Do Union Rights = Civil Rights?


With all that has been happening in Wisconsin the last few weeks, I have heard a LOT of things, the question I pose to you is the subject of this discourse.

                I have read a good amount about the Civil Rights Marches of the south, and the men involved with making sure that EVERY man and woman being allowed to have the same rights no matter the color of their skin.

Now to look at the rights of Union members, I have to look at what the unions used to mean and work towards. The unions used to work for the betterment of the men and women that worked hard jobs in dangerous conditions.

The purpose of the Unions as well as the Civil Rights movements seems to have been similar in that they worked for the betterment of men and women. So what are the differences of these two groups?

Civil Rights – these groups worked to be able to have the blacks and others of ethnic differences would be allotted the same rights as white people in the United States, ok, since we are a republic that is the “grand experiment” even though these men and women of color were not recognized or respected by the greater parts of the world does not play into this, it was the rights of these men and women in this Nation. This Nation afforded them the opportunity to voice their opinions.

This Nation has a great history in helping and allowing for those that have different opinions to gather their forces to fight for a common goal, hence we come to the Union history.

From Wikipedia;

The labor history of the United States describes the history of organized labor, as well as the more general history of working people, in the United States. Pressures dictating the nature and power of organized labor have included the evolution and power of the corporation, efforts by employers and private agencies to limit or control unions, and U.S. labor law. As a response, organized unions and labor federations have competed, evolved, merged, and split against a backdrop of changing social philosophies and periodic federal intervention.

As much as I am not a Union supporter now, I have been in Unions, forced to be in Unions to be exact, in able to work at the place’s I got a job I had to join the union to keep the job.

If I had a choice to either join or not, I probably wouldn’t have joined, even if I would have had to take a lower wage because of it, I have a problem with paying them to take care of my “rights” and they automatically get a percent of my paycheck, they didn’t work for that money I did, and if you say that they protected me, think again, to enforce my “rights” from my former employer there had to be a Class action lawsuit to “prove” that I and others deserved the wages we had been shorted, we had taken this issue to the Union and they stated they could not help us, it was the rules for the employment.

I know many people in unions that tell me and post online many times in the last few days that they are fighting for their livelihood; that they are working for the middle class; that this will hurt the kids; along with all the other malarkey I have heard in the last weeks.

The Union Elite have made it their goal to not lose the money that the State has been paying directly to them from the Union Members paychecks!

What is that amount? I have no idea, I don’t know each persons amount of the Union Dues, but obviously the Governor as well as the people that helped him draft this bill know and they stated that the amount they would need to pay for their pensions and the increase in their health care would be little more than their current pay to the Unions… that leads to another issue, how much have they been charging their members for their Union Dues? I know my Union dues were in the area of $30/ week, and I also know from others I know that the level I was paying was WAY below the current rates the Unions make.

So why are all these people so upset? Because they are being told by their Unions that they are being attacked, and that the Government is coming after their “civil rights”, I told my son the other night I have not seen a Union member hanging in a tree just because he or she was a Union Member, the right to collect in one location as well as to belong to a Union is protected, they are not told that they can not be in a Union, The State of WI just says that they will not be paying the Unions directly any longer.

If you want to be in the Union then fine, pay them, personally if I was a State Employee, I would open negotiations with the Unions to ask them this simple question; “What have you done for me lately?” mind you these same people are the ones that just 2 weeks ago told the Governor through the “absent 14 Senators” that they would not negotiate about the collective bargaining, they want to be able to DEMAND a better wage, hours and basically shaft the People of the State of WI.

Those 14 Senators that decided that they would be the puppets to the SEIU, and told the Governor no matter what you do we wont come back, they told him with their actions that the Governor could lay off State Employee’s, he was going to lay off 1500 people, the pink slips went out, so obviously it was ok to lose the few, oh did I forget to mention even if those people were laid off they would still collect unemployment, and out of that unemployment they would still have to pay their union dues… so it didn’t matter to the Union they would be getting their money no matter what.

I don’t agree with the Governor doing what he did, since he did say that this was a financial issue, but in all honesty I didn’t understand how it had to be a quorum since he wasn’t spending money, guess we were right he didn’t need all the Senators to save the State money, then again the 14 that ran had said it wasn’t a budget issue, so hey save the money for the Wisconsin taxpayer that sounds cool.

I am not talking bad about the workers for the State of WI, I am talking about the shady past and present of the Unions today.

In case you haven’t heard of the cases of the teachers in Green Bay; Under the Green Bay School District’s collectively bargained Emeritus Program, teaches can retire and receive a year’s worth of salary for working only 30 days over a three year period.  This is paid in addition to their already guaranteed pension and health care payouts.

At the average annual salary for a Green Bay teacher of $51,355, this amounts to a daily rate of pay of $1,711.83, or an hourly rate of $213.98.  Since most retiring teachers receive higher than average salary, these amounts are, in practice, much higher.

Source: WLUK-TV, 3/3/11

But I also have heard about correction officers that have signed up for 2 shifts, call in for the first shift and get paid time and a half for the second shift, and this is sanctioned by the Union, actually have it in their contract with the State.

How is that ok? That is fraud and it is sanctioned, because the Union says they can.

Is it any wonder that the Governor says that they can no longer negotiate on anything except their wages?

Here is a little about what could have been collectively bargained about before Gov. Walker signed his bill;

Governor Walker’s office released additional examples of how collective bargaining impacts government and how reforming collective bargaining can improve government.  The following are some of the items contained in collective bargaining provisions:

1.        Employer must provide bulletin boards to post information about union social and recreational activities.  The size and location of the board is subject to collective bargaining.

2.     When a local union meets the following conditions are subject to bargaining:

1. lighting,

2. vision care and examinations,

3. noise,

4. chairs,

5. desks,

6. footrests,

7. adjustable terminals and keyboards,

8. work environment design (wall cover, carpet, windows),

9. room temperature,

3.        Starting of vehicles during cold weather is subject to collective bargaining.

4.        Paid time off to donate blood.

I know that the laws we have in this country protect most people well when it comes to wages, as well as their safety while on the job.

Personally when I give blood I do that on my own time, always have probably always will. As for desks and chairs, if we need special accommodations at my job we get them, all we need to do is ask, if it causes a person pain then they only need to say something and most employers will work with you to make sure that it is taken care of. I have yet to find an employer say no when I have needed something for me to do my job better.

For those of you in a Union, or are mad at me for saying what I am saying, I think you need to think about this little fact: population of WI over 5 MILLION people of that there are probably 3 million adults, of those there are only 9% of those adults that are in a Union, not State Employee Union, that is the number for the ENTIRE STATE, so even if it were 10%, that would only be 300,000, the rally today only had between 85k – 100k, so where were the rest of the Union Employees? Better yet who were those people that were attending in Madison Today? Where they all Wisconsin Taxpayers? How about registered voters?

The Unions are not having a very good showing for being represented, we had an election last November, funny that then campaigning County Exec for Milw. County stated that we needed to turn this State around, we voted for him to be a fiscal maverick that he is showing he is up for the job he was elected to do.

As for giving businesses tax breaks, lets really look at what it involved, could it be that they have lower taxes but they HAVE to employee more people? Does anyone read the news in this State anymore? We have at least 2 major companies coming to WI, just since Walker was elected in November, they came because of the tax breaks they are being given but they have to employ so many people to be able to get those tax breaks.

Before you slam a law, make sure you read the entire thing, this is a suggestion for the Senators that seem to think that they are above the rules of law and even above the rules for their jobs, had I have left my job for 3 weeks it would not be there when I decided to return, and I sure wouldn’t be a hero. I would be ousted the first week I was gone.

No matter if you are in a Union or not, no matter your feelings about the Unions, in my opinion union rights are not Civil Rights.

  1. March 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Excellent writing. I completely disagree with your opinion, but you put it forth well.

    • March 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you for the compliment, and for having an open mind

  2. March 14, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Excellent post. I am continuously checking this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info, specifically the last bit of information was very helpful. I was looking for this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

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