Big government, Big Labor the same thing

posted at 11:36 am on November 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

At least this explains why Andy Stern spends so much time at the White House.  The Heritage Foundation looks at union penetration in the private and public sectors and finds that the government’s where it’s at, baby.  While labor unions have more trouble getting workers to organize at private firms, government workers now comprise more than half of all union members in the country:

Who do the words “union members” bring to mind? United Auto Workers building cars in Detroit? Teamsters truckers hauling freight? Steel workers in Pennsylvania?

Not any more. Newly released numbers show that the actual face of today’s union movement is the teller at your local Department of Motorized Vehicles.

Preliminary estimates of union membership this year show that most union members now work for the government. The overall unionization rate between January and September 2009 stood at 12.4%, unchanged from last year. However, this difference masks a large difference between unions in the private and public sectors.

Union membership has fallen to 7.3% of private sector workers – the lowest rate since Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act into law. But it is a completely different story in the public sector: 37.6% of government employees belong to unions, up almost a percentage point since last year. Those 7.9 million unionized government employees are 51% of all union members nationwide. Most union members today now work for Uncle Sam.

That gives us two unofficial parties pushing for big government — Democrats and the labor movement.  As Heritage notes, this evolution has serious political consequences.  It makes labor a partner to statists looking to expand the role of government in order to maximize the hiring potential, not because larger government benefits the nation.  It presents a pressure point for inexorable trends towards greater government control and greater loss of individual liberty, even without the collectivist approach of unions in general.

As Heritage notes, it also turns union management into tax-hike advocates.  On the West Coast, unions are pushing for big tax hikes and fighting politicians opposed to them.  None of the tax hikes have anything directly to do with labor issues or even government hiring.  However, reductions in revenue would force states to start shedding jobs — which are union jobs, of course.  They want greater tax hikes to keep those people employed, rather than force states to reconsider big-government bureaucracies and look for efficiencies.

When Obama told the SEIU he wanted to paint the nation purple, this is exactly what he had in mind.  The union movement has become completely co-opted by the nanny-state movement.


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Seems like they are painting it red to me.

SouthernGent on November 13, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Obama + Stern is really a very frightening alliance.

jwolf on November 13, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Seems like they are painting it red to me.

SouthernGent on November 13, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Too obvious… and/or too much association with the Bloods…

Otherwise, right on target.

I never thought I’d see such a rise of socialist punks in my time and certainly not in my United States.

Skywise on November 13, 2009 at 11:40 AM

I agree. The biggest threat will be the unions. That is where teaparty focus should be.

Cap-and-Trade will not be major. It’s too ridiculous to raise energy prices in this environment. It will be toothless.

But I would definitely watch the unions. If EFCA passes, it will be really a game-changer.

AnninCA on November 13, 2009 at 11:41 AM

You can bet every ‘green job’ created will be a union job with management in handcuffs.

By 2012, this country will be littered with businesses so attached to the government teat they will never be able to go fully private.

cntrlfrk on November 13, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Look for…
the union label…

And put the item back on the shelf and buy something else.

UltimateBob on November 13, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Printing your own money is fun…!

Seven Percent Solution on November 13, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Public service union collective bargaining = extortion of taxpayers

Count to 10 on November 13, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Purple Rain…….

BigMike252 on November 13, 2009 at 11:45 AM

That’s why Toronto was crippled this summer – CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) was striking and refused to pick up the trash, operate the ferries, or open gov’t run daycare. They ended up getting their way (bankable sick days).

CityFish on November 13, 2009 at 11:45 AM

This is BHO’s private army.

ttime500 on November 13, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Dark times comming. I am ready to lay my corpse next to the bodies of so many patriots who fell fighting tyrants such as those trying to strangle liberty in this country.

I hope I am worthy to be counted amongst those honored dead.

The Ronin Edge on November 13, 2009 at 11:43 AM

‘Yer doin it wrong. . .

according to Patton:

No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.

Jason Coleman on November 13, 2009 at 11:49 AM

Do did they classify the GM and Chrysler workers as “public” or “private”?

Jason Coleman on November 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM

This is BHO’s private army.

ttime500 on November 13, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Anyone willing to bet that a majority of SEIU members would NOT ethusiastically accept badges, guns, and orders of “Round up the usual suspects?”

JamesLee on November 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM

The actual face of today’s union movement is the teller at your local Department of Motorized Vehicles.

Coming soon to a Doctor’s office near you!

Juno77 on November 13, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Why public employees are allowed to unionize is beyond me. The unltimate source of their paychecks do not come from voluntary sources. I Believe Gov Mitch Daniels of IN canned the public unions upon taking office.

WashJeff on November 13, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Unions. When one absolutely, positively wants their country destroyed over night!

capejasmine on November 13, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Yes, and what is the average wage of the nouveau-SEIU union worker compared to a UAW worker? I think you’ll find it’s the difference between a janitor’s wage and someone on the assembly line.

From the union perspective, SEIU is really a big step backward in terms of wages. There is a big schism in the union movement, between the AFL-CIO and SEIU.

We need to stoke the civil war taking place in the union movement.

EMD on November 13, 2009 at 11:55 AM

As Heritage notes, it also turns union management into tax-hike advocates. On the West Coast, unions are pushing for big tax hikes and fighting politicians opposed to them. None of the tax hikes have anything directly to do with labor issues or even government hiring. However, reductions in revenue would force states to start shedding jobs — which are union jobs, of course. They want greater tax hikes to keep those people employed, rather than force states to reconsider big-government bureaucracies and look for efficiencies.

Which is further evidence that porkulus was one giant payoff. The problem is the federal government can’t spend a trillion bucks every year buying off the unions. Eventually the states will have to cut a lot of these jobs in order to avoid bankruptcy.

Doughboy on November 13, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Here comes the Republic of Socialist Unions, led by the bought-and-paid-for Traitor-in-Chief.

Impeachment and indictments are needed to stop Osama Obama, Stern and their grand-scale thuggery.

MrScribbler on November 13, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Why in the hell do Government employees even need a union? To protect them from the protectors?

The Government employees are slowly bringing the day when they will be paying most of the taxes that pay their own salaries as the private sector continues to shrink. Talk about being a slave.

AScott on November 13, 2009 at 11:59 AM

It is worse than described above.
With the Democrats in power and pushing Unions that means Government workers who belong to unions are more likely to get a pay raise and increase in benefits package to keep them voting for Democrats.

When was the last time anybody did a Govt. worker vs. private worker pay and benefits comparison?

Do not fully understand why Govt. workers need a union.
AND Why can`t military personnel unionize???

albill on November 13, 2009 at 12:03 PM

From collective bargaining to collective bribery.

fourdeucer on November 13, 2009 at 12:04 PM

From Boss Tweed to Boss Twit. Every time I hear Obama rail against special interests I hope that one day, SOME DAY, the media will expose his obvious preference for some special interests over others. It all depends on their ideology.

but I suppose Unions aren’t special interest groups like business?

Daemonocracy on November 13, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Barry is the media’s love child.

SEIU is Barry’s love child.

The American taxpayer is the bank.

The Constitution is the marriage license.

The government is the parents.

ACORN is the pervert neighbor who is coaxing the children into the garage to perform fellatio.

Griz on November 13, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Dark times coming. I am ready to lay my corpse next to the bodies of so many patriots who fell fighting tyrants such as those trying to strangle liberty in this country.
I hope I am worthy to be counted amongst those honored dead.
The Ronin Edge on November 13, 2009 at 11:43 AM

No offense, but don’t be so negative, people are starting to wake up to what the Statist Democrats are trying to do to this country.

The Statists will be considered certifiably insane if the think they can disarm 100+ Million guns owners – all at once!

They won’t – at least not until that’s a last resort.


“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
Sun Tzu

Get out there and speak out (yes I know you’re doing that now, but you get my point)

Encourage others to get involved – get others to arm up and stock up.

Who knows how many have gone out and bought firearms for the first time in their lives.

Think of everyone you get involved and get armed as a vote against tyranny.

Juno77 on November 13, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Quick union story. I was a Special Agent for US Customs (no union allowed) and had a case of drug smuggling through a port of entry. The Customs Inspector (Union) who physically found the dope wrote his report in pink ink, completely illegible, and with 3rd grade grammar and then went home from his shift. When I got the report from his supervisor (not union), I told him I needed this guy to get back here, pronto and rewrite the report or else we wouldn’t be able to prosecute the guy. The sup refused on the grounds that the union would freak out, so I had to call this shithead up and order him to come back to work and do his job. Of course, afterward I caught a bunch of shit from my supervisors (who got an earful from the union rep).

Froggy on November 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Yes, SEIU has been “engulf-and-devouring” small govt. employee associations like candies. You just now noticing?

mojo on November 13, 2009 at 12:15 PM

Big government, Big Labor the same thing

And as Beck points out…

Global Labor, global government the same thing.

Did I hear SEIU and ACORN are globalizing? Will their intersection with government be at the UN?

petefrt on November 13, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Thanks to JFK, who traded unionizing govt employees for AFL/CIO support in 1960. Another Dem clusterfrak.

Akzed on November 13, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Imagine if Al Capone had served two terms as mayor of Chicago then was elected President. . . .

Skandia Recluse on November 13, 2009 at 12:21 PM

The SEIU is an unskilled labor union. There’s literally no reason for it’s existence. Each SEUI worker can easily be replaced by someone off the streets. In fact, I propose that we replace all of them with illegal immigrants!

The SEIU is nothing but a thug “muscle” organization. They and Obama are a perfect fit.

OxyCon on November 13, 2009 at 12:22 PM

SEIU and ACORN are the “civilian force” that B.O. said he wanted to have in place. Just as big, just as strong and well funded as our Military.

/Freakout!

Key West Reader on November 13, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Someone please explain to me why a government worker needs ‘the protection’ of a labor union. Doesn’t the government follow rules and regulations regarding workers? So what does the labor union offer that would not be obtained for these workers otherwise?

maryo on November 13, 2009 at 12:29 PM

The Vogons are eating us alive.

forest on November 13, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Someone please explain to me why a government worker needs ‘the protection’ of a labor union. Doesn’t the government follow rules and regulations regarding workers? So what does the labor union offer that would not be obtained for these workers otherwise?

maryo on November 13, 2009 at 12:29 PM

No, no. It is the payoff that elected officials get that they would not otherwise.

Aviator on November 13, 2009 at 12:45 PM

The California Tea Party Patriots have launched an initiative for the 2010 ballot that would outlaw political contributions by public employee unions. This is where it must start.

Unplug The Political Machine

rockmom on November 13, 2009 at 12:48 PM

This may be the most important thread Hot Air has ever posted
regarding as to why there is an inextricable expansion of government and increased taxation.

rickyricardo on November 13, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Obama and unions are cancers that must be removed.

BuckeyeSam on November 13, 2009 at 12:50 PM

I despise unions. I try to avoid anything that is union produced. But, that said, how do I know if the SEIU thugs have there filthy unions hands on a certain item I wanna purchase?

Andy in Agoura Hills on November 13, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Someone please explain to me why a government worker needs ‘the protection’ of a labor union. Doesn’t the government follow rules and regulations regarding workers? So what does the labor union offer that would not be obtained for these workers otherwise?

maryo on November 13, 2009 at 12:29 PM

My husband is a New Jersey state worker whose division is not unionized. As a result, job titles, salaries, and classifications are all over the place. He earns more than some colleagues who have been there 15+ years, and some people with less experience than him make more than he does (and about half of what he could potentially earn in a similar private-sector job.) Collective bargaining does provide some order and rationality to job classifications and salaries, and defined cost-of-living increases and health benefits.

The problem is not unionization per se, it is the forced collection of public employee union dues for political contributions, all of which go to Democrats who will support bigger government, higher salaries and benefits for public employees, etc. at the expense of taxpayers.

rockmom on November 13, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Did anyone ever hear of a Closed Shop? An Agency Shop? The states are to blame. They allow the unions to coherse the workers and take their money whether they want to join or not.

Mr. Grump on November 13, 2009 at 12:59 PM

I can only get out of my union in a one week window each year, with the paperwork done flawlessly. Come March, it’s happening. I’ve ranted about it before, not going to work myself up today.

bikermailman on November 13, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Big government, Big Labor and Goldman Sachs, the same thing

MB4 on November 13, 2009 at 1:06 PM

It’s always struck me as odd that the same people who think the Bush Administration organized 9-11 will look at you like you’ve got two heads if you suggest that public sector employees’ unions contribute to Democrats so they’ll grow the government (more union jobs -> more donated campaign time -> more Democrats in office -> more union jobs, etc.).

That, they say, is just too crazy an idea.

DrSteve on November 13, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Quick union story. I was a Special Agent for US Customs (no union allowed) and had a case of drug smuggling through a port of entry. The Customs Inspector (Union) who physically found the dope wrote his report in pink ink, completely illegible, and with 3rd grade grammar and then went home from his shift. When I got the report from his supervisor (not union), I told him I needed this guy to get back here, pronto and rewrite the report or else we wouldn’t be able to prosecute the guy. The sup refused on the grounds that the union would freak out, so I had to call this shithead up and order him to come back to work and do his job. Of course, afterward I caught a bunch of shit from my supervisors (who got an earful from the union rep).

Froggy on November 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Sounds like something that would take place on that cop show The Wire. As liberal as the creator may be, he pulled no punches when it came to bureaucratic incompetence.

Daemonocracy on November 13, 2009 at 1:24 PM

The unions drove the private sector into the crapper, so I guess they are moving on to destroy another sector. Does the PO mean anything to anyone?

jbh45 on November 13, 2009 at 1:25 PM

Union Boss Maid Barack.

max1 on November 13, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Unplug The Political Machine

rockmom on November 13, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Let’s be sure to add this to the post 2012 agenda.

petefrt on November 13, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Here in WA the State Worker’s Union underwrote the re-re-recount that got our governor elected her first time and then she turned around and made union membership mandatory for all state workers.

[I learned about this on Fox News because the local media never mentioned it.]

29Victor on November 13, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Union membership has fallen to 7.3% of private sector workers – the lowest rate since Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act into law. But it is a completely different story in the public sector: 37.6% of government employees belong to unions, up almost a percentage point since last year. Those 7.9 million unionized government employees are 51% of all union members nationwide. Most union members today now work for Uncle Sam.

These facts cannot be understated. Most taxpayers wonder why budgets cannot be cut and why public employees have such generous pensions. This is why.

Obama’s ties to labor are open and notorious. More disturbing, look at NY-23 and a credible argument can be made that the Republican Party is likely as beholden to unions and big government as the Democrats. I’m not arguing for a third party, but I honestly hope that conservatives open their eyes to the possibility that the Republican party has been compromised along with conservative principles.

Angry Dumbo on November 13, 2009 at 1:44 PM

The California Tea Party Patriots have launched an initiative for the 2010 ballot that would outlaw political contributions by public employee unions. This is where it must start.

Unplug The Political Machine

rockmom on November 13, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Unfortunately, they would still be able to run TV ads.
They should try for a preposition that would outlaw public service employees bargaining collectively.

Count to 10 on November 13, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Andy Stern needs to meet the same end as August Spies. One union thug needs to emulate the other.

PimFortuynsGhost on November 13, 2009 at 1:58 PM

More dreaming here:
The government-worker unions, at all levels, are one of our largest economic problems. The dream is that the cities, counties, and states that have made outrageous deals with government-worker unions immediately negotiate much lower retirement benefits OR go bankrupt, so as to wipe out those unjustified retirements programs altogether.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 13, 2009 at 2:26 PM

My daughter is in the play Alice in Wonderland… I feel like we have slipped down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass… painting the roses red…. Off with their heads!

petunia on November 13, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Not all states allow public sector unions. And with this sort of misbehavior, it’s possible that fewer will in the future.

cthulhu on November 13, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Ed,
I can’t beleive you didn’t link to this NRO story in this article, it’s a natural fit. Possibly the best single story I’ve come upon outlining the Stern/SEIU and the Obama White House agenda. With an added twist on why the progressive-led DNC is so adamant in pushing healthcare “reform”.

This article is a must read to understand both the in the tenches tactics employed, and the long-term strategy for our dystopian nightmare to follow. Its worth an “update”, but for the sake of the commenters, here is the link;

http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=ZGFmMDY4NzdkMmIwZTQ1MzU2ZDA4NGZhNzJlNGU2MTE=

Archimedes on November 13, 2009 at 3:13 PM

That gives us two unofficial parties pushing for big government — Democrats and the labor movement.

Don’t forget the un-unionized part of the vast federal bureacracy.

misterpeasea on November 13, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Obamas thugs… Try and pound my ass you sorry sacks o’ crap.
Please…

Army Brat on November 13, 2009 at 3:27 PM

No offense, but don’t be so negative, people are starting to wake up to what the Statist Democrats are trying to do to this country.

The Statists will be considered certifiably insane if the think they can disarm 100+ Million guns owners – all at once!

They won’t – at least not until that’s a last resort

This, is provided they actually allow free and fair elections in ’10 & ’12! If you but take a moment to review who they’ve cozied up to abroad and there allies here and who they proclaim to admire/idolize, Chavez, Zelaya, Achmedinejad, Putin, Mao, Castro, basically the who’s who in the tyranny sweepstakes. If mimicry is the highest form of flattery, then what should one expect from the likes of those that sing the praises of this cast of characters?

While the outbreak of participatory involvement of the electorate is heartening, the question to me, remains if they will be permitted to fully exercise it in ’10 or ’12. The shenanigans of ’08 I think have yet to be fully explored, and with Holder at the DOJ will probablyremain that way. The dismissal of the New Black Panthers case, after they’d be convicted I might add, is a case in point.

The motivation for even more underhanded mischief, can be assumed by the way they have been heedless of their constituents in regards to the stim pkg & the Healthcare bill. Not to mention the backlash felt from NJ & VA in ’09. And NY-23 isn’t over just yet.

Archimedes on November 13, 2009 at 3:31 PM

I’m always amazed this issue gets so little attention from the media and from Hot Air readers. The seriousness of the issue should generate far more outrage than the paltry number of comments to this post suggests.

uncalheels on November 13, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Does anyone have data on the percentage of unionized State workers in California? From some conversations I’ve had there seems to be an SEIU lock on many city/county/state jobs.
I wouldn’t be surprized if CA was at or near saturation.

mad scientist on November 13, 2009 at 4:31 PM

They told me Barry Soetoro was the great uniter.
They were right.
“In so many ways.”

Blacksmith8 on November 13, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Unions are trying to organize healthcare workers, that is their focus right now.

njpat on November 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM

My husband is a New Jersey state worker whose division is not unionized. As a result, job titles, salaries, and classifications are all over the place. He earns more than some colleagues who have been there 15+ years, and some people with less experience than him make more than he does (and about half of what he could potentially earn in a similar private-sector job.) Collective bargaining does provide some order and rationality to job classifications and salaries, and defined cost-of-living increases and health benefits.

The problem is not unionization per se, it is the forced collection of public employee union dues for political contributions, all of which go to Democrats who will support bigger government, higher salaries and benefits for public employees, etc. at the expense of taxpayers.

rockmom on November 13, 2009 at 12:55 PM

I’ve been a classification analyst for the state of NJ and what you are saying should NOT be the case. Classification, and titles have nothing to do with whether or not you are in a union, they have to do with the functions of the position that you are performing. Salaries may differ b/c unions members typically get raises based on years of service/across the board, while non-union workers usually get raises based on performance (within a salary grade structure in both cases.) You are correct that the union takes $ and gives it to the Democrats and left-leaning organizations.

njpat on November 13, 2009 at 8:15 PM