On Wisconsin! (Read 2073 times)

    Wis. GOP bypasses Dems, cuts collective bargaining (AP)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110310/ap_on_re_us/us_wisconsin_budget_unions

     

    Both sides are going to claim political victory now - Walker and GOP gets to pass his bill, while the Dems claim victory with polling numbers.

     

    Reality though is that the next Governors election is 4 years away - lot of stuff can change between now and then.

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      Interesting.  This is a big reason why the unions are being viewed the way they are, at least here in NJ.  There are many here who view them as simply just another powerful lobby.  Sure, numbers can be spun many ways, but it should not be difficult to see why this perception of unions exists.

       

      I don't see your point on this. Of course unions are powerful lobbys. That's the very point of a union. Is a thing bad because it is powerful? It seems to me that the value of an entity ought to be judged by the ends according to which that power is put.

       

      So, in the sense that unions are a powerful lobby, they are similar to other large political interests. It's the fact that they represent workers, not shareholders or managers, is what makes them different from say a corporate lobby.


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        Do unions represent workers, or do unions represent unions?  Not to start anything really, it's just the first thing that came to mind.  Kind of like if you believe our elected officials represent themselves or their party more than the people. 

         


        Prince of Fatness

          I don't see your point on this. Of course unions are powerful lobbys. That's the very point of a union. Is a thing bad because it is powerful? It seems to me that the value of an entity ought to be judged by the ends according to which that power is put.

           

          So, in the sense that unions are a powerful lobby, they are similar to other large political interests. It's the fact that they represent workers, not shareholders or managers, is what makes them different from say a corporate lobby.

           

          I wasn't judging them, just raising some questions.  My point was that I believe that the difference between unions and a corporate lobby is a bit cloudier now than in days past.  As far as representing workers I'd be real curious what NJEA members would do if offered the option of paying union dues.  That would tell me whether they felt  that the union is serving in their interest.  I hear a lot of differing opinions around here in that regard.

          Semi-retired.

            I wasn't judging them, just raising some questions.  My point was that I believe that the difference between unions and a corporate lobby is a bit cloudier now than in days past.  As far as representing workers I'd be real curious what NJEA members would do if offered the option of paying union dues.  That would tell me whether they felt  that the union is serving in their interest.  I hear a lot of differing opinions around here in that regard.

             

            Okay, but the article you linked doesn't raise that question. You specifically criticized them for being a "powerful interest." So, that's what I responded to. Say what you mean, or else it is hard to understand you. There is much insinuated, little said. 


            Prince of Fatness

              Dude, it's the interwebs.  And clarity is not my strong suit.

              Semi-retired.

                So, in the sense that unions are a powerful lobby, they are similar to other large political interests. It's the fact that they represent workers, not shareholders or managers, is what makes them different from say a corporate lobby.

                 

                Well, sort of.  But in the sense that unions are much more than a powerful lobby they are quite different from other large political interests.  Other powerful lobbies are not employees of towns for example.  Which is why, while I enjoyed the John Stewart piece on the bank bailout versus the Wisconsin standoff and can appreciate the irony, it's not exactly a like for like comparison.

                 

                The middle class tax payers (present company included) of my small town are in a binding legal contract with a union that represents our school teachers.  So when our healthcare bill showed up recently and instead of the already ridiculous 7.5% premiums increase we were budgeting for it came in at 13.5%, blowing a $400,000 hole in our FY12 budget, we were literally left with the options of begging the union to budge on the employees share of healthcare (good luck with that), or eliminate teaching positions.  Bang!  Bang!....Bang!

                 

                If we had any say about the salaries of bank CEOs trust me we would go after them, but we are literally financially responsible for paying the bills for our employees benefits so that's more top of mind right now.

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                  Do unions represent workers, or do unions represent unions?  Not to start anything really, it's just the first thing that came to mind.  Kind of like if you believe our elected officials represent themselves or their party more than the people. 

                   

                  Well, if you are a cynic, you believe that every large institution necessarily is corrupt and should therefore be disbanded. If you are naive, you believe that every large institution is exactly what it says that it is. The truth, of course, is in the middle somewhere, no?

                   

                  I am not an expert on NJ politics--I was just responding to PH. It is interesting that the prior lobbying record was held by Verizon wireless, a single for profit corporation. I wonder how many people Verizon employs in NJ vs teachers. I also wonder what special interests the teachers union was working against, where their funds came from. I'd like to see more of the picture here before I jumped to conclusions about the big bad union.

                    Do unions represent workers, or do unions represent unions?

                     

                    Well now.

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                    Prince of Fatness

                      You specifically criticized them for being a "powerful interest."

                       

                      And, I did not directly criticize the NJEA.  I just was noting what the perception of them was where I live, and offered the article as a way of showing why that perception exists.

                      Semi-retired.

                        Well, sort of.  But in the sense that unions are much more than a powerful lobby they are quite different from other large political interests.  Other powerful lobbies are not employees of towns for example.  Which is why, while I enjoyed the John Stewart piece on the bank bailout versus the Wisconsin standoff and can appreciate the irony, it's not exactly a like for like comparison.

                         

                        The middle class tax payers (present company included) of my small town are in a binding legal contract with a union that represents our school teachers.  So when our healthcare bill showed up recently and instead of the already ridiculous 7.5% premiums increase we were budgeting for it came in at 13.5%, blowing a $400,000 hole in our FY12 budget, we were literally left with the options of begging the union to budge on the employees share of healthcare (good luck with that), or eliminate teaching positions.  Bang!  Bang!....Bang!

                         

                        If we had any say about the salaries of bank CEOs trust me we would go after them, but we are literally financially responsible for paying the bills for our employees benefits so that's more top of mind right now.

                         

                        Sure, this is a reasonable. But isn't this simply the way the political process works--when you want to cut someone's salary, you have to negotiate. And when you want to cut the salaries and benefits of the people who educate your kids and provide an essential service, it's going to be a tough negotiation. The interests that oppose the teacher's unions will have to organize and lobby and show that those interests are more worthy than the interests of the teachers. It's a pain, and it's a mess, but that's the democratic process. They will have to explain what you just explained to the teacher's union. They, in turn, will have to see that it's in their long term interests to cut benefits now--or else the state will go bankrupt and won't even be able to pay their salaries... 

                         

                        A union is simply a party that you negotiate with. Teacher's unions are strong because they employ a ton of people. That's the only reason they are strong. They SHOULD be strong because they employ a lot of people. It's the same reason Verizon's special interest group is strong. They employ a lot of people and they provide an essential service.

                          And, I did not directly criticize the NJEA.  I just was noting what the perception of them was where I live, and offered the article as a way of showing why that perception exists.

                           

                          So, you don't have a view. Okay.

                           

                          MTA: The article was one-sided in that it did not mention the interests that were opposing the teacher's unions. I think I see your point now. It was that folks oppose the unions because of a one-sided treatment of the political process by the press. Thanks for that!


                          Prince of Fatness

                            I am not an expert on NJ politics--I was just responding to PH. It is interesting that the prior lobbying record was held by Verizon wireless, a single for profit corporation. I wonder how many people Verizon employs in NJ vs teachers. I also wonder what special interests the teachers union was working against, where their funds came from. I'd like to see more of the picture here before I jumped to conclusions about the big bad union.

                             

                            Dude, I was not implying that the big bad unions are the cause of all of our problems.  Greedy, self interested people exist in all walks of life.  Sometimes these people put their own interest ahead of the entity that they are supposed to be serving.  Of course unions are not the sole cause of the problems that NJ is facing, but let's not give them a pass just because they represent workers instead of shareholders.

                            Semi-retired.

                              Dude, I was not implying that the big bad unions are the cause of all of our problems.  Greedy, self interested people exist in all walks of life.  Sometimes these people put their own interest ahead of the entity that they are supposed to be serving.  Of course unions are not the sole cause of the problems that NJ is facing, but let's not give them a pass just because they represent workers instead of shareholders.

                               

                              Where did I say that unions deserve a pass? Where did I say that you implied that big bad unions are the cause of all our problems?

                               

                              Self-interest is not necessarily greed. 

                               

                              Unions are organized interest blocks. They are big because there are a lot of teachers. It's a big interest. To criticize the bigness and the power of teacher's unions is to wish that we lived in a world in which there weren't a bunch of teachers that you had to pay. But we don't live in that world. So, state budgets will always have to reckon with paying teachers.

                                Sure, this is a reasonable. But isn't this simply the way the political process works--when you want to cut someone's salary, you have to negotiate. And when you want to cut the salaries and benefits of the people who educate your kids and provide an essential service, it's going to be a tough negotiation. The interests that oppose the teacher's unions will have to organize and lobby and show that those interests are more worthy than the interests of the teachers. It's a pain, and it's a mess, but that's the democratic process. They will have to explain what you just explained to the teacher's union. They, in turn, will have to see that it's in their long term interests to cut benefits now--or else the state will go bankrupt and won't even be able to pay their salaries... 

                                 

                                A union is simply a party that you negotiate with. Teacher's unions are strong because they employ a ton of people. That's the only reason they are strong. They SHOULD be strong because they employ a lot of people. It's the same reason Verizon's special interest group is strong. They employ a lot of people and they provide an essential service.

                                 

                                2 things and then I have to go do some work so I can afford to pay my union represented teachers...

                                 

                                1.) No that's not how it works in the rest of the real world.  When my employer faced similar budget crises in 2008 in unilaterally changed the employees share of benefits costs (and cut pay in other ways to control expenses) and the employees choice was take it or leave it, as in find another job.  It was explained to us intelligently and respectfully and all that and most people took it like adults.  Cities and towns currently have no such flexibility, nor do we have the time it would take to have the type of protracted negotiation on every little item because the bills are due when they are due.  The reason this works in the rest of the real world is that employers always have an incentive to attract and retain the best people, so as soon as they were able, my employer restored some of the benefits they had taken away.

                                 

                                2.) Teacher's unions are disproportionately strong in relation to who they are negotiating with.  The MTA has a bigger lobbying budget than my town's entire fiscal budget for a year.  And they can do this all day with armies of professional lawyers while most of my town's officials are part time volunteers who have to also do their day jobs to be able to pay for the privilege of  negotiating with union lawyers in their spare time. 

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