The two-million-member union that was a driving force behind the Fight for $15 minimum wage protests is planning to cut its internal budgets by 30% in anticipation of the Donald Trump administration, according to an internal memo.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president, Mary Kay Henry, has told staff that “[b]ecause the far right will control all three branches of the federal government, we will face serious threats to the ability of working people to join together in unions” and that cuts would start immediately, with a 10% budget reduction by this Saturday. News of the 14 December internal memo was first reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday.

What they mean is that the NRLB will not be so accommodating and that there will be less largesse from various little bits and pieces of the Federal government. Fewer grants to do this and that….

26 thoughts on “Ahahahahahaha”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    All those hired thugs thrown on their own resources and the tenderness of the free market? I can’t help think that we would be better off with them under the thumb of the useless and incompetent DNC.

  2. Unions get grants from the government?

    If that makes up a meaningful proportion of their income then both the government and the unions are doing something wrong.

    It’s both wasteful of taxpayers’ money and gives the government excessive influence over what should be free associations independent (literally) of government.

  3. There’s not much to be said for FDR – a louse of a man – but he was sound on unions for government employees.

  4. the far right will control all three branches of the federal government…

    “Far right”. You keep using that phrase… etc. etc.

    Trump will run a left wing goverment just like all the other western democracies.

  5. “Nazis are fascists who demonize their opposition.” – GC

    Roué, the name calling is what makes these people Nazis.

  6. BiG: About as many public sector workers are unionized in the US as private sector workers (7.2 million vs. 7.6 million, representing 35.2% (!) and 6.7% of the corresponding work forces). The SEIU is one of the unions that represents public sector workers. Labor unions have received millions in grants from the Obama administration, for such things as safety training to providing support for Obamacare to union membership recruitment. Yes, you read that right, the Federal government is giving money to unions so that the unions can recruit more members.

    You’re damn right, the government is doing something wrong. That is, if you assume that the government is there to provide services to the citizenry. Once you accept that government run by Democrats is run for the exclusive benefit of officeholders and bureaucrats, then things start to make sense. Democrats provide money to unions. Unions negotiate with the government for higher wages. Democrats in government are happy to increase the wages of the unionized employees because it’s only taxpayer money. Unions get more in dues and recycle part of the surplus into supporting the elections of Democrats. Et voilà!

    dearieme is right, at least FDR knew enough to be opposed to government unions. Unfortunately, JFK allowed federal employees to join unions in 1962 and the long slide into government insolvency started.

  7. I think it’s axiomatic that in a free society, that unions should exist and that people should be free to join them. And free to leave them.

    I would expect, for simple reasons of conflict of interest that you touched on, that any government money flowing to them should be minimal. Related to some services or bits of research they do of public interest, not specifically the interests of their members.

    So providing money to subsidise safety training might be a good use of public funds, but only if the training is open to non-members as well (interesting example, as I recently did attend a safety course in Germany, run by a union, and am not a member of said union).

    Clearly the relationship in the USA is far too cosy.

  8. BiG: I think you take a much too rosy view of the relationship between unions, employers, and the government. Unions seek to enforce a monopoly on the supply of labor. Would you be as receptive to the statement that, in a free society, cartels should exist and companies should be free to join them, and free to leave them?

    You are right that in the US the relationship is far too cozy, and maybe there is a society that has gotten the relationship right. From what I know about Germany, I would agree that things are much better there when it comes to this. However, while I accept the existence of unions in the private sector (as long as there is competition between them and workers can decide to join or not), they have no place in the public sector. A monopoly provider of services cannot in good faith negotiate with a monopoly provider of labor on behalf of taxpayers, as shown by what has happened in many municipalities in the US, where the government now spends more money on retired public sector employees than it spends on the provision of actual services to the citizenry that pays the taxes to support said government. This is the road to ruin.

  9. “I think it’s axiomatic that in a free society, that unions should exist and that people should be free to join them.”

    Is it therefore axiomatic, BiG, that firms should be free to form cartels.

    Because it’s hard to see the difference.

  10. @Hedgehog

    I would also add that it is unfair for public sector “workers” to have the right to withdraw their labour while taxpayers do not have a reciprocal right to withdraw their custom.

  11. Hedgehog: without a union to negotiate on their behalf a government effectively cannot negotiate at all, given the size of it’s workforce.

    All wages and conditions are therefore imposed by fiat. That is OK for Police and Military because in the long run they need to be kept happy. It can lead to chaos in health, education etc as each government imposes it’s own ideas with no handbrake. Would you want Corbyn to have that sort of power?

    I am happy with limited right to strike for public sector workers (and I have been one various times and had to face this issue personally). But bargaining with tens of thousands of individuals is impossible.

    NZ Police are not permitted to strike, but have a union nonetheless, because there’s more to unions than merely striking. At least once you no longer have activists in charge — and that’s where the UK struggles.

  12. “NZ Police are not permitted to strike, but have a union nonetheless, because there’s more to unions than merely striking.”

    Well, in this case it seems the main thing they do is bitch about wanting more access to firearms.

    “At least once you no longer have activists in charge — and that’s where the UK struggles.”

    You create a position with power that is amendable to being subverted by those who desire the power. What on earth do you think is going to happen other than have the activists in control. They have taken over every other institution of this type, it’s their nature to do so.

  13. Chester Draws: I’m not sure the government needs to “negotiate” with its workforce at all. They could post jobs along with required qualifications and an explanation of benefits and draw from the pool of applicants, like every other large employer does. As Cynic alludes to above, the existence of a negotiation process allows for one party to the transaction (the union) to impose its set of conditions, without the other party (the taxpayer) having a say. Of course you could argue that taxpayers eventually have a say, since they can throw the bums out, but given the hurdles that elected officials put in the way of voters trying to do that it is hardly a surefire remedy.

    David Moore is right: You create a position with power that is amenable to being subverted by those who desire the power. In an ideal world, all parties to the transaction would be represented and would act in good faith, including the elected officials, who would play their role as agents of the public, not as principals in the transaction. The world is not ideal, however, and thus the situation always devolves to being co-opted by people for their own gain. Any system that allows that is bound to eventually fail.

  14. This is what the Police Federation was set up to be – a negotiating body to coordinate discussions between the employer (the government) and the employees. But recent years has seen people getting into the Federation who think that it looks like a duck, so should be made to quack like a duck, Strike Comrades!

  15. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The NLRB is a disgusting New Deal relic and should be abolished, along with the Wagner Act. Federal employee unions were cynically permitted by Kennedy with an executive order, and could be prohibited with one. It would be the single best way to destroy the finances of that criminal cartel otherwise known as the Democratic Party (dropping a Hellfire missile on George Soros would be second best). Probably best wait until Ginsburg or Breyer is off the Supreme Court first.

  16. With the Federal workforce, at least, there’s no collective bargaining and union membership is optional. At the state level and below is where you find the real taxpayer-gouging going on with public employee unions. Illinois and California are particularly bad, but many states and municipalities have the same problem.

  17. It can lead to chaos in health, education etc as each government imposes it’s own ideas with no handbrake. Would you want Corbyn to have that sort of power?

    I am having trouble understanding your point, Chester. Surely you are not suggesting that any public-sector union acts as any sort of ‘handbrake’ on government spending, or even on government conduct adverse to the taxpayer. They are all about actions contrary to taxpayer interest. We elect governments to develop (and then impose) their own ideas – and ideally would not have a quasi-opposition in their labour force.

  18. The Inimitable Steve

    there’s more to unions than merely striking. At least once you no longer have activists in charge — and that’s where the UK struggles.

    Our public sector unions are absolutely lousy with SJW’s and should be outlawed.

    Take the Fire Brigades Union, which you might expect to be concerned with the pay and conditions of firemen.

    Not so much, according to their website. They’re actually more interested in attacking “austerity” (a “plot to steal from workers”, apparently), pimping for rapefugees, and an amusingly arslikhan puff piece about the “comedy” of everyone’s favourite Stalinist chucklemeister, Mark Thomas.

    Privatise the buggers.

  19. It looks like the millions of dollars that the SEIU spent on Hillary are beginning to pinch. Now that the gravy train has gone off the rails, the money for the union leadership needs to be conserved. I will bet that any reductions will happen at the lowest level of the union hierarchy.

    As a resident of California, I am painfully aware of the problem of politicians negotiating with the unions. The public employee unions have a headlock on the state legislature. The unions supply money and “campaign volunteers” to elect Democrat legislators, and the legislators return the favor by jacking up the compensation of the union members. The taxpayer has no representation.

    I hope I will be able to leave this state before the whole public pension and public employee pay systems collapse.

  20. Here in Canada you still have to join the union if you take a job in some areas especially govt jobs, only exemption is for certain religious groups and tightly controlled. I did point out once that surely it was a breach of human rights to force people to join a union in order to have a job, but apparently not. The closed shop is alive and well here, thankfully I’ve always been able to find ‘exempt’ positions but I know fellow brits have turned down jobs over the requirement to join the local union

  21. Don’t forget their greatest fear – that they may lose the ability to force people to pay into unions.

    Everywhere that that power has been taken away from them they’ve seen large and consistent drops in union membership (and dues income).

    Seems that despite all the stuff unions claim to have done for people parents and grandparents, the *current* workforce doesn’t see a whole lot of value returned for each dollar sent to the union.

  22. @Hedgehog, BiS,

    You can establish freedom of association for natural persons but not for legal persons. Or you can have a competition regulator (gosh no one ever thought of that) – their remit could extend beyond companies to unions.

    Actually some German companies (particularly Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn) have suffered enormously from near-monopoly unions recently.

  23. “Is it therefore axiomatic, BiG, that firms should be free to form cartels. Because it’s hard to see the difference.”

    Yes, if they can. There is no difference. (And incidentally, there’s no difference between this and restricting employment on nationalist grounds. A nation is just another type of labour union.)

    The answer to cartels and monopolies is always competition. People can form and join a union or a cartel, so long as the choice is voluntary. But if employers and customers don’t like the terms they can hire/buy elsewhere, and other opportunists can gain business by undercutting prices on the monopoly. So the price rise they can achieve is limited by the costs facing others wanting to join the competition, and so motivates/funds the elimination of those barriers.

    People can only form a monopoly if there is a shortage of supply. That allows them to raise prices – straightforward law of supply and demand. That encourages other people to move into the area, to get a slice of that pie. That results in an efficient allocation of resources to tasks that approximately balances everyone’s needs against everyone’s willingness to work for others, and builds the prosperous society we want.

    There is absolutely no problem with *trying* to form a monopoly in a free market – if you can, it means there’s a problem with shortage of supply that needs fixing. The issue is to do with the measures taken to prevent other competitors moving into the area. Legislation to enforce monopolies is the problem. The use of violence and intimidation, or bullying and social pressure, to enforce membership is the problem. Picket lines where they try to keep out non-members by force are the problem.

    You ought to be able to join a union if you choose. But an employer should be free to employ only non-union labour, or to pay more to a subset of employees so long as they stay out of the union. If the employer is paying below the market rate, joining a union may be worthwhile. You can collectively raise the price and share the cost – instead of a few people resigning until shortage of labour forces them to raise wages, the ones leaving bearing all the cost, you get everyone acting together and forcing wages up without individuals paying the entire costs of making that change. It’s a more efficient way of reaching the market equilibrium from the employer’s point of view, too.

    In cases of unfair treatment, it can act as an insurance scheme by pooling the risk – everyone pays a little to support their colleagues, while gaining protection from their colleagues should they ever face that situation themselves. More protection requires paying a higher premium, and so is naturally limited to what people think that’s worth.

    Unions do have some free market virtues – in that respect they’re much the same as forming companies, or participating in insurance schemes. More things are possible to them jointly, working together, than individually. This can lead to a more efficient market allocation. The point is though that they have to be voluntary, and open to competition. The idea is that the shortage of supply that makes a monopoly on labour possible should raise wages attracting more workers more quickly. Pooling costs and risks makes it possible for the labour market to shift its prices more quickly and flexibly. But they can only do so in a free market by moving towards the market equilibrium – or the competition will be able to undercut them. The problems only arise when this rebalancing is prevented by closed shops and restrictive practices.

    A union is basically a staff agency, hiring out workers in exchange for a cut of their pay. They should be treated the same as any other staff agency.

  24. BiG: You can establish freedom of association for natural persons but not for legal persons.

    Of course you, meaning the government, can. And the government can throw people in jail for disagreeing with them or for making fun of Dear Leader’s haircut. That’s not really the point. You claim it is axiomatic that unions should exist and people should be allowed to join them. BiS and I rejoin that consistency would then dictate that cartels should exist and firms should be allowed to join them. The fact that some (most) governments allow unions and even allow forced unionization (see BniC about Canada, above, and any number of US states until Republicans started to roll back this “peculiar institution”) while simultaneously forbidding cartels only serves to show that they are misguided, inconsistent, or corrupt. Or all three if we are talking about those run by the US Democratic Party.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *