Tag Archives: unions

CEI Podcast for April 5, 2011: Reforming the Railway Labor Act

Have a listen here.

Russ Brown, a vice president at the Labor Relations Institute and a CEI Adjunct Analyst, talks about recent changes made to the Railway Labor Act that make it easier for airline workers to unionize. Brown recently co-authored a CEI OnPoint paper on the reforms. Congress voted against the changes in legislation, so they were passed via regulation instead. This is another example of regulation without representation.

CEI Podcast for February 24, 2011: On, Wisconsin

Have a listen here.

Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray discusses the labor reforms that have led to a thousands-strong sustained protest in Madison, Wisconsin. While the reforms themselves are relatively minor, both sides know that the stakes are high. This may prove to be at a watershed moment in the relationship between public sector unions and taxpayers.

How to Lie with Statistics

Steven Landsburg uncovers a whopper. Take a look at this graph for a second. Pay special attention to the right-hand y-axis. Then click on over to Landsburg’s blog post to find out what’s wrong with it.

Get Spit On, Take Three Months Off

New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude. But they are also a sensitive lot. Especially bus drivers. Last year, angry customers literally spit on bus drivers 51 times. The experience was so harrowing for one unidentified driver that he or she needed 191 days of paid leave to recover. The average driver took 64 days of paid leave after being spat upon.

Seems a bit much. But union leaders think it’s justified.

“Being spat upon — having a passenger spit in your face, spit in your mouth, spit in your eye — is a physically and psychologically traumatic experience,” said John Samuelsen, the union’s president. “If transit workers are assaulted, they are going to take off whatever amount of time they are going to take off to recuperate.”

Getting spit on is not fun. And it can certainly ruin one’s day. But the recovery time for most people is measured in minutes, not months.

Raul Morales, 52, has been driving city buses for five years, but his first encounter with spit came early.

“A guy wanted to get on the bus; I told him the fare; he didn’t want to pay it,” Mr. Morales said. “So, he spat at me.”

The spittle landed on his shirt and glasses. He stopped at a nearby McDonald’s to clean himself off, then finished his shift. “I just kept on going.” (An ice slushie was once thrown at him for the same reason.)

Mr. Morales said it did not occur to him to take an extended absence to recover.

Good to see that common sense isn’t completely dead.

It is sad that so many transit employees have no problem taking months-long vacations at taxpayer expense, using the flimsiest of excuses. That kind of behavior wouldn’t fly in the productive sector.

New York City Transit is running a $400 million deficit this year. Saliva-induced vacations alone account for nearly a million dollars of that, based on average salaries. That money could have gone towards softening looming service cuts. It could have gone to repairing aging infrastructure. It could have gone to employees who actually work.

But when labor rules are as generous as they are for many public-sector union workers, it should come as no surprise that some people will game the system.

Cesar Chavez Day – Interesting Timing

March 31 was Cesar Chavez Day. It has been celebrated in California for some time. A few other states also recognize the holiday. But this year, for the first time, it was a national holiday.

The trouble is that nobody knew it at the time.

On April 2, the White House filed a Presidential Document declaring the holiday. It ran in the April 5 Federal Register, five days after the fact.

You’d think this would have been announced in advance. But Chavez remains a controversial figure. And the gesture will be seen by President Obama’s adversaries as yet more evidence of his capture by labor interests.

The president could rebut those charges directly. Instead he actively avoided confrontation, which is one way of admitting guilt.

Dog Bites Man

I am shocked — shocked — that $6 million of stimulus money went to a company accused of “overbilling, bribery of union officials and other alleged improprieties on several large New York projects.” Such lapses in oversight never happen with government spending projects!