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OpenMarket: Government Unions

  • Moody’s $2 Trillion Public Pension Shortfall Estimate Highlights Need for Better Pension Accounting Practices

    October 1, 2014

    In a new report, Moody’s estimates the nation’s largest pension funds face a $2 trillion taken together. That’s a lot of money. But as significant as the size of the deficit is Moody’s criticism of how many pension funds have been managed, and pension fund’s reporting of their own liabilities. Bloomberg reports:

    “Despite the robust investment returns since 2004, annual growth in unfunded pension liabilities has outstripped these returns,” Moody’s said. “This growth is due to inadequate pension contributions, stemming from a variety of actuarial and funding practices, as well as the sheer growth of pension liabilities as benefit accruals accelerate with the passage of time, salary increases and additional years of service.”

    ...
  • Study Proves Economic Harm of Collective Bargaining

    July 30, 2014

    A new CEI study by economist Lowell Galloway and public policy expert Jonathan Robe demonstrates the harmful economic effects of unionization on a state-by-state basis.

    Among the states most adversely affected by unionization, Michigan has suffered the most with a 23.1 percent loss in real per capita income because of unionization since 1964. Michigan is the latest state to abandon forced unionism by passing a right to work law, and Michigan workers are probably kicking themselves for not passing one sooner.

  • Obama Claim Spurious; Labor Unions Furious; New Ranking Curious

    July 28, 2014

    Coauthored with Alex Bolt.

    President Barack Obama spuriously claimed, "These so-called right-to-work [RTW] laws, they don't have anything to do with economics," when he futilely attempted to thwart Michigan’s enactment of a right-to-work law.

    A new study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute demolishes Obama’s spurious claim by showing how RTW laws, which free workers from a mandate to join a union in order to be employed, benefit states.  RTW laws produce better income, population, and job growth than in forced-unionism states.

  • Did Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Violate the Hatch Act?

    July 21, 2014

    Sadly, but unsurprisingly, it appears that former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis may have violated the Hatch Act—which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty—by soliciting funds for President Obama’s reelection campaign during work hours.  

    The House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Darell Issa (R-Calif.), broke the story when it released a voicemail of Solis calling a Department of Labor subordinate “off the record” to get help for Obama’s 2012 campaign. The release of the voicemail came as a result of a larger investigation into the Obama administration’s political activity during the 2012 election cycle....

  • Harris v. Quinn Gives Home Care Workers Renewed Opportunity to Get Back Compulsory Dues

    July 1, 2014

    When you can’t win, change the players. That was essentially the strategy pursued by government employee unions in recent years. This week, it came to a halt.

    Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn put a brake on government unions’ efforts to expand the definition of “public employee” to any service provide who receives state assistance, such as home care workers who are paid by Medicaid. The Court ruled that “partial public employees” like home care providers cannot be required to pay for the costs of representation by a union—representation many didn’t ask for.

    Today, the Court gave some home care workers who have been forced to pay dues a renewed opportunity to get those dues back. The Court applied Harris v. Quinn to ...

  • Is Harris v. Quinn Decision Preview of Abood Challenge?

    June 30, 2014

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn puts a brake on an ongoing effort by organize labor to expand the definition of “public employee” to just about anyone who receives any form of government assistance, such as home care workers paid by Medicaid (a phenomenon I pointed out in a 2009 Cato Institute study on public sector unions; see page 9).

    However, the Court did not address the issue of whether government employees may be required to pay union dues in the first place. Workers who aren’t union members but work under a collective bargaining agreement can be required to pay “agency fees,” which are essentially dues in all but name.

    That would have required revisiting the Court’s 1977 decision, ...

  • Harris v. Quinn: A Human Interest Angle

    June 30, 2014

    The Harris v. Quinn decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court is a major human interest story.

    Congratulations to Pam Harris and her son, Josh, and family whose First Amendment freedom of association rights were vindicated.

    In total, eight women petitioned for their rights before the Supreme Court against a state governor and two massive unions. What’s more, all eight of these women were participants in a Medicaid program that afforded benefits for their loved ones who have been ill.

    Caring for chronically ill loved ones is a costly endeavor, financially, temporally, and emotionally.

    In the Harris v. Quinn victory, thwarting Big Labor’s attack on these eight family women and the other women who predominantly provide America’s home health care and daycare (in the...

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