Mass. Dems Might Curb Union Power

John Seiler:

When Republicans in Wisconsin and Ohio took away some collective-bargaining rights of government-worker unions, we were warned that freedom was over; that the workers’ democratic rights had been suppressed. Supportive demonstrations were held all across the country, including California.

In February, 2,500 California workers rallied in Sacramento in support of the Wisconsin union members.

But now the Democratic House of Representatives in Massachusetts has voted to deny most collective bargaining rights to government-union workers. Yes, that Massachusetts, home of the late Sen. Teddy “Spend Until America’s Bankrupt” Kennedy. The state where Republicans are as rare as uplifting dialog in an Arnold Schwarzenegger flick.


House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.

The 111-to-42 vote followed tougher measures to broadly eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states. But unlike those efforts, the push in Massachusetts was led by Democrats who have traditionally stood with labor to oppose any reduction in workers’ rights.

Unions fought hard to stop the bill, launching a radio ad that assailed the plan and warning legislators that if they voted for the measure, they could lose their union backing in the next election. After the vote, labor leaders accused House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and other Democrats of turning their backs on public employees.

“It’s pretty stunning,’’ said Robert J. Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected. The same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. The same Democrats who tell us over and over again that they’re with us, that they believe in collective bargaining, that they believe in unions. . . . It’s a done deal for our relationship with the people inside that chamber.’’

The measure still might lose in the state Senate.

But the point is that even Democrats are starting to realize that union pay, perks and pensions are bankrupting governments. That if government union pensions, especially, aren’t curbed, all the money in a state or local budget will go to union retirees, with nothing left over for anything else. Nothing.

That realization will happen to California Democrats, too, eventually.

It’s also amusing to hear the unions complain that the politicians they backed aren’t keeping campaign promises. I’m shocked, shocked! that any politician would take campaign cash, then stab the donors in the back.

The reality is that government unions have become so all-powerful that their only possible future will be to lose power.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, said Lord Acton.

Absolute power also never lasts long.

April 27, 2011



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