Skip to comments.State of the unions: How public opinion turned so sharply and suddenly against worker groups
Posted on 09/11/2011 5:12:05 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
This summer, something remarkable happened: 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike, and no one save a few customers dealing with service interruptions much cared.
The communications behemoth wanted more than 100 concessions on health care, pensions, sick days and outsourcing. Unions representing the workers said Verizon sought to void 50 years of collective-bargaining gains for middle-class workers, despite posting a 2.8% jump in revenue in the second quarter, up to $27.5 billion.
Thirteen days later, those on strike went back to work on good faith, the company guaranteeing nothing other than continued talks.
Its an indictment of how anemic the labor movement in America has become, how irrelevant to the average worker that, even in this ever-contracting economy, the lower and middle classes couldnt be agitated to care.
And why should they? Private-sector unions in the US are nearly extinct, having long ago abandoned an unwinnable fight against big business. Meanwhile, public-sector unions are thriving by comparison, even though public opinion has been on the decline since the rise of unions in the 1930s, when 72% of Americans had a favorable view of them.....
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
Public sector unions simply rape the people of every town, county and state to pay for exorbitant benefits and monstrous pensions.
“Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.”
OMG - I could only get through about a page and a half. This is written from the point of view that unions are great and only the increased meanness of the private sector and a few strategic miscalculations on the part of union leadership are the reasons unions are in trouble.
The give away phrase is “public sector unions, who are subsidized IN PART by taxpayers...” Huh? In part? Which part is not?
Maybe it got better at the end, but I was feeling queasy.
New York is New York.
Maybe people viscerally figured out what academic studies have now shown-- that union and union-promoting government policies had a hand in causing and prolonging the depression. Like the Solyndra debacle now, where "3000 union construction workers working two shifts/ day 6 days a week" undoubtedly chewed through a large part of the $500m that Obama advanced to a company that never made a dime.
That day is almost over. Like McMansions, Hummers, No Doc Refis and going out to eat, we can’t afford that anymore.
You are right, but normally the Post is better than this. Of course, normally they have short editorials too. This one was plain strange.
The communications behemoth wanted more than 100 concessions on health care, pensions, sick days and outsourcing. Unions representing the workers said Verizon sought to void 50 years of collective-bargaining gains for middle-class workers, despite posting a 2.8% jump in revenue in the second quarter, up to $27.5 billion. Thirteen days later, those on strike went back to work on good faith, the company guaranteeing nothing other than continued talks.It's a strange bedfellows phenomenon -- the left wing began as vociferously pro-union and pro-organizing (and pro-strike, pro-violence); but there's no room in the single party state for powerful entities which are not controlled by the single party, so independent unions had to be completely dominated. That didn't work -- unions acted on behalf of members (often a.k.a. member greed).
What’s interesting is that when you talk to people from NY, not Manhattan, a good number of them all say they vote republican and they’re conservative. But almost all are connected to a union of some sort or have a family member that is. So, no matter where they may stand on certain issues, a very large majority have a stake in the unions presence.
Public Sector Unions are the ones that most need to be sharply curbed. They are sucking the life out of Cities, States and the Country. Other than the members themselves few would care.
The cemeteries of the world are filled with indispensable people.
In this world, if you don’t like your job someone will step up and take it.
Even the Department of State, 15,000 employees authorized strength by Congress, has a Union to fight for employee benefits. Last few years they fought to get the Washington DC Locality Pay for employees living overseas, drawing their Cost of Living Allowances, Hardship and Differential payments (if authorized). So while working in Brazil with 50% COLA (formula benefit and not acutal percentage of pay) and 10% Differential (due to crime which is straight 10%), and approximatley 15% of the 26% Washington Locality pay. Personally, I urged the Union against this bargining but they prevailed - yes, I am better paid but the Foreign Service already gave me types of pay to offset my hardships or due to the weak dollar (abit not actually enough), it helped. Sometimes the Union will helps individuals with Grivances which is what I think their actual role should be - e.g., somewhere inbetween EEO and Inspector General for helping employess who have bad coworkers or managers/supervisors. The US Government already has a pretty good set of incentives for all employees.
Verizon upper management are now taking steps to ensure they are not put in this situation again.
For one thing, many of the lower level managers are receiving refresher training on things like fiber so that next time the workers go on strike, managers will be able to handle most of the service tickets. They are also investing heavily in security, such as surveillance cameras at fiber facilities so that it is more likely that saboteurs will be caught red-handed. Many of the striking workers who misbehaved during the past strike have already been fired and Verizon is taking a zero tolerance policy on this matter.
Long term, it appears that Verizon is taking steps internally to make these union workers non-essential so next time they go on strike, Verizon might not be as inclined to take them back. Most Verizon managers are working overtime to clear up the open tickets (from the strike) and train themselves to do the job so they can train new workers themselves should it come down to it.
I say good riddance to these union thugs.
It is the Public Employee Unions who have generated the negative Public Opinion.
Obama’s Storm Troopers have not helped the Public’s Opinions of the Master Community Organizer.
Really? Someone tell that to the Free Traitor battalion that lurks on FR that the war on Union-ism is over. Oh yeah, I forgot about over regulation, one red herring left for the Free Trade crowd to wave in our face.
It’s also written from the viewpoint of a 5th grader who is, at best, a C student.
Sounds about right: liberalism is childishness and mediocrity if nothing else....
” was flourishing in the public sector largely due to labor powerhouses such as the AFL-CIO and the UAW”
At least it’s truthful , identifying United Auto Workers as “public sector.” I’m not sure whether that’s “/sarc” or not.
A 24% drop over 80 years is ‘so sharply’?
Um, no—a lunch break is required for nonunion employees as well.
Ruling: Boeing’s Carolina plant is illegal retaliation against union
WASHINGTON The top lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling Wednesday claiming that Boeing violated federal labor laws in deciding to start manufacturing a new line of its 787 planes in South Carolina and seeking to force the firm to make the Dreamliner aircraft at its current plant in Everett.
Boeing executive vice president Michael Luttig blasted the ruling as frivolous, said the company will fight it in court and expressed confidence that production of the 787s will begin as scheduled this summer at its new Charleston plant.
Boeing has every right under both federal law and its collective bargaining agreement to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of the Puget Sound region, Luttig said.
Lafe Solomon, NLRBs acting general counsel, alleged in his complaint that Boeings decision to open a non-union factory in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, discriminated against its Washington state employees who belong to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
“A workers right to strike is a fundamental right guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act, Solomon said. We also recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, delivered a scathing indictment of the NLRB move.
“This is one of the worst examples of unelected bureaucrats doing the bidding of special interest groups that Ive ever seen, Graham said. In this case, the NLRB is doing the bidding of the unions at great cost to South Carolina and our nations economy.
The Machinists union, which represents 25,000 Boeing workers in Washington state, hailed the NLRB decision.
Boeings decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights, said Rich Michalski, the unions vice president. Federal law is clear: Its illegal to threaten or penalize workers who engage in concerted activity.
The union claims that Boeing rejected new labor agreement in accepting almost $900 million in incentives and tax relief from South Carolina to build the Dreamliner line in Charleston.
EDITORIAL: Public-sector unions bankrupting America
Usually it takes a national government to spend itself into a debt measured in the trillions. Yet it comes as little surprise that the same profligacy that pervades the corridors of federal power infects this countrys 87,000 state, county and municipal governments and school districts. By 2013, the amount of retirement money promised to employees of these public entities will exceed cash on hand by more than a trillion dollars.
Thats according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, which earlier this month released a troubling analysis of 126 state and local pension plans. The centers researchers found in the wake of the stock market collapse that measures of pension program solvency hit a 15-year low with no signs of improvement on the horizon. This means taxpayers will be left picking up the tab.
The reason pension plans are headed toward financial disaster is simple. Ever-expanding public-sector unions have flexed their political muscle and larded up with lavish benefits to be be paid out decades from now. In a properly run,private-sector business, future retirement benefits are paid for using present-day contributions. This is not the case when lawmakers have the power to boost public-employee benefit packages while using accounting gimmicks to conceal and pass on the debt to future generations.
When union members picket fill in repairmen in front of customers’ houses, hindering repairs, they don’t get the sympathy of the customers.
Obviously the public doesn’t understand the good they do.
Maybe they need to carry the communist flag and beat up a few bystanders at their street riots where they demand more, more, more.
They already do that? Hmmm.......
People striking while 20% of America is out of work is just plain stupid.
During these recent economic times, people have had to make sacrifices. People cut back on their budgets at home. Small business owners did likewise as well as not hiring that extra person. Large businesses cut budgets and laid many people off. But for unions, especially public ones, were a conspicuous exception. The would wave their contract in front of the public saying that they have an “agreement” which means they have to have pay increases every year and they are complete immune to budget cuts. The USPS contract with their unions, I believe, has a No Layoff cause.
When the public sees this display from unions, sympathy evaporates in my opinion. The public realizes that the unions are devoid of reality and are the last places one should go to see examples of work ethic and efficiency.
Lastly, the “displays” of unions at town hall meetings last year, the demostrations in Wisconsin this spring, and most recently the riotous behavior of the Longshoremen in Washington have had a accumulative effect in confirming the public’s view of unions.
“Workers” is a Marxist term. They are employees.
For me, it is the fact that unions use coercion and compulsion, not to mrntion violence, to attain their ends
I agree, here in Wisconsin public sector unions especially the teacher’s union behavior may have set back unions for decades (at that’s my hope). The day Governor Walker visited a Catholic elementary school in Milwaukee someone glued the locks on the doors and then a mob of white teachers tried to blockade the doors of a predominately black school. Reminiscent the segregationist Democrat governors in the 1960’s. A PR disaster for the unions.
The people you are speaking about are a small minority of the population of NY as a whole, as shown by both local and state elections. They believe Pataki and Giuliani are "conservatives," but do not generally vote or turn out for anybody who threatens the paternalistic government that gives them their livelihood.
Unions became irrelevant for economic betterment after WWII. All public unions using public funding should certainly cease. The public, not beholden public administrators, should be the real determiners of public employees take of tax monies. I’ve seen much of unions, good and bad, since the early 1930s. Thugs and leeches have become the body of unions.
Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.
And we’re just a bunch of meanies.
Yes, the power must be given back to the voters...our law makers use a end run to raise their own wages...they raise the presidents pay so they can raise their own...see we are payed mush less than we deserve compared to x...
Our power as citizens must be taken back...term limits!
A mostly whiney, pro-union article. Not one mention of the thuggery that unions perpetrate such as just happened in Washington state or what we were treated to in Madison.
Public sector unions need to be completely abolished. Past, current, and future pensions need to be brought into line with the private sector. The same applies to benefits and medical. Public sector unions are evil baaastids.
It will take localities and states filing bankruptcy to do that, but it may be necessary because there is no way those benefits can be maintained.
It’s said private-sector unions are necessary to protect workers against eeeeevil corporations.
Does that mean that the purpose of public-sector unions is to protect workers against eeeeevil taxpayers?
You know better than that.
Actually, the purpose of public-sector unions is, quite literally, to reward Democrat office-holders. As part of the deal, union leadership gets their share, too.
But nobody else benefits.
I spent the last six months in Milwaukee.
Had a ringside view of that 5h1+storm.
Taxpayer money goes to union government employees.
Union government employee money goes to unions.
Union money goes to Democrat politicians.
Democrat politicians direct more taxpayer money to union government employees.
So goes the Circle of Life.
An even bigger scam in Wisconsin is that the government schools were required by union contract to by teacher health insurance from a union-owned insurance company under a no-bid, sole-source contract. That company overcharged the schools $10000 PER YEAR PER TEACHER, the surplus going to the teacher’s union.
I rather think its because big business is now corporations and one can rise to become 'the man' and also jump and leave if one does not like the company