RUSH: This is Cory in Bryan, Ohio. Nice to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Nice to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: All right. I’m on a cell phone. I’ll pause as much as I can.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I am a police officer. I am part of a union, a public sector union, and I think what they’re doing is hurting us more than it is helping us. We should be allowed to collective bargain. If we need to make concessions, fine, let’s make concessions. But give us the right to at least unionize. That sometimes is the only way we can keep our jobs after an election.
RUSH: I think what the governor is proposing here is that contracts be renegotiated every year based on available funds.
CALLER: That’s fine. Our contract where I work was up three years ago, and we extended it every year at 0% across the board, no raises, but yet our insurance would go up and everything else.
RUSH: Here’s the bottom line. You know, I’ll have to tell you something. I have sympathy for a lot of rank-and-file union employees, and I always have had. My beef with unions has always been the leadership and their reasons for collecting dues from members, their political activism and so forth. But I’ve always had a bit of sympathy for unionized people. My whole life, I don’t care what industry it is, union employees have been told that they’ve gotta give things back, airline pilots, stewardesses, flight attendants, whatever, nurses. It seems to be the plight of collective bargaining. It seems to be that at whatever stage.
Union employment, private sector union employment, the percentages continue to drop. Now in the public sector, government, state, local, federal, union workforces are expanding, of course. But they can print money to pay people. But in the private sector, businesses can’t print money to pay people, nor can states, nor can cities, nor can towns. You want the right to collective bargain, fine. If that’s what you want to do, that’s fine. Over the course of this program I’ve had people ask me, ‘What have you got against unions?’ Nothing! I’m all for freedom of choice. If you want to do a certain job and as a result you have to join a union, that’s cool with me. But understand what’s going to happen when you do.
I can remember countless discussions on this program over the years about teachers. People would call here routinely and talk about the inequities of compensation. ‘How come some baseball player who can’t spell and doesn’t even know what school he went to is making millions of dollars, and yet the people in charge of teaching our young people make so little in comparison?’ and I have attempted to answer that question. It’s very easy to explain within the context of free market principles. It’s also easy to explain that when you as an individual join a union, you are essentially saying good-bye to yourself as an individual. You can work as hard as you want, you can be better than the next person on the line, better than the next teacher.
It isn’t gonna matter. You’re all going to make the same amount of money. The difference is maybe you can become a foreman, maybe you can become somebody gets more overtime than someone else, but the basic wage is gonna remain what it is for whatever that contract says no matter how well you do your job — or no matter how poorly. Now, according to the Associated Press, Cory, Governor Walker wants to remove all collective bargaining rights except for salary for roughly 175,000 public employees starting July 1st. So the unions in Wisconsin can still bargain for their salaries even if Walker gets everything he wants. He’s not trying to take the salary negotiation off the table.
This is about pension and benefits, and the fact that there isn’t any money. I don’t know what to tell people. There isn’t any money. In your own home when there isn’t any money, what do you do? Do you go on strike against your own family? What? What do you do? Well, you go out and maybe you get a second job, or you cut back on expenses, or you change jobs and try to get a raise or what have you. And, by the way, cops and firefighters unions are excluded from Walker’s plan because he knows if they’d been included nobody would care about the teachers. If he would have included firefighters and cops, then everybody would say, ‘Oh no! You don’t want to take cops out! No, that’ll make us unsafe and fires are gonna burn down our houses,’ but this is what happens when you run out of money, and when what you do individually does not matter a whit to what you earn. That’s what it is when you join a union.
RUSH: Another story from the AP: ‘Police officers are looking for Democratic Wisconsin lawmakers who were ordered to attend a vote on a bill that would strip public employees of collective bargaining rights, but skipped it instead. No Democrats showed up for Thursday’s Senate session, meaning a vote cannot be taken. Republicans need at least one Democratic senator to be present. Calls to Democratic leaders regarding the no-show were not immediately returned.’ Not a single Wisconsin Democrat senator has shown up for the budget vote. The cops are out looking for ’em. It’s kind of a government shutdown. The Democrats are trying to shut down the Wisconsin state government.
Now, this isn’t a mob. ‘They’re not intimidating anybody,’ we’ve been told. How about this? Democrats running outta town! They don’t have the guts to show up and vote. (interruption) Don’t give me, ‘This is just a brilliant move.’ They’re putting off the inevitable here. Go ahead, Democrats! Go ahead and stay away. Go ahead, run away from all this. Show everybody who you are. Show everybody how you line up against the will of your voters. You go ahead and show everybody. These public sector unions, folks, let’s just describe them accurately. They are monopolies. They are different than private sector unions and these public sector unions — like we see in New Jersey, like we see here in Wisconsin — are organizing against the taxpayers, the people who pay them.
Pensions, health care, unfunded liabilities, these are unsustainable. This is really not about whether people get to join public sector unions. It’s whether the taxpayers want them. Taxpayers are not some company. We’re the taxpayers of a community. There isn’t any competition with a local public school teacher union. This is not like unionizing companies that make toasters or coffee machines or what have you. When you go out and you buy a toaster, you look at the cost and you decide what to pay. The toaster maker has to price his toaster against the competition if he wants to stay in business. If he can’t, he won’t stay in business, so he also is incentivized to be watchful of personnel costs.
In the public school arena, it’s a monopoly. There is minimal competition, so the politicians on the school boards and town councils cut deals with union bosses and the taxpayers end up paying real estate taxes, property taxes (for the most part) and if they don’t or can’t pay they lose their home. That’s what’s happening to these taxpayers. This is what’s happening: Average, ordinary Americans who are paying the salaries and the health benefits and the pensions are losing their jobs and losing their homes. There isn’t any money anymore! So these public sector unions, monopolies, are organizing and protesting against the taxpayers — and what happens?
The Democrats in the senate of Wisconsin flee. They leave town, and now the police are trying to find them. I’ll tell you what the unions are really upset about is that Walker’s bill, the governor’s bill, includes a section that would allow public workers to opt out of joining unions. It’s the opposite of card check. That’s why Democrats don’t want to vote on it, among other things. His bill includes a section that would allow public workers to opt out of joining unions. That’s why Obama’s monitoring this. Make no mistake. Folks, this is it. We have a microcosm of exactly where this whole country is headed. Now, under Walker’s plan, once again, unions would no longer be able to negotiate the length of their shifts, their vacations, their sick days, discipline processes, among other things.
They would be able to negotiate salaries. Now, let me ask you, those of you who are not members of a union. Are you allowed to negotiate the length of your shift? Are you allowed to negotiate when you start and when you finish each day? Are you allowed to negotiate your vacation schedule and time and length? Are you allowed to negotiate your sick days? Are you allowed to participate in whatever the disciplinary process at your company is? No. You go to work someplace, at the ABC Widget Company, and they tell you, ‘Okay, here’s when you’re gonna work. This is what the vacation schedule is, how many weeks you get based on service. Here’s how many sick days you get, and the discipline process (if we have one), this is what that is.’
You won’t have a say. You accept the terms as they are when you go to work in the private sector. These people want all that negotiated as part of the deal. I’ll never forget something (H.R. will back me up on this), because my associates on this program were genuinely afraid for my safety in the early nineties. In Chicago, the bricklayers… Remember this, Snerdley? The bricklayers union was making noise about going on strike, and I made the observation that what they’re going to do is demand more pay for laying less bricks in a given workday; that they always do; that they’re gonna demand more pay for less work, more vacation time. And all hell broke loose!
Intimidating phone calls. Demands that union officials be allowed to appear on the program. People were demanding, ‘How do you know this? You can’t just spout this off!’ Well, my dad was a lawyer. He had experience with the bricklayers in our little town, some teamsters unions, and this is what they asked for then. It had already happened. I had seen it happen. I knew this was what was happening with the bricklayers in Chicago. They eventually backed off. Yeah, we sent ’em documentation of historical trends. We didn’t make it up. My only point is the private sector does not have this ability, the people in the private sector, unless…
There are exceptions to this. There are certain people who have risen to such heights in companies that they are, quote, unquote, ‘special,’ ‘irreplaceable’ or what have you. But I’ll guarantee you that will never happen to anybody in a union. Everybody’s the same. Everybody ends up the same no matter how well or how poorly they do. But that’s fine. I don’t want to be misunderstood here. Somebody wants to join a union, you go right ahead. This is the United States of America. I just want everybody to understand what they’re doing when they make a choice. It’s that simple.
RUSH: Arlington, Virginia, Sean, hi, sir. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I just thought I’d call because I don’t know a single rich teacher or a single person that’s gotten rich by being a teacher, or a paper pusher at any state government agency. Ironically, I do know plenty of people that have gotten very wealthy being cops who aren’t under assault by this governor. But I want to make one other point, too, because I went to a lot of Tea Party rallies and I heard a lot of people talking about they wanted their country back and I started thinking about what that meant, and what I thought it meant was maybe going back to a time like the fifties or sixties when one man could go out and provide a living for his family, and put a car in the driveway, and pay for his house, and provide his family with health insurance, and send his kids off to college. And in the fifties and sixties, more people were unionized than ever before. Since then, unions have shrunken in size, they’ve lost a lot of their power and now both parents have to work. No one’s teaching the kids any kind of morality at home. Nobody can afford insurance for their families anymore. I mean it’s crazy how bad the status of the worker has gotten in this country since the fifties and sixties.
RUSH: The maximum percentage of the American workforce that was ever unionized, and this is back in the forties, was 35%. It’s never been above that. Even during the fifties and sixties, it was nowhere near that. Are you trying to say that union membership is what led to the kind of prosperity you’re talking about, you just described in the fifties? Because if it were, the unions would be the most powerful organizations in this country today, everybody would want to be a member of one. It just isn’t true. Now, I don’t want to spend time, you know, the Tea Parties getting their country back. It’s very simple. Reduce the size and scope of government. It’s get government out of people’s lives; it’s lower taxes; it’s get rid of regulations; it’s get the government to stop being an obstacle to freedom and prosperity and success.
But I know what you’re really getting at. Your real question is what have I got against unions? You just said it. Unions, those people don’t make any money, except the cops, who this guy is not targeting in Wisconsin. Let me put this in a political context for you. I oppose liberalism wherever it is. I oppose liberalism because liberalism is what has destroyed prosperity in this country. The rise of liberalism, the rise of public school education or indoctrination taught by liberal Marxist teachers is responsible for your precious lack of morality, plummeting morality, plummeting education scores, plummeting knowledge, your precious liberalism is responsible for it, and wherever it is, I want it defeated, even if it is housed and headquartered in a union.
There’s nothing to me sacred about a union just because it is a union, just because it may be the location of, quote, unquote, ‘the workers,’ which is a Marxist term I also object to when being applied to people who go to work in this country. We have entrepreneurs. We have employees. We have associates. Workers exist in China, in the old Soviet Union, in Korea and in Cuba. I think liberalism needs to be eradicated. And just because unions or whatever people think they are doesn’t mean the liberalism of a union is hands off or untouchable to me. If I’m gonna try to wipe out the Democrat Party in a political sense, if I think they ought to be relegated to minority status, then it only makes sense that their primary supporters also become minorities, in terms of power and status, and that would be unions. Does that help you understand?
RUSH: Before the 1960s, only a small portion of public school teachers were unionized. Yes, this is in reply to the guy who called from Arlington, Virginia, who wanted to talk about how great it was in the fifties. Everybody was unionized! That’s when people could have one job and pay for a house! The wife didn’t work! Two cars in the garage, steaks every night on the grill. The only problem is before the 1960s only a small portion of public teachers were unionized. That began to change in 1959. Wisconsin, interestingly, became the first state to pass a collective bargaining law for public employees. Over the next 20 years, most other states followed suit.
Here’s Dan in Albany, New York. Dan, glad you waited, and welcome to the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.
CALLER: Thank you, Mr. Limbaugh, for taking my call. It’s a pleasure to talk to you. What I just wanted to stay, upstate Albany where we live here the profession I chose to go into, we are nonunion. However the New York State Department of Labor has set certain standards that state any time that we go into a city school district, a city hall — anything that has to do with the government — we, by law, have to be paid prevailing wage, which is considerably higher than our hourly rate, even though we are not union. Which is, when you think about it, if I go into a Walmart or a Target and perform that same job, all I receive is my hourly rate.
RUSH: But if you go into, say, a school or some other government facility, your rate gets bumped up?
CALLER: We have to, by law, be paid what the union gets paid.
RUSH: Well, welcome to the power of unions. I mean, if you’re going to have a union deal, does that make sense? If they could bring you guys in and undercut what the union people make, there wouldn’t be any reason for a union. Welcome to reality. That’s just how it’s gonna work. There’s nothing you can do about that. In fact, given the autocratic nature and controlling nature of unions, that makes total sense. It’s how to keep you out of there, or making sure the union guys don’t get undercut. Are you happy about that or not? Do you like going places and get a higher rate?
CALLER: Especially in the area, it’s very hard in the profession that I’m in to find an employer, a private sector employer, who is nonunion — and, like I said, we are nonunion. However, even though we are nonunion, we have no choice. You know, the amount that we get paid walking into a prevailing wage job is set by the unions.
RUSH: Yeah, but how do you feel about it? I mean, obviously you’re making more money than you otherwise would. How do you feel about it?
CALLER: I disagree with it entirely. Every day I have a choice of whether or not I want to work for a union company or stay in the private sector, and I’ve made the decision to stay nonunion. However, New York State, unfortunately, kind of takes that decision away from you.
RUSH: Interesting. (interruption) Well, ‘Who pays for it?’ The taxpayers of New York pay for it. Who else is gonna pay for it? There’s one way or the other, the taxpayers are paying for it, and one way or the other the taxpayers are finding out they pay for it, and one way or the other taxpayers are gonna say, ‘No, we’re not anymore,’ ergo, hi, Wisconsin; hi, New Jersey. I appreciate the call, Dan. Thanks very much.
Back to Obamacare for just a second: Don’t forget something else. (These states all know this.) Obamacare mandates massive new increased costs to the states, much higher Medicaid costs. Remember, that’s one of the ways they are able to play a budget game with Obamacare is shift Medicaid expenses to the states. It’s a massive increase in state expense. It’s a massive increase in government employment, federal and state levels. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why all of this is reaching a tipping point. You can’t support Obamacare and support control over government spending and control over entitlements and control over public sector unions. It simply isn’t possible. If you support Obamacare, you cannot support control over government spending, because Obamacare is all about control over government spending.
If unions are so great — we had a bunch of people call here today, a couple people try to make the case — why aren’t 90% of those who are not members demanding to be members? Why is it the other way around? The point that I made: If it was so great back in the fifties and sixties why isn’t everybody a member of a union now getting one wage with two cars, the wife is at home padding around the kitchen waiting for the kids to come home from school? Why isn’t that great picture of Americana reality if it was the unions that made it happen? This is why they want card check. Obama wants to change the rules so the ballot’s not secret anymore, coerce people into joining unions. If the unions are so great, why do they need card check? Why do they need coercive elements, techniques, to get people to sign up?