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Public Sector Unions – Part 1 of 2,348

Thursday, May 20, 2010


“To finance public sector wages, Rhode Island has continually raised taxes” - Rich States, Poor States – Laffer, Moore, Williams (2009).

Government employees should always serve at the pleasure of the People, not at the pleasure of an arbitrator, mediator, or public union bosses dedicated only to the financial interests of their membership – a special interest.

It should always be highly emphasized that the precise duties of labor leaders is to fight on behalf of their members. Regarding public sector unions, (which were illegal in Rhode Island until 1966), this means that there will be an unavoidable extortion of the taxpayers, who pay the public salaries. This extortion is especially a stark reality within a state run entirely by Democrats, whose political campaigns are funded by public unions – which are funded by the wrested taxpayers via union dues.

Awesome. Welcome to Rhode Island, where you are forced to fund the campaigns of those wishing to raise your taxes.

The moment one becomes an employee of the government, one becomes the government, and therefore a potential sacker of the People’s rights and property. Perhaps there is no better example of this than in the Ocean State, where after years of public unions becoming solidified as the state’s economic culture, we are finally finding neighbors being pitted against one another – taxpayer vs. public employee.

Awesome. Welcome to Greece, where public workers retire at age 11.

Over the past several years, anti-union rhetoric has become pretty commonplace here in Rhode Island. But how many Rhode Islanders have truly woken up, and are observing the fiscal flimsiness of an economy based on public labor? It seems accurate to say that many Rhode Islanders are still firmly indoctrinated by the tune of workers’ rhetoric, the Marxist drumbeat that informs us that unionized public employees are simultaneously the heroes and victims of our society – entitled to the salaries, raises, and retirement plans that they were promised. It’s in our contract!

But this is America. The only contract that must be honored by Rhode Islanders is the Rhode Island Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution. All else is subject to revision by the People.

The public unions will cry foul, and will attempt to sue the taxpayers into submission. They will call the People tyrants and racists, whatever it takes to maintain the status quo, and keep their pockets filled with taxpayer dollars.

There is much money and power to be lost in this debate over public sector unions. So Rhode Islanders should remember that the only people oppressed in their state are the taxpayers, who are footing the bill after years of irresponsible public union expansion. By giving way to union absurdity, and by retreating from union hostility, Rhode Island taxpayers are now finding out that their public sector employees rank 4th in the country concerning average salary, while the private sector averages 23rd. According to the Ocean State Policy Research Institute (OSPRI), “In 2008, the average state and local government workers earned 32.4 percent more than the average private sector job – the highest ration in the country.”

Rhode Islanders are also discovering that they pay for almost double the amount of state workers than New Hampshire, a state with a larger population. And 62 percent of the Ocean State’s public employees are unionized, compared to the national average of 37 percent. All of this translates to a total public payroll of $2.6 billion every year.

How did our government become so expensive, you ask? You can thank unions and Democrats. 

Travis Rowley ([email protected]) is the author of Out of Ivy, and Chairman of the RI Young Republicans.


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