Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unions:What Are They God For

Yesterday I went past a Dodge Park on my way to my sons baseball game. They had the union there with their buses and printed signs that said, "Don't you care about your kids","Support education" and the like. It was the government unions trying to pull the heart strings of the tax payers. The teachers want more money so they can give some to the kids and take a lot for themselves. That is how we have been doing things in the past and just look at how atrocious our school systems are. And when you see road work how many people are doing work knowing they can't get fired? Back in the day the unions made sure the workers had a safe and healthy environment. They made sure workers were treated fairly and got a fair wage.
But who needs them now that the government does that for the unions? What is the unions job now? Is it only to get big money for it's members? Is it to got the greedy businesses and stock holders? Is it to make the tax payers pay up or they will strike and with hold an education from the children if they don't get what they want? Are the unions there so the bad teachers stay and do more harm then good to our children's education? Unions had and still have a place in America. But they have gotten out of control with their power. It's time we let the unions strike like they did for the Detroit News and Free Press back in the mid 90's. That is what the unions need right now. A little fear and respect for their jobs. They need to see what it is like to be us the people that pay their income demands without so much as a quota on grades or performance. The union needs to change the way they do things and the way we the people that are paying for them look at them. The unions need to give up the bottom 10% of union members. That will strengthen the unions and the way we the people view the unions. I'm not against unions. I'm for unions the way they were not what they have become. Unions have become the most greedy entity on main street. And the more I see what the unions have become the smaller I would like to see them. They have become thugs and bullies to we the people and they we must stand up against these kinds of unions or the unions will full like they are in Greece and other countries. Right now our unions are trying to unionize the illegal immigrants in this country. It's time to right size the unions and this is the year we need to do it. We need to counter protest the unions. We need to push them like they pushed us. We need to ask them what they want and what they will do if they don't get it.

About 500 teachers and parents rallied Monday, giving the state Legislature a failing grade for cutting the education budget and forcing school districts to increase class sizes, slash supply spending and privatize services.

Carrying signs that said “Invest in education” and “Stop the attacks,” they lined Utica Road during rush hour and chanted “enough is enough” before gathering at Dodge Park.

“We’ve had enough of the state budget not being adequate to fully fund public schools,” said Liza Parkinson, incoming president of the Utica Education Association.

Lansing lawmakers need to restructure the tax system, roll back tax cuts of the 1990s, begin collecting taxes on services, such as golf, or do more to go after tax revenue from Internet sales, according to teachers and their supporters.

“One alternative is to repeal the tax breaks that led to the hole we’re in,” said David Stafford, a lobbyist for the Michigan Education Association. “They haven’t delivered the growth that was promised. They haven’t worked and they cost the school aid fund $1.25 billion to $1.5 billion a year.”

From teacher pay freezes in Utica to privatized custodial services in the Lakeview School District, school employees said they are making concessions and sharing the economic pain.

“School districts needing to save money sell these jobs and employees to the lowest bidder and the privateers aren’t U.S. companies,” said Macomb County Commission David Flynn, chairman of the education committee.

In more than 40 simultaneous rallies held across Michigan, thousands of school employees called for an end to what see as Band-Aid fixes and a cuts-only mentality.

Michael LaBuhn, president of MEA Local 1, said the repeated cuts to education are risking the future of our students and the future of Michigan.

“It’s a myth that we have done nothing,” he added. “In Armada we went to a $200/$400 deductible (for health care). And, it’s a myth that the schools are broke. They have savings accounts and they aren’t using them.”

Utica teacher concessions — giving up scheduled raises — will save that district $6.5 million next year, according to Curt Lange, a union official.

“This year we’re contributing to health care. We took a zero percent raise and a freeze on steps and it’s for the preservation of programs,” Lange said. “Lansing needs to come up with a realistic way to fund schools. They have to accept the fact it’s their responsibility.”

Earlier this month in Lansing, legislators passed a retirement incentive that could save schools $680 million in the next fiscal year by boosting benefits for 28,000 school employees with 30 years of service. Also, after Oct. 1, all school employees would begin paying an extra 3 percent of their wages into a retiree health care fund.

Flynn and the teachers see the cost-saving plan differently.

“The Legislature wants to steal more with a tax on retirement and give you no guarantee of health benefits when you do retire,” he told the crowd. “What’s your response to that?” prompting another shout of “enough is enough.”

The rallies across Michigan were tantamount to a more-taxes-more-spending battle cry to the Education Action Group, which has a website called MEAexposed.com. Kyle Olson, vice president of the group, called the gatherings “little more than a delusional union trying to protect its benefit system that has long been outdated” in a release.

For the teachers, one day of rallies isn’t enough to demand stable, adequate funding for public education. They will join together again June 24, when more than 10,000 people are expected to gather on the lawn of the state Capitol to make sure their message is heard.

State Rep. Fred Miller got the message Monday at Dodge Park.

“No one can envision a prosperous Michigan without quality education,” he said. “Tough choices have to be made and it’s incumbent on policymakers to put education first.”