Public Employee Unions Work Against The Public

Greg Hunter’s   

Unions in this country got started because industry took advantage of workers.  But these days, it seems to be the other way around.  I am not talking about unions in the private sector.  Private sector union workers should be free to get what they can.  If private sector unions get too much (health care, pensions and pay), it is the fault of company management.    

Public sector unions are a different story all together.  Public sector unions do not operate in the real world where there is profit and loss.  These unions work in a world of politics and taxes.  This is a place where the unions’ needs line up against the people who pay them—the taxpayer.  The unions think they are entitled to rich pensions and medical plans when they retire.  If there is not enough money in a state or city budget, then they think taxes should be raised.  For example, take the recent union protest over budget cuts in Illinois.  A crowd of 15,000 union members were chanting, “Raise my taxes!”  Yes that’s right, “Raise my taxes.”  Check it out for yourself in the video below:

Many public sector union members get health benefits when they retire for free or nearly free for the rest of their lives.  A friend’s mother retired from a Northeast state DMV.  She was a clerk.  She has medical coverage for life with $2 co-pays!  Her pension was just raised $4,000 a year.  What clerk gets that in the private sector?  It is also not uncommon for public pensions to be high 5 or low 6 figure amounts.  Why should taxpayers pay for lavish health care plans and pensions that most do not get themselves?

This is an outrage that is coming to light because nearly every state in the union is facing severe budget problems.  It is partly the fault of politicians who promise gold plated health and pension plans without funding them.  Politicians play fast and loose with taxpayer dollars just to get a block of union votes at election time.  This is why I think unions working in the public sector should be outlawed.  Take California for example, it has a $500 billion public pension problem.  Less than 2 weeks ago, Governor Schwarzenegger called it “the single biggest threat to our state’s fiscal health and future.”  Below is video from his weekly address that is stark and dire:

It is fascinating to me that this is barely covered in the mainstream media.  This is a half trillion dollar problemfor just one state!    Most states in the union are facing dreadful budget problems.  This has been met, by and large, with a yawn from the mainstream media.   States cannot print money.  They haven’t been able to do that since the Civil War.  So, they will be forced to raise taxes, cut services, get federal bailout money or file bankruptcy.  That’s my favorite because it will wash out all the commitments; and cities, states and the unions can all start over.   

Public unions across the country do not want to curb their pay, medical benefits or pensions, even though there is great pain and expense to the taxpayer and the economy.  Public unions are not the entire reason states are in financial trouble, but cutting those benefits are certainly part of the solution.  The good of the union cannot supercede the good of the public which pays them.  Look for more protests and backlash from unions as they are asked to take cuts.  Look for more outrage and push back from the public as they are asked to pay for the lush benefits.  I predict public unions will either take some big cuts voluntarily or be forced to do so through bankruptcy.  This money fight will not play well with hard working voters in the private sector this fall.  Remember, the private sector is the only place where real wealth and prosperity is created.  The public sector does not generate revenue, it only confiscates taxpayer money.  Taxpayers need union employees to work for them–not against them.

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  1. Mark

    I think its funny to see the public union idiots crying “raise my taxes” and so on. Public Unions, Public Schools, Public Transportation, Public Restrooms, Public Health Service, etc. Anything ‘public’ is a certified tax payer supported disaster.

    It’s doubtful that states will be allowed to file BK as the tax payers will bail them out too. CA here we come to your rescue!

    • Greg

      I too think California and every other state will get some sort of rescue. That is part of the reason we are going to get some very big inflation. It is already running at 9.5% according to Thank you for weighing in.

  2. John in Chico, California

    “If private sector unions get too much (health care, pensions and pay…”

    I like that: “…get too much…” This when the top 25 hedge fund managers on the Street EACH got One Billion Smackers. I agree that there is abuse/mal-use in the public union system but taking a whack at unions as a whole seems to me an example of divide and conquer, sort of like Reagan railing at ‘welfare queens in Cadillacs’ so as to smoke and mirror the real problems and injustices.

    I am a public union man. I work 30 hrs a week, with special needs preschool children -autistic, rare syndromes, the works. I make a bit over $16 an hour. When I retire -I’m 64; I can’t really retire because my 17 yr old daughter has epilepsy and I have a wealth of my own medical needs, so I need my medical benefit package with, every year is more taken out of my sixteen per -but when I do retire, no one will hand me a billion big ones and say “Good job.”

    In fact, if our union (California School Employees Assn) is busted because of California trashing economy, my employers will only be too happy to fire me and re-hire me at probably minimum wage with no benefits.

    Twenty five billion. How many pensions for my union brothers and sisters would that fund?

    Respectfully -John O in Chico CA

    • Greg

      I am sorry for your medical and family problems. It sounds like you are a good, caring father. I am sure there are many in the private sector in the same situation as you. Why should someone who works, at say Walmart, pay for an entitlement for a public sector union member that they themselves do not get? By the way, I was once a member of a private sector union. (Steel worker) Thank you for your comment.


      • Mark Mudgett

        Hello John and Greg,

        I too respect John for taking care of his kid. Key word “his” kid. I stopped having kids when I was 34. I wanted to have money to raise the two I had and to plan for retirement. John chose to have a daughter at 47; I did not. Why should I be on the “hook” for his needs and his retirement at 65?

        I dont’ get the same health care, vacation, and retirement package that John gets, but he blames a fund manager for our problems. A good fund manager is like a Peyton Manning or Ladanian Tomlinson; they have (LT had) god-given talent that is vary valuable.

        Am I supposed to pay higher taxes because John feels that he is entitled?

        Hey John, pay for your own mistakes and I will pay for mine.

        I worked with a private sector union during the nineties.


        • Alice

          Amen, keep talking, we need you! God Bless!

    • Alice

      It’s always about the kids, like the rest of us don’t have kids! Pity me, pity me you fool! We do it all for the kids, and if you don’t give it to us? (Here comes the extortion part) We will crucify your kids! We will make your kids life hell!

  3. William Losch

    Greg, Public employees did not create the problem!!!!!!!!!! It was the failure of the news media to investigate the transfer of American industries to Foreign countries (BRIC).
    “Facts are a difficult thing to argue with”.

    • Greg

      That is a good point and also part of the problem here in America. Thank you for your comment.

    • Roguis

      “Failure” of the news media? The major news media was complicit in the transfer of American industries to other countries. The major news media consists of nothing more than two groups of lapdogs that serve their bankster and corporate masters. One group of lapdogs barks out the prepackaged democorp philosophy, while the other group of lapdogs barks out the prepackaged republicorp philosophy, such that each group herds the sheeple in accordance with the philosophies that have been prepackaged for the sheeples’ consumption. Each lapdog group is allowed stress differences pertaining to issues that don’t have a big-picture negative economic effect on the banksters and favored corporate cronies, but the messages of each group actually overlap at the highest levels of money, finance, and power. This is why you saw the likes of both Bush and Bill Clinton pimping NAFTA, and why GS and JPM banksters are a permanent fixture from one administration to another. The news media is a sheeple management and deception tool, nothing more.

  4. kirk

    Parasites advocating more host be made available for their consumption is an absurdity, but, then, this is America become amerika, where absurdity is the rule of the day.

    As to “rescues”, stealing from one and giving to another is, indeed, a “rescue” as defined today, but, to those who reside in the real world, it is simply just another theft hidden behind words of hypocrisy.

    It is my hope everyone and everything is “rescued”, since there are only two ways to do this – increase taxes and/or print money – BOTH of which will hasten the appearance of the phoenix looming in our near future.

    In the end, who runs the house, the owner or those working for him?

    • Greg

      You are correct there are big changes coming. Thank you for the comment.

  5. Mark Mudgett

    Hey Greg,

    I am listening! I heard your segment on Sussman’s show. “The BabyRuth in the punchbowl!”

    That image worked so well while I was eating breakfast–thanks man!


    • Greg

      Thank you for your comments. Sorry for spoiling your breakfast.

  6. Dan

    What a great idea!! An additional tax on all union government employees to cover their bennies. It’s beautiful. In fact let’s make the tax sufficient to cover the non-union government employees.

    • Greg

      You are funny man! Thank you for thye comment.

  7. Bud Wood

    It doesn’t seem that there can be a long term problem. “We” are fast running out of OPM. Thus, when the well is dry, most of us will be thirsty and, regrettably, we who have been living high are destined to come back to earth. It is very possible that the landing will be disastrous enough that the USA union will break-up. Like is said, if it’s in the name, it isn’t (i.e. United as in United States).

    Yes, there are plenty of problems to go around. However, we may see many more within the next 2 to 5 years.

    • Greg

      I hope people are getting ready. I think a blow–up will be sooner than later.

  8. Jason in Midwest

    It is important to note that the benefits are part of these employees’ overall compensation. We should make sure that the overall compensation package between the public and private workforce is comparable given equal levels of responsibility,qualifications, etc. (this is important because most of these jobs are not equatable to working at Wal-Mart) Now, for some public employees both of these may be too high but some public employees have a significantly lower base salary than their counterparts in the private sector. If you want to cut their benefits, then some of these people should be getting a raise in their base salary. I don’t know if you are implying this Greg, but it would be somewhere between an over-generalization and completely false to say that public employees are better compensated overall than their counterparts in the private sector.

    I also believe that public employee compensation becomes too much of a political tool. It should be scrutinized but we will never balance our budgets until we start making hard decisions like cutting entitlements and military spending. Employee compensation is a very small percentage of most local budgets and the federal budget but it gets discussed a lot because politicians want to shy away from the harder choices.

    • Greg

      Good points. Thank you for weighing in.

    • Alice

      Of course $85,000 salary, $125,000 pension! Because you are special!

  9. Fred Starkey

    I have been on this subject for 15 years. Unions control the states with their 95% of the dues money going to campaigns: that is how they stay in power. Oregon puts zero into their pension, but receive a millionaire pension after 30 years: $55,000, plus a 2% Cola , and full medical: joint annuity. (They also receive S.S.) That annuity at age 55 costs over 1.5 million in the private sector. How do you become a millionaire?

    Oregon has it down to a 5-step algorithm: 1] Move to Oregon, 2} Purchase and learn how to use a box of crayolas 3] Get a job with the state, 4] wait 30 years, and 5] Presto: you are a millionaire.

    Only 2.8% of all Americans are 1st generation millionaires: why work in the private sector?

    • Greg

      Good points. Thank you.

      • MarkM

        Hey Fred,

        You wrote: “Oregon has it down to a 5-step algorithm: 1] Move to Oregon, 2} Purchase and learn how to use a box of crayolas 3] Get a job with the state, 4] wait 30 years, and 5] Presto: you are a millionaire.”

        That is great! I think I’ll move to Oregon as the PRK is going down the toilet faster than Oregon.


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