Monday, February 28, 2011

The Bargaining Chip

"It's Not About the Money."                                                                                        
Look at them.  All gathered around the hallowed halls of the State building, in their scarlet and gray. All well meaning selfless public sector workers, and loyal civil servants, rising against their oppressor.  They are the teachers who shape the minds of our children eight hours a day, five days per week, the proverbial "admirable profession."  They're the fire fighters, who kick in the door and protect our families during a time of unthinkable tragedy.  They're the police officer, who protects and serves our communities with no regard for themselves.  In fact it's that kind of selflessness and leadership by example that all of us hold in high esteem.  At first glance you're immediately outraged.  What are those evil bureaucrat's up to now, and what are they doing to our teachers? Why are those who serve so gallantly streaming to the halls of our Capital Building?    


Well.  Take a closer look.  They're not all there. Most of them are in the classroom, on the job, putting out fires and writing citations to keep us safe from those opposed to the rule of law.  Many of them are not even teachers.  Many are private sector union members from the United Auto Workers, and recruited College students.  In fact the bus leaves today, February 28, 2011 from the Cincinnati UAW Local 863 on Reading at 10:00 a.m. and returns home around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.  This kind of "collective" out pour is happening all over the state, but we are led to believe that these are our selfless civil servants.  They are not.  They're the people that were defeated in November and they're pissed, not to mention running scared.


You may ask yourself.  Why are the Private Sector Unions getting involved in something that is a State issue?  After all, Collective Bargaining was never truly intended for the public sector, and there are federal laws in place regarding private sector unions. In fact, no less a progressive than Franklin Deleno Roosevelt himself said,
“The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service [because a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.”  





Ya think? Collective Bargaining was never originally intended for the public sector as it is ultimately regulated by a representative constituency empowered by the people they represent.  But wait.  That can't be if there is a symbiotic relationship between the public sector unions and the democratic party.  Why that would be an imbalance of power wouldn't it?  Ah the devil is in the details. 




So what gives here?  Friends of mine who are teachers say, "hey, don't lump all of us into that crowd."  Many Catholic school teachers for example making far less than their public school teacher counterparts have little to no empathy for the crowd in Columbus. While still others in the public school system teach quietly and remain uninvolved.  And then there are the mouth pieces.  The megaphones.  The entitlement crowd.  "It's not about the money!"  Really?  The hell it isn't.  


Are we to believe that maintaining the collective bargaining chip is so that the State doesn't ask them to teach in schools without air conditioning?  Are we to believe that maintaining the collective bargaining chip is solely about making sure their working conditions don't revert back to the conditions of the textile mills of the 1920's?  When you boil right down to it, it really is about the money, and how did they acquire it? Through Collective Bargaining, and over time. The average salary of a public school teacher in our State's capital is around $30,000.00 per year plus benefits, and for a teacher with 20+ years, anywhere between $46,000.00 and $67,000.00 per year.  Both new and experienced teachers benefit from a benefits package estimated at approximately an additional $20,000.00 per year, of which they pay less than half what the average private sector employee pays into their own benefits packages. Did I mention the pension?  The one the State is trying to pay, because they're paying out more in pensions than they are currently taking in?  Teachers get 80% of their highest wage upon retirement, and ladies and gentlemen, unlike the 401K you just saw get flushed down the toilet?  Theirs is protected.  By what?  The democratic public sector union of coarse.  


Let's stay on point.  What does that have to do with this "Collective Bargaining" issue?  Collective Bargaining is how we got here.  It's the means in which good old fashioned payola has been doled out through years by extortion and political corruption.  The bargaining chip, not meant for the public sector has been a part of a symbiotic relationship between the democratic party and the public sector unions, and the public sector union advocates know it, and which is  "precisely why the reduction or outright elimination of collective bargaining rights for public workers lies at the heart of the present debate – and both sides know it.  For the Democrats and the unions, the goal is very simple: obstruct any real structural change, make only temporary concessions to garner sympathy by the viewing audience, wait for the political moment to pass and then go back to business as usual."      Well that sounds like it's about money to me?  Does that sound like it's about money to you?  




So what kind of change are they trying to obstruct here? How about fiscal responsibility?  How about allowing our elected officials, a chance to do the job they were elected to do. How about the obstruction of change that requires they actually pay closer to what the private sector pays, albeit they've agreed on that to garner sympathy so they can live to fight another day? Oh we've covered that. How about the kind of change that ultimately will help to protect their pensions to the extent that they, unlike many, will still have a retirement? What better security for their pension than a State that functions on its own through fiscal responsibility?  Why would anyone want to stop that?  Well boys and girls,  take a closer look into that crowd.  Who is there that doesn't belong?  Can you find Waldo?  Ever heard the phrase power and money go hand in hand?  Who else is threatened here riding the free bus from Cincinnati?  Even though they lost in November, they're not giving up the fight so they can maintain business as usual. The invisible man on the bus is a democrat. Well business as usual is why we're broke.  We simply can afford to play this game no longer. 





When asked recently why I thought John F. Kennedy signed an executive order granting the right of federal employees to collective bargaining, I could only reply,  "Ask not what your union can do for you?  Ask what you can do for your country."  It's time to dig in our heels for the sake of our children and our grand children.  The unions of today are a mockery of the unions of yesteryear.  When left to their own, the public and private sector unions and their democratic counterparts have proven their short sidedness has only led to the destruction of future business and further fiscal irresponsibility at both the public and private levels. We can't let them do it to our State.  Misery apparently loves company.  I'm not interested in their company. Are you?



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