Saturday, January 23, 2010

You'll Have to Look a Lot Harder for the Union Label

Private-employed union membership continues to sink like a rock.

The recession battered two industries with high union density -- manufacturing and construction -- leading to a decline in private sector union membership from 7.6 percent to 7.2 percent of all workers. That's the lowest rate since the agency began keeping records in 1983.

Private sector union membership plummeted by 10 percent, while government unions posted slight gains.

You noticed that 'government unions' phrase?

Local, state and federal government workers made up 51.5 percent of all union members in 2009, up from 48.7 percent a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday...Local government workers -- a group that includes teachers, police officers and firefighters -- had the highest union membership rate at 43.3 percent.

Reversing Wisconsin's state and local budget problems depends entirely on successful management (or elimination) of those union contracts and workers.


capper said...

Yes, Daddio, let us put all the money in the hands of a privileged few. It's worked so well for you before, right? Nice to know that you like recessions and depressions.

neomom said...

So capper - with the state government... Are the privileged few the Governor, the Treasurer (with Sass, I hope not), the legislature? The taxpayers??

Seriously, who in government is ever at risk of losing their job not for cause? Offices are hardly the equivalent of the coal mines. None of the supposed reasons for unions are applicable for public employees. None.

Their only purpose is to suck money out of the taxpayers - who make less and don't get the same benefits - until they are able to retire to a state recommended by the union that doesn't tax pensions.

I would bet dollars and donuts that at least 10% of the public employees (in aggregate, not in every department) could get cut and not one person that they are supposedly serving would even notice.

capper said...

I have seen scores of workers walked off the job for cause, and the unions rightfully refused to defend them since they were either not doing their jobs or were breaking the work place rules.

But to answer your question, let's look at what I've already written:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel showed us a sliver of a small sampling of this a few weeks ago, when they pointed out that even though some CEOs were taking "pay cuts," they were still raking in millions of dollars each year. Imagine how many jobs they could have saved if they actually took serious pay cuts and tried to survive on a mere million dollars or even half a million, and reinvested that money in their employees. The employees would be able to still spend money a little more freely and that would do more than anything to help speed up the economic recovery.

In government, however, even though political CEOs like Scott Walker or Jim Doyle are probably overpaid in many people's eyes, their salaries are paltry numbers compared to the private sector CEOs. That frees up more of the money to have workers to provide services to the community. Thus you would have more workers in the government sector, since the money isn't being held up at the top by overly excessive executive salaries.

If the private sector CEOs put the same limits on themselves, the economy would get so much better so much faster, and we would all be better off.

Imagine that.

Dad29 said...

Uhmmm, Capper,

Johnson Controls has 130,000 employees.

If the CEO earns $7 million, and gave an equal share of that to EVERY employee, it would be $53.50/person.

Somehow, I don't think that would make a splash in the economy.

capper said...

Um, that is not what I'm saying.

He could use $5 million of that money and create 100-200 jobs and still have $2 million for himself.

capper said...

And just in case you can't figure it out all by yourself, 100-200 people middle class workers spend more than one CEO, especially in ways that would help the economy moving.

Dad29 said...

"....he could create 100-200 jobs..."

Typical Gummint-think.

Exactly what would those 100-200 people DO, Capper?

Businesses create jobs when the jobs are needed.

Unlike Government, which steals money and spends it just to have a bigger payroll/fiefdom.

And by the way, $5 million is $5 million. Can't "spend more" than $5 million if that's all there is.

Another typical Gummint idea, except normal people can't spend more and cover the debt AT THE POINT OF A GUN.

capper said...

Gee, what could they do?

Research and Development? Production? Transport? Sales?

Unless, of course, they want to be like you, rigid, inflexible and living in the past.

neomom said...

I'm still trying to figure out what capper's class warfare has to do with why government employees need unions.

Interesting distraction though.

Dad29 said...

'Distraction' is one word for it.

"Revealing" is another.

capper said...

Creating jobs to stimulate the economy is now class warfare?

What's next? Will you be comparing poor people to stray animals?

neomom said...

Government jobs may be jobs for the individual employee, but they are a drain on the overall economy. See, you need a much larger group of actual real-life private sector jobs to PAY for all of those government salaries and benefits...

Unless you guys like getting paid with unicorn dreams and pixie dust - maybe y'all shouldn't be bashing the private sector all the time. We pay for you. Without us? No money!

capper said...

Would you please be kind enough to point out where my wife and I are tax exempt?

neomom said...

Will you kindly point out how your wife and you pay enough in taxes to pay for your salaries and benefits?

capper said...

Right after you point out whose salary you singularly pay for.

neomom said...

See - that's the thing. I work for a private company. We make stuff, we sell it to people who voluntarily purchase it based on its "value" to them. Those sales create the wealth pay for me and all the other employees, R&D, shareholders, etc. The company determines my "value" to the organization. If they don't believe I contribute more to the organization than I cost, by job gets eliminated. If I don't think they pay me enough, I look for someplace else. That's called employment at will.

You work for the government. You don't make anything, you don't sell anything. Zero wealth generation. The only money coming in is from taxpayers. The more you expect in salary and benefits, the more the government has to take from everyone - involuntarily.

You need a much larger percentage of private sector jobs to keep your gravy train running. And yes, I said gravy train, because government employees, on average make more than their private sector counterparts and have more generous benefits. Now that there are more government employees than private sector, how can you find that sustainable?

capper said...

Gee, your right, neomom.

Even though I've spent half my working career in the public sector, in those fifteen years, I've wasted tax payer dollars by protecting foster kids (we should let them all be abused and killed like the privatized system is doing, right?), making sure inmates stay locked up (we should let them all out, right?) and saving tax payer dollars by keeping disabled adults stay out of nursing homes and institutions (it would be better if they were all out of sight, out of mind, right?)

Meanwhile, what would the world do without widget makers?

BTW, government workers don't get bonuses, only private industries.

Oh, and I could quit if I wanted to. But I'd rather spend my time helping people than just making the boss richer and me poorer.

You are correct that gov't unions being larger is unsustainable. That is why we have such high levels of unemployment while CEO's are taking home seven, eight and nine figure salaries and bonuses. I'm glad to see you recognize the values of unions.

neomom said...

Ah - capper pulls the martyr card as expected.

With the exception of the anarchist crowd, you won't find any of us that want to eliminate government. What you will find is a sizable portion of the electorate that think it is too big (read too many employees and too expensive).

So for the records, before you go all apocalyptic (You want to let kids die!) I don't believe we should be cutting things that are related to public safety. I think we should gut the public school administration, and there are a boat-load of other departments that could be severely cut (like the DNR) without anybody even noticing.

Also, there are very few in the evil "widget" making industry that get bonuses. VERY few. And it would have little to no impact on our unemployment rate. Getting rid of the market uncertainty of this administrations vast agenda would prompt a lot more hiring.

But thanks for playing.

capper said...

And who is to determine what is public safety and what is worth the money? You? I would most certainly hope not!

But martyr? You make false accusations, I point out that they are false, and now you go moving the goal posts.

Mmm, so you don't get any bonuses? Tsk. Even the lowest workers at my wife's former private industry job, making them there widgets, got a hundred or so dollars at Christmas. Oh well, I am sure that the officers in your company really appreciate your services. Ask them when they get back from their three hour lunch. I'm sure they'll tell you. Just not pay you.

And yes, heaven forbid we rein in health care costs, which have only been increasing three to five times the cost of inflation. That might put money back in the pockets of the working people, and we know no one is for that!