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Poll: NYers like Teachers but not their Union; So far Cuomo Union fight is Wisconsin-light; A Look at New York union facts; Unions Bucking The Will Of The People

February 22, 2011

Update: New Yorkers like Teachers, Not Their Union – Poll NY union-Cuomo fight is ‘Wisconsin light’

Feb 22, 2011 As Wisconsin’s governor is embroiled in a fight over fundamental guarantees for organized labor, the struggle between New York’s governor

Union-Cuomo fight more hype than bite so far
Feb 22, 2011 As Wisconsin’s governor is embroiled in a fight over fundamental guarantees for organized labor, the struggle between New York’s governor

  1. Yes 22%

  1. No 78%



February 20, 2011 – By Vincent Vernuccio

If there was ever an “I told you so” moment on government unions becoming too powerful, this is it.

The Wisconsin State Capitol is under siege by unions. Thousands turned out to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s emergency budget bill. According to anecdotal reports police advised workers in the Capitol to “lock [their] doors” after protesters marched through the halls of the building yelling and banging drums. A teacher “sick out” strike closed schools, and Gov. Walter put the National Guard on alert in case the public safety unions went on strike. Finally, all 13 Democrat senators fled the state to stop a vote on the bill.

Despite the last election where the voters of Wisconsin ousted the big spending Democrats – the state is expecting a $3.6 billion deficit over the next two years – unions want to overturn the democratic process. Gov. Walker and Republican candidates campaigned heavily on lower taxes, less spending, and curbing the power of government unions. Wisconsinites approved of these ideas and responded in kind when they elected Walker to the governorship and Republican majorities in both the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate.

Gov. Walker told the Associated Press the actions are “not a shock The shock would be if we didn’t go forward with this.”

The government union message from Wisconsin is loud and clear: Democracy be damned and the voters’ will does not matter if it takes away our benefits or power.

The proposed budget will require government employees to pick up 12.6 percent of their health care costs and contribute 5.8 percent of their pay to their pensions. They currently pay nothing. The amounts are roughly half of what workers in the private sector pay.

The contributions are not the real reason why the unions are upset. It is money and power. Before getting into what the bill will do, there are several things it does not do. It does not take away the right of workers to join a union. It does not take away their right to collectively bargain – although it does limit it to wages. It does not force Gov. Walker to lay off 6,000 state employees the amount needed to fix the budget hole. It does not take away other civil service protections afforded to government workers.

The bill does give workers the right to say no to a union if they do not want to join. Currently, workers are forced to pay union dues simply to keep their jobs. It also takes away the union privilege of automatically deducting money from workers’ paychecks. Unions are truly incensed because now workers will have a choice and will have to affirmatively pay for union representation. If the unions do not perform, they will see their dues and their power decrease.

F. Vincent Vernuccio is Labor Policy Counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He is an attorney and labor consultant. Vernuccio previously served as an official in the United States Department of Labor, where he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management under President George W. Bush.

New York

Right To Work
 New York is not a ‘right to work’ state. Employees in a unionized company can be forced to pay “agency fees” to the union, even if they refuse to be union members.


Total Reported Union Members 3,138,736
Assets $ 1,664,143,823
Receipts $ 1,794,711,521
Disbursements $ 1,798,362,849
Percentage of Workforce Unionized in 2005

Historical Percentage of Workforce Unionized

Government Employee Unions
Each year, public sector unions cost New York residents millions of dollars by driving state budgets well beyond responsible spending.

Government Employees 1,184,190
Percent Unionized 68.9 %
Average Government Employee Salary $ 52,324

Government Employee Union Tax: 29.27%
New York residents could pay 29.27% less in state income taxes if they weren’t paying for inflated government employee union wages.

Average Government Salary vs. Inflation

Political Money
State-level Political Donations
Public sector unions give thousands of dollars to local legislators, often in an effort to guarantee exorbitant benefits from the state.

Total Contributions
Democrat  $ 2,543,462
Republican  $ 1,158,645
Other  $ 3,400
Source: Institute on Money in State Politics, 2004-2006Federal-level Political Donations
Each election unions spend millions of their members’ money supporting politicians, many of whom the union members don’t even like. The following New York candidates received money from labor unions.

Total Contributions
Democrat  $ 3,581,510
Republican  $ 894,331
Source: Federal Election Comission 2003-2004

 (Note that though these figures are dated, they show a trend, and that trend up to the present continues to favor democrats more and more, especially as the NY GOP is supporting less and less liberal Republicans (aka RINO’s)

PJ POLL: Should President Obama be working to strengthen public employee unions?


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