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Legislation makes the unions directly accountable to their members

The real issues in Wisconsin


By —— Bio and Archives--April 18, 2011

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Labor unions are trying to portray the actions in Wisconsin as the destruction of the middle class.  However, this is rhetoric, not fact. The actions in Wisconsin actually help the middle class by allowing union members and the taxpayers a greater say in their future.

Wages and benefits are not the real issues in Wisconsin.  The bill in Wisconsin would require state workers to contribute 6% of their income towards their retirement and 12% towards their healthcare.  These percentages are similar to what private sector workers pay.  State workers in Wisconsin understand that they must start to contribute to their health and pension plans and have already agreed to these provisions.

It is ironic that unions would protest legislation that would give their members a greater say in how their dues are used

The real reason that unions have bussed thousands of people to Madison to protest is because the legislation makes the unions directly accountable to their members.  The state will no longer withhold the $700 average annual union dues from employee paychecks.  Unions must collect it directly from their members.  Unions already have difficulty collecting dues in other states that passed similar legislation.  The other issue that has inflamed the Wisconsin unions is that the union must be recertified each year by a majority of its membership.  It is ironic that unions would protest legislation that would give their members a greater say in how their dues are used.

Benefits were encouraged over wages, because benefits were not taxable and pension obligations did not have to be accounted for in school district budgets

In the 25 years that my wife was a teacher, she saw the union that she joined change from a professional association to help teachers provide the best education for children to just another industrial union that was concerned with political power and getting Democratic politicians elected.  Helping teachers to provide the best education for the taxpayer’s money was not a priority. Rather than rewarding good teachers through merit pay, the union promoted pay based on seniority.  Benefits were encouraged over wages, because benefits were not taxable and pension obligations did not have to be accounted for in school district budgets.  However, it is exactly these unsustainable healthcare and pension costs that are creating financial crisis in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and numerous other states.

When unions, and the politicians they help to elect, raise benefits and pensions to the point of bankrupting the states, the usual solution that they propose is raise the taxes on the rich.  However, the top 5% of taxpayers already pay more of the tax burden then the other 95%.  Over half of that 5% are small business owners that report their company earnings on their personal returns.

If public sector unions and the politicians that they helped to elect were not grossly irresponsible stewards of the public’s money, they would not fear the legislation in Wisconsin and numerous other budget strapped states that gives their members and the taxpayers a greater say in their future.



David A. Nace -- Bio and Archives | Comments

David Nace was raised in rural western Pennsylvania. Graduated from Penn State University with an Undergraduate degree in Engineering and a Masters degree in Business Administration. He has managed and co-owned a construction company since 1989. Dave is active in the Associated Builders and Contractors organization on the local and national level, and is able to demonstrate the consequences of legislation and policies in concise and easily understood articles.

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