Archive for the ‘Worker rights’ Category

Mayor Emanuel’s Fiscal hyperbole


Recently, in regards to the city’s fiscal condition, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said “If we make no reforms at all across our pension funds, we would have to raise City property taxes by 150%… Business and families would flee, not just from our city but from our state,”

This deceptive wording and hyperbolic rhetoric has been a calling card for Rahm ever since he questionably attained the position of mayor. Rahm is using the fiscal crisis that the states faces as an excuse to gut the pensions of hardworking Teachers, Firefighters, and Policemen in Chicago.

tifNot once does he bring up Tax Increment Financing (TIF). TIF used to be a off-the-book financial robbery of 1 of every 10 tax dollars that the city collects from its citizenry. In fact this fiscal diversion has robbed the city of more than 5.5 Billion dollars in revenue since 1986.

What is TIF and how is it possible that tax payers are funding something that delivers almost nothing in terms of public services? TIF was supposed to be a program that diverts tax dollars to designated projects that improve impoverished areas of the city, but it has proven to be just another tax subsidy for private companies. It turns out that it is a slush fund for corporate elites masquerading as an economic development tool for under-developed communities.

The costs of TIF has greatly exceeded the pension requirements for the city, but Emanuel only mentions the pension programs as a cause or solution for the fiscal wrongs of Chi-Town. For shame on you Emanuel for ignoring decade of fiscal sleight of hand that has been masked in the veil of the TIF program. Since 2007, the cost of the TIF program has exceeded that of the pension programs, so why isn’t consideration given to modify that program? Oh yeah, no one makes billions upon billions of dollars in corporate welfare and crony rewards.

The city’s pension costs were $385.8 million in 2012, while TIF diverted $457 million in property tax revenues. If this was just about the city’s budget, Emanuel would be looking at the revenue that is diverted by the TIF program than the pension and it will less of a negative impact on the lives of our citizens.

In a nutshell, Mayor Emanuel is not giving the citizens the full picture. He is merely pointing is budget cutting fingers at the well-earned pension program as the main rationale for the city’s financial shortfall. Please remember Mr. Emanuel that these pensions are the result of hardworking public workers giving up raises, benefits, vacation time and other benefits in order help with financial problems at that time. The teachers, firemen, policemen, sanitation workers and other public sector works have suffered and struggled, in order to reap a somewhat equalizing earned reward now (pensions) and now you want to strip them of that; for shame.

Chicagoans, this is yet another in a long list of reasons you should vote this Rahm out of office. Bye Rahm, HOPEFULLY!











Reply to Conservative on Unions, WHAT? Part 3

No Unions, REALLY?!?

No Unions, REALLY?!?

The initial question posted by Warren Drew

Given the fight later today over final passage of a right to work law in Michigan, I figured it might be worthwhile to mention a couple things about right to work.

First, right to work laws do not prohibit unions.  They merely allow workers to decline to join a union.  There are plenty of unions in right to work states.

Second, right to work laws do not appear to reduce wages.  The state with the highest wages for assembly line workers is Alabama, a right to work state.  The metro areas with the highest wages are Tuscaloosa and Spartanburg, both in right to work states.  BLS figures from here:

Right to work laws just keep the unions honest, and make them work for the workers rather than just for the union bosses.  From the standpoint of industry, they just balance out federal laws that are very much prounion.

My reply to Warren Drew

+Warren Dew
Your posting of surface information is not beneficial to those who are not aware of the financial implications of right-to-work-for-less laws (RTWFL).

The first point is partially true; it does not prohibit unions; it ONLY allows workers benefit from the unions activism on their behalf without paying into the very union that created the benefits that they enjoy. You know to loosely use an analogy; it like eating going into McDonalds, eating a Big Mac, and not paying for it. Fair right?

Your second point is also only true on the surface. While what you stated may be correct on the surface when you really look the facts it is deceiving to be kind. The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics state that Occupational Employment and Wages Estimates shows median hourly wages of all the Right to Work States (RTW) and all the Collective-Bargaining States (CBS) as follows: Read more…

Reply to Conservative on Unions, WHAT? Part 1

December 11, 2012 3 comments
No Unions, REALLY?!?

No Unions, REALLY?!?

The initial question posted by Gregory


Question for conservatives:  Why don’t you support worker unions?

A worker union is a free association of individuals with the purpose of increasing their bargaining power against that of their employer.  In capitalism, the owner of a good is free to decide how much to price their own goods.  I am the owner of my labor and therefore I am free to decide how much my labor is worth.  As an American, I have the right to free association.  It is therefore within my rights to meet with fellow employees and decide together how much we should “charge” for our labor.If it is acceptable for industry to join together in order to lobby congress to pass laws that favor them over their employees, then why is it not acceptable for employees to fight back by forming collectives of their own?The point for conservatives is to maximize freedom, is it not?  Isn’t the ability to unionize a type of freedom?You can respond however you want, of course, but using specific instances of a pathological union to make your case is going to be rather unconvincing.   Also, simply applying a label to unionism like “Socialism” is also not going to make your point to anyone except those who already think as you do.I’m looking for a general response as to why unionism is harmful to society.  More specifically, why it would result in more harm to society than if unions were banned.

My reply to Gregory Geller

I commend your post. It was eloquent, concise, and accurate. I assert that conservatives (loosely used term) have been convinced that the interests of the company should be their interests and nothing can be further from the truth. Unions are the only form of democracy in the workplace in almost every instance. The reference to GREED when talking about unions is a ridiculously misplaced descriptor, but one that I will not make the point of this post. Read more…

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