You and your family are unknowingly being manipulated and cheated by the politicized public unions. In fact, there are 10 ways you’re now being ripped off.
Rip-off No. 1: Unions Force workers to pay for political contributions
Nationwide, they take in about $14 billion yearly, frequently by force, and don’t have to pay a penny in tax. As 501(c)(5)s, the unions have a special tax-exempt status with the IRS that is accorded to labor, agricultural, and horticultural organizations.
Rip-off No. 2: Can’t be fired
Hundreds of teachers sit in so-called rubber rooms in New York and other cities, playing cards, video games, whatever, collecting their salaries, maintaining their healthcare benefits and adding dollars to their defined benefit pensions. They can’t be in the classroom, but because of powerful local and state teachers unions, it is virtually impossible to fire them.
Rip-off No. 3: Abuse the taxpayer to pay political salaries
Another way that unions stick it to taxpayers is with “release time,” a practice that is rampant across the US, allowing public employees – frequently teachers – to conduct union business during working hours without loss of pay.
These activities include negotiating contracts, lobbying, processing grievances, and attending union meetings and conferences. Have you seen teachers at political protests – they are being paid by the taxpayer.
In Pennsylvania, State Sen. Patrick Stefano so-called “ghost teachers” receive taxpayer-funded salaries, health benefits and pensions while not teaching.
Rip-off No. 4: Government Unions support candidates, but businesses can’t.
How fair is that?
Rip-off No. 5: Government unions unfairly get bloated pensions and benefits others can’t
For example, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the State Teachers’ Retirement System have just 74 percent of what they needed to meet pension obligations.
Future generations of taxpayers will be forced to make up much of the shortfall.
The LA school district is facing a budget deficit that will rise to nearly 500 million dollars by 2020, primarily due to increased pension and healthcare costs.
In 2013-14, the district paid $2,621 from its state funding of $9,788 for average daily attendance per student (or 27 percent) for all employee benefits, including health and welfare, other post-employment benefits and pension benefits (19.4 percent higher than the statewide average).
Rip-off No. 6: Local governments make irresponsible deals with public employee unions
Across California, cities have raised taxes, and cut needed services as local officials, desperate for union support, have made irresponsible deals with unions. It has created a staggering employee costs.
For example, in Santa Barbara County, $548 million in infrastructure improvements go unfunded as the country struggles to pay off $700 million in unfunded pension liabilities. Layoffs are looming.
In Kern County, rising pension costs have led to public safety layoffs, teacher shortages, budget cuts and the elimination of the Parks and Recreation Department. Kern’s unfunded pension liability has surpassed $2 billion.
Santa Ana Unified School District has laid off nearly 300 teachers after years of giving into pay raises, including a 10% raise in 2015, that made them unaffordable.
Rip-off No. 7: The political unions spike salaries
Not only are the pensions of government unions bloated compared to the realities of the real world private sector, but so are salaries.
Federal, state, county and local salaries are overpaid – at taxpayer expense.
Just look at a few county salaries in California:
- The chief physician in Placer County was paid $329,023.
- A mental health medical director in El Dorado County was paid $302,562.
- A contract physician in Placer County was paid $271,030.
- A forensic pathologist in Sacramento County was paid $265,444.
- A physician in Sacramento County was paid $263,751.
Rip-off No. 8: Unions fail to deliver on their promises
While the costs for joining a union have increased, members such as government employees and teachers wonder if membership is worth the money they spend. So far, 47% approve of their union, 48% believe their unions have no impact, or negative impact, on their careers, and 58% say their union leaders are overpaid.
Teachers, for example, are unhappy with their collective bargaining representatives. In New York, teachers pay $1,300 in union dues on average; $1,000 for the California Teachers Association. New teachers pay the same fees as long-term employees.
Even non-members are coerced to pay dues. (The Supreme Court refused to rehear Friedrichs vs. CTA, a lawsuit brought by 10 teachers to end the practice of forced dues for non-members. A new lawsuit has been filed).
Rip-off No. 9: Union dues often channeled to extreme liberal causes
Rather than seeing money go to “teacher issues,” it goes to groups that have nothing to do with teachers. Dues fees are increasingly bankrolling progressive liberal political groups.
Rip-off No. 10: Unions and cities create an unholy financial alliance
City officials grant unions generous terms, and those unions donate to their re-election campaigns. It’s an unholy alliance that has costs Californians essential services, led to layoffs, and the mismanagement of taxpayer funds.
Does government exist to give taxpayer money to the politically connected? I think not. The state’s elected officials in many ways are directly responsible for giving birth to the highest poverty in the country, and the second most “unfree economy” in the country.
Local officials who take part in this unholy alliance don’t serve you. They expect you to serve them.
What do you think? Write me at [email protected]