The Members’ Interests Are Not Primary

Mike, of Assigned Reading, noticed a strange omission of activism on the part of his and other teachers’ unions:

Teachers enjoy some of the best benefits available. And as a result, we working class Americans will be subjected to a 40% premium tax, a punishment for having healthcare plans better than most Americans.
One would think the teachers’ unions in particular would be loud and vocal in their opposition. This would be true if the teachers’ unions were most interested in teachers. But when push comes to shove, the unions will put down their arms if it helps secure a victory for the Democrats.

I wonder if union organizers ever get heat from their members for activism that is either unrelated to or actually hostile toward their interests. The impression, from outside, is that there’s a sort of compromise between teachers unions and teachers, such that the former pull all kinds of stunts and compromise the quality of education in order to provide ensure incessant growth for the remuneration of the latter, who pay dues more as a fee for service than as a cost of entry. In other words, the union gets to do whatever it wants, because it’s really an independent organization from the workers whom it supports.
Somehow, I don’t think it’s supposed to work that way.

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14 years ago

In the firefighters union all hell breaks out if a nickel is spent on anything not voted on by the members.

14 years ago

“I wonder if union organizers ever get heat from their members for activism that is either unrelated to or actually hostile toward their interests?”
No, teachers never, ever complain to their union officials.NEVER !
i think you meant officials not organizers?

Pat Crowley
Pat Crowley
14 years ago

You should please try to do a little research before making your ignorant assertions:
and that is just while I am cooking diner.
I even spoke about this issue at a health care vigil at the State House (which you weren’t not at…why?)
In fact, you must’ve have missed Mike’s comments on one of my posts:
Feel the earth rumbling?
written by mikeinRI, December 04, 2009
That’s because…we finally agree on something Pat! 🙂
So you obviously missed Bob’s:
The final straw
written by Bob Walsh, December 03, 2009
Inclusion of an excise tax funding mechanism could be the final straw that breaks the back of health care reform. It would break Obama’s pledge of no middle class tax increases and give the opponents of anyone who supports it a powerful weapon in the mid-term elections. If this proposal survives the conference committee deliberations, then the Obama administration is in a lose-lose situation.

Pat Crowley
Pat Crowley
14 years ago

one more, just so you can really get the picture Excise Tax Theory: Myth v Reality Summary Proponents of the excise tax on higher-cost health plans make multiple unrealistic and harmful assumptions. In reality, and contrary to the theories used to support the tax, the tax would lead to both bad health care policy and a serious deterioration in workers’ financial standing. In addition, not only does the tax stand little chance of addressing the problem of rising health care costs, it could increase plan costs by forcing workers to cut back on necessary and cost-effective medical services. E-mail and/or call your Representative and Senator today and tell them that the excise tax puts an unfair burden on the backs of hard working Americans. Myth v. Reality There are many inaccurate statements about the excise tax. The following are the top three myths as well as the realities that correct those myths. Myth #1: High-cost health plans are the result of rich benefits. Therefore, taxing plans with higher premiums will lead to greater efficiency in the marketplace but not harmful health outcomes. Reality: It is wrong to assume that high premium costs are the result of rich benefits. * “The premise that high costs occur only in Cadillac plans is wrong. The new tax would also apply to plans whose members have greater health care risks and needs, and also those who live in high cost geographic areas.” Watson Wyatt, p. 2. * In examining the presumption that high-cost plans are expensive because of rich benefits, a study in Health Affairs found that “other factors—notably industry sector and the costs of delivering care in the region—are more likely to explain the higher costs of some health plans.” Health Affairs, pp 1-2. * “Only 3.7 percent of variation in the… Read more »

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
14 years ago

1) The Democrats have given the unions a dispensation from the tax on “Cadillac” health care plans.
More than a bit ironic given how Cadillac is GM, and the UAW is the recipient of the taxpayer bailout via the conduit of GM.
2) Most unions don’t give a rat’s behind about rank and file opinions. In most unions rank and filers don’t get to vote for top union officials, only a local “representative.”
Consider too how in many unions votes are public and so subject to coercion(such as the notorious Providence teachers contract vote a few years ago).
In turn, the local “representatives” know which side their bread is buttered on, particularly since their offices give them a cushy “lavatory pass” from their real jobs (e.g., classroom teaching) and they themselves have aspirations for higher union office. So they tow the line coming from union headquarters.
Union democracy is a farce, just like AARP representing seniors’ best interests is a farce (now well known due to the AARP’s sellout to Obamacare), just like the Democrat’s caring about working families is a farce, just like the Democrat’s caring about the poor is a farce (note how they sacrifice poor children to the teachers unions).
All are just special interests feathering their own nests under a pretense of public good.

14 years ago

Pat, a few blog posts is not quite the activism I was expecting. We know, when necessary, the NEA will mobilize across the country, and spend tens of millions to get their message out. Such passion has not materialized over what will most certainly be a significant increase in taxes/fees to teachers and other union members.
There is little doubt that the unions don’t want to make things difficult for President Obama and the Democrats.
Pat, will the NEARI be organizing a protest at Sen. Whitehouse’s office to scream against this unfair burden on teachers? I’ve got my “Senator Whitehouse, D-Nebraska” sign ready. Or will it join the others in whispering opposition.

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