4/27/08

SEIU: Get somebody else to pay for it

Related story: "SEIU to rebate dues extorted from non-members"

Public Unions are Public Enemy #1

Late last month, a federal judge ordered the state's largest public employee union, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, to repay as many as 28,000 non-union state workers, who were not given a change to challenge the union's 2005 dues increase to fight the Governor's slate of reform measures (the unions were not excited by the measures which, if they had passed, would have averted the fiscal crisis we find ourselves in today).

It's a bit convoluted, the process by which non-union members can get stiffed with a union fee, but the real issue here is that this decision by Judge Morrisson England, is so after-the-fact so as to be almost laughable if it wasn't tragic. Yeah, it's morally right that the SEIU thug-bosses have to go back (under the Judge's orders) and ask these state employees if they object to the assessment, and if so, refund them each around $135 plus interest.

But the point is that the damage is done.

We caught up with Lew Uhler, President of the National Tax Limitation Committee. We sought him out because he has long been a leader both here in California and nationally on this issue of unions taking money out of employee paychecks for political purposes, without the express consent of the employee.

Uhler told me, "The decision regarding a special assessment of public employee union dues for political purposes, while a big win for free speech is a day late and a dollar short."

About $3 Million was collected from 28,000 public employees and spent to defeat Proposition 75 and other initiatives in 2005, without the consent of the employees.

Uhler went on to say, "A refund now is like closing the barn door after the horse has exited. What California needs is a rule that blocks unions from taking political dues from unwilling employees before the damage is done. Objecting public employees are not the only ones harmed by the abuse of union political dues. Taxpayers must foot the bill for collecting and delivering these dues to the unions by virtue of the administrative costs borne by the State's Controller's Office. Taxpayers are unwitting accomplices in denying freedom of speech to objecting public employees."

There is no doubt that something needs to be done about this outrageous situation. The reality is that California state government is in serious need of reforms -- many of which would be mightily opposes by public employee unions (a prime example would be the need to reform our state public employee pension system to more closely mirror that of the private sector, where the employer puts aside a certain amount of money each year into a retirement fund for the employee, such as 401k plans. The current system of defined benefits is too lavish for taxpayers to afford).

As long as these public employee unions can dip so heavily into the pockets of their members without even asking for permission, they will always have countless millions to use to mislead voters and stop meaningful reforms.

(flashreport.org)

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