Albert Maslar / December 5, 2013

Detroit Union Knockout

Judge Steven Rhodes ruled the Chapter 9 Detroit Bankruptcy to be legal and enforceable as a way to deal with its $18.5 billion debt exacerbated by over-generous wages, benefits, work rules and regulations. Unions have gone ballistic and declared war on Detroit, but it was the fault of Union greed as their excessive gains were acquired by buying politicians who in turn returned the favor by rewarding unions with excessively higher wages, along with medical, and retirement benefits substantially higher than those prevalent in the private sector.

Detroit represents the largest bankruptcy in US history and will serve as the benchmark for many other cities, municipalities, and states that are champing at the bit to follow their lead in efforts to cancel out excessive promises to unions over the decades.

UAW and its union membership are apoplectic as the Court allowed the bankruptcy to proceed, threatening pensions and medical benefits. Unions claim a literal knockout as those benefits were earned and cannot arbitrarily be cut.

Over the years, Unions formed unholy alliances with all levels of government by pouring massive amounts of union dues money, along with providing mobs, boycotts, and protests into political activism for favored politicians and causes. The not always obvious result is that unions negotiate with their own government officials to establish excessive salaries and benefits that come out of the pocket of taxpayers. That becomes an ill-disguised conflict of interest that unduly favors the 17% union workers over the majority of workers in the private sector.

Government cooperated by installing union-friendly members to the National Labor Relations Board and forcing bids for government contracts to be in conformance with prevailing union labor rates, thereby stifling competition.

Detroit is financially broke, and like many major cities is plagued with abandoned houses that no longer contribute taxes, placing greater burdens on the declining number of Detroit citizens, from 1.8 Million at the 1950 census to 685,000 at December 2012. Business, money, and wealthy fled, leaving despair and poverty in their absence.

Detroit is doing the national pastime of gambling casinos and accommodation hotels to hopefully create another version of Detroit that that from 1910 to 1950 was a boom town with its centerpiece auto manufacturing, proposes $650-million downtown arena for the Detroit Red Wings, much to the chagrin of the many poor and unemployed. Out with the old, and in with the new sin city to perhaps rival Las Vegas, New Orleans, and by a stretch, Atlantic City that is failing miserably in that path after the euphoria of early success before being gobbled up by casino giants. The new misery turns out to be worse than the old misery.

FDR in his Aug 16, 1937 letter warned against government unions: “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations…Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.”

The most egregious government strikes are those of teachers’ unions that always seem to strike at the beginning of the school year as they bully and disrespect the public into acquiescence of ever-escalating benefits that far exceed comparatives in the private sector. Though the US spent $15,171 per student in 2010, it lagged behind even Third World countries in scholastic achievement.

Government shutdowns on the Federal level are not strikes according to definition, but are forced by failure of Congress to pass Constitutionally mandated budgets, and refusal to stay within authorized spending limits, thereby forcing partial government shutdowns .when either the spending resolutions or maximum debt limits have been reached. Adding insult to injury, furloughed non-essential workers are retroactively granted back pay for the missing time.

Warnings of FDR against government employee unions have been grossly disregarded to the detriment of the entire country. Unions are now favoring amnesty of up to 30 million illegal aliens to pad their stagnant membership and related dues. Unions have resorted to boycotting and protesting the fast food industry into higher wages, mainly a ploy to sign up disgruntled employees, but the fact is that many entry level jobs are not designed to be family supporting, but a step to the next upward step. Unions are more united than the United States.

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