national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]
















Why Everybody's Paycheck Needs Protection
Prop 75…

[by K. Lloyd Billingsley] 10/20/05

The November 8 special election is only 20 days away and even with occasional media analysis California voters may have a difficult time sorting things out. Consider claims being made about Proposition 75.

This measure would require public-employee unions to secure written permission from members before using members' dues money for political purposes. Television ads charge that the measure takes away the unions' voice. It doesn't.

K. Lloyd Billingsley
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

K. Lloyd Billingsley is Editorial Director for the Pacific Research Institute and has been widely published on topics including on popular culture, defense policy, education reform, and many other current policy issues. [go to Billingsley index]

Giving a Voice to California Workers: Why California Needs Paycheck Protection, a new briefing by PRI's Lance Izumi, reminds Californians that most union spending opposed the 2003 recall election. Yet nearly 50 percent of union members voted for the recall. The confiscation of their money, without their permission, for a cause they did not support, effectively took away the political voice of those workers.

Giving a Voice to California Workers provides helpful background, such as the Hudson and Abood decisions. The briefing allows California union members to have their say, tackles the tough issues, and explores developments in states that have measures similar to Prop 75. In those states, the briefing notes, unions have not lost their voice nor their political clout. Indeed, the powerful Michigan Education Association raised more money after paycheck protection passed, all through the voluntary actions of its members. Prop 75, which applies only to public-employee unions, would bring such voluntarism to California. It would not take away unions' voice nor alter other privileges unions enjoy.

In closed-shop workplaces, unions need not compete for members and workers cannot choose between unions. If a worker withdraws, the union still gets her money through agency fees. Through the Davis Bacon Act, originally used against African Americans, unions enjoy a lock on government contracting. Complicating matters, the union claim to represent "labor" is accepted by the media and politicians, even though the numbers aren't there.

In the private sector, unions represent a scant 7.9 percent of workers, down from a meager 8.2 percent in 2003. The 7.9 percent figure is likely high because the Bureau of Labor Statistics fails to include the self-employed, a group definitely on the increase and non-union.

Unions represent 12.5 percent of all workers, down from 12.9 percent in 2003. Those numbers are a long way from the 1950s, when 35 percent of workers were union members. The decline even extends to government employees. While 36.4 percent of government employees are unionized, that represents a drop from 37.2 in 2003.

In other words, nearly 90 percent of private-sector workers are not in unions and nearly two thirds of government employees are not in unions. A more pertinent question for a ballot initiative is whether legislators should continue to reserve an array of special privileges for a shrinking minority that represents only 12.5 percent of all workers.

Those who are union members will find their voices enhanced, not diminished, by the requirement that union bosses ask permission to use their money for politics. The real lesson of Prop 75 is that nobody should get workers' money before they do, and that has a wider application.

The practice of withholding taxes from workers' paychecks, for example, dates from World War II and was supposed to be temporary. It didn't turn out that way. Like union bosses, the government likes getting workers' money before they do and doesn't want to let go. Everybody's paycheck needs protection. CRO

copyright 2005 Pacific Research Institute




Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005