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Unions (posts dealing with)
12/14/11 (By Travis)
One-day rehiring nets former Chicago labor leader a $158,000 city pension
9/21/11 Chicago Tribune
Most city workers spend decades in public service to build up modest pensions. But for former labor leader Dennis Gannon, the keys to securing a public pension were one day on the city payroll and some help from the Daley administration.
United States v Enmons
Maybe someone can explain this to me?
2/20/11 (By Travis)
Firefighters' sick-leave theater makes you laugh until you cry
Nearly 40 percent of the firefighters took more than a month of sick leave in 2009.
One firefighter took 924 hours of sick leave, and 1,455 hours of overtime and callbacks, earning $195,000. Another claimed sick leave for 4½ months, yet worked 2,223 hours overtime, earning $232,187. This was one of the bums who put his misdeeds in an e-mail.
11/21/10 (By Travis)
Officials in Italy angry over remark by Fiat CEO
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said the Italian automaker would be better off without Italy and its balky unions, provoking an angry reaction Monday from some labor and government officials.
In addition, 'Job Bank programs, 12000 paid not to work' has been created with a permanent link for posterity.
10/3/10 (By Travis)
Check's In The Mail
IBD Editorials ^ | September 8, 2010 | Investors Business Daily staff
The U.S. Postal Service expects to lose $7 billion in the current fiscal year and delivers less mail each year. It could use some fiscal austerity.
The union wants "more control over activities at work, more money, better benefits we want more," Burrus told Government Executive magazine. "We will try to fashion our proposals to reflect the entitlement to more."
Entitlement to more? By what standard does he believe the workers of a failing "business" are entitled to more, let alone a job? Neither jobs nor high and ever-escalating wages are rights. But that's the union mindset: Demand more no matter what difficulties a business, or in this case a government-protected monopoly, is facing.
11/29/09 (By Travis)
Top court backs Wal-mart in union dispute
11/27/09 Wal-mart closes a store in Canada in response to the unionization of its workforce there. Thus, prices remain low for all of us, especially the poorest Americans! A shame the company cannot be more blatant about its anti-union policy, but must converse in innuendo due to archaic labor law.
11/1/09 (By Travis)
S.C. Gov: Boeing 787 Plant Should Spur Growth Across State
In the Seattle area, where most workers are located, business costs are relatively high, partly due to the presence of unions. Sanford said the recent decision by Boeing's North Charleston workers to reject union representation made a difference to Boeing, which has suffered a series of employee strikes in recent years. "They proved to Boeing that this is a right-to-work state," Sanford said.
Perhaps Boeing will escape the fate of the other industries bankrupted by the unions, ie the airline industry, mining industry, and steel industry and most recently the automakers.
Labor Unions See Sharp Slide in U.S. Public Support
For first time, fewer than half of Americans approve of labor unions
Posted 12/10/08 (By Travis)
Detroit's New Bill: $34 Billion
9/2/08 Business Weekly
Next, GM will need to go to the UAW to try to cut jobs of tenured workers whose pay and benefits cost about $58 an hour. They cost $76 an hour, if you count pension and health-care costs for retirees. Ford and Chrysler are in talks with the UAW as well. The union's leadership met Tuesday to form a strategy about what concessions to offer to win over Congress.
Under last year's labor agreement, GM can bring in new hires at wages of $14 an hour and an all-in cost of $28 an hour. But first GM must get the older workers to leave. Henderson wouldn't say what's on the bargaining table, but he said GM needs to work on staffing levels, job security provisions, and coaxing more workers to retire.
This story contains the interesting comparison of what the automakers can hire new workers for, versus what they are making now. IMO, these labor costs are in part responsible for the trouble in the American auto industry, brought about by labor laws which enhance the power of the unions, allowing them to bankrupt industry after industry.
Posted 8/3/08 ( by Travis)
Wal-Mart Warns of Democratic Win
This is an interesting article. First we learn this:
Wal-Mart may be walking a fine legal line by holding meetings with its store department heads that link politics with a strong antiunion message. Federal election rules permit companies to advocate for specific political candidates to its executives, stockholders and salaried managers, but not to hourly employees. While store managers are on salary, department supervisors are hourly workers.
Why can a private company not advocate to it's own workers? Unions certainly make no bones about who they support, yet businesses cannot?
Currently, companies can demand a secret-ballot election to determine union representation. Those elections often are preceded by months of strident employer and union campaigns.
Under the proposed legislation, companies could no longer have the right to insist on one secret ballot. Instead, the Free Choice, or "card check," legislation would let unions form if more than 50% of workers simply sign a card saying they want to join. It is far easier for unions to get workers to sign cards because the organizers can approach workers repeatedly, over a period of weeks or months, until the union garners enough support.
Employers argue that the card system could lead to workers being pressured to sign by pro-union colleagues and organizers. Unions counter that it shields workers from pressure from their employers.
Both of these proposals are smoke and mirrors, IMO. If private property is truly respected, a business can decide not to accept any workers as unionized and fire any and all that partake in any union activity. But if they fired them all, who would run their business? This is not to say that Unions can't form, there are many cases where unions are beneficial, such as major league sports. The market will decide what industries unions are beneficial in and which they are not. Government should get out of the business of deciding how and when Unions and businesses should interact. Freely choosing individuals, both employees and their employers will interact to determine the best setup for each. Perhaps then we will see a halt to the bankruptcies the unions are inflicting on businesses across the country.
Posted 5/28/07 (By Travis)
Faculty at Two More Campuses discuss Breakway Idea (Required Reading)
5/25/07 LA Times
Signaling deep discontent and a possible spreading revolt among the city's public school teachers, faculty at two more Los Angeles high schools met this week with a leading charter school operator to discuss alliances aimed at breaking away from the school district.
This is truly an amazing phenomena, especially as it attacks a central plank of the teacher's Unions arguments against charter schools: that private companies provide sub par working conditions and benefits. Even some proponents of charter schools mistakenly acquiesce the benefit of unions to teachers, and instead trumpet the gains made by students, which if one considers, is really the whole point of education anyway... However, as stated in 'A Charter School Tale', the basic human instincts of justice, fairness, and happiness stemming from quality, competence, and hard work, are both emotionally and financially beneficial.
The educators also responded positively to Barr's claims that the group's small central staff allows more than 90% of state funds to go directly to instruction and higher teacher salaries. Significantly less money reaches district classrooms, largely because of the L.A. school district's sizable bureaucracy. <.>
District officials have been reluctant to grant teachers and principals the freedom to run the schools and unable to provide the support needed to carry out the transformation smoothly. <.>
For Barr, the interest comes from two very different schools. Taft is a racially diverse school with middle-of-the-road test scores and a largely veteran, stable faculty. Santee, by contrast, serves poor minority students in one of the city's most gang-infested neighborhoods. Student performance is some of the lowest in the district, and at the end of the campus' first year, roughly 40% of its teachers left — several of them taking jobs at Green Dot schools.
In Kentucky, Toyota Faces Union Rumblings / Downtrodden UAW Makes New Push
5/26/07 Washington Post
The United Auto Workers has launched a big new push to organize the plant, trying to capitalize on fears of lower pay, outsourcing of jobs and on Toyota's treatment of injured workers. <.>
At a new factory being built in Mississippi, Toyota plans to pay workers about $20 an hour in a region where many people earn $12 to $13 an hour.
If teachers are better off without public school unions, maybe autoworkers are too, and it just might save their jobs in the long run...
Posted 10/6/06 (By Travis)
Steelworkers union will terminate Goodyear contract Thursday
A key issue has been the company's ability to close money-losing plants. The union wants to keep the 12 plants open.
Who owns the plants? The company or the union? This same
pattern is occurring with US car companies. I was surprised to see a 'steelworkers' union still
existed, because I was under the impression they had bankrupted the remaining steel companies in the
Where Would General Motors Be Without the United Automobile Workers Union?
4/19/06 Ludwig Von Misses Institute Wow, George Rismen hits one out of the park. First he gives some background, including:
Why didn't they do this? [fire incompetent workers] Because with the UAW, such action by GM would merely have provoked work stoppages and strikes, with no prospect that the UAW would be displaced or that anything would be better after the strikes. Federal Law, specifically, The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, long ago made it illegal for companies simply to get rid of unions.
His conclusion (all emphasis his):
What is happening is cruel justice, imposed by a reality that willfully ignorant people thought they could choose to ignore as long as it suited them: the reality that prosperity comes from the making of goods, not the making of work; that it comes from the doing of work, not from the shirking of it; that it comes from machines and methods of production that save labor, not the combating of those machines and methods; that it comes from the earning and reinvestment of profits not from seizure of those profits for the benefit of idlers, who do all they can to prevent the profits from being earned in the first place.
In sum, without the UAW, General Motors would not be faced with extinction. Instead, it would almost certainly be a vastly larger, far more prosperous company, producing more and better motor vehicles than ever before, at far lower costs of production and prices than it does today, and providing employment to hundreds of thousands more workers than it does today.
Few things are more obvious than that the role of the UAW in relation to General Motors has been that of a swarm of bloodsucking leeches, a swarm that will not stop until its prey exists no more.
It is difficult to believe that people who have been neither lobotomized nor castrated would not rise up and demand that these leeches finally be pulled off!
Perhaps the American people do not rise up because they have never seen General Motors, or any other major American business, rise up and dare to assert the philosophical principle of private property rights and individual freedom and proceed to pull the leeches off in the name of that principle.
It is easy to say, and also largely true, that General Motors and American business in general have not behaved in this way for several generations because they no longer have any principles. Indeed, they would project contempt at the very thought of acting on any kind of moral or political principle.
One of the ugliest consequences of the loss of economic freedom and respect for property rights is that it makes such spinelessness and gutlessness on the part of businessmen — such amorality — a requirement of succeeding in business. Business today is conducted in the face of all pervasive government economic intervention. There is rampant arbitrary and often unintelligible legislation. There are dozens of regulatory agencies that combine the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor in the enforcement of more than 75,000 pages of Federal regulations alone. The tax code is arbitrary and frequently unintelligible. Judicial protection of economic freedom has not existed since 1937, when the Supreme Court abandoned it, out of fear of being enlarged by Congress with new members sufficient to give a majority to the New Deal on all issues.
GM adds 2,200 to Job Bank
2/21/06 Houston Chronicle
With the addition of the Oklahoma City workers, the national ranks of GM's jobs bank have swollen to more than 8,000 workers, according to company sources.
Analysts estimate that each worker in the jobs bank costs GM about $130,000 a year in wages and benefits, a crippling financial burden for an automaker that lost $8.6 billion last year.
But shutting down the 4-million-square-foot Oklahoma City plant comes at a high price. Given current cost estimates, GM will spend more than $300 million on its idled work force before the current UAW contract expires in September 2007.
With these sorts of policies, it is a wonder that the Big 3 have stayed around this long. (added to 'Unions')
The strange business of protesting jobs that may be better than yours
9/14/05 Las Vegas Weekly A well written (see I give credit where credit is due :) ) story that illustrates the hypocrisy of the Unions better than anything I've posted thus far. To add a personal element, this Wal-Mart is so close to me I could walk to it and I shop there regularly. Ever since I've been here I've noticed what I thought were Union members picketing the Wal-Mart with signs urging people not to shop there. I didn't give them much thought, but thought it was a shame more people didn't realize that these Union members were actually working to hurt the poorest of the poor. But I was mistaken on who the protestors were. This story explains:
They're not union members; they're temp workers employed through Allied Forces/Labor Express by the union—United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). They're making $6 an hour, with no benefits; it's 104 F, and they're protesting the working conditions inside the new Wal-Mart grocery store.
The Union criticizes Wal-Mart for not paying high wages and then the same Union hires people at $6 an hour with no benefits?
(added to 'Wal-Mart, Aiding America's Poor', 'Unions', and 'Required Reading')
Jobs bank programs - 12,000 Paid Not To Work Big 3 and suppliers pay billions to keep downsized UAW members on payroll in decades-long deal.
10/17/05 The Detroit News
Ken Pool is making good money. On weekdays, he shows up at 7 a.m. at Ford
Motor Co.'s Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, signs in, and then starts working -- on a crossword
puzzle. Pool hates the monotony, but the pay is good: more than $31 an hour, plus benefits.
just go in and play crossword puzzles, watch videos that someone brings in or read the
newspaper," he says. "Otherwise, I've just sat."
is one of more than 12,000 American autoworkers who, instead of installing windshields or bending
sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank set up by Detroit automakers and
Delphi Corp. as part of an extraordinary job security agreement with the United Auto Workers union.
jobs bank programs were the price the industry paid in the 1980s to win UAW support for
controversial efforts to boost productivity through increased automation and more flexible
As part of its restructuring under bankruptcy, Delphi is actively pressing the union to give up the program.
With Wall Street wondering how automakers can afford to pay thousands of workers to do nothing as their market share withers, the union is likely to hear a similar message from the Big Three when their contracts with the UAW expire in 2007 -- if not sooner.
The jobs bank was established during 1984 labor contract talks between the UAW and the Big Three. The union, still reeling from the loss of 500,000 jobs during the recession of the late 1970s and early 1980s, was determined to protect those who were left. Detroit automakers were eager to win union support to boost productivity through increased automation and more production flexibility.
The result was a plan to guarantee pay and benefits for union members whose jobs fell victim to technological progress or plant restructurings. In most cases, workers end up in the jobs bank only after they have exhausted their government unemployment benefits, which are also supplemented by the companies through a related program. In some cases, workers go directly into the program and the benefits can last until they are eligible to retire or return to the factory floor.
The worst type of corporate welfare. Where are all the leftists who are outraged (rightly so) that Wal-mart and some 4% of employed workers nationwide are on government health plans?
automakers have produced cars and trucks even when there is little market demand for them, forcing
manufacturers to offer big rebates and discounts.
they just push product on us," said Bill Holden Jr., general manager of Holden Dodge Inc. in
Dover, Del., who said this does not go over well with the dealers. "But they've got these
contracts with the union."
In Detroit's battle against Asian and European competitors that are unencumbered by such labor costs, the job banks have become a major competitive disadvantage. <.>
While some might envy their life of leisure, workers like Cisco, 56, feel humiliated by the program.
"I felt like I was useless -- like I was put out to pasture," he said. <.>
Most say they have no interest in retiring -- or spending the rest of their careers doing crossword puzzles.
"We want training," Dale Hall said.
Classes are available, the workers said. They have been invited to take courses on bicycle repair,
home wiring and poker. Silk-flower arranging is also available.
"They might as well just give us a basket-weaving class, set us in the corner and let us feed the pigeons," Cisco said.
Union laws are not only bankrupting companies across America, but injecting hurtful doses of entitlement, class warfare, and immorality. After all, it was Calvin Coolidge who said:
Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.
Ken Pool said he can only take so many more World War II documentaries and crossword puzzles.
He and the other members of Michigan Truck's jobs bank planned to meet with a lawyer. They have already filed numerous grievances, accusing the company of age discrimination, but have heard nothing from the union or the company.
How ridiculous is this? People who get paid huge sums to do nothing because of legal extortion are suing the very entity they are extorting?
"Can we keep losing $400 million a year paying for workers in the jobs bank and $400 million a year on operations? No, we cannot deal with that indefinitely," Miller said in a recent interview with The Detroit News. "We can't wait until 2007."
But, who cares what Miller says? He doesn't own or control his own company.
Automakers Are Lining Up Aid, But Just Don't Call It a Bailout
12/4/05 Washington Post Troubled U.S. automakers and their allies on Capitol Hill are seeking billions of dollars in aid from the federal government ranging from health coverage for their workers to extra tax write-offs for themselves. They're also asking for one rhetorical favor: Please don't call the requests a bailout.
Of course, a bailout is exactly what it is.
GM has its own elaborate list. It hopes that pension legislation that is wending its way through Congress will tread lightly on heavy manufacturers such as GM. The legislation would strengthen the federal backstop to private pension plans by raising corporate contributions to a fund. The company also seeks health legislation down the road that would unburden it of the huge cost of medical coverage that it now offers its 450,000 retirees and their spouses.
One proposal that's being floated is for the government to provide catastrophic health care coverage. GM has pointed out that the most severely ill patients, the top 1 percent of health care users, account for 30 percent of health care costs. The industry also is interested in revising tort law as a way to alleviate health care costs.
These companies are seeking the expansion of socialism to cover up their own failures in their concessions to the Unions. Notice that unions are hardly mentioned in this article at all. Added to Unions.
Teacher Unions Are Killing the Public Schools
2/15/06 John Stossel, RCP
This article details how the New York public school system pays 400 teachers over $20 million a year to sit in 'rubber rooms' and do nothing. They do this because these teachers the city calls incompetent, racist, or dangerous cannot be fired. Or, better said, they cannot be fired until after years and years of costly litigation and arbitration. $300,000 over 6 years was paid to a teacher who had written sexually explicit emails to a student. A 6 year holiday for a sexual harasser, courtesy of New York City taxpayers!
Another article states:
In the past two years, school officials got the okay to fire only four of 80,000 teachers for poor performance.
The Minimum Wage (Posted 4/17/05)
An excerpt expanded and added to 'Welfare; History, Results and Reform' (and 'African Americans and Welfare'). Some readers liked my previous health care graphs, so I've included some new charts that detail the results of government hurtfulness resulting from the tyrannical minimum wage laws.
The rational for these laws arise from the government's premise that the citizens of this country are too stupid and greedy to know what to pay each other for an hourly wage and so have decided to throw employers in jail if they pay their workers less than the government, in it's infinite wisdom, arbitrarily decides. Some interests groups (unions) make money when their competitors have to raise prices due to their artificially inflated labor costs and so these unions generously donate a portion of their ill-gotten money back to the corrupt politicians who passed the unconstitutional laws. Of course, a minor side effect is that many employers don't find it particularly advantageous to hire people to work for them at inflated costs. Luckily, most people, notably white male professionals, weren't directly effected by this as they tend to make more then minimum wage. However, these laws had a huge effect on poor unskilled people, teenagers, and especially poor unskilled African American teenagers in inner city neighboorhoods, who, already being ravaged by the destructiveness of government inflicted welfare, were even further devastated by these policies. In 1954 the minimum wage laws were changed to apply to all sectors of the economy, not just manufacturing, and were soon drastically raised. Around 1980, when the minimum wage begins to decline, the rate of black unemployment begins to move back towards the rate of white unemployment:
Yet some 90% of African Americans apparently didn't view the transfer of wealth from their youth to union members as terribly problematic and so continue(d) to vote for Democratic candidates. In fact, the NAACP, National Urban League, and National Council of Negro Women, along with almost every major black political leader, fought to raise the minimum wage in the 1990s.
Toyota Exec Urges Japan Cos. to Up Prices
Associated Press. Toyota's
chairman is urging Japanese automakers to raise prices or find other ways to even the playing field
with ailing U.S. rivals General Motors and Ford in hopes of heading off a possible protectionist
backlash in the crucial North American market. We are really in a sad
state if this is how businesses operate these days. Is this what they teach in Japanese business
school, give your opponent a helping hand when he's down? In a fair world they would double the
pressure, slash prices, and throw everything they had at their opponents. Who would benefit? US
consumers and the thousands of people employed in the US by Japanese owned factories. Milton
Friedman once said: It is a mystery to me why... it is regarded as a
sign of Japanese strength and American weakness that the Japanese find it more attractive to invest
in the U.S. than Japan. Surely it is precisely the reverse - a sign of U.S. strength and Japanese
AFL-CIO Has Money Problems (5/8/05)
4/29/05 Washington Post The countries biggest Union, whose members often force employers to pay them more than their labor is worth, are having to lay off Union officials due to financial problems. This is because: In the nearly 50 years since the AFL-CIO was created by a merger of two labor federations, union membership fell from about 33 percent of the workforce to 12.5 percent. As previously posted, the reason for the decline in Union membership is that the companies they work for generally go bankrupt, hampered by high labor costs and the bloated benefits the Unions demand and that labor laws allow. This has already taken place in many different industries, especially the airline industry, mining industry, and steel industry, and is now taking place in the automobile industry and retail industry. A key problem are the tyrannical and archaic labor laws that give these Unions incredible power over the people that create jobs for them. Despite their history of bankrupting American companies, this article says: The decline of organized labor has a ripple effect in the economy because union members usually receive higher pay and better benefits than unorganized workers in their industries. There is a ripple effect, but it's, again, in the opposite direction of what this Post reporter is describing! Six union presidents, including Raynor, said in a statement issued after Sweeney's teleconference that "there remain many unanswered questions." "We continue to call on the Sweeney Administration to provide complete information regarding its programming and operational budget," the statement said. So, the Unions that make up this giant Union don't even know what their dues are paying for, or where the money is going! Unions have historically suffered from corruption scandals and have had ties (especially construction Unions) to mobster organizations. Sweeney's goal in a teleconference with reporters was to focus on efforts by the AFL-CIO to halt the decline in union membership. "We must increase the size of our membership and restore union density -- especially in key industries -- or no other strategies to strengthen our movement will work," the federation said in a report released yesterday. This isn't even mentioning union continued obstructions of education reform and their past role in hurtful minimum wage increases. Who can reign in the Unions? Labor's weakness has damaged the strength of its ally, the Democratic Party, and weakened the lobbying muscle of labor in Washington and in state capitals. <.> She noted that the reserve fund is to be used when labor faces difficulties, and "George Bush is a rainy day."
IBM to axe 13,000 jobs worldwide (posted 5/10/05)
5/5/05 BBC Reports on IBM getting the heck outa Dodge, I mean Western Europe, because: The New York-based firm blamed a failure to close business deals and slow economic growth in key European markets. Western European economies are stalled because their socialist economic policies take money from growing businesses and subsidize (make bigger) unemployment, overproducing farmers (we have the same problem here), and poverty. The Star Tribune reports: IBM will cut jobs in some of the countries where labor laws and culture most strongly favor employees, including Germany, France and Italy [And England]. Why would IBM cut jobs in countries which 'favor employees'? Is this another case of employees being hurt by the very laws that claim to help them? Yes. As Allen Greenspan said, "It turned out that with greater freedom to fire, the risks of hiring declined. This increased flexibility contributed to the ability of the economy to operate with both low unemployment and low inflation."
IBM now plans to realign its operations and organizational structure in Europe to reduce bureaucracy in lower-growth countries - a move it said "eliminates the need for a traditional pan-European management layer to coordinate activity". Translation: IBM has had enough of the tyrannical and socialistic governmental rules and regulations, which stifle innovation, discourage productivity, and infringe on the rights of a company to hire and fire who they wish with their own money. It turns out that In France, the company must show that layoffs have a financial basis, said Lowell Turner, a professor of international and comparative labor at Cornell University. <.> In Italy, a worker with 20 years' experience is entitled by law to a year-and-a-half's salary in severance, said Gerald Friedman, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Depending on the country, workers could get 70 percent of their annual pay as lump-sum severance, he said. They also will be eligible for national unemployment benefits. For example, French workers can collect 57 percent of their previous pay for three years. There are no time limits for German workers, who can collect 40 percent of their previous salary, Friedman said. IBM said the cuts will be implemented by July 4, subject to "the consultation process." The process is something almost unknown in the United States. Works councils, which are elected by all of a company's employees, negotiate workers' severance packages. Why should 'workers councils' have any say at all what the owners of a company do with their own money? IBM is pulling out of here because it doesn't want to follow the same path to bankruptcy that felled countless American companies, and is now looming for automobile and retail companies because of Union blackmail and usurpery labor laws. In England almost a third of all workers are unionized and in Germany: Only 29 percent of German workers are unionized, but 92 percent are covered by union contracts. Firms are constrained by strict rules limiting part-time and temporary employees. And they must pay an additional 21 percent of wages to the government to finance generous social security benefits. Workers, for their part, lack incentives to take new jobs, because they can still receive 78 percent of their wages after five years of unemployment.
Maybe IBM will relocate to Eastern Europe where countries, having experienced the destitution of Communism, are in no mood for socialism. The citizens of these countries wanted to be judged as individuals not as a member of a union. For example, in regional terms, the drop in union membership was sharpest in central and eastern European countries, which saw an average decline of almost 36 per cent, much of which resulted from the ending of quasi-obligatory union membership following the breakup of the former Soviet bloc. Unionization rates in Estonia were down 71 per cent, in the Czech Republic by 50 per cent, in Poland by 45 per cent, in Slovakia 40 per cent and Hungary 38 per cent. These drops coincided with cuts in taxes and, following the Irish miracle (of tax cuts and cuts in government spending), Eastern Europe has posted GDP growth of +3.7% in 2003, a whopping ten times the pace logged for the rest of the EU.
Or perhaps IBM might move to the central Asian Republic of Georgia, a country that today turned out hundreds of thousands to cheer president Bush for supporting the recent revolution over a Moscow backed autocrat, and has taken the lead from its neighborly Eastern European countries: I asked Georgia’s President Saakashvili, a burly 38-year-old who until a few years ago was a New York lawyer, whether he had found time to deal with fiscal problems, among all the others besetting his turbulent republic. “Sure, I’ve already lowered taxes five times. We’re at 12% now. For everyone.” So you are doing away with funding a welfare system? “Welfare? What welfare?”
Delta Air Struggle Raises Bankruptcy Fear (posted 5/11/05)
5/10/05 Associated Press
This reporter never even mentions that Unions are a major, if not the driving factor, behind Delta's bankruptcy: Delta last week said it faces about $3.1 billion in pension costs between 2006 and 2008. But a bill under consideration by the U.S. Senate would stretch out employee pension payments over 25 years, and could ease the airline's liabilities. What does the U.S. Senate have to do with Delta's employee pension plan? Senators are pork barreling, either to the demand of the company or the demands of the Union. In any case, this is similar to what is now happening with General Motors and Ford. The Unions demands for bloated pension and health care are bankrupting the companies. Well, besides the constant historical analogies that come to mind, let's travel back just over two years ago:
Pay Negotiations between Delta, Pilots Break Down,
7/24/03 USA Today - Negotiations between Delta Air Lines and its pilots, who are being asked to accept steep wage cuts, broke down Wednesday over what one union representative described as "philosophical" differences. The president of Delta Air Lines shot back that the company's cost structure was "not sustainable" and that labor expenses needed to be reduced dramatically in order to restore the carrier to health. The President of Delta actually thinks that he should be allowed to run the company he is President of. The shareholders who selected the President and own the company must be kidding themselves if they think anyone runs this company except the Unions: He [a Union leader] also said that the union doesn't believe that pilot costs at Delta should be comparable to those at other major airlines that have recently restructured. <.> He added, "We stand ready to engage management when they appreciate the considerable value of pilot participation in the financial recovery of our airline." I always thought the value of an employee was determined by the employer, not the employee. In the latter case, we might suspect a small conflict of interest.... But Delta president and chief operating officer Frederick W. Reid said in a statement released late Wednesday that the company needs to follow the lead of other major airlines, such as US Airways, which emerged from bankruptcy, and American Airlines, which narrowly avoided a Chapter 11 filing. Because even if their employers go bankrupt they will get theirs:
United Air wins Right to Default on it's Employee Pension Plan
5/11/05 New York Times The NYT explains how taxpayers will pick up the tab for these bloated pension costs, even if the company goes under. Despite pleas by union lawyers, Judge Wedoff sided with United, which had insisted that it could not emerge from bankruptcy protection with its pension plans in place. The ruling releases United, a unit of the UAL Corporation, from $3.2 billion in pension obligations over the next five years. The federal agency that guarantees pensions, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, will assume responsibility for the plans, which cover about 134,000 people. <.> Analysts have predicted that if United won its case, there could be a domino effect as other airlines are forced to seek bankruptcy protection to bring their pension costs down to United's levels. That move would probably swamp the pension agency, which was created in 1974. Another pattern: Government, in the name of helping, hurts and under the guise of compassion, encourages and subsidizes. The private market would offer companies and individuals pension insurance, except it can't compete with the 'free' government deals brokered by our corrupt Congressmen.
So, as always, taxpayers will pick up the tab and the NY Times didn't bother to investigate the extent that cuts to pensions would even take place. The rest of the story describes how the Unions are thinking about striking to protest all this - even though it was their demands and the present labor laws that brought about the bankruptcy in the first place and now, having ripped off their employers as much as possible, they are now stealing from your family. Sadly, Delta will be following this same path, with Ford and GM close behind.
(From 'A Question of Rehtoric')
Say you hire a babysitter for $50 for a night. All is well for a few nights, but then the babysitter demands you pay her $75 dollars a night. At first you laugh, "No way, I'll hire somebody else.", but then, to your horror, you discover that the law is written in such a way you CANNOT fire her. This is what Unions do. This is how our labor laws are written. Unions use the law to extort money from employers and then donate $5 dollars of that extra $25 back to the politicians that made/perpetuate the law. The only difference is that, in real life, when these companies go bankrupt (as they usually do), the 'public' is often forced to pick up the union pensions and medical benefits.
Some have misinterpreted my posts warning against some union practices and assumed that I favor legislation banning unions from existing. This is not the case. I fully support the right of a group of workers to organize and set their wages and shop around for a customer to hire them. I support the rights of employees to organize in a factory if they are upset at worker conditions, to address legitimate management grievances, or for whatever reason they please. In fact, most managers would probably welcome such moves. However, I also support the right of companies NOT to hire the collectively organized group. I support the right of a company to fire anyone they suspect organizing a union. I support the right of a company to pay their workers what they choose and to fire all and/or only union employees if they choose. Our labor laws today generally prevent companies from doing any of these things. In effect, it is legal for private property (a business) to basically be seized and held hostage by the unions until bankrupt. This must change and this is why I rail against unions. Hope this clarifies my position. (For more info, here is something on the Canadian labor laws, I believe US law is similar).
Wal-Mart struggles while retailers shine
8/16/05 Seattle Post-Intelligencer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. struggled in the second quarter and muted its earnings outlook on Tuesday, again blaming higher gasoline prices for curbing the spending plans of its low-income shoppers. In contrast, shoppers at moderate-price department store retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and at upscale Nordstrom Inc. focused on fashion rather than fuel, resulting in strong results and an upbeat outlook.
Liberals and the Democratic party purport to care about the down trodden, the poor, the minorities, the women and children. Besides repealing socialism and limiting government 'help' to the poor, what event has helped all of these folks the Democratic party purports to care about the most? What company has done more for poor Americans than any other company in the history of the world? The answer: Wal-mart. Wal-mart saves low income people billions of dollars each year which translates into higher economic growth and better lives for these populations.
The Price is Right
8/3/05 New York Times (Op-Ed) First, Wal-Mart hasn't just sliced up the economic pie in a way that favors one group over another. Rather, it has made the total pie bigger. Consider, for example, the conclusions of the McKinsey Global Institute's study of United States labor productivity growth from 1995 to 2000. Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics and an adviser on the study, noted that the most important factor in the growth of productivity was Wal-Mart. And because the study measured productivity per man hour rather than per payroll dollar, low hourly wages cannot explain the increase.
Second, most of the value created by the company is actually pocketed by its customers in the form of lower prices. According to one recent academic study, when Wal-Mart enters a market, prices decrease by 8 percent in rural areas and 5 percent in urban areas.
Wal-Mart's customers tend to be the Americans who need the most help. Our research shows that Wal-Mart operates two-and-a-half times as much selling space per inhabitant in the poorest third of states as in the richest third. And within that poorest third of states, 80 percent of Wal-Mart's square footage is in the 25 percent of ZIP codes with the greatest number of poor households. Without the much-maligned Wal-Mart, the rural poor, in particular, would pay several percentage points more for the food and other merchandise that after housing is their largest household expense.
Wal-Mart sponsored a study which estimated that: "Wal-Mart's entry into the local market would save county shoppers about $1.78 billion annually and southern California shoppers $3.76 billion annually, or nearly $600 per household." The study argues that those savings, redirected to other spending, would create up to 36,000 jobs, compared with the maximum of 5,000 jobs lost among competitors.
Why would a political party work to deliver such a debilitating blow to the poorest Americans? If you are a regular reader of this site you probably already can guess the answer: Unions.
Speaking of which:
Says It's Prepared For Strike
8/19/05 Washington Post In the heat of a labor confrontation, Northwest Airlines Corp. last month took the unusual step of asking that President Bush not intervene to avert a strike by its mechanics. What business is it of the President's what private businesses and their workers do? With or without a strike, Northwest's strategy in its battle with its mechanics sends a message that financially strapped airlines are willing to resort to increasingly dire measures to cut costs in a highly competitive industry, labor analysts and union officials said. Why does the Washington Post editorialize that the threatened replacement of the Mechanics Union members is a 'dire measure'? The fact that Unions believe they can demand what their employers should pay them is more shocking. "If a corporation can eliminate an entire workforce and bring in replacement workers, it has ramifications for every other unionized company. That's what's at stake," said Steve MacFarlane, the mechanics union spokesman. Um... isn't Steve admitting, in essence, that his mechanics are overpaid and dispensable? Imagine, Steve, a hardworking father who has been out of work for a few months, rent/mortgage is due, bills and expenses are pilling up and he is willing to work for 1/4th less than your union members. Why shouldn't he be allowed to? He appears to have just admitted his workers are overpaid, by stating that the company is able to find workers to replace them. Why doesn't Northwest replace these Union members even if they don't strike?
The airline also said it has about 1,500 former flight attendants ready to report to work in the event current flight attendants refuse to cross the picket lines. "We started recruiting a long time ago because we wanted the right people. There were a lot of people, and we were able to choose from the very best," said Andrea Newman, Northwest's lobbyist. "These are people who want to work for an airline." Fancy that! A company hiring people who won't go on strike and are willing to work for what they say they will work for.
Added to 'Unions'
Delphi's Bankruptcy Hearings Seen as Crucial Fight for U.S. Unions
10/12/05 Washington Post The Unions have bankrupted another US company: Delphi, the nation's largest auto-parts manufacturer, operates 31 plants in 13 states. It has 185,000 workers worldwide, with 32,000 union workers in the United States -- 24,000 of them represented by the UAW. One of the reasons Unions bankrupt so many American companies is because they don't allow business to control their own property: Delphi also demanded the ability to close, consolidate or sell factories without the union's consent. But, what is most amazing is the reaction of the union bosses:
Richard Bank, director for the center for industry strategies at the AFL-CIO, which includes the UAW, said the autoworkers now have to fight the same battles as workers in the airline and steel industries.
"What's obvious here is there is now a template for industries that want to break the promises that they've made -- and that's go into bankruptcy," Bank said. "This is a follow on to what's happened in steel, and it's a follow on to what's happened in airlines, and it's totally unfair."
The Unions are the likely reason all of these American industries are bankrupt. How is anything 'unfair', but the archaic labor laws passed by Democratic politicians, bought off with Union dough? Why is it 'unexpected' that these companies will go bankrupt when parasitic unions take over companies that cannot legally fire them and extort the management to pay them unrealistically high salaries? It is sort of like Herbert Hoover raising the top tax rate from 25% to 63% during the first year of the great depression and then being surprised when the collapse only deepened. Or, as the tech station gas article says: With every disaster or crisis, it seems that the public, press and politicians require a remedial course in Economics 101. When you pay your employees too much your business will go bankrupt. Unions force their employers to pay them too much (using government).
The article goes on to describe how Japanese companies have invested in the South and pay market prices for their workers wages and that The UAW has not had much success in bringing these workers into the union. If they had, they might be able to push for higher import taxes and thus keep a monopoly on all cars built in the US and pass on the cost of the higher prices to the consumer. Why should we, the consumer, pay for union members to have a salary higher than what their labor is worth?
However, there is one other way they might be able to keep their high salaries, by using government:
Chrysler was the last major U.S. automaker to come close to bankruptcy. At the end of the 1970s, the automaker struggled with major cash-flow problems, a line of cars that wasn't selling well and high labor costs. The U.S. government stepped in with $1.2 billion in loan guarantees, which the company repaid in four years. "The argument was made that this would be so disastrous for the 100,000 Chrysler employees, their families and their communities. Bankruptcy was not an option," Shaiken (labor Berkeley Prof) said. With Delphi, he said, there hasn't been a murmur of the government stepping in. "It shows how far we've come politically," he said. "There are so many fewer moral barriers to a bankruptcy of this scale."
Japan PM's Dream of Postal Privatization Enacted
10/14/05 Washington Post Under the postal laws, Japan Post, which has 25,000 post offices and some $3 trillion in assets, will be split into four entities under a new holding company and privatized in 2007.
Privatizing the postal system has been the cornerstone of Koizumi's agenda to wean the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from its addiction to the wasteful public spending that had won votes but bred scandals and inflated government debt.
Why isn't this happening here? Let's look at our Postal Service:
The shelter from competition and other special advantages have yielded a bloated enterprise. By any measure, the Postal Service is immense. Its profile in 1994 figures:
852,045 total employees
nearly 40,000 retail offices
annual sales of $49.4 billion
If ranked among the Fortune 500, the Postal Service would appear ahead of such corporations as DuPont, Texaco, and Citicorp. The Postal Service is bigger than the three largest airlines (American, United, and Delta) combined. It is larger than the five biggest package and freight companies combined. Indeed, as the Postal Service itself notes in its 1994 annual report, each of the Postal Service’s seven product lines would qualify as a Fortune 500 company on its own.
[T]he Postal Service has lost money in 17 of the past 23 years despite its statutory mandate to break even.
The general rule (unfortunately) in the American economy is that attempted monopolization is a crime. When it comes to delivering letters, though, it is attempted competition that is the crime. And if it [The Postal Service] suspects a customer is sending mail in contravention of its monopoly, it may engage in its own police searches and seizures.
Weep for the Poor Postal Service? Nah
4/20/05 Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
“If the Postal Service were a private company, stamp prices would be falling, not rising. A
December study by leading experts of the Postal Rate Commission explains: ‘The doubling of overall
volume coupled with scale economies should have resulted in the average price of the stamp dropping
in real terms.’”
• “Despite new technology – like modern reader/sorters that process over 30,000 pieces of mail per hour – stamp prices have risen with inflation since 1970. Imagine if the price of a phone call or sending an email rose with inflation for 30 years. It doesn’t take an economist to understand that such price distortions would place an enormous strain on the U.S. economy.”
The question of whether the Private Sector is more efficient than the Public Sector should have been settled with the fall of the Soviet Union. If, as postal service managers and employees argue, the post office is most efficient as a government entity, then it also follows that Cars (If government had taken over the auto industry in 1920, today we'd all be driving Model-T cars -- and saying, 'If it weren't for the government, we'd have no cars at all.'-Harry Browne), Clothes, Food, Computers, and (cough, cough) Health Care should all be run by our efficient government. Of course, this cannot be true and government is also poorer at delivering roads, power, water, and telephone/internet service. In fact, government is remarkably incompetent in nearly every endeavor it pursues, besides those duties that it alone can perform, such as protecting property (and it is less than competent in this too).
Returning to the article:
• “The Postal Service is plagued by high labor costs – which gobble up nearly 80 percent of revenues – lack of financial transparency and an inability to cut costs and improve productivity. Currently, the U.S. Postal Service has over $70 billion in unfunded liabilities.”
Hmmm... high labor costs, large liabilities, floundering productivity.. there can only be one cause: Unions.
As mentioned, Unions are and have been bankrupting private companies across the United States. They cannot bankrupt the postal service because it is owned by the government. More than 330,000 Postal Employees are members of the American Postal Workers Union. Like all Unions, the Postal Union members give almost all of their money to Democratic candidates through the AFL-CIO. Like almost all Unions, they are vastly overpaid for the jobs that they do. The resulting higher costs are paid by the taxpayer. Thus, in effect, the +50% of the voting population that is Conservative/Libertarian are forced to pay a tax that supports candidates they abhor. Yet, our elected 'Republican' officials refuse to abolish this wasteful government entity. I would understand if it was 'the right thing to do', but 'politically inexpedient', however eliminating the millions of dollars of involuntary campaign contributions flowing from their own Conservative constituents to the Democratic party makes political sense too. We can learn a lesson from our friends in Japan...
An Industrial Town stares change in the Face
11/12/05 Washington Post A biased, misleading hit piece on how the Delphi Unions bankrupted that company, but still got theirs as the 'public' covered their pensions and benefits. However, despite the rhetoric used throughout the entire article, it does contain this gem:
The attendees of the auction explained that Lockport is a place where there are slim pickings for employment and that decent jobs pay less than half of what Delphi workers are getting. "They make too much money," one of them whispered out of earshot of the Delphi workers hanging around the other end of the steps.
Too bad the company was prevented by law from paying it's own employees what it thought they were worth and/or firing their Unions workers and hiring some of these other folks for cheaper. The media never seems to care much about them. Added to 'Unions'.
See also 'The Post Office'
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