When one man points a gun at another man and demands of the man he turn over all his money, what have you got? Armed robbery? Very good. When an accountant at a company cooks the books and skims off the top, what have you got? Embezzlement? Excellent. Last one, when an officer of an organization approaches someone within that organization and demands money under threat the officer will bounce that person from the organization, what have you got? The mob? No, but close. Unions? Bingo, well done.
Consult any dictionary and you will find extortion defined as a crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority, or something very close to this. You and I know it as blackmail or shakedowns. Extortion does not require the threat of a criminal act like violence – ‘do this or I’ll kill you’. By law, it requires only a threat to elicit actions. The threat makes one guilty of extortion, sort of like, ‘pay your union dues or you’re fired’. Unions practice extortion so they are criminal organizations.
Heritage’s James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics, points out, “In states without right-to-work laws, unionized employees must pay union dues or lose their jobs. State and local governments use their payroll systems to collect dues for the union. The government automatically deducts the dues—typically 1 percent to 2 percent of a government employee’s pay—and deposits it in the union’s bank account.”
So, not only does the government condone the extortion of the American citizen, it assists the union by collecting the coin. And what does the union do with the money? It buys more politicians that will pass more laws allowing extortion and corruption. But why not? Union employees like the high pay, no fear of termination and the outlandish benefits — all well worth the dues. The union leaders love it because they take a cut of the action. The Democratic party loves it because unions use the money for political contributions. It’s a self-perpetuating scheme that makes them all happy as a pig in it. The only loser is the citizen, those outside the scam, which happens to be the majority of us.
It is so bad, lawmakers are criminalizing crime. Rep. Tom Scott (R-SC) introduced H.R. 2810: Employee Rights Act. In it, as silly as it sounds, the government, “would make it unlawful for a person to use force or violence, or threaten the use of force or violence, to restrain, coerce, or intimidate a person, or attempt to, in order to obtain from any person any right to represent employees, compensation, or other term or condition of employment. Subjects persons who willfully violate such prohibitions to both civil and criminal penalties.” So if the bill passes, it’s a crime to commit the crime of extortion. Super.
But, if you’re a union enforcer, there’s no need to worry. The bill was introduced Aug 5, 2011 and the same day, it was sent on to committee to be shelved. Sadly, Govtrack reports, “The majority of bills never make it past this point.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch has introduced S. 1507: Employee Rights Act and it is virtually the same as Scott’s as it forbids “unions from using violence, or threats thereof, in an effort to coerce employees.” This bill is still pending.
Another problem with the criminal enterprise we call unions is they foster corruption within the government. Because they no longer have to dedicate time and energy to protecting workers, unions have used that freedom to evolve into perhaps the largest special interest group on the planet. They hit politicians hard and policies harder, at all levels of government. This is critical because, unlike a kick-back where just one or two individuals are involved, when governmental policy is tarnished it effects many.
As an example, in late January, the Sacremento Bee reported Gov. Jerry Brown, “has structured his budget so schools would face a $2.4 billion program cut in 2012-13 if voters reject his proposal…” What’s the proposal? Brown wants a multibillion dollar tax hike that would “flow outside the state’s general fund to schools and local governments.” The tax hike includes a millionaire’s tax that was proposed by — ready – a union, the California Federation of Teachers. And incredibly, California Teachers Association President Dean E. Vogel actually admitted “This initiative doesn’t help close the current budget deficit…It doesn’t help restore program cuts to essential services.” But, of course, how can it when the money goes right into union bank accounts.
Here’s another nice nugget. In September 2011, Ryan J. Stanton for AnnArbor.com reported, “Earlier this summer, the City Council directed city staff to draft an ordinance amendment increasing the pension vesting period from the current five years to 10 years for non-union employees hired after July 1, 2011. That means non-union employees will have to clock twice as many years of service in order to collect pensions from the city.” If it wasn’t so appalling, it’d be laughable.
And finally, I give you Cook County, where a lawsuit claims unions conspired with the school leadership to use taxpayer funds to illegally promote legislation to raise property taxes.
The suit charges that the government school district used taxpayer funded resources, school equipment on school grounds and inside the school building, to promote the referendum, as well as recruiting students as “volunteers” to distribute pro-referendum material. Finally, the suit charges that public resources were used to fund a pro-referendum mailing and TV campaign ad, and used phrasing on the ballot to intentionally mislead voters with a significant understatement of the actual financial impact of the referendum.
Did you get that? Government representatives and unions conspire together to use the people’s money, the people’s land and the people’s equipment to try to sell the same people on raising taxes so they can fill their pockets. And then they use students to help spread the good word. It’s so shameful, it’s embarrassing. And it has to come to an end.
There was a time when unions helped more people than they hurt. That time has passed. Union pursuits are now narrowly focused initiatives that help the few and exploit the many. The extortion and corruption that unions foster has no place in modern American society. They must be rooted out, particularly from our government. It isn’t glamorous work and it isn’t for the timid. Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Gov. Mitch Daniels in Indiana as well as others have done a nice job thus far. But as you know, the battle continues. Established politicians are loathe to address the matter, so it falls on the tea party to continue to develop government representatives that will stand-tall and rid our society of this criminal enterprise.