Skip to comments.Who do unions benefit?
Posted on 11/05/2005 9:41:22 AM PST by DogByte6RER
Who do unions benefit?
By: RAY HAYNES
Just why do we have government employee unions? We all know the story of the rise of unionism in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Our country was being run by robber barons, the capitalist exploiters who would abuse children for profit and allow people to die in substandard working conditions while they sat in the lap of luxury.
Unions fought the evil employers, pushed for labor reforms, minimum wages, safe workplaces and, through their tireless effort, made sure that people received a fair day's wage for a fair day's work in a safe work environment. Government employees were hired to enforce these rules and, faced with the prospect of jail time, the evil capitalist reluctantly acceded to the government control.
At least that is how it is taught in the government schools, which are run by the government employee unions.
Even assuming that life was as bad as the unions say it was in the private sector before forced unionism, why did we ever have government employee unions? Was it because the government was an evil employer, putting people to work in an unsafe work environment for unfair wages, or was it just a way for union bosses to extract money from unwilling employees in order for those bosses to corrupt the political system?
I think most people would agree that something is seriously wrong with our current government employee unions here in California. In the Gray Davis years, they overreached, grabbing for exorbitant wage increases and excessive pension benefits, using their forced union dues to give millions of dollars to Gray Davis and the legislative Democrats, in order to force the state, school districts, cities and local governments of all types to unionize and pay their unionized employees wages beyond what the taxpayers could afford.
In 1998, the California government pension system, CalPERS, was $60 billion overfunded. By 2003, the Democrats had increased government pensions so much that taxpayers had to borrow $2.5 billion a year to keep the pension system solvent. During that same time, those unions contributed over $30 million to those Democrat politicians.
The number of state employees, paying these forced union dues, increased 47,000 in these two years. The government employee unions have corrupted the whole system. Now they are spending the money they forcibly extract from their members to trash the governor, spending almost $100 million of the money they steal from these government employees.
But why do they exist? Is a government job so unsafe, so underpaid, that only a union can protect the government employee? Or is the system a sophisticated extortion scheme designed to keep left-wing politicians in power in Sacramento?
This much we know: Government employees make about 25 percent more than their private sector counterparts, and get benefits that are without equal in the private sector. They have ideal working conditions, and legally protected job security. They don't need a union to protect them from an unscrupulous employer.
So, why do these unions really exist?
Ray Haynes represents the 66th Assembly District, which includes portions of Western Riverside County and Northern San Diego County.
To extort more from the taxpayers.
Might wanna ask Corzine and Kerry...
I just love the logic from Ray Haynes.
Could he run for Governor?????With Tom McClintock????
The unions have to be broken. They are outstripping the ability of the residents of Calif to pay for their demands.
God forbid they have to actually earn their salaries.....
The worst "employees" I have ever encountered were the ones who got a pension from a Government job, and then tried to make it in the real employment world. Lazy, pot-stirring trouble. If they tried to be self-employed and run a business, they were even worse. Clueless as a week-old-baby. I have done bookkeeping for almost 50 years and have seen some real beauts.
Ray Haynes will be termed out in 2006 as a California Assemblyman. He is currently planning to run in '06 for the California State Board of Equalization, a state board that acts as an ombudsman for taxpayers and watchdog/appeals board for the California Franchise Tax Board and other California tax entities.
To permit teachers to molest your kids and make drugs and prostitution legal, to take your home and rent it back to you, to use your organs for their transplants, and to take your guns so that you cannot stop them.
Unions are fast becoming irrelevant.
I recommend studying four principal examples:
Role of trade unions in improving life of workers in the end of XIX and first half of XX century Europe and America.
Role of trade unions in preventing the Communist or Fascist takeovers.
Role of Solidarity in liberating Poland.
Tragic struggle of trade union in Latin America for social justice and freedom from tyranny.
Here is the fragment from the encyclical of Pope John Paul II with his comments of on the earlier encyclical of Pope Leo XIII. These two encyclicals express traditional Christian teaching on the issues of labor:
"6. With the intention of shedding light on the conflict which had arisen between capital and labour, Pope Leo XIII affirmed the fundamental rights of workers. Indeed, the key to reading the Encyclical is the dignity of the worker as such, and, for the same reason, the dignity of work, which is defined as follows: "to exert oneself for the sake of procuring what is necessary for the various purposes of life, and first of all for self-preservation".12 The Pope describes work as "personal, inasmuch as the energy expended is bound up with the personality and is the exclusive property of him who acts, and, furthermore, was given to him for his advantage".13 Work thus belongs to the vocation of every person; indeed, man expresses and fulfils himself by working. At the same time, work has a "social" dimension through its intimate relationship not only to the family, but also to the common good, since "it may truly be said that it is only by the labour of working-men that States grow rich".14 These are themes that I have taken up and developed in my Encyclical Laborem exercens.15
Another important principle is undoubtedly that of the right to "private property".16 The amount of space devoted to this subject in the Encyclical shows the importance attached to it. The Pope is well aware that private property is not an absolute value, nor does he fail to proclaim the necessary complementary principles, such as the universal destination of the earth's goods.17
On the other hand, it is certainly true that the type of private property which Leo XIII mainly considers is land ownership.18 But this does not mean that the reasons adduced to safeguard private property or to affirm the right to possess the things necessary for one's personal development and the development of one's family, whatever the concrete form which that right may assume, are not still valid today. This is something which must be affirmed once more in the face of the changes we are witnessing in systems formerly dominated by collective ownership of the means of production, as well as in the face of the increasing instances of poverty or, more precisely, of hindrances to private ownership in many parts of the world, including those where systems predominate which are based on an affirmation of the right to private property. As a result of these changes and of the persistence of poverty, a deeper analysis of the problem is called for, an analysis which will be developed later in this document.
7. In close connection with the right to private property, Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical also affirms other rights as inalienable and proper to the human person. Prominent among these, because of the space which the Pope devotes to it and the importance which he attaches to it, is the "natural human right" to form private associations. This means above all the right to establish professional associations of employers and workers, or of workers alone.19 Here we find the reason for the Church's defence and approval of the establishment of what are commonly called trade unions: certainly not because of ideological prejudices or in order to surrender to a class mentality, but because the right of association is a natural right of the human being, which therefore precedes his or her incorporation into political society. Indeed, the formation of unions "cannot ... be prohibited by the State", because "the State is bound to protect natural rights, not to destroy them; and if it forbids its citizens to form associations, it contradicts the very principle of its own existence".20
Together with this right, which it must be stressed the Pope explicitly acknowledges as belonging to workers, or, using his own language, to "the working class", the Encyclical affirms just as clearly the right to the "limitation of working hours", the right to legitimate rest and the right of children and women21 to be treated differently with regard to the type and duration of work.
If we keep in mind what history tells us about the practices permitted or at least not excluded by law regarding the way in which workers were employed, without any guarantees as to working hours or the hygienic conditions of the work-place, or even regarding the age and sex of apprentices, we can appreciate the Pope's severe statement: "It is neither just nor human so to grind men down with excessive labour as to stupefy their minds and wear out their bodies". And referring to the "contract" aimed at putting into effect "labour relations" of this sort, he affirms with greater precision, that "in all agreements between employers and workers there is always the condition expressed or understood" that proper rest be allowed, proportionate to "the wear and tear of one's strength". He then concludes: "To agree in any other sense would be against what is right and just".22
8. The Pope immediately adds another right which the worker has as a person. This is the right to a "just wage", which cannot be left to the "free consent of the parties, so that the employer, having paid what was agreed upon, has done his part and seemingly is not called upon to do anything beyond".23 It was said at the time that the State does not have the power to intervene in the terms of these contracts, except to ensure the fulfilment of what had been explicitly agreed upon. This concept of relations between employers and employees, purely pragmatic and inspired by a thorough-going individualism, is severely censured in the Encyclical as contrary to the twofold nature of work as a personal and necessary reality. For if work as something personal belongs to the sphere of the individual's free use of his own abilities and energy, as something necessary it is governed by the grave obligation of every individual to ensure "the preservation of life". "It necessarily follows", the Pope concludes, "that every individual has a natural right to procure what is required to live; and the poor can procure that in no other way than by what they can earn through their work".24
A workman's wages should be sufficient to enable him to support himself, his wife and his children. "If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accepts harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice".25
Would that these words, written at a time when what has been called "unbridled capitalism" was pressing forward, should not have to be repeated today with the same severity. Unfortunately, even today one finds instances of contracts between employers and employees which lack reference to the most elementary justice regarding the employment of children or women, working hours, the hygienic condition of the work-place and fair pay; and this is the case despite the International Declarations and Conventions on the subject26 and the internal laws of States. The Pope attributed to the "public authority" the "strict duty" of providing properly for the welfare of the workers, because a failure to do so violates justice; indeed, he did not hesitate to speak of "distributive justice".27
9. To these rights Pope Leo XIII adds another right regarding the condition of the working class, one which I wish to mention because of its importance: namely, the right to discharge freely one's religious duties. The Pope wished to proclaim this right within the context of the other rights and duties of workers, notwithstanding the general opinion, even in his day, that such questions pertained exclusively to an individual's private life. He affirms the need for Sunday rest so that people may turn their thoughts to heavenly things and to the worship which they owe to Almighty God.28 No one can take away this human right, which is based on a commandment; in the words of the Pope: "no man may with impunity violate that human dignity which God himself treats with great reverence", and consequently, the State must guarantee to the worker the exercise of this freedom.29
It would not be mistaken to see in this clear statement a springboard for the principle of the right to religious freedom, which was to become the subject of many solemn International Declarations and Conventions,30 as well as of the Second Vatican Council's well-known Declaration and of my own repeated teaching.31 In this regard, one may ask whether existing laws and the practice of industrialized societies effectively ensure in our own day the exercise of this basic right to Sunday rest.
10. Another important aspect, which has many applications to our own day, is the concept of the relationship between the State and its citizens. Rerum novarum criticizes two social and economic systems: socialism and liberalism. The opening section, in which the right to private property is reaffirmed, is devoted to socialism. Liberalism is not the subject of a special section, but it is worth noting that criticisms of it are raised in the treatment of the duties of the State.32 The State cannot limit itself to "favouring one portion of the citizens", namely the rich and prosperous, nor can it "neglect the other", which clearly represents the majority of society. Otherwise, there would be a violation of that law of justice which ordains that every person should receive his due. "When there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the defenceless and the poor have a claim to special consideration. The richer class has many ways of shielding itself, and stands less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back on, and must chiefly depend on the assistance of the State. It is for this reason that wage-earners, since they mostly belong to the latter class, should be specially cared for and protected by the Government".33
These passages are relevant today, especially in the face of the new forms of poverty in the world, and also because they are affirmations which do not depend on a specific notion of the State or on a particular political theory. Leo XIII is repeating an elementary principle of sound political organization, namely, the more that individuals are defenceless within a given society, the more they require the care and concern of others, and in particular the intervention of governmental authority.
In this way what we nowadays call the principle of solidarity, the validity of which both in the internal order of each nation and in the international order I have discussed in the Encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis,34 is clearly seen to be one of the fundamental principles of the Christian view of social and political organization. This principle is frequently stated by Pope Leo XIII, who uses the term "friendship", a concept already found in Greek philosophy. Pope Pius XI refers to it with the equally meaningful term "social charity". Pope Paul VI, expanding the concept to cover the many modern aspects of the social question, speaks of a "civilization of love".35
Garbage, unions are nothing more than extortionists now. Usually the main benefactors are the union leaders. There is no reason for government employee unions.
If so then we will evolve toward Latin American style oligarchy and corruption.
Even government employees are faced with tryanical bosses who abuse them. The Unions in the federal workforce don't really have any say in wage increases, that is voted on by Congress. They had no say in retirement benefits again that was done by congress. Anything the federal employee has from holiday to health insurance to retirement is set by Congress and you had better believe that the biggest beneficaries of that are the people in Congress themselves.
How do I know? I was a federal employee. I cause to need union representation against a supervisor and the only thing that they could do was attend the hearing with me and act as an advocate.
Federal employees are not allowed to strike nor demand higher wages or better benefits.
This is a long story. I recommend you to look for the following keywords on Google:
"Latin America" "trade unions" oligarchy
To skim the butterfat off of the top.
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