TWT Water Cooler Guest Post: F. Vincent Vernuccio
The move by AFSCME in Maryland to begin collecting dues from non-members recently is indicative of union organization drives across the country. Unions in the private sector have been atrophying for years and now make up less than seven percent of the workforce. Government union membership on the other hand has been sky rocketing.
This labor environment exists today because unions find it easier to negotiate with politicians who they helped get elected. These same politicians try to make it easier for the unions to obtain new dues paying members – which in turn gives the unions more money to give to the politicians reelection campaigns.
The system works out great for everyone except for government employees who are stuck paying dues to a union they do not wish to join and taxpayers who must foot the bill for the lavish perks politicians then give to the unions.
It is no wonder AFSCME was the largest outside spender of the 2010 election. The union spent over $90 million.
Former Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Grandholm tried to give kickbacks to the unions when she classified 16,500 private home day care providers as state workers because they received state subsidies for caring for children from low income families. In that case the United Auto Workers and AFSCME won a unionization election where only 15 percent of the providers voted.
Many of the providers said they were not adequately informed of the election and resented being forced to pay dues. Earlier this year Michigan’s current Republican Governor Rick Snyder and his administration reversed the classification ending the forced union membership, saying that the unions failed to meet their “goals to enhance and improve the delivery of quality care for children”
F. Vincent Vernuccio is Labor Policy Counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and editor of www.workplacechoice.org