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June 30, 2010

Democrats' Bill To Pay Back Unions Could End Volunteer Fire Departments

Topics: Political News and commentaries

More pay for play by the Democrats, this time it could force costly SEIU membership on volunteer fire departments and kill an American tradition in the process (emphasis added):

Volunteer fire departments are about as American as apple pie. But under legislation moving quickly in Congress, this staple of American life could soon be a thing of the past.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D.-S.C.) wants to include the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act as part of the war supplemental coming before the House this week. The bill forces state and local governments to collectively bargain with police, firefighters and emergency workers. Its critics say it would compel volunteer firefighters to join unions, threatening the survival of America's nearly 26,000 volunteer fire departments.

The act would affect some states more than others. In North Carolina and Virginia, for example, collective bargaining is currently prohibited. Eighteen other states have limitations on bargaining. The legislation would likely force those governments to abandon merit-based promotions for public safety workers and shift instead to a collectively bargained seniority.schedule, which unions prefer.

By including the legislation in the much larger supplemental appropriations bill, which funds the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Clyburn would avoid a contentious fight with conservatives and appease unions with a legislative victory. And because the Senate has already passed the supplemental, Republicans would have no opportunity to amend it. In other words, the only way to stop the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act is to keep it out of the supplemental.

Let there be no doubt that this bill has one purpose and one purpose only - to provide pay back for union campaign contributions to the Democrats. At a time when we should be cutting back the influence and cost of public service unions that are bankrupting America, the Democrats just can't stop themselves from continuing to give taxpayer money to unions to prime the pump for their campaign donations.

Other than the fact that Democrats are using taxpayer money to fund a kitty for their political campaigns, there's the big problem that just as private unions bankrupt private businesses, public sector unions have put local and state governments in big trouble as well

As The Washington Times writes:

Usually it takes a national government to spend itself into a debt measured in the trillions. Yet it comes as little surprise that the same profligacy that pervades the corridors of federal power infects this country's 87,000 state, county and municipal governments and school districts. By 2013, the amount of retirement money promised to employees of these public entities will exceed cash on hand by more than a trillion dollars.

That's according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, which earlier this month released a troubling analysis of 126 state and local pension plans. The center's researchers found in the wake of the stock market collapse that measures of pension program solvency hit a 15-year low with no signs of improvement on the horizon. This means taxpayers will be left picking up the tab.

The reason pension plans are headed toward financial disaster is simple. Ever-expanding public-sector unions have flexed their political muscle and larded up with lavish benefits to be be paid out decades from now. In a properly run,private-sector business, future retirement benefits are paid for using present-day contributions. This is not the case when lawmakers have the power to boost public-employee benefit packages while using accounting gimmicks to conceal and pass on the debt to future generations.

This GOP ad helps put the Democrats' corrupt partnership with the unions into perspective: "Budget Battle" (SEIU union leader testifing before California legislature makes threats saying, "We helped to get you into office. We got a good memory; and come November, if you don't back our program, we'll help get you out of office."):

Related articles:
Public Sector Unions' Heavy Burden on Taxpayers
The Beholden State (How public-sector unions broke California)

Posted by Richard at June 30, 2010 7:39 AM

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