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Unions

States employ 19 million workers - 15 percent of the nation’s workforce and six times as many workers as the federal government employs, according to the State Budget Crisis Task Force.

Salaries and benefits for those employees account for around 30 percent of the state general fund in most states. Benefits alone accounting for more than a third of that cost, meaning that about 10 percent of state general fund expenditures now go to benefits for currently employed workers, many of whom are represented by unions. The cost is growing at a rate that cannot be sustained. To have any hope of achieving fiscal health in the future, states will need to redesign their benefit systems and evaluate state employee salaries.

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    • HEADLINES: Illinois

      The Labor Book: A guide to Illinois government unions

      Illinois Policy Institute | by Paul Kersey | August 29, 2013

      When considering Illinois’ economy and politics, it is clear that unionized government causes or exacerbates many of the state’s problems.

    • HEADLINES: Michigan

      Detroit union files challenge to city's bankruptcy petition

      Reuters | by Joseph Lichterman and Bernie Woodall | August 22, 2013

      One of Detroit's biggest public labor unions on Monday became the first major party to file an objection to the city's bankruptcy filing ahead of a midnight deadline for challenges.

    • HEADLINES: Michigan

      Michigan 'Right to Work' Law Challenge Fails in Court

      Bloomberg News | by Andrew Harris | August 19, 2013

      Michigan’s “right to work law” barring union membership as a condition for government employment applies to workers classified as civil service, a court ruled.

    • HEADLINES

      State Pension Litigation Update, August 2013

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito | August 8, 2013

      In attempts to reign in the costs of pensions, state lawmakers legislate pension reform. Challengers to those reforms often bring suit, alleging violations of state law, contracts, and the Constitution. In this month's update, we include the details of the Detroit bankruptcy filing.

    • HEADLINES: California

      SEIU Local 1000 members overwhelmingly approve contract

      Sacramento Bee | by Jon Ortiz | July 10, 2013

      Ninety percent of SEIU Local 1000 voters approved a new contract with Gov. Jerry Brown, the union announced late Tuesday.

    • HEADLINES: California

      BART's top-paid worker of 2012 never worked a day

      San Jose Mercury News | by Thomas Peele and Daniel J. Willis | June 17, 2013

      With a gross salary of more than $333,000, BART's highest-paid employee last year wasn't its general manager, police chief or a worker who racked up gobs of overtime scrubbing grime from filthy train seats.

      It was someone who did no work at all for BART in 2012: Dorothy Dugger, the agency's former general manager who resigned under pressure more than two years ago.

    • HEADLINES

      State pension reforms to result in more hybrid pension plans -- report

      Pensions & Investments | by Kevin Olsen | June 14, 2013

      More states will create hybrid plans in the future because of the less-volatile contribution levels and the fact that the defined contribution components are portable for a workforce that is now increasingly more mobile, according to a new report.

    • HEADLINES: New York

      Playing politics with NY pension funds

      The New York Post | by James R. Copland | June 7, 2013

      While taxpayers dig pension funds out of their massive 2008-09 investment losses, the elected state and city comptrollers who oversee these funds, Thomas DiNapoli and John Liu, have used the public's pension investments to advance positions favored by labor unions and other political special interests.

    • HEADLINES: New York

      Less spent to battle budget

      The Albany Times Union | by Jimmy Vielkind | June 3, 2013

      The amount of money spent on lobbying in New York State during the first four months of this year has dropped significantly, a Times Union analysis of disclosure reports found.

    • HEADLINES: Massachusetts

      Without cost saving reforms, public sector unions pose future liability crisis for states

      Beacon Hill Institute | May 24, 2013

      A one percentage point increase in the unionization of a state’s public sector workforce is associated with an additional $78 of state and local government debt per capita. Meaning, if a state’s public sector unionization were to fall from 50% to 49%, that is associated with a fall in the public debt by $78 per person living in the state. Thus states with higher public sector unionized workforces are more likely to face higher levels of state debt. 


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    • RESEARCH

      Collective Bargaining and Labor Union Legislation Database

      Current legislation on labor unions and collective bargaining is available in a searchable database. You can search all collective bargaining or labor union related bills.

    • RESEARCH: California, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas

      Dues and Deep Pockets: Public-Sector Unions' Money Machine

      Manhattan Institute for Policy Research | by Daniel DiSalvo | March 22, 2012

      To level the playing field between governmentemployee unions and taxpayers, elimination of dues checkoff and the agency shop are possible steps to take. In fact, these may be more politically palatable, and ultimately more effective, avenues of reform than are restrictions on collective bargaining. Eliminating the public-sector union’s money advantage would let workers retain their right to negotiate with their employers but put them on a level playing field in the political arena. It is the way to restore fairness to the process.

    • RESEARCH

      Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state

      Bureau of Labor Statistics | February 1, 2012

      Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state, 2010-2011 annual averages

    • POLICY BRIEF

      Differences between private sector unions and government unions

      State Budget Solutions | March 23, 2011

      The issue facing states around the nation is not a traditional private sector dispute between labor and management. It is a question of important public policy and whether states can afford agreements for government employees' salaries and benefits.  The numbers from State Budget Solutions show that the answer is no.

    • RESEARCH: Illinois

      Getting Their Dues? Top Union Boss Salaries in Illinois

      Illinois Policy Institute | by Jarad Perry | February 25, 2011

      Thanks to union expense reporting requirements and the accessibility of the Internet, we can get a glimpse into the compensation packages of top union officials in Illinois.

    • RESEARCH

      Burn Notice

      Mackinac Center | by Paul Kersey | February 25, 2011

      One suspects that the vast majority of workers are at least vaguely aware of their right to organize. Nonetheless, the National Labor Relations Board, apparently desperate to drum up business for unions and work for itself, intends to issue new regulations that would force employers to post notices informing workers that they do, indeed, have a right to organize.

    • RESEARCH: Minnesota

      Public Employee Unions Shun Diversity

      Freedom Foundation of Minnesota | February 25, 2011

      A Freedom Foundation of Minnesota review of recently filed campaign finance reports finds that public employee unions in Minnesota have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2010 election cycle to support a diverse group of candidates: suburban Democrats, rural Democrats, Twin Cities Democrats, and Iron Range Democrats.

    • RESEARCH: Nebraska

      Nebraska's Unions Buck National Trend, Avoid Decline

      Platte Institute for Economic Research | by Alex West | February 25, 2011

      Though unions have been on the decline in nearly every state in the nation, Nebraska's unions are actually growing.

    • RESEARCH

      A History of Public Sector Collective Bargaining

      Rio Grande Foundation | by Hal Stratton | February 25, 2011

      With all that is happening in Wisconsin (and now Ohio and other states) with regard to government workers, some observers are wondering how we arrived to this point.

    • RESEARCH: Ohio

      The State and its Unions

      The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions | by Jason Hart | February 25, 2011

      Why should the Ohio Senate revoke collective bargaining privileges from both state and local government workers, undoing rights created in 1983 by ORC 4117? The existing law starts from the flawed premise that elected officials and their appointees will protect the public interest in bargaining with the unions


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    • SOLUTIONS

      Why government employee collective bargaining laws must be reformed now

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | December 5, 2012

      There are three important lessons from the Wisconsin collective bargaining battles over the past eighteen months:

      1. The power of the government-sector unions and their impact on elections is greatly overestimated. With the November 2012 victory for  Senate Republicans to regain control of the Wisconsin Senate,  government employee union  suffered their sixth  major defeat since March 2011.

      2. When given a choice, government employees will quit their union in large numbers.

      3. Government employees' salaries and benefits, particularly pensions, are financially unsustainable in most states and collective bargaining reform is needed.

    • SOLUTIONS: California

      Reform Before Revenue: How to Fix California's Retiree Health-Care Problem

      The Manhattan Institute | by Stephen D. Eide | October 31, 2012

      This paper examines the ongoing fiscal crisis caused by health-care plans for retirees (known as "other post-employment benefits," or OPEB) in one of the hardest-hit states, California, and outlines necessary reforms that should come before tax increases or cuts to government services.

    • SOLUTIONS: Wisconsin

      Benefit Reform Could Save School Districts Hundreds of Million$

      The MacIver Institute | November 29, 2011

      Public officials can help alleviate their budget crunches by offering competitive, not exorbitant benefits.

    • SOLUTIONS: Ohio

      Solving Our State Fiscal Challenges

      The Buckeye Institute | by Matt A. Mayer | November 29, 2011

      Advocating for collective bargaining reforms because unless base compensation adjustmentst happen, taxes will have to go up.

    • SOLUTIONS: Washington

      Top 10 Ideas to Cut Waste, Balance the Budget and Stimulate the Economy Without Raising Taxes

      The Freedom Foundation | by Amber Gunn | November 4, 2011

      Ten ideas to cut waste and balance the buget without raising taxes, including more efficient K-12 funding, spending high education tax dollars more wisely and rein in state employee salaries and benefits.

    • SOLUTIONS: Oregon

      How to Turn Oregonís Business Climate Around

      The Cascade Policy Institute | by Steve Buckstein | November 3, 2011

      Article presenting the elimination of the Oregon state income tax and the end forced unionism as solutions to both budget problems and lack of business growth.

    • SOLUTIONS: Arizona

      No Taxpayer Subsidies for Public Employee Unions

      The Goldwater Institute | by Nick Dranias | October 28, 2011

      the Goldwater Institute recommends that Arizona join North Carolina and other states that completely prohibit state and local government officials from contracting with public employee unions, requiring all employment relationships to be individually negotiated.

    • SOLUTIONS

      Sweeping the Shop Floor

      The Freedom Foundation | by Rachel Culbertson | February 26, 2011

      This study from the Freedom Foundation shows how America's labor laws are seriously outdated and explores possible solutions based on reforms that have worked in other countries.

    • SOLUTIONS: Michigan

      Reconsidering Michigan's Public Employment Relations Act

      Mackinac Center | by Paul Kersey | February 25, 2011

      No area of public policy in Michigan is more in need of fresh thinking than the relationship between government and its employees. With Michigan's recurring government budget struggles, and with a new Legislature and governor espousing a commitment to performance, efficiency and accountability in government, a new labor law for government employees is imperative.

    • SOLUTIONS: Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, California, Louisiana, Colorado

      What Works: Fixing State Budgets

      by Kelly William Cobb | April 19, 2010

      Paper suggesting a variety of ways to fixing state budgets in crisis, including freezing or slowing public employee salary growth, privatizing infrastructure and state operations, eliminating prevailing wage and placing constitutional limits on taxing and spending.


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