A Sincere Question from the Other Side

Putting aside my biases, I truly do wonder: Do folks who are voting to unionize — as have five Providence-region Head Start faculties — ever ask themselves from where the money will come, or do they just decide that they need an organization protecting their interests, without giving much consideration to the hows and wherefores?

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Pat Crowley
12 years ago

well at least you take it as self evident that union workers do better financially than non union ones.

bobc
bobc
12 years ago

“well at least you take it as self evident that union workers do better financially than non union ones.”
Well at least the public sector ones. Somehow they feel that normal economics don’t apply to them. They can vote into office union hacks who will shower them with wages and perks in return for votes.

JackD
JackD
12 years ago

ah, isn’t it such a wonderful “State” of corruption and lack of morals? As long as we stay on this path we deserve whatever the end brings us, and with what little money I’ll have left, I will bet that it the end won’t be very pretty.

Matt Jerzyk
Matt Jerzyk
12 years ago

Justin –
I know many of these workers and have for a long time.
Many have given their entire lifetime to helping these children.
For many, they devote their paychecks to buying school supplies and other things for these children.
All they have ever asked for is a little dignity and respect on the job.
Is it too much to ask for that American workers who work full time be paid a living wage with affordable and accessible health insurance?
Isn’t that what the Greatest Generation had access to?
-Matt

John
John
12 years ago

Quite. It will be very, very ugly when all those RI public sector retirees in Florida open their mailboxes and find their pension and health care checks aren’t there, and when all those “clients” of our most generous in the nation welfare programs discover the gravy train has left the station.
The only remaining interesting question is whether RI will be the first state to forge new ground for the bankruptcy bar, or whether NJ, CA, NY, MI or someone else will get there first…
That said, I’m not losing much sleep over what’s coming. RI’s Democratic leaders have chosen this path, and now, like adults, they are going to have to accept the consequences of their choices.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>well at least you take it as self evident that union workers do better financially than non union ones.
Well, for the reduced period of time that they keep their jobs … but not over the long term.
Just ask the hundreds of thousands of union autoworkers, steelworkers, airline workers, etc. who are no longer employed thanks to the union driving their wages and benefits above market level.
Those that remain make above-market compensation (for now), and that is what the union organizers point to get gullible workers to sign up.
But if one added into the compensation calculation the “zeroes” that are also attributable to unionization, then a whole different picture emerges – over an extended period of time union workers make no more than, and likely less than, nonunion workers (consider the net earnings drag of paying union dues).
To believe that one can elevate compensation above market realities for an extended period of time is fantasy – eventually equilibrium is restored: either through shedding workers (whose job loss subsidizes those with “seniority” remain); or through the employer filing bankruptcy and forcing “concessions” on the union; or by moving operations elsewhere (job loss); or through the employer going out of business (job loss). Some companies have gone through this entire sequence of shrink and/or move before finally going terminal.
Of course, that dynamic hasn’t applied to the public sector. But now that states like California and Rhode Island are struggling to make payroll, and municipalities are just beginning to declare bankruptcy, that same dynamic may start to appear in the till-now coddled bubble of public sector employment.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>Putting aside my biases, I truly do wonder: Do folks who are voting to unionize — as have five Providence-region Head Start faculties — ever ask themselves from where the money will come, or do they just decide that they need an organization protecting their interests, without giving much consideration to the hows and wherefores? Union organizers in general, and SEIU in particular, are trained to identify (or foment if necessary) hot button issues with employees and exploit them by inciting angst and then presenting the union as the solution. SEIU is notorious for using thuggish tactics against employers, and misleading employees, during union organizing drives. SEIU is an organizing machine that is interested in gaining “dues units” uber alles. It is also a bottom fishing union – it targets naïve and unsophisticated employees most likely to be gullible and fall for the organizers’ sales pitches – janitors, daycare workers, etc. It is also notoriously undemocratic – very top down and run in a near dictatorship under its leader Andy Stern (a radically Left guy that is a cohort of folks like Soros – actually similar to Obama in many ways, in that he presents a reasonable persona to the public, masking a thoroughly Red interior). Last year documents were leaked in California that proved that SEIU was working against workers in exchange for nursing home operators agreement to “stand down” while SEIU “organized” selected nursing homes from an agreed-upon list. More dues units for SEIU. It’s also going through an imbroglio there now with its health care division, which had the gall to buck Andy Stern, so the International is putting that division into “trusteeship” and taking it over (Stern / SEIU have done this elsewhere). So much for “union democracy.” It ain’t about the workers, it’s about increasing… Read more »

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

Unionization isn’t always about money.
It’s also about trying to stop abuses of power that no worker (union or nonunion) should have to deal with.

Monique
12 years ago

That was 75 years ago, Rhody. Or are you saying that 88% of the American work force is working in an abusive (however you wish to define it) situation?
Of course, unionizing is about more money.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

The state cannot go bankrupt. The state CAN -and will-reduce local aid and force the municipalities into bankruptcy. See Vallejo, California.

John
John
12 years ago

Mike,
I agree that there is no precedent for a U.S. state going bankrupt, and that cutting local aid and forcing municipal bankruptcy is the logical first response.
However, we should still take a close look at what happens then at the state level. Let’s assume that widespread municipal bankruptcies leads to a further outflow of the — what is it, 16% — filers who pay most of the personal income tax and/or (in the case of LLCs), a sharp drop in their income as the economy stagnates (which would also cause a sharp drop in sales tax collections).
We will still be left with severely underfunded state-level pensions and post-retirement health care benefit obligations, as well as huge pressure to expand (in the face of a decrepit economy) social welfare programs. Not to mention that $2b and counting cost of repairing RI’s crumbling infrastructure. And interest payments on state bonds and other debt instruments on top of that.
Bottom line: I don’t think cutting our state aid to local muicipalities and school systems will fully solve the problem (something I strongly suspect Sasse, Dion, Gallogly, O’Keefe and Dannecker know all-too-well). You may still reach the point at which, because of its adverse impact on the size of the tax base, any further increase in rates actually generates less tax revenue. To put it differently, even at the state level, there is still a fiscal tipping point, and I can’t see how RI can avoid surpassing it at some point.
On the bright side, if Larisa starts boning up now on his bankrutpcy law, maybe he will get a chance to argue this case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

bobc
bobc
12 years ago

Unionization isn’t always about money.
It’s also about trying to stop abuses of power that no worker (union or nonunion) should have to deal with.
Rhody,
That was a fair cry when workers were limited to working for the single employer in the area. No one would dispute that. That is no longer the reality for present day employees. Simply put if you don’t like the working conditions go elsewhere. When enough people do that the employer comes around or goes out of business. I believe someone coined a phrase about that, it’s called the “free market”.

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