And the winners would be us, the taxpayers. But we are dispersed and not fully aware of what the unions and our government are up to. By the same token, when we really need a package delivered quickly, we bypass the U. Postal Service and take a stroll down to nonunionized FedEx instead. Government employee unions use campaign contributions and political support to influence government decision makers at all levels of government.
Using this very friendly and effective method of persuasion, the government employee unions can get Congress to give them more federal workers to unionize, persuade states to force more workers to pay dues to them, and ensure that other elected officials go easy on them in contract negotiations. But buying political influence—legal bribery—works perfectly for government employee unions. After all, it is the government that determines whether these unions will be able to represent new groups of government employees, so it makes sense for unions to invest their money in putting their friends in government.
These unions run like smoothly oiled machines, and they argue that nobody gets hurt by their political influence. Except the American pie maker, that is. What do government employee unions do with all that dues money that they earn off the backs of government workers and American taxpayers?
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They pay the Shadowbosses first, of course. There are many more union officials earning high salaries at the state and local level, although this information is much harder to come by.
Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind by Mallory Factor
But the true 1 percent includes the union bosses, who rake in the money, dine at the White House, and live it up on the backs of their members. By any measure, workers should be striking against the union bosses themselves! Anytime you see potential government growth, you should suspect that the government employee unions are behind it. Almost 3. Almost 1.
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If you were hired today as a police officer in California, a teacher in New York, or as a government bureaucrat in Illinois, you would be told that there is a specific union that will represent you in matters with your employer. You will also be told that you will be paying dues or fees to that union for the privilege of representation.
And if you refuse to pay these union tithes, you will be fired. Simple enough. But how did that union get all this power? It was here when he was hired. Old Joe never voted to bring in the union or to keep it there.
It just seems that the union has always been there since the dawn of time. Actually, most government employee unions gained control over government workers sometime in the s or early s, when many states passed laws allowing monopoly collective bargaining over government workers. A state might have done this because it was a trend sweeping the nation at the time—all the cool states were doing it. Now, unions exercise collective bargaining power over at least some state and local government workers in forty-three states, plus the District of Columbia.
In any case, when these laws were first passed, a bunch of different labor unions made a beeline for your state, like flies to honey, and tried to unionize every group of government workers in sight. First, the unions as a group would have had to convince at least 30 percent of the workers in a bargaining group, say the police officers in San Diego County, to sign cards asking the state to hold a union election. Once the unions had collected enough cards, the state held a secret-ballot election.
That is when it got ugly.
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For a few weeks or months, the various unions fought tooth and nail—and kneecap—for every last worker, spending hundreds of dollars per worker trying to get their vote. When the election was held, whichever union won the majority of votes from police officers voting in the election was certified as the representative for all police officers in the county.
The other unions licked their wounds and went away to organize other workers in other jurisdictions.
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What if you voted against the union because you wanted to be able to negotiate your own pay and benefits individually with the department? Too bad. The union became your exclusive representative, too. The newly installed union would now negotiate detailed contracts with the county or locality. This is the gold mine that fuels the government employee union movement. Because the nonmember fees are the same or almost the same as union dues, most workers join the union. With union membership, you get some extra insurance coverage, some other benefits—and most of all, the union thug outside your office door or hovering over your cubicle will go away.
For unions, forced-dues contracts are a home run—they get to extract money from your wallet without your permission or say-so. Forced-dues provisions are permitted in twenty-seven states and in union contracts in at least twenty-two states. Generally, more than three-quarters of the dues income that government worker unions collect is from forced-dues states. So, what services does the union provide you in exchange for your dues? The union gets between you and your employer in matters involving your job.
Your union negotiates an employment contract that controls every aspect of your working life—from how much salary you get where permitted by law to how early you can retire, from how much vacation you can get every year to how many bathroom breaks you can take every day. Union representatives will also handle any complaints that you have against your employer, or your employer may have against you, and on and on.
You will not generally deal with your employer on matters concerning your employment—only via the union representative. If you have a fight with your boss, instead of sitting down with your boss directly, you get your union representative, your boss gets his lawyer, and they have a chat. When contracts are renegotiated, the members of your union get to decide whether or not to accept the union contract, which is generally coupled with automatic recertification of the union until the next contract is put into place. Very few members vote in these matters—very often, less than 10 percent—probably because union members realize that this is just rubber-stamping.
And so life goes on, with the union having a virtual lock on a group of workers until the end of time. So you get a government job forty years after the union was certified in your workplace.
Mallory Factor: How Public Unions Exploit the Ruse of 'Official Time'
And some government employees can even work on union matters all the time for decades, without performing any actual work for the government, and still get paid their government salary, benefits, and longevity raises. Official time is one of those key provisions that unions demand in their collective bargaining agreement with the government. If federal employees value their union representation, then they should pay for it with their dues.
If they do not value that representation enough to pay for it, taxpayers should not subsidize it. The federal government permits official time under federal law, but is not required to keep track of how much it costs taxpayers. In most private businesses, you bargain for yourself—no group has the monopoly power to bargain for you. If you get an offer to be an insurance broker at a business on Main Street, you will negotiate with the owner of the business over your starting salary, relocation expenses, health insurance contributions, company car, and other benefits.
Then, a year after you have taken the job, when a rival firm makes you an offer to jump ship and go work for them, you renegotiate with your original employer for better terms. Nobody does it for you. Now, imagine instead that you decide to take that job we have been talking about as a policeman in San Diego.
When you are hired for that job, you are given the union-negotiated contract that specifies your pay, benefits, and nearly every aspect of your job.
The union is your exclusive bargaining representative in almost all matters involving your job. This is not a service that they perform for you—it is a power that they hold over you.
click You are not even allowed to speak with your employer about any matter involving your job without the union doing the speaking for you. To the union, you are not an individual but a member of a bargaining unit—a group of employees that are represented by the same union and bound by the same union-negotiated contract.