Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Danger of Union Power

In today's newspapers (September 2, 2008) -- the Seattle Times and Wall Street Journal -- were a number of articles highlighting the danger of union power.

"No school in Bellevue as teachers go on strike". (Front page, Tuesday, September 2, 2008, Seattle Times.) The article adds: "Although the Bellevue teachers are among the highest paid in the state..." What the schoool district offered would have raised the salaries by 6.6%. And "Bellevue, which is among the most highly-regarded districts in the state..." apparently has a curriculum which, although highly successful, doesn't allow teacher deviation. But who cares if the students learn?

And speaking of the teachers union, in Los Angeles the school district is one of the worst in the nation (high-school graduation rate: 66%, of which only 55% enroll in college or JC; of sixth graders, only 31% tested above minimum proficiency in math and 33% in English). The mayor tried to change the system but was thwarted by, yes!, state courts. He's trying again with a different approach. One unrelenting and unchanging roadblocki is a 320-page teachers unioin contract.

And back here in Boeing country, the machinists union want to strike Boeing and delay the launch of the Dreamliner and potentially cost Boeing $100,000,000 of revenue; an 11% -- $34,000, to an average of $75,000 with overtime -- increase is not enough.

Sen. Obama -- running in lockstep to the unions wants to make it easy for unions to force unionization. That should be enough to vote for McCain. Do we want freedom or to become clones to France and Italy, former economic engines, now has beens.

And back here in Seattle, a developer wanted to develop the 10 acre parcel siting the present Goodwill organization. A "community coalition" was formed by a Viet man. Three years later after the "coalition" now numbering 30 disparate groups was taken over by Puget Sound SAGE a special interest union organization, the developer agreed to pay off the extortion threatened by the "coalition" in exchange for it not fighting in court or before the City Council. The project now might open in 2012 -- a mere 12 years. But part of the original group might form to oppose it since they didn't get their way -- the unions took over and got the developer to pay union wages and benefits, allow for union organizing of the little retailers and force unionization of the grocery retailer. Also the developer is "contributing" $200,000 here and $600,000 there, 200 low-income housing units, cheap rent to some nonprofits, $200,000 for traffic study, and so on. All will bring higher prices to the poor people of the neighborhood. The Mafia couldn't have scored so great.

And finally back to Seattle. "Coalition talks reach deal on Goodwill site" When a developer announced plans for a large transformation of the Goodwill property on South Dearborn Street, a "community coalition" formed to extort what it could from the developer.

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