Friday, March 24, 2017

Even Amidst ACA Debacle, GOP Makes Time for UNION BUSTING


One might imagine that with all of the hoopla in recent days surrounding the GOP's infighting around the ACA, and healthcare reform, that they might be too busy for union busting. Sadly, you would be wrong. Even amidst the ACA debacle, GOP leadership has been quietly pushing their agenda of busting the federal sector unions, and stripping hundreds of thousands of federal employees of their rights.
 
H.R. 1364 would even cause federal sector union stewards and local officers who use official time for representation to have their pensions seized when they are on more than 80% official time, and the legislation leaves it open for interpretation on whether that is for future or past service, meaning that hundreds of individuals who have dedicated their lives to protecting their fellow workers and improving their agencies, could have their pensions stolen outright. And legal arguments to get them back could be tied up under a Trump Supreme Court, until every pensioner has died of old age.
 
 
It's easy for people who don't work with federal employees to think this isn't such a bad thing, because, after all, who cares about fat cat federal bureaucrats in Washington DC, right? The reality, however, is that we aren't talking about the bonus bloated, overpaid bureaucrats that the GOP would like you to believe run rampant on the federal payroll.
 
We are talking about the nurses and technicians and electricians and janitors at the local Veterans Hospital, who often earn less than their private sector counterparts. We are talking about the men and women who work at the Army and Air Force bases keeping our planes flying, our troops supplied, and our nation safe. We are talking about the workers at the Social Security offices who make sure that your parents and grandparents get the benefits they have earned. And, we are talking about hurting veterans as well, because the federal government workforce is comprised of around 40% US Veterans, many of whom are disabled from their military service.
 
These attacks on the federal sector workforce are a typical GOP solution for a problem that does not exist. They point to things like the Phoenix VA scandal as proof for the need to make it easier to fire federal workers and weaken their unions, but in reality, it is almost always union members using official time who bring these scandals to light. In the VA alone, there are over 120,000 veterans working for the agency who get their care at the same healthcare facilities. If anyone should be entrusted with working to make the services better, it is these men and women. Stripping them of their workplace protections only puts them at risk from the same inept management who create the poor service environments for veterans and lie about wait times. And if they don't get squeamish about killing veterans, how do you think they treat their employees?
 
This most recent round of attacks are only part of a master plan devised by the likes of the Koch Brothers who hope to rid the entire nation of unions, and insurance and healthcare profiteers to get organized labor out of the way, so they can attack and privatize the pensions benefits of the federal worker, and privatize the care of our nation's veterans, and many other essential government services. With private sector unions on the ropes, public and federal sector labor unions represent a last bastion of union strength to corporate interests and the politicians they have bought and paid for.
 
Now that the war to protect healthcare has lulled, I implore everyone to take a moment to stand up with our brothers and sisters in the federal workforce and make a call to your representatives. This is our fight too, and we have got to stand together to beat these attacks on workers on every level. PLEASE make this important call. An injury to any one of us, is an injury to us all, and these bills hurt veterans!
 
 
 

10 comments:

  1. Vote these greedy bastards out at midterm.impeach Trump and try to repair the damage that was done.Stay Union and stay strong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the comment, brother. Just remember... it is actually EQUALLY as important (or more so) to hold them ALL accountable. I think Americans are just now starting to figure out that elections are only one piece of the puzzle. Voting is just the beginning. Holding each elected leader accountable (and a little frightened) every day is possibly even more important than who we vote for. Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  2. Mr Malone, I fully expect the GOP to try to get a "win" by ramming this through and dressing it up as them being dilligent and competent especially given the massive failure they just cooked up. The GOP is about nothing if not giving the illusion of competency and control. Union members everywhere need to buckle down and get behind this fight in a way that they failed to in the 80's during PATCO. history should tell us this, the union onslaught starts in the Public Sector. The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal union in the United States and is a large, expanding union which is just now in the early stages of honing its mobilization machine. Should AFGE ever optimize its mobilization efforts, the political landscape changes not just for federal employees but all workers, as the Federal Government is the largest employer in most states, and thus its employees, theoretically should have the most influence legislatively at every level. This influence could re-write decades of bad bad anti-labor laws which have driven down wages and shifted wealth significantly away from workers. I hope all workers see this, but especially those federal employees, whose direct work lives would be effected.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Dear T.X., I could not agree with you more on all accounts. The public needs to understand the overall economic impact when we talk about federal employees. In most states, the federal government represents either the largest, or second largest single employer (usually only second to state and other public employees). As goes the federal and public workforce in a state, so goes the state economy.

      And federal and public workers need to know that the days of dedicating their lives to the mission of their agency, retiring, and living happily ever after are over if they don't rise up and start fighting for every single benefit they have accrued. For those who have no particular concern about their own personal fates, it should still be well understood that as goes the federal workforce and their unions, so too shall ultimately go the services they provide. Without AFGE standing in Washington DC like the little Dutch Boy with his finger in the dike, there is precious little else standing in the way of privatization and elimination of the majority of services they provide. That alone should send chills down the spine of every single American. If you do not personally own major shares of the mega-corporations seeking new ways to profit from what little wealth remains in the hands of the majority of citizens, then privatization and depriving federal employees of their rights and benefits, has absolutely nothing of value to offer you.

      Delete
    3. Same thing in 1933 Germany

      Delete
  3. I think perhaps a general letter, that people could print, sign and mail to their local representative, should be drafted. This letter should demand that bills such as H.R.1364 and any other union busting agendas must be curtailed. This letter should make our elected officials aware that if they do not act, our next vote will be for those who do. Unions for all workers, from private to civil, should be protected for they are the line between our well being and our doom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that is a great idea! Now... GO FORTH AND MAKE IT HAPPEN! Do not wait for anyone to do it for you. That has largely been our problem, and it is one that each and every one of us needs to be working to correct immediately.

      A suggestion for follow through comes from a group I recently discovered in Iowa City, IA called Post Cards and Pints. They gather at a local brew house and write post cards together to their congressional representatives. I can tell you that this would be a more effective option than a single form letter, because honestly, elected leaders pay little attention to those, as opposed to any kind of personal message from a constituent. And, in the meantime, please make the calls daily about these bills! Thank you for reading! They became accustomed to having a small group send out post cards every week, but recently have been inundated by hundreds of activist participants! Go forth with an idea, and if it has any merit, people will join you eventually.

      Delete
  4. According to the National Right To Work Committee's own website, Sen Rand Paul has introduced a national RTW bill. I periodically keep tabs on this puke site. Why? Let's just say it's a chance to look into the opposing team's playback. They stupid enough to open it, damn right I will peak at it. Just be wary of "bait".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Opposition research is always a good idea. And federal employees are already "right to work" with the right to choose to belong, while federal unions are required to represent everyone. But it isn't enough for the right. It's never going to be enough until we are gone and unions do not exist at all.

      Delete