Posted by: Debby Durkee | February 22, 2011

Powerful public unions = higher debt and taxes.

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Powerful public unions = higher debt and taxes.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, public sector unions are not the friend of the taxpayer. Now, this isn’t saying that all union members deserve your contempt, but pretty much all union officials do. They are in it for their own money and power. Way down the line are their concerns about their union members, and if they are teachers unions, students don’t even show up on the radar. Americans are finally awakening to the truth by witnessing the protests in Madison, WI. As Democrat senators flee the state to avoid casting a vote on rolling back union benefits and their collective bargaining rules, Americans can see that that party is now being run by the unions, not the other way around. They want to raise taxes on you so they can keep their power, so Wisconsin taxpayers get to pay for the scene in Wisconsin this past week. Wisconsin isn’t the only state where this is coming to a forefront. This is from Steve Malanga at the Wall Street Journal.

public-sector unions especially have become the nation’s most aggressive advocates for higher taxes and spending. They sponsor tax-raising ballot initiatives and pay for advertising and lobbying campaigns to pressure politicians into voting for them. And they mount multimillion dollar campaigns to defeat efforts by governors and taxpayer groups to roll back taxes.

Early last year, for example, Oregon‘s unions spearheaded a successful battle to pass ballot measures 66 and 67, which collectively raised business and income taxes in the state by an estimated $727 million annually. Led by $2 million from the Oregon Education Association and $1.8 million from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), unions contributed an estimated 75% of the nearly $7 million raised to promote the tax increases, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

As Yuval Levin says over at National Review Online, even without union membership or collective bargaining rights, public employees have a lot more advantages than employees at private companies, so what are they complaining about?

…public employees (even when they are not organized, let alone able to bargain collectively) have some major advantages over their private-sector counterparts. They are guarded by generous civil-service protections—the most significant of which predate public-sector unionism, having been put in place, ironically, to combat the inclination of urban political machines to use the public sector as a powerbase. And most government employees work in non-competitive fields where their employer has a monopoly, so their jobs are not threatened by competitors, and are not dependent on their ability to work efficiently and so keep their employer competitive.

When they organize—merely as an interest group, quite apart from formal collective bargaining—they have several more immense advantages. By leveraging their numbers and resources, their organizations can become major players in politics. At election time, public employees can therefore play a large role in choosing their own employers or bosses (by getting certain people elected and not others), which of course no private-sector union can do. At all levels of government today, public-worker unions are among the biggest political donors. Between elections, they can use that political power to influence those elected officials and the political process more generally to improve their pay, benefits, or conditions, and also to increase demand for their services through legislation that increases the size or role of government (as the California prison guards union was instrumental in passing the state’s three-strikes law, for instance) or that prevents competition (as the teachers’ unions do in opposing school-choice programs). In all these ways, public workers have enormous powers that private workers could not dream of, and all without actual formal collective bargaining.

When you add collective bargaining to that mix, the unions gain the power to make in private negotiations decisions that should be made in public deliberations—decisions about public priorities and public budgets. And they turn public employees into a formal procedural adversary of the public they serve…Franklin Roosevelt said that “collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

Read all of Levin here:

Here are just a few more instances of the power of public unions in various states throughout the country. This is a continuation of Malanga’s report:

…in 2010, teachers unions and public-safety unions in Arizona were influential players in the successful ballot campaign to increase the state’s sales tax to 6.6% from 5.6% to raise an additional $1 billion…The public unions…wanted the tax hike precisely to avoid government spending cuts.

The failed initiative last year in Washington state to raise taxes on the rich was bankrolled by public-sector unions.

…According to, state and national SEIU locals gave $2.5 million, while the National Education Association and Washington teachers union locals contributed $900,000 to the $6 million campaign for the new income tax…

…In 2004, California labor groups—including the California Teachers Association, the SEIU, and health interests such as the California Council of Community Health Agencies—led a successful $4.7 million campaign to raise the state income tax on those making more than $1 million and devote the money to health-care funding. In all, public unions gave $1 million to the Proposition 63 effort, while public health groups donated another $1.3 million, according to

Malanga goes on to highlight New York and New Jersey and how they’ve been devastated by public sector unions for years on end, leading to the big budget deficits these states are facing. These parasites sucking out the blood of the American taxpayers are showing their true colors now, and they are in it for the fight. Obama and his thugs are out in the open, all the while trying to hide from view. They want you to shut up while they pick your pocket.

Read all of Malanga here:

And when they decide not to participate in democracy by fleeing the state, as in Madison, WI, and now in Indianapolis, who’s shutting down the government? Ed Morrissey makes this point over at Hot Air.

The true test of a representative democracy comes not in an election, but in the aftermath of an election. If the losing party or parties in the election recognize their loss and continue to participate in self-governance, then representative democracy works. When the losing side refuses to participate and boycotts governance, especially in such a manner that vital legislative work gets obstructed, then representative democracy itself is threatened.

We might have a real crisis in the country if this is the way our governments are going to work from now on.

Given the White House and DNC involvement in the Madison protests, it seems clear that this has become a national strategy on the part of Democrats — to run out on legislatures where they hold the minority, and to hijack government in an attempt to make the majority the servant of the minority.  The party should change its name to the Anti-Democrats … or, since they seem enamored of running away as a political tactic, we can take a page from their book and call them Fleebaggers instead.

Read about Indiana’s Democrats fleeing the state from Morrissey here:

Now, it’s a national strategy run by the White House. Although the White House denies it, again from Ed Morrissey here:

If this is the method Democrats are going to use to avoid facing the issue of unions, then what are our recourses? They are willing to destroy the country over this it would seem. What else can one say about it? I would think that each state might have their own recourse. Perhaps they can recall or run special elections to remove the offending “lawmakers.” Or, perhaps the governor can proclaim some kind of emergency. Not sure what the plan will ultimately be, but to me this seems like a declaration of war on the country, one state at a time. I think it all started with the presidential election of 2000. Democrats pushed the envelope then. They continued by pushing the envelope as the majority in Congress and with the Obama presidency. They love their power more than they love their country. That’s obvious now.


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  1. Powerful public unions = higher debt and taxes ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  2. As I said in my column “Death Rattle”, I think a case can be made that no union contract are valid. The politicians who negotiated them either have a vested interest in giving the unions what they want or they are under duress from the union spending money against their reelections. All government unions need to be done away with. If we MUST have them, then contracts MUST be approved by the voters not the politicians who negotiate them. Don’t the rank and file have to approve the contracts negotiated on their behalf by the union leaders?

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