Older Americans may fondly remember bygone days when some unions played a positive role in our free economy. In the 1950s, many unions expelled communist agitators. Today's unions, by contrast, promote big-government solutions to every problem. That's because of the dramatic change in the membership of powerful unions.
An important milestone was reached last year when, for the first time, the majority of union members (51.4 percent) were federal or state government employees. The political power of government workers unions is a major reason why government spending is now out of control.
The average pay of federal workers is over $71,000 (in Washington, D.C., it's $94,047), whereas the average pay in the private sector (if you have a job) is $50,028. Annual raises are a matter of course, and government employees enjoy close to lifetime job security and benefits including retirement. Rising star Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, commented, "I about fell off my chair when I saw that the number of federal employees making more than $150,000 have more than doubled in the last 18 months."
Another Washington labor lawyer, Joseph Sandler, who is described as a "renowned expert on election law," has created a crow's nest of front groups whose goal is to undermine the Tea Party movement. These groups have funneled vast amounts of union dues money, including $10 million from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), into fronts with innocuous names such as "Patriot Majority" and "Citizens for Progress."
To defeat Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to protect traditional marriage, the SEIU spent $500,000 and the California teachers union spent $1,250,000. After the voters approved the measure, over 50 unions (including the national AFL-CIO) signed a brief asking the courts to overturn the will of the people.