Public Safety Unions

Did the UFT leadership go too far with Sharpton?

Al Sharpton’s rally on Staten Island this weekend to protest Eric Garner’s death due to a police choke-hold came and went peacefully. But the rally laid bare significant divisions between members of the United Federation of Teachers and the union’s leadership as well as tensions …

Audit fires up New Orleans’ pension controversy

Should taxpayers be responsible for soaring costs in a pension fund that has been mismanaged by its trustees, many of whom are government workers elected by their colleagues to run the retirement system? That’s the debate playing out in New Orleans, where Mayor Mitch Landrieu …

What’s really behind the NYC pension crisis?

The NY Times has a long story today on the woes of New York’s municipal pension system, which explains that despite sharply higher contributions on the city’s part its pension hole just keeps growing. The problem, the story outlines in great detail, is that the pension system’s managers have not been able to match the aggressive investment assumptions necessary to keep the system well-funded. Fair enough, but that’s not really the heart of the problem…just a symptom of it….

Police and fire continue to promote ‘early death’ fiction

Police officers and firefighters aren’t about to stop touting their talking point about dying early, given how effective it is in convincing officials to grant them six-figure pension plans. If they die a couple years after retiring because of job stresses and fire-related cancers, then …

New York’s transit pay train

Employees of New York’s sprawling Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) make a good buck — and top salaries are by no means limited to the white-collar brass at the state-run agency’s midtown Manhattan headquarters.
In 2013, one in seven MTA workers pulled down at least $100,000 in …

Brown talks responsibility, then expands union giveaway

Gov. Jerry Brown was echoing Ronald Reagan at his press conference last week as he touted a “responsible” balanced budget, created a rainy day fund with toughened provisions that prevent legislative raiding and ridiculed new Democratic spending proposals. He opposed plans by his party’s legislators …

Griping about taxes is high where unions are strongest

Gallup has a new state poll out listing where residents gripe the most about taxes. The winners (if you can call them that) are largely not surprising, if you 480x480xno-taxes.gif.pagespeed.ic.FajJWeTt5lfollow policy debates these days. (Except for Nebraska. What are those folks so upset about?) Just for fun (if you can call it that) I took a look at how the list of those complaining the most about taxes correlated to the degree of government unionization in each state…

Just how big is Rahm’s pension-driven Chicago tax increase?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a property tax increase to help deal with the city’s steeply underfunded pensions. Calculations from local officials make the increase seem modest: just $50 a year every year for five years on an average $4,000 property tax bill. But that’s not the whole story, by any means…

California union ‘density’ dips slightly, but still high

A researcher called my attention to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing a slight drop in union density in California. Here is the data. It’s worth reviewing for every state.

The public’s changing views of public employee unions

Public attitudes regarding unions in general and public sector unions in particular are in flux.  Prior to 1960 public attitudes toward unions were favorable.  Yet, in 2009, for the first time in the modern era, less than half of Americans told pollsters that they approved …