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Politics / US Politics Aug 19, 2010 - 05:03 AM GMT

By: Mike_Shedlock


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIn response to Oregon Wins Blue Ribbon for Unfounded Optimism; Everything "Weaker than Expected" several astute readers sent me a link to a Heritage Foundation article regarding public unions, collective bargaining, and their role in the state budget crisis.

Inquiring minds are reading Another Taxpayer Handout to Organized Labor

Get ready for Organized Labor's biggest congressional handout yet.

It would come via a piece of legislation called the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act." Attached, ridiculously enough, to a spending bill that provides war funding for the troops, it will soon hit the House floor for a vote.

From the name, you'd think that the act improved public safety. Wrong. In fact, it overrides state laws to boost union membership - at taxpayer expense.

The act would require all states to allow police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel to collectively bargain with taxpayers. If they don't create their own system, the federal government will impose one on them.

Unions once fought for higher wages. Now they fight for higher taxes.

New Jersey. Illinois. California. All across America public-sector unions campaign for tax increases. In Oregon they recently outspent businesses 3-to-2 to pass two ballot initiatives raising income and business taxes.

High taxes make perfect sense for government-employee unions - taxes fund the generous benefits of government workers. State employees in Oregon contribute nothing out-of-pocket toward their health care expenses. Many government employees can retire with a full pension at 55.

But these expensive benefits and the high taxes that fund them have wreaked havoc on state economies. The budget crises in California, Illinois and New Jersey didn't happen by chance. Well over half of government employees in those states hold union cards.

About a dozen states have decided not to play this game and do not collectively bargain with government workers. Virginia and North Carolina outlaw it altogether. This has proved a prudent decision. When was the last time you read about the Virginia budget crisis? States without government employee unions have weathered the recession much better than those with them.

Now the labor movement wants Congress to force these states to collectively bargain no matter what the cost to taxpayers. That's where the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act comes in.

Hold on to your wallet; the Act stands an excellent chance of becoming law. It's an enormously valuable handout to the new government labor movement. Get ready for more unionized government workers demanding that you pay higher taxes.

This insidious bill passed in the US House of Representatives as part of an amendment to a supplemental appropriations bill. The Senate bill is S 1611.

Conservative Leaders Oppose Union Power Grab

The American Spectator writes Conservative Leaders Oppose Union Power Grab

RE: The misleadingly named "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act" (originally H.R. 413; S. 1611, 3194). The bill would unconstitutionally abrogate all states' sovereignty, subject state and local public-safety workers to compulsory union "representation," eliminate local government control over the labor relations of their own workers, lead to a rise in labor strife, and further damage fragile state and local government economies by imposing unfunded federal mandates.

The bill claims to be designed to foster public-safety employer-employee cooperation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, the bill's sole aim is to grant union officials monopoly collective-bargaining control over all state and local public-safety workers, including police, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel who refuse to join, or who quit, a union and want to deal with their employer on an individual basis. In short, this bill would deny public-safety workers freedom of contract.

Most important, this bill abrogates each state's existing and sovereign right to order the labor relations of its own and its local governments' employees in accordance with its elected officials' judgment as to that state's public interests. Today, each state is free to ban collective bargaining for its public-safety workers. The United States Supreme Court recognized that right in 1979 in Smith v. Arkansas State Highway Employees. A few states have done so.

to avoid having an unelected federal agency regulate and oversee their public-safety employees' labor relations, some 26 states would either have to enact entire new labor relations schemes that comply with federal mandates or amend their existing bargaining regimes for public-safety workers.

The bill clearly constitutes a constitutionally suspect federal abrogation of state sovereignty. As the U.S. Supreme Court said in Printz v. United States (1997), "the Federal Government may not compel the States to implement, by legislation or executive action, federal regulatory programs." That is effectively what this bill would do.

The Galling thing about all of this is it is perfectly obvious public unions have killed hundreds of cities and dozens of states.

President Obama does not give a rat's ass about that nor does anyone who supports this legislation. All the politicians want is to buy votes.

Harry Reid's push to nationalize all cop/firemen unions

Renew America discusses Harry Reid's push to nationalize all cop/firemen unions.

Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid is quietly trying to nationalize rules governing every police, fire and first responder union in the nation. Through the benignly named Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R.413) Reid wants all first responders represented by collective bargaining rules emanating from Washington D.C.

Reid is pushing this monstrosity as a major sop to his union supporters who will greatly benefit from nationalized rules for police and fire unions. Unfortunately, there is a large contingent of Republicans supporting this nanny state, big government take over.

Conservatives need to tell their Representatives to drop their co-sponsorship of this un-American attempt to nationalize our police and fire departments. After all, Big Labor is keen to force this bill through Congress this session. If Big Labor is hot on this one, how can any Republican in good conscience support this thing?

The article lists all of the clueless Republicans who co-sponsored the bill. Unfortunately, it is too late to contact your House representatives as they have already passed this monstrosity.

It is not too late to contact you senators.

The Agenda

Reihan Salam writing for the National Review Online comments on The Agenda.

For clear evidence that the Senate Republican caucus contains a not inconsiderable number of lunatics, check out Bill Gives Public Workers Clout by Kris Maher in the WSJ.

The bill, backed by at least six Republicans in the Senate, prohibits strikes and leaves to states’ discretion whether to engage in collective bargaining in several areas, including health benefits and pensions.
My strong inclination would be to banish all six from the Republican caucus, but that could be too hasty a judgment. How can we understand the non-logic of those who are even considering voting for the scandalously bad bill? Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska dares to call the bill reasonable.

And then we learn the following:
The other Republican co-sponsors in the Senate are Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
I’ve long believed that the Republican Party should allow for more ideological diversity. But I’m not sure that principle should extend to the embrace of politicians who fail to understand the virtues of a federal system, in which states are given room to pursue a wide variety of different policy approaches. The extent of the power-grab defies belief.

Notice that Virginia is on the list. Remember that Washington Post editorial from a few weeks back, “A tale of two counties”?

Virginia law denies public employees collective bargaining rights; that’s helped Fairfax resist budget-busting wage and benefit demands. As revenue dipped two years ago, Fairfax officials froze all salaries for county government and school employees with little ado. By contrast, Montgomery leaders were badly equipped to cope with recession. County Executive Isiah Leggett took office proposing fat budgets and negotiating openhanded union deals after he succeeded Mr. Duncan. Then, as economic storm clouds gathered, he shifted gears and cut spending — while still trying to appease the union.

Essentially, this legislation would deny other states the opportunity to escape the vise-like grip public employees have placed on taxpayers in Montgomery County and other jurisdictions around the country. Rest assured, the focus on police officers and firefighters is only an entering wedge. This legislation will also undermine Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels successful efforts to reduce spending and improve the cost-effectiveness of public services.

States Affected by the Bill

The above image from the above WSJ link.

What the Hell are they Thinking?

I am appalled that any Republican would vote for this piece of crap, yet I see Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) was a sponsor of this bill along with the deceased Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

What the hell is Greg thinking?

Also, what are Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska thinking?

Actually not a one of them is thinking at all. It's as if they are all brain dead.

Have they not seen what governor Chris Christie is doing for New Jersey? Have they not seen how city and state budgets are crippled by public unions. I am so disgusted I can hardly type.

Stop the Madness - Contact Your Senators

Please contact your senators and tell them public unions have bankrupted many cities and states. Tell them you oppose Senate bill S-1611 the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act" because it will unconstitutionally take power from the states and limit their ability to respond to budget crises.

Tell them to stop usurping on states' rights and most importantly tell them public collective bargaining is the problem, not the solution.

We need to outlaw public union collective bargaining, not expand it!

Here is the Online Directory For The 111th Congress.

By Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management . Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Visit Sitka Pacific's Account Management Page to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

I do weekly podcasts every Thursday on HoweStreet and a brief 7 minute segment on Saturday on CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver.

When not writing about stocks or the economy I spends a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at .

© 2010 Mike Shedlock, All Rights Reserved.

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