Am I a fan of public employee unions? No, I’m not. (To understand the enormous difference between private sector and public sector unions and look here.)
As an elected official,
• I’ve seen a man in the recreation department go to jail for solicitation, and then get his job back when he got out.
• I have seen fellow police witnesses fail to show up at the trial of an on duty cop caught naked with a prostitute. (He was still on the force when I wrote this.)
• I have seen police cameras routinely fail.
• And I have seen teachers unions protecting a sex offender in an LA school.
Are these anomalies? NO. What is anomalous is the fact that we accidentally found out about these incidents at all. That is because of our union-inspired privacy laws, none were reported on by political bodies. And rare is the District attorney that will prosecute these public-sector-union offenders once they are found out. They cannot be fired.
Am I a fan of contracting out for services? Yes I am. Largely because of the Pension Systems for public employees are expensive!
As for the cost of hiring public employees. Well you mostly know about that. Between the two pension systems—CalPERS and CalSTERS--the state’s pension unfunded liabilities are estimated by the Legislative Analyst’s Office to total $93.1 billion ($59.7 billion at CalPERS for state employee pensions and $33.4 billion at CalSTRS for teachers’ pensions). This does not include local city and county pension debt. Any claim that the budget is balanced deceptively ignores our crushing pension debt.
For an eye-popping description of public-sector Disability-Insurance abuse check here.
When a service with whom you contract fails to do the job, whether it’s for street maintenance or to run the city’s swimming pool program, you can replace it. When the in-house union member or members fail, you can, well, you can’t do much. They are fireproof, as in they can’t be fired. So we are consequently stuck with both an inefficient and (extremely) expensive workforce.
However because of State legislation introduced by the unions, it is becoming harder for cities to use contract labor. And a large percent of the bills introduced in the California legislature are sponsored by the unions or their surrogates.
So why can’t we reform our pension system and benefit system? Why does such secrecy prevail? Why can’t we fire union employees or prosecute police?
Surprise. The answer is political. Right now, unions control our legislature. They introduce about half of the bills, directly or through their surrogates. Politicians who speak out against unions forego massive campaign contributions which get detoured to their opponents and face active union organized opposition. Most of the dollars spent on political campaigns and legislation are spent by the unions.
Can you guess how many legislative candidates failed to attract some union funding between 2011 and 2013? Answer. 3.
Change will require a political change. It will require legislators at the State and local levels who are willing to speak up and speak out about our problems and who are not dependent on unions for support.
The Common Sense Party promises to fill that independent role. Let’s give it a shot. You can check it out at www.cacommonssense.org.