personally to them. Not everyone was convinced; one woman told me she doubted he would be able to achieve all he had set out to do.
Regardless, the very fact that the evening happened the way it did was a success for the new organization. The Obama camp believes it is less important to convince people with words than to condition them with deeds. And the deeds are not that complicated. For all the talk about high-tech voter turnout programs, the methods Obama uses to win are decidedly old-school. He wins because Republicans donâ€™t bother to do the same.
There’s another conference call this weekend, whenÂ former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel andÂ Organizing for Action Executive Director Jon Carson will be giving their foot soldiers their marching orders for advancing Obama’s economic agenda.
Republicans, where is your ground game to defeat this onslaught?
Labor unions and Hollywood donors are open to bankrolling Organizing for Action, the outside group that has been formed in support of President Obamaâ€™s second-term agenda.
Traditionally one of the biggest donors to Democrats, unions are considering putting their financial weight behind the group as it tries to harness the grassroots power of Obamaâ€™s reelection machine.
[…] Â Organizing for Action will reportedly have access to the voter database that helped the president win the White House again in his more than $1 billion reelection bid. Jon Carson, who worked in the White House Office of Public Engagement, is the groupâ€™s executive director.
To the dismay of campaign finance reformers, Organizing for Action will operate as a 501(c)(4), a tax-exempt vehicle that was used during the 2012 campaign to evade donor disclosure while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign ads.
This is so predictable, and it reveals exactly what philosophy and tactics this “community organizing” apparatus will operate by. Â When Soros gets involved, nothing good can come of it. Â I’m only surprised Â he’s is allowing his involvement to be known publicly.
While Republicans contemplate how to improve their partyâ€™s political performance at the Republican National Committee (RNC) winter meeting, which opens today, Democrats are already taking politics to a new level, creating parallel organizations to advocate for President Barack Obamaâ€™s agenda and using their political clout to rearrange private business relationships to their liking. American politics has never seen anything like it.
PoliticoÂ reportsÂ today that major donors–including billionaire George Soros (above), bailout beneficiary Citi and others–were approached by Obama campaign veterans to donate millions to Organizing for America, the presidentâ€™s new 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy group. Under the tax code, 501(c)4 groups do not have to disclose their donors–a provision, ironically, that President Obama spent years campaigning against.
They justify the contradiction by insisting their money is for â€œgood government,â€, while money raised by conservative groups is â€œpoision,â€ according to Obama bundler Alan Solow, quoted by Politico. Still, the organizers maintain the pretense of involving small donors rather than highlighting the large checks that fund existing groups such as Media Matters and Center for American Progress to the tune of $60 million per year, combined.
In addition to Organizing for America, the left has already welcomed another new left-wing organization, the Democracy Initiative, which brings several activist and lobby groups together to agitate for their policy priorities. The Democracy Initiative builds on previous efforts, such as Health Care for America now, which worked with the Obama administration in 2009 to organize demonstrations in support of his heath reform law.
President Obama will remake his presidential campaign into a massive new movement Â devoted to supporting his agenda, an unprecedented move that creates a brand new political organization devoted not to a Party, not to an idea â€“ but to one charismatic leader.
The group, to be called Organizing for Action, opens for business Sunday, the day Obama is officially inaugurated.
If this type of organization has existed before in American politics on any similar scale, Iâ€™m not aware of it.
There are excellent reasons why we havenâ€™t had mass groups devoted to powerful leaders in this country. Our whole system of government is designed to provide checks to protect against the accretion of too much power, to forestall mob rule. A mass organization that does the bidding of a single individual who also happens to be the president of the United States undermines such intentions.
[…] Â OFA will be classified as a 501(c)4 group, which means donors can give it as much money as they want and none of the contributorsâ€™ names need be released. Never mind that Obama has ardently opposed this kind of thing for years.
Known during the campaign as Obama for America, the group includes the millions of people signed up to receive emails from the Obama campaign and thousands of activists ready to man phone banks, knock on doors, annoy their lawmakers and otherwise make things happen for the president.
The group was superbly well organized under campaign manager Jim Messina, who will maintain leadership. Senior Obama operatives like Robert Gibbs, David Plouffe,Â and Stephanie Cutter will sit on the board. The group will no doubt employ many of the leftist community organizing principles Obama learned years ago in Chicago.
This is the same group that bused in union thugs by the hundreds to try to intimidate Gov. Walker and the Republicans in Wisconsin. Â Under a new name, Obama now officially has his own official brown shirt brigade.
Labor leaders said they plan to mobilize their members in the coming weeks to press Republicans to support the extension of tax cuts for middle income families. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, said labor needs to remain â€œas engaged as we were in the election throughout the rest of this year to make sure we get the Republican House to say yes to tax cuts for the middle class.â€
The Community Organizer-in-Chief never leaves campaign mode. And neither do his foot soldiers. The entire Executive Branch has become his campaign arm – at taxpayer expense – to sell his ruthless agenda.
The White House is pulling a tactic out of its campaign playbook â€“ and President Obamaâ€™s own community organizing past â€“ using the organs of government to enlist average Americans to help Obama advocate for his priorities.
In an email sent to people who signed up to receive official updates from the White House, recipients are told to forward the message to their friends, asking them to help promote what is in effect White House propaganda. The White House email list, which government officials began compiling earlier in Obamaâ€™s term, is separate from the famed Obama campaign email list, but recipients are nonetheless being asked to engage in partisan political activity.
Conservatives need to recognize that we can’t combat that with just a few unpaid volunteers who show up a few weeks before elections and then go home for another four years. We have to be far more organized and find ways to keep conservative activists in the battle full-time.
Remember how Obama played “Campaigner-in-chief” for his entire first term, constantly criss-crossing the country to visit colleges, make flowery speeches, shake hands andÂ fund-raise, all on the taxpayer’s dime? Â He NEVER left campaign mode long enough to govern. Â He continually attacked, polarized, and promoted his agenda, always treating the other side of the aisle as his political rivals instead of co-equal public servants.
But it wasn’t just Obama who stayed in permanent campaign mode. Â Reports are that the 100+ Democrat field offices in Ohio were never shut down after 2008. Â They continued to operate all throughout his presidency, preparing for his re-election. Â Not only that, but Obama’s campaign arm of community organizers,”Organizing For America,” stayed active all four years. That’s how they were able to round up busloads of protesters to send to Wisconsin at a moment’s notice. Â They never sleep. Â They never rest between elections. Â They’re constantly recruiting, training, agitating, and giving their people something to do. Â Campaigning for Leftist candidates, legislation and causes is a full-time, year-round operation that never shuts down.
If youÂ peruseÂ your local Craigslist job listings in the non-profit category, you’ll soon discover that many of them are for organizations who will pay you to “protect democracy,” “make healthcare more affordable,” “promote renewable energy and sustainability,” “fight for civil rights,” and dozens of other left-wing causes. Â None of these groups are restricted by campaign finance laws. Â All of them serve as front groups for the Democrat party, where money can be funneled and campaigning funded non-stop. Â Groups like “Jobs For Good Causes” are dedicated to training and paying activists to stay in the game while conservatives are quietly going back to their everyday lives and waiting until 2016 to stretch their atrophied political muscle.
Even more frighteningly, a lot of these groups get their money from taxpayers. They’re experts at getting grants and public funding, so we end up paying for the rope they use to hang us. Â Â Back in February, the Democrat lawyers successfully shook down several banks into offering a $1 billion settlement, which was promptly channeledÂ toÂ ACORN-like groups, who were preparing to â€œget out the voteâ€ for Obama, including usingÂ massive voter fraud. Â Scams like this areÂ where they’re getting a large portion of the cash to pay their “volunteers” to do activist work year-round.
Their goal is to keep growing the leviathan so they have a bigger taxpayer trough to feed from – and pay more activists with. Ours is to eliminate the trough altogether. Â
Conservatives will have to find more financially sustainable sources of revenue, like fundraising from individuals and businesses that want to support liberty. Â But if we don’t start finding ways to keep year-round activists in action, we’ll always be playing catch-up for every election.
The AFL-CIO has told Washington Whispers it will redeploy funds away from political candidates smack dab in the middle of election season, the latest sign that the largest federation of unions in the country could be becoming increasingly disillusioned with President Obama.
The federation says the shift has been in the works for months, and had nothing to do with the president’s failure to show in Wisconsin last week, whereÂ laborÂ unions led a failed recall election ofÂ Governor Scott Walker.
“We wanted to start investing our funds in our own infrastructure and advocacy,” AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein told Whispers. “There will be less contributions to candidates,” including President Obama.
As for Mitt Romney, his strategy has been nearly perfect the past few weeks. As long as he can keep his campaign focused onÂ raising massive amounts of campaign cashÂ and out of the headlines, Obama is going to hand him the presidency.
This is, as the magazine points out, a major policy change for the organization that once provided much of the money and the muscle for the Democratsâ€™ national campaigns. But whether it is being done out of spite or, as is entirely possible, merely a recognition that the shrinking union movement needs to concentrate its dwindling resources on keeping itself alive, it must be considered a blow to a Democratic campaign that has already found itself facing a Republican presidential campaign that may be able to match the presidentâ€™s ability to raise money. Either way, it is just one more sign that the Democrats will not be enjoying the same fundraising advantage in 2012 that they had in 2008. It also means that the AFL-CIO is conceding that its days as a national political force to be reckoned with are finished.
The timing of the announcement is bound to feed into speculation that the unions are mad about the presidentâ€™s wise decision not to waste any of his own political capital on the Wisconsin recall. In the closing weeks of that campaign, the White House rightly saw that there was much to lose and little to gain from a presidential campaign stop in Wisconsin to bolster the flagging effort to oust Republican Governor Scott Walker. Though he was rightly mocked for only contributing a solitary tweet of encouragement to Walkerâ€™s opponent, no amount of presidential involvement would have saved the unions from their foolish desire to exact revenge on Walker for his successful campaign to cut back their ability to hold the state hostage in contract negotiations.
But even without the anger about their loss in Wisconsin, the AFL-CIOâ€™s decision marks a sea change in the way our national campaigns are fought. In past decades, the union movement was a central, if not the major player in organizing Democratic presidential campaigns. The Democrats are no longer solely dependent on big labor, and they also understand that the price paid for too much help can be politically expensive. Nevertheless, the unions remain an important part of the Democrat coalition, and if they have decided to stop being players in electoral politics, the void they are leaving behind will be difficult to fill.
In a Friday press conference at the White House, President Barack Obama told reporters that â€œthe private sector is doing fine.â€
â€œWeâ€™ve created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where weâ€™re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government,â€ said Obama.
The president also said that â€œif Republicans want to be helpfulâ€ they should â€œbe thinking about [how to] help state and local governments.â€
Obama re-pitched his jobs plan that stalled in Congress last year, which would have provided state and local governments with federal funds to hire teachers, firefighters and police officers.
The current national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent.
SayingÂ the private sector is doing fineÂ may have been a blunder, but it wasnâ€™t a gaffe. It may have been a revelation to some, to others it was a confirmation.
After less than five hours, Obama attempted to clarify hisÂ the private sector is doing finestatement by sayingÂ itâ€™s absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine:
â€œItâ€™s absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine. Thatâ€™s the reason I had a press conference. Thatâ€™s why I spent yesterday, the day before yesterday, this past week, this past month and this past year talking about how we can make the economy stronger.
â€œThe economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak, too many homes underwater and thatâ€™s precisely why I asked Congress to start taking some steps that can make a difference.â€ â€“ President Barack Obama,Â Remarks after bilateral meeting with President Aquino of the Philippines, White House, June 8, 2012.
Confused? Donâ€™t be. Saying itâ€™s clear the economy is not doing fine is not a retraction ofÂ the private sector is doing fine. It doesnâ€™t mean Obama doesnâ€™t believeÂ the private sector is doing fine. To the contrary, both statements support Romneyâ€™s observation that Obama seeks a government-centered society.
Obama’s “retraction” isn’t a retraction at all. Â He didn’t take back his remarks about the private sector. Â He’s simply saying that he agrees that “the economy” isn’t fine. Â His unspoken reason: because it’s drying up local and state governments’ revenue sources and putting the jobs of government bureaucrats at risk.
He’s worried about government jobs, NOT the disastrous state of the private sector, which supports the public sector and is the lifeblood of every economy.
President Obama has ledÂ AmericaÂ into an accelerating downward spiral.Â Â Destination:Â Argentina.Â Â Last Fridayâ€™s calamitous jobs report was just a signpost on the way.
ArgentinaÂ enjoyed the worldâ€™s fourth highest per capita GDP in 1929, on par withÂ the U.S.Â at the time.Â Â But then the nation lost its wayÂ through its embrace ofÂ a leftist, union allied government, which took control of the economy and imposed wildly irresponsible taxes, spending, deficits and debt.Â Â After World War II, the hugely popular Juan Peron came to power and institutionalized the madness.Â Â It has been all downhill forÂ ArgentinaÂ ever since.Â Â Sound familiar?
Today,Â ArgentinaÂ ranks 53rdÂ in the world in per capita GDP according to theÂ InternationalÂ Monetary Fund, 57thÂ in the CIA World Factbook, at a level less than one third that of the U.S.Â Â But its national debt at 51% of GDP is actually less than that of the United States under the Obama Administration, where we are rocketing towards 70% of GDP by the end of this year, and 200% in 25 years, according to CBO.
Fridayâ€™s jobs report shows Obamaâ€™s Juan Peron trend.Â Â While a measly 69,000 jobs were created in May, the report adjusted downward the jobs created in March and April by 49,000, leaving actually only 20,000 new jobs on net.Â Â The number of jobs created has declined every month this year.
While Obama and his propagandists claim 27 consecutive months of job growth,Â employment growth is the norm and not the exception for the American economy.Â Â In the 62 years from the end of World War II in 1945 until 2008, jobs grew in 86% of the months, or 640 out of 744.Â Â But Obama and his propagandists think you are too stupid to know the country you live in.Â Â They know at least their MSNBC base will believe them.
Reaganâ€™s recovery produced job growth in 81 out of its first 82 months, with 20 million new jobs created in those first 7 years alone, increasing the civilian work force at the time by 20%.Â Â That grew into 50 million new jobs over the entire Reagan 25-year boom from 1982 to 2007.Â Â Compare that to the disgrace of Obamanomics.Â Â While Obama likes to claim 4.3 million new jobs created, total jobs by May, 2012 were still over half a million less than in January, 2009 when he entered office.Â Â Even George Bush oversaw 52 consecutive months of job growth, including 8 million new jobs created after his 2003 capital gains and dividends tax rate cuts became effective (which Obama is dedicated to reversing).
[…] Â Keynesian economics is the doctrine invented in the 1930s, holding that what drives economic recovery and growth is increased government spending, deficits and debt.Â Â If you have been listening to Obama the past 3 Â½ years this will sound familiar.Â Â And if it sounds nuts, thatâ€™s because it is.Â Â Borrowing a trillion dollars out of the economy, as Obama did with his stimulus, to spend a trillion dollars back into the economy, does nothing to advance the economy on net.
This is why there has been no real recovery from the recession under Obama.Â Â He should have known that would be the result, since Keynesian economics is not only illogical, but has never worked, in theÂ USÂ during the depression and since, or anywhere else in the world.Â Â But Obamaâ€™s foolish pursuit of Keynesian policies is why federal spending under his Administration has been the highest since World War II, as documented by CBO and Obamaâ€™s own budgets.Â Â It is why, asÂ Investors Business DailyÂ also reports, federal spending excluding defense and interest is the highest in American history at 17.6% of the economy.Â Â And it is why federal deficits and debt have hit all time records under Obama as well.Â Â These have been Obamaâ€™s deliberate policies, a community organizerâ€™s vision of how to create economic recovery, growth and prosperity.
But what drives economic recovery and growth is not government spending, deficits and debt, but incentives for productive activities, like savings, investment, expanding businesses, starting new businesses, job creation and entrepreneurship.Â Those incentives come from reduced taxÂ ratesÂ (not tax credits and deductions), reduced regulatory costs and barriers, and stable, sound money.Â Â These are the policies of the new supply side economics of Reaganomics, which achieved the supposed impossible in solving double digit inflation and double digit unemployment at the same time.
President Barack Obama said today that the private sector is doing fine but that the economy is suffering because of cuts in state and local government.
â€œThe private sector is doing fine,â€ Obama said at a press conference on Friday. â€œWhere weâ€™re seeing weaknesses in our economy, have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who donâ€™t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.â€
State and local leaders were not the only ones to blame for a bad economy, as the president also blamed Republicans in Congress.
â€œIf Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward, and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, â€˜How do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry?â€™â€
GDP growth in the first quarter was a measly 1.9%, revised down from an initial 2.2%. The President’s response is to say as his first policy priority that the federal government should borrow or tax more so it can then finance more hiring by state and local governments. Spur the economy by growing the size of government.
It’s true that government spending is part of GDP, and spending more can boost reported GDP for a time. But the lesson of the stimulusâ€”which spent hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to the statesâ€”is that this boost is temporary and fades when the spending ends.
Mr. Obama also misdiagnoses state and local government layoffs. They aren’t the result of falling state and local revenues, which have increased by 6% over the last two years, according to the Census Bureau. The problem is that the cost of worker benefits is growing faster than revenues. Governments are having to lay off workers to pay for their rising pension and health bills.
That’s especially true in states that haven’t followed the example of Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and altered their benefits or reformed collective bargaining. Think California and Illinois. Mr. Obama is asking Congress to tax Americans from every state more, and borrow more from China, to send money to states that have been the most spendthrift.
If the President really wants to help state and local governments, he’d campaign with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for pension reform. Or he’d join Mayor Chuck Reed in San Jose to praise that city’s voters for passing a reform referendum this week. Both mayors are Democrats.
The fair if depressing takeaway from Mr. Obama’s press conference is that he continues to believe, despite three and a half years of failure, that more government spending is the key to faster growth and that government really doesn’t need to reform. This is how you get a jobless rate above 8% for 40 months and the weakest economic recovery in 60 years.
Voters in two major California cities overwhelmingly approved measures to cut retirement benefits for city workers Tuesday in contests being closely watched as states and local governments throughout the country struggle with mounting pension obligations.
In San Diego, 67 percent voted in favor of Proposition B while 33 percent were opposed. More than 65 percent of precincts reported.
The margin in San Jose was even wider, with 71 percent in favor of Measure B and 29 percent opposed. Nearly half of precincts reported.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed called the vote a victory for fiscal reform.
“The voters get it, they understand what needs to be done,” he said in an interview.
Supporters had a straightforward pitch: Pensions for city workers are unaffordable and more generous than many private companies offer, forcing libraries to slash hours and potholes to go unfilled.
“We believe people are tired of having services cut back because of big pensions,” San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a Republican who is being forced from office by term limits, said recently.
Shrinking tax revenues during the recession are also responsible for service cuts, but pensions are an easy target. San Diego’s payments to the city’s retirement fund soared from $43 million in 1999 to $231.2 million this year, equal to 20 percent of the city’s general fund budget, which pays for day-to-day operations.
As the pension payments grew, San Diego’s 1.3 million residents saw roads deteriorate and libraries and recreation centers cut hours. For a while, some fire stations had to share engines and trucks. The city has cut its workforce 14 percent to 10,100 employees since Sanders took office in 2005.
San Jose’s pension payments jumped from $73 million in 2001 to $245 million this year, equal to 27 percent of its general fund budget. Voters there approved construction bonds at the beginning of the last decade, but four new libraries and a police station have never opened because the city cannot afford to operate them. The city of 960,000 cut its workforce 27 percent to 5,400 over the last 10 years.
[F]ollowing this defeat, union officials say they’ll challenge the outcome in court. Well, let them.
San Diego and San Jose are emblematic of the tidal wave of pension liabilities faced by cities across California â€” and, indeed, the U.S. It’s unsustainable.
Politicians took money and votes from public unions in exchange for ridiculously generous pay and benefits. They figured that sucker taxpayers would just pay the bill later â€” long after they were out of office.
Well, the bills have come due, and the taxpayers are mad â€” voting mad. As we noted in an editorial on Wednesday, polls show public sector unions have become increasingly unpopular with the general public â€” and even their own members â€” in recent years.
Now, the public unions’ day of reckoning is at hand.
For California, which has been laid low by years of obscenely excessive spending for public-sector pensions and other benefits, this can’t come too soon. If liberal California recognizes the depths of its public-sector union problems, no doubt others will too.
For the unions, this wasn’t merely an election â€” it was an earthquake. And, as we all know, the biggest earthquakes often happen in California.
When debate over public unions flared up in Wisconsin last year, educators claimed Gov. Scott Walker’s austere reforms would require thousands of teachers to be laid off.
They were wrong.
With small changes in pension and healthcare contributions while allowing school districts to buy health insurance plans on the open market, Walker’s reforms have resulted in what could be considered a statewide teacher-retention program. School districts such as Wauwatosa, hometown of Governor Walker and theÂ Weekly Standard‘s Fox News star Stephen Hayes, faced a $6.5 million deficit and planned to lay off dozens of teachers. But Walker’s reforms allowed all those teachers to remain employed.
At other large school districts such as LaCrosse, Racine, Wausau, and Beloit, if there were any layoffs at all, they were limited to two or fewer. And in addition to retaining teachers, the reforms have instituted merit-based pay systems that allow excellent teachers to be rewarded.
However, not all school districts adopted Walker’s reforms so readily. Milwaukee’s school district, which is immediately east of Wauwatosa, rammed through a union contact in December, just in time to avoid being subject to the reforms.
Now it appears the Milwaukee district is reconsidering its hasty action.
After the City of Milwaukee announced last week that Milwaukee Public Schools would have to contribute almost 10 million additional dollars to the city’s pension plan (which covers non-teaching employees, such as engineers and educational assistants), the Milwaukee teachers union made the unusual moveÂ to write a joint letter with the non-union school board and administration, requesting an additional 30 days to negotiate compensation and benefits.
This request comes on the heels of a 90-day window between November and February to adjust teacher contracts. As the legislation signed by Walker, known as Act 10 and Act 65, makes it impossible to alter existing agreements without nullifying them, a decision to extend this window will have to be made very soon, as the Wisconsin legislature’s general session completes its work today.
However, no matter how badly reforms are necessary, other union leaders are not happy with the Milwaukee teachers union for essentially admitting that Gov. Walker was right, especially before the recall election.
The reforms did a number of things. They ended the automatic collection of union dues by the state, causing an immediate drop in union income and the laying off of numerous union employees. They required that state employees kick in 5.8 percent of their salaries towards their own pensions and to pick up 12.6 percent of their health insurance premiums, bringing public employees more in line with private employee realities. Most important, it limited collective bargaining to salaries (and even that bargaining is limited by the rate of inflation).
For the first time in decades, school administrations are now actually able to administer their districts without union interference, and the savings have been huge. The MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin think tank,Â reportsÂ that of the 108 school districts that completed contracts with employees, 74 of them, with 319,000 students, have reported savings of no less than $162 million. If this is extrapolated out to all districts, it would amount to savings of nearly $448 million.
The biggest area of savings have been in health insurance. The teachers union insisted that districts use the unionâ€™s own health insurance company to provide coverage. No longer forced to use a monopoly provider, districts have either switched providers or used the threat of switching to force the union health insurance company to dramatically lower premiums. Savings have averaged $730,000 in districts that have switched providers or forced competitive bidding.
As a result of these dramatic savings, districts that have been able to benefit immediately from the reforms (some districts are locked into long-term contracts and cannot) have been able to avoid laying off teachers despite a significant drop in state aid and to avoid raising school taxes. Indeed, school tax bills that went out last December had an average increase of only 0.3 percent.
Don’t expect the mainstream media to report this. Â The Democrat party depends enormously on union money, and unions depend largely on money forcibly extorted from taxpayers via collective bargaining (often with the very politicians whose elections they paid for).
Neither the Leftist media nor the unions are interested in true reforms that benefit taxpayers, teachers and students alike. Â All they’re interested in is staying in power over the taxpayer gravy train.
Across the nation, many states are going bankrupt trying fulfill promises to public workers that are unsustainable, and that politicians KNEW were unsustainable when they made them (they knew that the bill wouldnâ€™t come due until they were personally out of office and left the fallout for us to deal with). Â This has become all the more apparent in the past three years as continued recession, massive debt and unsustainable government spending have brought the issue front and center nationwide. Â The stark reality is that most governments from the local to federal level are flat out BROKE, and taxpayers can’t afford to meet public union demands any longer. Â Something has to give.
Courageous Gov. Walker of Wisconsin was one of the first to try and broker a realistic deal with the unions in his state, but they wouldnâ€™t have it.Â They fought tooth and nail because theyâ€™re terrified of that other states who are swimming in debt and unsustainable demands will finally get the courage to face reality and tell the unions â€œno.â€ Â Gov. Christie in New Jersey has faced similar opposition.
Unions in California are determined to defeat this initiative because they know that it could threaten their confiscatory revenue stream and with it, their iron grip on the state’s budget. Â The intimidation tactics have already started:
The California State University Employees Union is encouraging its members to intimidate people who are gathering signatures for a so-called â€œPaycheck Protection Initiativeâ€ that would limit the ability of unions to use automatic payroll deductions to gain political contributions from their members. Â […]
These tactics clearly are designed to scare people away from signing petitions by using bullying techniques that could become confrontational and even violent. They certainly are meant to keep people from exercising their political rights and are tactics that would not be tolerated if they came from organizations on the political right.
The SEIU, AFL-CIO, UAW, and other unions know that they canâ€™t survive without compulsory union dues taken automaticallyÂ from workerâ€™s paychecks.Â They donâ€™t have enough people who are willing to voluntarily support them any longer.Â Â They are overwhelmingly dependent on coercion: both forced unionization and forced union dues.
Obama used the National Labor Relations Board to institute the â€œcard checkâ€ system that couldnâ€™t get passed through congress, which eliminates secret ballot elections and allows unions to organize an entire workforce with only a fraction of the workers turning in signed cards, or even being aware that an election was happening.Â This allows the unions to begin deducting forced dues before many workers even realize that theyâ€™ve even been unionized.
Late last month, union representatives visited night shift workers at group homes under false pretenses, urging employees to sign a survey they were told was for Fellowship, Dziobek said.
He claims that the papers were actually union authorization cards.
The union needs to get at least 30 percent of employees to sign authorization cards for the labor board to authorize a vote on whether to unionize, Dziobek said.
“What I take exception to is the tactics,” he said. A staff person at a group living program in Eastham turned union representatives away at 9 p.m. but they came back at 12:30 a.m. and left only after the staffer threatened to call the police, he said.
Fellowship employees also have complained about being visited three or four times at home by union representatives, Dziobek said. “Staff are pretty upset,” he said. They are asking, “How did they get my personal cell phone number?“
How did the union bosses get non-union workersâ€™ phone numbers and home addresses?
Obama’s NLRB changed the rules to require employers to turn over their employees’ personal information to union bosses, so that organizers could hound them into unionizing:
No wonder they love him.Â Theyâ€™re truly dependent on his reelection to boost their ranks and keep the cash flowing, or they wonâ€™t survive.Â Theyâ€™re willing to do almost anything – legal or not -Â to make sure he wins and that legislation or ballot measures that threaten their gravy train are stopped.
They are theÂ key organizers and fundersÂ behind the Occupy Wall Street protests, knowing that raising taxes on “the rich” is the only thing that will feed their voracious appetite at the taxpayer trough – at least until those individuals and businesses are driven offshore or bankrupted like so many before them.