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A Rising Union Fist Raises all Taxes

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Fight the Power

By: Christine Morabito – August, 2013

In the words of the late Woody Guthrie, “Some men rob you with a six-gun – others rob you with a fountain pen.”

The most powerful politicians in Massachusetts don’t work for us — they work for the labor unions. Our lawmakers sold their souls to organized labor, and now they have come to collect. While our public servants think nothing of breaking promises to their constituents, union bosses must be satisfied at all costs. Why? Because, without unions, some politicians won’t get reelected.

Unlike private sector unions, which operate by negotiating with profitable companies, public sector unions enrich themselves by raising our taxes. In return for money taken from the public treasury, unions reward politicians with campaign funding, grassroots volunteers and ultimately, votes. Hence, organized labor rarely meets a tax increase it doesn’t wholeheartedly support.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, hard-working taxpayers brace ourselves for $500 million in new taxes; feeling like battered women, constantly promised that our politicians truly care about the middle class and that they really don’t mean to hurt us, yet they keep doing so over and over and over again.

It is common knowledge that liberals in this state have an intimate relationship with labor. Unions comprise the largest group of delegates at any Democratic convention and union money goes overwhelmingly to the Left.  Nevertheless, I still find it shocking when politicians announce their solidarity proudly and publicly, as was the case at the Democratic Party Issues Convention in Lowell a few weeks ago.

In addition to the predictable stumping for wealth redistribution, social justice and climate control, the speeches contained many promises of union gifts like paid sick leave for all and raising the minimum wage – things that will devastate small businesses and put many regular folks out of work. Governor, Deval Patrick praised grassroots Democrats, saying, “Because of you, labor has a seat at the table.” Really? Seems to me they own the table, and the chairs and the men and women who built the table. Not to be outdone, State Senator and gubernatorial candidate, Dan Wolf, opined, “Let’s be the party that not only helps organized labor – Let’s be the party that helps labor organize.” Again, I think they’ve got that covered.

State and city managers in Massachusetts, as elsewhere, are being forced to admit that promises have been made to these special interest groups that our governments cannot possibly keep. The enormously generous pensions, health care and other benefit packages amount to unfunded liabilities so unsustainable, they threaten to bankrupt our cities and our state. When low-skilled toll collectors make close to $100,000 a year not including benefits, and 631 transportation staffers earn $100,000 or more in salary and overtime, some able to retire in their 40’s with free health care for life, we have a serious wealth disparity between public employees and those in the private sector.  Charles Chieppo’s Op-Ed in the Boston Globe (December 09, 2012) stated it perfectly: “Organized labor is the ultimate 1 Percenter and the rest of us are Occupiers.”

Some Democrats get it; the smart and ethical lawmakers, who, even though their jobs may be in jeopardy, stand by their promise to serve the public interest, not one protected class. Mayor, James Fiorentini, of Haverhill is one such public servant. Faced with the largest municipal debt in Massachusetts history, he stood up to union bullying, rejected labor’s unreasonable demands and obtained reasonable concessions on health care. Jeffrey C. Riley, Lawrence Superintendent/Receiver, should be commended for speaking truth to power and not kneeling at the altar of the Lawrence Teachers Union. Riley was quoted in another paper saying, “I cannot allow for ideology to get in the way of making the progress we need to turn around the district.” When unions refuse to make concessions, they, in essence, hold the people hostage. It’s a taxpayer shakedown, and it’s wrong.

Someone who doesn’t get it? Governor Deval Patrick, who chooses to hide behind the union label, championing budget busters like the Pacheco Law, prevailing wage and independent contractor laws, which eliminate competition from private, non-union workers, raise the cost of public works projects and discourage job growth and entrepreneurship. Cost effectiveness is apparently not something his administration worries much about. They just make budget shortfalls the taxpayers’ problem, as evidenced by the soul- crushing and relentless tax increases. So much for shared sacrifice.

Related Articles:

Unions are the 1-percenters in Massachusetts

The outrageous salaries and payouts to public sector employees in Massachusetts

Labor’s Coming Class War

Relations Strained

George Will: End taxpayer funding of union salaries 

MBTA mustn’t be a gravy train

Christine Morabito

Christine Morabito

Christine Morabito is a psychiatric nurse, a resident of Haverhill, president of Protect Our Vote New England and the former president of the Greater Boston Tea Party. You can email Christine christine.morabito@hotmail.com

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3 Responses to A Rising Union Fist Raises all Taxes

  1. Mike Reply

    August 14, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    I was asked recently how I can rectify my espoused constitutional-libertarianism with my union activity (I’m on the Board of the Massachusetts Nurses Association) and I guess I sort of rectify it this way; I am a nurse, a profession that has always been dominated by women and in a patriarchal profession, often rendered nurses powerless.. Aside from the obvious changes in gender equity, the professionalization of nursing and the changes in technology, the role remains one of caregiver and patient advocate.

    That said, women and women dominated professions even now, undeniably remain relatively powerless. Unlike independent practitioners like physicians, who can dictate their working conditions and wages, a nurse is for the most part dependant on health care institutions and the health care industry’s benevolence. MDs on the other hand, as independent practitioners, are in a position to negotiate their wages and working conditions and how they care for patients. You are a nurse Christine, you know what I am talking about…

    In my view, its about patient care first. A nurse cannot truly advocate for their patients without concerns of retribution and the only way a nurse can safely advocate or speak out without simply being fired, is to organize. A lone nurse (in a non union hospital) simply cannot do that, despite the appearances that the industry likes to put on, a lone nurse speaking out gets canned. I’ve seen it dozens of times in my career. On the other hand, a bunch of organized nurses making sensible arguments about unsafe staffing or dangerous practices gets listened to.

    I get the anti-union anger, unions have been their own worst enemy over the last many years. In addition to patient advocacy, that is partially why I got involved; to help bring true democracy and the voice of the members to the union.

    Even within the philosophical confines of my own belief system, I think there is a place for unions. What there is no place for is ill-informed fear mongering.. and making out all unions into the bogey-man for political or financial gain.

    Michael Savoy RN BSN
    MNA Board of Directors, At Large, Labor
    BWH Negotiating Committee
    Emergency Department
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital

  2. Christine Morabito Reply

    August 29, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Michael,
    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your concern about speaking out. However, I do not agree that as nurses, our only recourse is to organize. I have belonged to unions that did nothing for their members except collect their exorbitant dues and use those funds to elect public officals, whom I would never support. I have also been intimidated by union bosses on more than one occasion. In Florida, which is a right to work state, I watched union officials attempt to pit union and non-union employees against each other to bully employees into joining the union.
    I believe that in most cases, if you approach management in a respectful way regarding an issue, you have a good chance of being listened to. The same applies for compensation. When there is a union involved, you get the same wage increase as the nurse who does the bare minimum and/or calls out sick the maximum time allowed. I believe that if you are a good employee and have a good relationship with your superiors and coworkers, you have little to worry about. I do not buy into the union fear tactics that pit management against employee and set themselves up as the superhero.

  3. Christine Morabito Reply

    August 31, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    “The union bosses that coordinate union violence virtually never face justice because of an outrageous loophole in the Hobbs anti-extortion law.”
    http://www.righttoworkcommittee.org/ldfuva1.aspx?pid=2a

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