Hard-pressed States Move to Suppress Labor-Unions

by on January 5, 2011 · 3 comments

in American Empire, Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Labor

By Steve Greenhouse / The New York Times / January 3, 2011

Faced with growing budget deficits and restive taxpayers, elected officials from Maine to Alabama, Ohio to Arizona, are pushing new legislation to limit the power of labor unions, particularly those representing government workers, in collective bargaining and politics.

State officials from both parties are wrestling with ways to curb the salaries and pensions of government employees, which typically make up a significant percentage of state budgets. On Wednesday, for example, New York’s new Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, is expected to call for a one-year salary freeze for state workers, a move that would save $200 million to $400 million and challenge labor’s traditional clout in Albany.

But in some cases — mostly in states with Republican governors and Republican statehouse majorities — officials are seeking more far-reaching, structural changes that would weaken the bargaining power and political influence of unions, including private sector ones.

For example, Republican lawmakers in Indiana, Maine, Missouri and seven other states plan to introduce legislation that would bar private sector unions from forcing workers they represent to pay dues or fees, reducing the flow of funds into union treasuries. In Ohio, the new Republican governor, following the precedent of many other states, wants to ban strikes by public school teachers.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar RB January 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm

If unions concentrated on contracts, wages and representing their members during disputes with management and exclude funding of political campaigns based upon the political beliefs of the union leadership, they would have a chance to grow. I believe unions need tiered membership. There should be an apolitical basic membership that is is inclusive of all political points of view and has completely transparent spending of union dues. For those who feel union membership is a part of their politics there should be a separate membership which includes the basic dues and representation but requires a separate and additional payment for political campaigns and joint union lobbying. In short, the membership is much more conservative than the leadership and this disconnect hurts the goal of union membership.


avatar annagrace January 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Companies are making record profits. Unemployment is at an all time high. Those with jobs are in a race to the bottom in terms of wages and benefits. Americans are losing their homes. Politicians have underfunded pension obligations. Wall Street is laughing all the way to the bank.

And the villain is…..(drumroll)…public employees and public employee unions.
Give me a break.


avatar Frank Gormlie January 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm

The Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, says we need a “tea party for progressives.” I agree with him and I want to find others who share the same thoughts.


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