Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My Three Cents

Doug, from Bogus Gold, is more than upset at language used by the president of the Minnesota State Troopers Association that compared the Taxpayers League of Minnesota to the radical Posse Comitatus, which for its part has been linked with Aryan Nation movements and armed insurrection against the United States government.

Let me make it clear that I share Doug's anger at the Trooper Union Chief's statements. It's a truly outrageous thing to say, whether it was meant for public or internal consumption. It is inflammatory language that serves only to muddy the waters of discourse and stir up discontent within the union.

But, I'm baffled.

I mean no disrespect, but I don't understand why Doug might be so astonished that such a thing would have been said. The public employee unions - the various teachers unions, AFSME, and some of the law enforcement unions - are little more than shills for the hard-core left in this country. They donate big money to left-wing Democrat candidates, who in turn will support higher taxes. The union bosses will say and do anything to scare the rank and file union members into line at election time, or during contract negotiations.

Understand this: in the eyes of the public employee unions and their bosses, the tax revenues that fund the various government agencies - some of which do good work - cannot and must not be threatened. If that pool of money dries up, even a little, it means layoffs or hiring freezes, which in turn means a reduced pool of dues-paying members of the union, which reduces the power and influence of the union. And, like the circle of life, so it goes.

So, by all means, call attention to such things, write legislators and newspapers. Complain. Alot. The story needs to be heard.

But - in a state that has no right-to-work laws for public employees; in a state that allows unions to make membership mandatory in order for public employees to work in areas represented by bargaining units; where even non-union members are required to pay 85% of full dues as so-called 'fair-share union members;' when dealing with left-wing unions whose very life depends on the circle of money that flows from member, to union, to left-wing democrats, to support of higher taxes - this will be a very hard nut to crack.

Although a significant number of the rank and file members do not share the view of the union bosses, those bosses are quite often a corrupt bunch, no more interested in the welfare of the rank and file than is the management of the organizations for which they work.

Therefore, don't expect too many of the rank and file who disagree with the union bosses to speak out publicly. Those who do speak out are often targeted for harassment, and suffer less aggressive representation by the local, in the event of a grievance. For the same reason they will not request a return of the share of their dues that are used for political purposes, even though the law demands it. The union bosses do not look kindly on such dissent.

(A friend of mine, an AFSCME member, an immigrant who arrived from the Soviet Union shortly before the fall of communism in Europe, told me once that his union used the same kind of demagoguery, the same kind of mind-control and intimidation, the same kind of manipulation of facts and truth, as he'd seen all his life from the Soviet government. I believed him.)

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