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1 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 9:28:58am

I’d ask liberal readers to please read the whole thing before criticizing it. RWC is not some sort of ‘Koch Shill’, nor does he share my own opposition to public-sector unions. But in California public-sector unions are out of control, and the fault for that must be laid at the Democratic Party’s door.

2 thecommodore  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 9:32:05am

re: #1 Dark_Falcon

I’d ask liberal readers to please read the whole thing before criticizing it. RWC is not some sort of ‘Koch Shill’, nor does he share my own opposition to public-sector unions. But in California public-sector unions are out of control, and the fault for that must be laid at the Democratic Party’s door.

At least with a Democratic governor, public sector unions in Cali have a chance to be reformed without all unions in general being destroyed.

3 Political Atheist  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 10:41:35am

re: #2 thecommodore

Thing is tho that big bad Republican Arnie had many of the same proposals, far from “destruction’ to any but the authors of rhetoric.

Try to keep in mind Arnie was always checked by a big majority of Dems in both state houses. This is California after all not Arizona or Texas. The idea a GOP governor acting on his own could destroy a union is a boogieman fiction. That would take a legislative super majority on the right. I got better odds of winning the lotto and then getting hit by lightning whilst cashing the check than that. That fiction is far more fund raiser than fact. Even under this deal “reform” they are barely effected.

4 Romantic Heretic  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 11:16:43am

Ah, the quest to limit freedom to those of the correct political classes continues successfully.

After getting thefreedom to assemble peaceably is limited, freedom of speech will be next. Freedom of conscience will go after that.

Then things will be perfect and wonderful forever. As long as you don’t cross the line.

5 Uncle Obdicut  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 11:37:17am

The prison guard union in California is a huge, highly public union that progressives hate because it’s an anti-progressive force. They are a pariah union, and they are, as noted by one of the cites articles, a main reason why unions are dropping in popularity.

The conflation of problems with other unions with the problems with the prison guard union makes it very difficult to extract useful data about people’s opinions about unions. Anyone writing about unions or labor in California should be careful to distinguish the two.

Notably when a Republican Governor pointed this out he was fiercely shouted down. When the new Democratic governor acted on the exact same issues, he prevailed.

I don’t agree with this. I don’t think that the same things were pointed out, nor were they addressed in the same fashion, nor were the same solutions offered.

The Democratic party in California created the Union monster.

Language like this detracts from reasonable argument.

We have, in the US, a major problem of under-unionization. Where we do have unions, we have a problem of union specialization and characterization. Reducing that to ‘the union monster’ is silly. Comparing unions—who have achieved massive, massive gains for the American people, unions who created the weekend, the eight hour day, the concept of overtime, who got rid of company stores, etc. etc.—to the Tea Party, is beyond silly.

6 Political Atheist  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 1:49:11pm

re: #5 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut

The prison guard union in California is a huge, highly public union that progressives hate because it’s an anti-progressive force. They are a pariah union, and they are, as noted by one of the cites articles, a main reason why unions are dropping in popularity.

The conflation of problems with other unions with the problems with the prison guard union makes it very difficult to extract useful data about people’s opinions about unions. Anyone writing about unions or labor in California should be careful to distinguish the two.

I don’t agree with this. I don’t think that the same things were pointed out, nor were they addressed in the same fashion, nor were the same solutions offered.

Language like this detracts from reasonable argument.

We have, in the US, a major problem of under-unionization. Where we do have unions, we have a problem of union specialization and characterization. Reducing that to ‘the union monster’ is silly. Comparing unions—who have achieved massive, massive gains for the American people, unions who created the weekend, the eight hour day, the concept of overtime, who got rid of company stores, etc. etc.—to the Tea Party, is beyond silly.

Since the guards union is a pariah, can you show me any links of that having an impact on contract negotiations? Or the pro Union organizations calling them out on this stuff? I’d love to see it.

Do you have issue with the term Tea Party monster as well? The reasonable argument resides on level ground. That kind of term is wielded very often at even the moderate /centrist right here on the board. Seems fair game.

However for the sake of hewing to substance, shall we toss both “monsters” term for a moment? Look at what broadly precipitated the changes that Jerry Brown pushed and the legislature passed. The bigger picture of many unions with fixed benefits, a great recession and a resulting severe budgetary problem paying the pension bills for all the CALPERS retirees.

Only a small portion of that can be laid at the guards union. They are not the only public sector union in California that got some outrageous and often enough unaffordable terms.

This makes a fair case-

For more than half of my 38 years in the news business, I’ve been a member of a union, though I’m not currently. And my late father was a proud Teamster for decades.

In other words, don’t count me among those who vilify organized labor, which in many parts of the country offers the best hope for hanging on to a place in the middle class. And when it comes to public employee unions, no, they shouldn’t have to trade pensions for 401(k)s, though a hybrid wouldn’t be so bad. We’re going to have enough of a disaster on our hands when non-union retirees end up flat broke and on the dole, especially if Social Security gets trimmed.

If you were waiting for a “but,” here it comes.

It’s time for public employee unions to wake up and take a look around. Government services are shrinking, cities are crumbling, and they’re enjoying pay and benefit packages that many in the private sector would kill for. They need to give a little back. Yeah, I know, some of them already have. But it’s time for a little more.

The actions of the Governor and legislature reflect the reality above.

7 Uncle Obdicut  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 2:03:20pm

re: #6 Political Atheist

Since the guards union is a pariah, can you show me any links of that having an impact on contract negotiations? Or the pro Union organizations calling them out on this stuff? I’d love to see it.

Sure, easy:

motherjones.com

americanradioworks.publicradio.org

Also, this long, in-depth article by The Economist shows how the Prison Guard Union helped to elect Republicans as well as Democrats—it’s a cross-the-aisle union.

economist.com

It’s a great article.

Not sure what you mean about ‘impact on contract negotiations’.

Do you have issue with the term Tea Party monster as well? The reasonable argument resides on level ground. That kind of term is wielded very often at even the moderate /centrist right here on the board. Seems fair game.

I’ve never used that term, nor would I ever because, like I said, I think language like that detracts from a reasonable argument. Really, the issue I have is comparing unions, who, as I said, have secured a ton of benefits for workers in the US, with the tea party. That’s silly. The language you’re using is far less troublesome than that completely unbalanced comparison.


And I think that article on the end is a fair and humane one. It acknowledges the people in the union are owed this money, that they’re being forced to give it up because of a failure on the part of government to budget well.

This is following a standard pattern across the US, where money is being squeezed from the actual working population because the capital population has attained a level of political power that’s preserving their unprecedented share of US wealth and income. This can’t last forever, though, if we actually squeeze our our middle class we’re going to stagnate, and crash hard.

8 Political Atheist  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 2:56:51pm

I was reading your MJ article about the guards union, and it’s pariah status among progressives seems to be all about it’s prison policy, not about contract leverage and benefits. That’s rather beside the point at hand. Recent reforms of union terms and it’s impact on union power or perception thereof.


Later I’ll take in the Economist piece.

9 Uncle Obdicut  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 3:00:43pm

re: #8 Political Atheist

I was reading your MJ article about the guards union, and it’s pariah status among progressives seems to be all about it’s prison policy, not about contract leverage and benefits.

And?

Recent reforms of union terms and it’s impact on union power or perception thereof.

This isn’t a sentence. It needs a verb.

10 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Dec 13, 2013 4:32:26pm

re: #8 Political Atheist

I was reading your MJ article about the guards union, and it’s pariah status among progressives seems to be all about it’s prison policy, not about contract leverage and benefits. That’s rather beside the point at hand. Recent reforms of union terms and it’s impact on union power or perception thereof.

Later I’ll take in the Economist piece.

But the union’s stance on prison policy is in large part about maintaining its contract leverage and benefits. As Obdicut noted here and I have noted previously, prison guard unions are not solely associated with the Democrats; They can and do endorse and support Republicans as well and this gives them additional leverage because the two parties compete for their support. Mother Jones takes the position that this serves to bind both parties to a ‘long-term incarceration mentality’, which boosts the union’s power.

The article can be disagreed with, but it is ‘on point’ and it argues its case properly.


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