Lloyd Waters: Taxpayers vs. the unions - round one

June 10, 2012|By LLOYD WATERS

I guess the Wisconsin voters have sent a message of sorts to the rest of the nation, huh? There’s a better way to do business instead of more of the same, which was leading Wisconsin into the abyss of economic chaos and failure.

Other states with dismal economic futures should also begin looking for alternatives as well.

California, especially, might benefit substantially if they look to save money by eliminating some of those exorbitant costs associated with employee union agreements.

One example reported last fall by the Los Angeles Times provides an example of ridiculous personnel agreements between management and unions.

Some 30 prison doctors in California were relieved of their medical and mental health duties because of suspected malpractice issues in 2006. However, due to the extremely lengthy appeals process, these individuals have received some $8.7 million in pay since 2006, while waiting for their cases to be adjudicated.


Some of them were even put back to menial work sorting mail at prison facilities while continuing to draw their doctor paychecks.

Any wonder the state of California is in such sorry economic shape?

Why should it take years to resolve those personnel issues?

Imagine how the tax burden in California could be reduced without such goofy regulations?

Who ultimately foots the bill for these fiscal accommodations anyway? Some of those same taxpayers looking for about $16 billion. 

Maryland’s Public Safety Department does the very same thing but on a smaller scale. 

Many states are creating their own doomsday budgets by their own costly procedures.

While most unions pretend to have the workers benefit foremost in their rhetoric, many past union agreements actually cause state budgets to balloon. And then because of created deficits, the end result is that employees actually suffer through furlough days, no raises and reductions in benefits.

As Wisconsin’s business climate continues to improve, other states should go and see just how Walker has managed to turn things around.

National Review columnist John Fund indicates that Walker has eliminated a $3.6 billion dollar deficit; reduced property taxes for the first time since 1998; and is expected to have a $150 million dollar surplus at the end of this year.

Fund continues with his assessment by stating that Wisconsin has created 24,000 new jobs and is a more business-friendly state today.

Maybe Gov. O’Malley should take a closer look at Wisconsin.

What freedoms does the Maryland worker really have when they are forced to pay union dues to organizations that support candidates with liberal agendas, and political ideals that really are not supported by a lot of these workers?

How many state employees would really pay these dues voluntarily?

I think the answer to that question is obvious: Not many.

A lot of collected union dues in Maryland have gone to candidates who support the abolishment of the death penalty; same sex marriages; and candidates who elect to expand government and raise taxes without looking at more efficient ways of doing business.

Union representatives would argue in support of maintaining the status quo. Their livelihood and very existence depends on usurping monies from workers who do not support their political agendas.

Walker’s program in Wisconsin ended the practice of unions collecting dues.  Employees now have the right to decide on their own whether they continue to pay dues or not.

As the economic downturn continues, the American taxpayer will begin to more closely examine some of those outrageous examples as shared above in California.

Ignoring the problem will not make it better.

In Detroit, serious cutbacks also are under way and the state of Michigan has even threatened to put an “emergency manager” in place to govern that city’s budget crisis. 

As states continue to battle economic chaos, eliminating many of the farfetched policies and procedures of union agreements just might help preserve some of the legitimate agreements between management and labor.

More of the same, however, will not make it better, and the consequences will be great.

Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes columns for The Herald-Mail.

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