Saturday, March 5, 2011

60% Of Americans Support Wisconsin Unions. Hooey!

Shown is a pro-union demonstrator at one of the massive "spontaneous" protests against reining in union excess and government spending. Clearly, she is a product of unionized public schools. A sixth-grader shouldn't be making a grammatical/spelling error like that. In attempting to satirize the Tea Party, she has instead merely demonstrated her own ignorance.

But after all, she represents a large majority of Americans, right? How many of you saw even Fox News repeating the poll that showed that 60% of Americans supported the unions, and became depressed? Raise your hands. Now, how many of you thought that sounded just a little hinky? Raise your hands. Now, how many of you saw and heard that figure, and yelled "bulls--t?" Raise your hands. You in the last batch win.

The poll came from the New York Times and CBS News. It was what we refer to affectionately as a "push poll." In the law, we call it a leading question. The question is phrased so as to produce the answer that is implied by the question. The results of the poll were announced in bold type, but you had to get to page 18 of The Times to find the question that was actually asked. "Collective bargaining refers to negotiations between an employer and a labor union's members to determine the conditions of employment. Some states are trying to take away some of the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. Do you favor or oppose taking away some of the collective bargaining right."

Let's deal with that for a moment. Collective bargaining "rights" for public employees? What rights? From FDR to Obama, no such right has been recognized at the federal level, and Jimmy Carter took away what few privileges they previously had. Congress proposed, and the Supreme Court upheld, the right of private sector employees to unionize voluntarily and bargain collectively. But the legislative, executive and judicial branches all expressed serious reservations about the concept of public employees ever having collective bargaining privileges.

Even JFK, who allowed federal employees by executive order to unionize as payback for the union support that put him over the top in 1960, still imposed restrictions on just how far the unions could go. Jimmy Carter felt JFK had gone too far, and cut back most of the few perks JFK had allowed them. But the Supreme Court left open the ability of states themselves to determine independently whether they would allow public employee unions or not. So much for this being a "right." Moreover, what the state can grant, the state can take away. And so it is in Wisconsin (and more than a handful of other states trying to undo the curse of unionism in the public sector).

Half-truths are still lies, and the Times question is so lacking in history, law, and precedent as to be at best a half truth. Unions and other leftists constantly harp on "collective bargaining rights" while utterly failing to distinguish between public employee unions and private sector unions, let alone the fact that nearly half the states already have right-to-work laws that prohibit public employee unions. The question also says "labor union members" negotiating. Now who really believes that? Many major unions have memberships that are 40% to 45% opposed to unions, the negotiations are conducted by union bosses and union lawyers not "members," and 95% of workers in union environments are forced to join the union if they want a job.

Furthermore, the poll doesn't point out that unlike private sector management/labor negotiations, public sector unions play a major part in electing the very people they will be negotiating with. If the "boss" owes his job to his "employees," most people would see that as a clear conflict of interest. Moreover, in the private sector, a union wildcat strike or work stoppage will affect only a small portion of the public or the economy. A similar action by public employees used to bludgeon elected representatives into granting them privileges they aren't entitled to affects the entire public and the ability of the government to function properly.

A negotiation (collective bargaining) requires two opposing sides trying to find a common solution. But in states where Democrats are in the majority, there is only one side negotiating with itself. The people of Wisconsin, a very liberal progressive state, just elected a governor and legislature which are not in the pocket of the unions, and that provoked the ire of previously-safe union deadwood and union boss dictators.

So what if the question had been prefaced this way?:

1. Your state is broke and about to go into bankruptcy.
2. The single largest contributor to this crisis is public employee union pay scales, benefits, and pensions.
3. Public employee unions are allowed, but have no constitutional right to existence beyond what the state gives or takes away.
4. Public employees are paid at higher rates with fewer deductions than those doing comparable work in union shops in the private sector, and vastly more than those in private businesses which are not unionized.
5. Nearly 55% of forced union dues go to political campaigns, and 90% of that money goes to supporting Democratic candidates.
6. The public employee unions object to paying anything for their own benefits and pensions, even though they were recently given across-the-boards pay raises that are greater than the amount of the contributions the state has been asking them to pay.
7. If the public employees don't get their way, they threaten to shut down the very government you just elected.
8. You are paying the public employees to have pay rates, benefits, and pensions that you will never, never be able to obtain yourself.
9. Public employees are already protected by strict civil service laws, and teachers have that plus tenure.
10. If the unions win, and the state has to start laying off public employees for lack of money to pay them, the union rule of seniority will apply. Those who have been paying union dues the longest will be the last terminated. The newest employees will go first. Consideration of qualifications and success will play no part in who goes and who stays.

QUESTION: Do you support the attempts of your governor and state legislature to bring public employee compensation down to the level of the average employee doing the same tasks in the private sector in order to avoid state bankruptcy?

Framed that way, I'll bet my poll question would get a 60% minimum of "yes" answers. Unfortunately, Commentarama and I are not The New York Times.


Tehachapi Tom said...

The unions are like cancers. They started small ans grew over time. Unions have grown now to the point that they are consuming the life forces of their host.

Democrats have been the facilitators of this cancer if not a direct part of it.

If the poll slanting question could be explained, your way, to the masses and they understood we could have an epiphany in the electorate of this country.

This was a very good read, I would like to cut and paste this article to all in my address book.

StanH said...

One of the first thing that should raise alarm bells, is the poll was conducted by the NYTs/CBS, as if these are impartial observers. It’s amazing to watch these union stooges on the idiot-box attempting to color this as “worker vs. corporations,” this is government leech against the taxpayer, us. They also tell us how employees have nothing to do with the bottom line - - this spoken like someone who has never had to watch a bottom line. Without exception there are no higher cost than employees, and though it is sad, and regretful, to save a company, in this case a state, you must deal with employees. Great read Lawhawk.

T_Rav said...

Just--wow. How do you make a mistake like that on your sign? I mean, that's not an accidental misspelling, that's a failure to understand the rules of grammar. And this person is a teacher? Now I know why so many people in this country are so stupid.

Unknown said...

Stan: Thanks. The key to the current debate is that this is not even traditional collective bargaining in the original sense.

XYZ corporation/company starts from scratch, raises money, has a goal and a business plan. As they become more profitable, they naturally hire more and more employees. At some point, a majority of the employees feel that they are being badly treated or underpaid. They form a union to bargain a contract for them. So far, so good.

They take their substantial fund of union dues paid in by the members, and elect the company's "managers" who will then negotiate with the union and make the decisions about pay and work rules. As part of the deal, the "managers" are told that if they don't do what the union leaders want, they will use the union dues to elect other "managers" more sympathetic to them. Meanwhile, the shareholders and owners who pay for it all have no voice in the bargaining.

Ridiculous, right? Except that is the exact situation in public employee unions. The public employees have their "bosses." Those bosses decide which candidate/"manager" to vote for and spend millions getting them elected. Then you have the union bosses negotiating with the people they bought and paid for. They are essentially negotiating for themselves, with no regard for anyone or anything else, including the very survival of the company (government) they are allegedly negotiating with in good faith. They ignore the will of the shareholders (the public) and thwart the will of the owners (the taxpayers).

This isn't labor negotiating with management. It's labor negotiating with its own bought and paid-for "management." And it's the public that has no voice because its alleged representatives are working for the other side. It's nothing short of insane. And it's Wisconsin that is leading the charge to stop it all.

Unknown said...

T_Rav: The idiot teecherz would tell you that you are stuck in the past. "Creative spelling" is part of the new curriculum. It's their right, you know, to free their stoodents from the bonds of are past reliance on spelling and good grammar. They will continue to teach English as she is spoke.

BevfromNYC said...

It is the same type of muddled argument the Left is trying to make with the immigration versus ILLEGAL immigration issue.

It's like watching a child have a temper tantrum. If the unions scream and stamp their feet long enough, Mom & Dad Taxpayer will give in and give them what they want just to shut them up. Thank goodness we have tough-love style Mom & Dad Governors and Legislators who aren't backing down, no matter how long the tantrum goes on.

Unknown said...

Bev: Good call. Muddy the waters by failing to distinguish between legitimate issues and phony issues by bunching them together. As Plunkett of Tammany Hall said over a hundred years ago, "There's good graft and there's bad graft. A good politician knows the difference." LOL

Tennessee Jed said...

I think I first learned about "push polls" from good old Ann Coulter. I seem to recall her mentioning a book on the subject titled "The Emporor's New Clothes" on the subject, although I've never been able to find it.

One thing we can count on is the old stream media using any and every journalistic device known to man in order to carry water for the Democrat/Socialist Party (my name for them--vey Continental don't you think?)

I would put the real break out on that as almost exactly reversed.

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