Union Watch Highlights

Union Watch Highlights

Recent reports on union activity from around the web through December 5th, 2010:

Collective bargaining may get tweak in Ohio

By Thomas Suddes, December 5, 2010, The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio’s public-employee unions should fasten their seat belts: They may be in for rough ride in 2011, thanks to the clout -and long memories – of Statehouse Republicans, and not just because public-employee unions threw everything but the kitchen sink at GOP Gov.-elect John Kasich and Republican General Assembly candidates. (read article)

Has this union lost its way?

By Tim Rutten, December 4, 2010, Los Angeles Times

Historically, the political influence of the Los Angeles Police Protective League — the union representing the city’s rank-and-file officers — has been a force in local affairs more often assumed in conversation than evident at the polls. Under its current leaders, however, the league has become far more assertive — with decidedly mixed, often confused, results, many of them flowing from the hiring of a high-priced political consultant who has unsuccessfully attempted to make the union a force in statewide politics. (read article)

Wayne County Michigan Imposes Huge Wage Cuts on AFSCME Union Workers

By Mike Shedlock, December 2nd, 2010, MISH’S Global Economic Trend Analysis

Wayne County Michigan, fed up with two years of failed negotiations on wages and benefits for public union workers, has decided to impose wage cuts on AFSCME union employees. The Wayne County News Release states “Wayne County will implement a 10% reduction the union refused to take in budget year 2009-2010, as well as the 10% reduction for the current 2010-2011 budget year.” (read article)

Police union wants L.A. to restore overtime instead of hiring more cops

By Joel Rubin and David Zahniser, December 1, 2010, Los Angeles Times

It came as little surprise this week that the influential union that represents Los Angeles’ rank-and-file police officers waded into the debate over hiring more police during a major financial crisis. What caught people off guard, however, was the union’s conclusion that the hiring should stop. Los Angeles Police Protective League President Paul M. Weber, in an interview and an opinion article submitted to The Times, called on the city’s leaders to suspend their current policy of hiring new officers to replace those who resign or retire. It is a stance that, on the surface, runs counter to the union’s traditionally staunch support for a larger police force. Instead, Weber said, the department should shrink itself in order to use its scarce funds to restore overtime pay that has been cut. (read article)

Have California Democrats Turned Their Backs On Social Justice?

A Conversation with Chris Reed, November 29th, 2010


Christmas Fight! Teamsters vs. Toys R Us

By Elizabeth MacDonald, November 22, 2010, Fox Business

Just in time for Black Friday, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union and an environmental justice group have released a report they commissioned attacking the nation’s biggest toy seller, Toys R Us and Babies R Us, for allegedly selling “toxic toys.” (read article)

Union Drops Health Coverage for Workers’ Children

By Yuliya Chernovau, The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2010

One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements. (read article)

Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer

Interview with Steven Malanga, October 19, 2010


Public-Sector Unions Choke Taxpayers

By John Stossel, October 19, 2010, Creators.com

“I thought unions were great — until at Chrysler, the union steward started screaming at me. Working at an unhurried pace, I’d exceeded ‘production’ for that job.” That comment, left on my blog by a viewer who watched my Fox Business Network show about unions, matches my experience. No one ordered me to slow down, but union rules and union culture at ABC and CBS slowed the work. Sometimes a camera crew took five minutes just to get out of the car. Now unions conspire with politicians to rip off taxpayers. (read article)

A Stink in El Segundo Over Cadillac Salaries

By Paul Teetor Thursday, LA Weekly, Oct 14, 2010

The debate over skyrocketing government-worker salaries got nasty in El Segundo when a homeowner published the six-figure salaries flowing to the small town’s cops and firefighters on his Gundo Blogger website — only to have a police captain track him down by phone at his UCLA job and chew him out. (read article)

Teachers Unions vs. Online Education

by Katherine Mangu-Ward, August-September 2010, Reason Magazine

I know a 3-year-old who’s a master of online multitasking. Give him an iPhone, and he’ll cheerfully chat you up while watching YouTube cartoons or playing an alphabet game. In 2010, toddlers start consuming digital information not long after they’ve started consuming solid food. Now take that kid, tack on a handful of years, and drop him into a classroom. A child who was perfectly content with a video stream, an MP3, and a chat flowing past him is suddenly ordered to sit still, shut up, and listen while a grown-up scrawls on a blackboard and delivers a monologue. And school is even worse for the older girls down the hall. The center of their universe is on social networking and chat sites, so spending six hours a day marooned in a building with no WiFi is akin to water torture. The same pre-teen who will happily while away hours playing Scrabble with her friends on Facebook dreads each Thursday afternoon, when she will be forced to laboriously write out a list of spelling words in silence alongside two dozen peers. (read article)

Jack Dean is editor of PensionTsunami.com, formed to monitor developments in all three pension spheres nationwide — public employees, corporations and social security. PensionTsunami, like UnionWatch, is a project of the California Public Policy Center. Dean is a former newspaper editor and a past executive director of the Reason Foundation. He has been active in politics for more than three decades and currently serves as president of the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers.

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