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Out in the Cold

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By Richard McCarty

Last year, Big Labor gambled on Democrats, and they lost big at both the state and federal level. Now they find themselves out in the cold in many places.

One of those places is Kentucky. Prior to the 2016 elections, Republicans held the Kentucky governorship and the state Senate, while Democrats held a 53-47 majority in the state House of Representatives. Big Labor fought hard to keep the Democrats in control of the state House, but their efforts were in vain – Republicans routed the Democrats picking up 17 seats.

As a consequence of last year’s elections, the new state legislature quickly passed a right to work bill that lets employees decide for themselves if they want to join a union, a paycheck protection bill (which prohibits the deduction of union dues from wages unless the employee opts in to paying them), and a bill repealing the prevailing wage law (a law that required contractors on certain government contracts to pay wages at or above local union wages).

Governor Matt Bevin signed all three bills into law.

In previous years, the Republican-led state Senate had passed right to work legislation only to watch it die in the Democrat-run state House.

Another place where unions find themselves out in the cold is Missouri. Republicans there have tried to enact right to work legislation for the past several years, but were stymied by the Democrat governor, Jay Nixon, who was unable to run for reelection last year due to term limits.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate, Eric Greitens, ran on enacting right to work; the Democrat gubernatorial candidate, Chris Koster, ran on opposing right to work and received generous union support. But in the end, union support wasn’t enough, and Greitens defeated Koster by nearly six points in November.

Republican legislators wasted little time in once again passing a right to work bill, and Greitens signed it into law. Now, the legislature is considering reforming its prevailing wage law and passing paycheck protection legislation.

And not only have unions lost a number of political battles — they’re also losing members. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 240,000 fewer US union members in 2016 than there were in 2015. In 1983, 20.1 percent of the US labor force belonged to a union; in 2016, only 10.7 percent of the labor force belonged to a union.

The overall rate would have been much lower if the public sector union membership rate were not so high, but both sectors have seen union membership declines last year. Between 2015 and 2016, the private sector union membership rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.4 percent while the public sector union membership rate fell from 35.2 percent to 34.4 percent.

And the bad news for unions didn’t stop there: union members tend to be a bit older, most states saw declining union membership last year, and voters’ views of union bosses aren’t very good. The age group most likely to belong to a union was 45-64 year olds — 13.3 percent of workers in that age group belonged to a union. During 2016, union membership rates fell in 31 states, remained flat in 3 states, and rose in 16 states.

According to a Rasmussen poll taken last year, only 20 percent of likely voters believed that most union bosses do a good job of representing their members. At the same time, 57 percent believed that union bosses are out of touch with most of their members.

Facing facts like these, it’s time for union bosses to get serious about providing real value for their members, stop wasting their members’ money on pet projects, and stop playing political games.

One way that private sector unions could do this would be to start working with, rather than against, President Trump and help him achieve his goals of bringing back jobs from overseas and keeping existing jobs, issues that Democrats have neglected for years and where there may now be common ground with President.

Richard McCarty is a Senior Research Analyst at Americans for Limited Government.

big labor dragon

By Richard McCarty Last year, Big Labor gambled on Democrats, and they lost big at both the state and federal level. Now they find themselves out in the cold in many places. One of those places is Kentucky. Prior to the 2016 elections, Republicans held the Kentucky governorship and the state Senate, while Democrats held […]

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Working with Communists

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fight back! newsSEIU teamed up with Communists to protest the outcome of the US presidential election.

Over a dozen organizations have formed the Peoples Coalition Against Trump, which will be holding the main action on Inauguration Day…

Some organizations involved in the coalition are the Peoples Autonomist Federation, Students for a Democratic Society, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Houston Area Progressives, the Communist Party USA, Workers World Party, the Peoples New Black Panther Party, the SEIU, and Socialist Alternative.

fight back! news

SEIU teamed up with Communists to protest the outcome of the US presidential election. Over a dozen organizations have formed the Peoples Coalition Against Trump, which will be holding the main action on Inauguration Day… Some organizations involved in the coalition are the Peoples Autonomist Federation, Students for a Democratic Society, the Freedom Road Socialist […]

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Still in Turmoil

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las vegas review-journalAn SEIU local in Nevada that has had a lot of turnover in leadership over the past several years is still in turmoil. The president and the vice president of the local filed charges against each other with the international union; two union staffers also filed internal complaints against the vice president — and one of those staffers even got a protective order against the vice president, which barred her from entering the union hall. In the midst of all this bickering, SEIU members at a hospital are working to decertify the union. If they succeed, it could cost SEIU the dues of 3,000 members.

 

las vegas review-journal

An SEIU local in Nevada that has had a lot of turnover in leadership over the past several years is still in turmoil. The president and the vice president of the local filed charges against each other with the international union; two union staffers also filed internal complaints against the vice president — and one […]

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SEIU Crushed

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northwest labor pressHundreds of hospital employees in Oregon had the choice of joining either SEIU or AFT in a recent runoff election, and voters overwhelmingly rejected SEIU by a vote of 319-110. SEIU performed significantly worse in the runoff than it had in the first round when it won 176 votes.

 

 

northwest labor press

Hundreds of hospital employees in Oregon had the choice of joining either SEIU or AFT in a recent runoff election, and voters overwhelmingly rejected SEIU by a vote of 319-110. SEIU performed significantly worse in the runoff than it had in the first round when it won 176 votes.    

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SEIU Loses Again

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1493278_10153155610602680_8938735216359814895_nAlthough the SEIU bitterly opposed Right to Work legislation in Missouri, the state’s new governor just signed it into law. With Gov. Eric Greitens’ signature, Missouri became the 28th Right to Work state. Because the state legislature strongly supported Right to Work and Greitens had campaigned on the issue, the legislation’s enactment was expected. Just last month, the neighboring state of Kentucky became the 27th Right to Work state. Perhaps SEIU’s president had these two states in mind when she called for a 30% cut in the union’s budget.

1493278_10153155610602680_8938735216359814895_n

Although the SEIU bitterly opposed Right to Work legislation in Missouri, the state’s new governor just signed it into law. With Gov. Eric Greitens’ signature, Missouri became the 28th Right to Work state. Because the state legislature strongly supported Right to Work and Greitens had campaigned on the issue, the legislation’s enactment was expected. Just […]

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SEIU Admits Defeat

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inside higher edSEIU has abandoned its efforts to unionize part-time faculty at the University of Southern California’s David and Dana Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The union had already lost a certification election last year.

 

inside higher ed

SEIU has abandoned its efforts to unionize part-time faculty at the University of Southern California’s David and Dana Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The union had already lost a certification election last year.  

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Elections Have Consequences

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washington examiner 3In the wake of the 2016 elections, SEIU is planning major cuts to its budget. Last year, SEIU wasted over $21 million of its members’ money trying to elect Democrats. But despite this spending, the union finds itself in a weak political position due to Republican wins at the federal and state levels. Consequently, SEIU is planning to cut its budget by 30% next year.

washington examiner 3

In the wake of the 2016 elections, SEIU is planning major cuts to its budget. Last year, SEIU wasted over $21 million of its members’ money trying to elect Democrats. But despite this spending, the union finds itself in a weak political position due to Republican wins at the federal and state levels. Consequently, SEIU […]

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SEIU Sues Union Members

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michigan capitol confidential 3A little more than a decade ago, an SEIU local from Taylor, Michigan merged with an SEIU local from Lansing. The local from Taylor brought its banquet hall to the merger, which had been built with money raised through fundraisers – and not with dues money. Apparently, the merger did not go well, and the Taylor union members wanted to split from their new union and re-form their own SEIU local. However, a petition from Taylor SEIU members to the national SEIU organization requesting the dissolution of the merger or legal help with the situation was ignored. The SEIU local would not allow the split so the Taylor union members voted to break away from SEIU and form an independent union. In response, the SEIU local chose to sue several Taylor union members for ownership of the banquet hall.

 

michigan capitol confidential 3

A little more than a decade ago, an SEIU local from Taylor, Michigan merged with an SEIU local from Lansing. The local from Taylor brought its banquet hall to the merger, which had been built with money raised through fundraisers – and not with dues money. Apparently, the merger did not go well, and the […]

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Disgusting

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An SEIU official defended and refused to pull an offensive campaign ad run by an SEIU-supported group. The ad attacked a Republican candidate, whose wife and two daughters were killed in a horrific home invasion, by associating the candidate with Trump’s supposed “attack on women and families.” Unsurprisingly, the ad was met with public outrage.

daily mail

An SEIU official defended and refused to pull an offensive campaign ad run by an SEIU-supported group. The ad attacked a Republican candidate, whose wife and two daughters were killed in a horrific home invasion, by associating the candidate with Trump’s supposed “attack on women and families.” Unsurprisingly, the ad was met with public outrage.

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SEIU Pushes Huge Tax Hike

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SEIU worked to get an initiative onto the ballot in Oregon to hike business taxes by $3 billion, the largest tax hike in state history. Now it’s funding the campaign in spite of the fact that the massive tax hike will likely lower incomes, raise prices, and kill jobs.

Measure 97 would be the biggest tax increase in Oregon’s history, generating an estimated $3 billion a year for public education and other state services.

The initiative would levy a 2.5 percent tax on many companies’ Oregon sales over $25 million. But Measure 97 exempts some types of businesses and applies differently to others…

The legislative study found both positive and negative effects. Oregon would still see employment growth, about 145,000 jobs over five years. But without Measure 97, the state could expect more than 165,000 new jobs, the study found. That’s the net effect of more public sector jobs and slower growth in private sector jobs.

Overall, the study said Measure 97 would be a very modest drag on the economy, slowing growth in income, employment and population…

Economists say how much businesses pass along would depend on their market power. Cable television companies, for example, may pass along much of the cost. Private utilities such as Portland General Electric have regulated monopolies and a legal right to pass along higher costs – including taxes – to ratepayers.

Other states exempt wholesalers from consumption and sales taxes, or they tax wholesale trade at a lower rate. Because Measure 97 does not, some economists expect a “pyramiding” effect in which added costs are stacked atop one another for some products and services.

Conventional sales taxes in other states usually exempt food from taxation. Measure 97 does not. So if businesses do pass along higher costs, it could produce higher grocery bills.

The legislative study — which was based on an approximation of Measure 97 — concluded it would both dampen wage growth and raise prices.

oregonian 2

SEIU worked to get an initiative onto the ballot in Oregon to hike business taxes by $3 billion, the largest tax hike in state history. Now it’s funding the campaign in spite of the fact that the massive tax hike will likely lower incomes, raise prices, and kill jobs. Measure 97 would be the biggest […]

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