Government Unions, No Wonder Were Broke
Obama has been unwilling to stop any union so far from taking over control of businesses. Does anyone really think he will do something to demand accountability from public employee unions? Would you believe that he has actually instead ,issued orders that require greater Union representation and input into federal agency decision-making. These decisions will insure the unions will escape accountability and an honest review of benefits, salary, and pensions of government employees. Congress will never have the courage to do anything as usual.
Now is the time to send a message from the people. I seriously doubt that Obama, like many Americans including me until this week, were aware that the federal government actually subsidizes federal government employee union operations. The federal government provides free office space, pays for union member time and picks up travel and per diem costs. These costs are a tax that has never been revealed to the taxpayers–costs that function without Congressional oversight and well hidden from of the IRS. Why would the IRS care, they are part of the problem!
Federal employees alone currently spend 2.9 million official work hours, at government expense, engaging in union activities, at a cost of approximately $120 million. I am certain that the actual costs and subsidies to public unions is at least double this number. The government has never been able to account for anything with precision. When you have lawyers and accountants in tandem to produce all numbers, what do you expect?
Government unions are a business within the federal government and taxpayer money should never be used to support any union. At least unions in the private sector pay for the majority of union activities. Remember private sector union members pay dues to the union to operate. Union officials are also paid with union funds and union paid pensions.
Before this week, I was unaware that different unions exist in our federal agencies. Most agencies have several different unions competing for their employee participation and funding. Were you aware that federal agencies are subsidizing the costs for several different unions at the same time? I was not.
Federal union representatives have a large presence in Washington. But, most federal locations throughout the United States also have a union representatives there. So multiple government agencies will have multiple federal union representatives, at least one from each federal union, within a federal building location.
Federal union representatives are all federal employees. They hold GS ranks, civil service status, and supposedly have federal jobs to perform. Their union duties are to be performed over and above their regular day job. “Paid time off from regular government duties is allowed, in most federal agencies, for the union representative to solicit federal employees (i.e. market services), to attend union meetings (i.e. work for an entity other than their government employer) or travel to have “face time” with their union bosses in DC. All at taxpayer expense”.
Union representatives often are provided with office space that is more expansive than is allowed by their GS rank or than their federal job duties require.”The cost of this additional square footage is also paid for by the American taxpayer, and is paid for at each federal agency, for each federal union representative, for each federal union. Federal government union representatives total thousands of federal employees, all billing their time, travel and per diem, for non-government related work, to the American taxpayer”.
“Perhaps an even bigger problem is that the federal government union representatives sometimes seem to operate under the mistaken belief that they were hired by the government to work for the union—and that union work is more important than the federal job they were hired to perform”.
“Unions seem, at best, indifferent to the performance of government and are exclusively concerned with pay and benefits of union workers. Therein lies another irony for the American taxpayer. Unions are organized to negotiate against employers, but, since the federal government is the employer, and since the American people pay for the federal government, then, technically, federal government employee unions might be construed as organizing against the American people”.
Another thing in the news this week about the Federal Retirement Program was disturbing to me. Federal employees retirement pensions are based on the best two years out of the last five years they work. Some and probably most are smart enough to learn how to pad these two years with accrued benefits they can amass earlier. Saving up vacation time is one way and compensation for accrued comp time is another. The easiest is that most, because of tenure, can arrange enough crisis to demand more overtime in these twilight years.
If someone does not stop the spending the only place the young people will be able to find a job is working for the government. Industry that is still here today will eventually be regulated out of business. The government will be the only source of pensions. Where else can you retire at 60 or less with retirement packages that likely represent 75% of what you were paid when working?
Special thanks to Lurita Doan who I have quoted and her article that motivated me to share some facts.