Posts tagged taxes

    Teachers Union Strike in Mass. Amid Statewide Revenue Deficits

    February 11, 2024 // Nearly two weeks later, and close to a million dollars in fines incurred by the illegal strike, the NTA and the District finally agreed to a 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment through fiscal year 2025, a 3.25 percent increase by 2026, and a .75 percent increase for 2027—a stepped total of 12.6 percent over four years. According to the NTA, the deal includes “the best parental leave benefits in the state,” with 10 additional paid days by the district. According to Newton officials, however, the deal cost their residents an additional $53 million more than budgeted. In March of 2023, Newton residents voted 53-47 against additional tax increases proposed to cover increased spending. Without the additional tax revenues to fund the union’s demands, Newton city Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, said during negotiations that the city would need to layoff teachers and other city employees, such as police and firefighters, to meet the bargaining demands.

    Commentary: With Unions, the Numbers Tell the Story

    February 5, 2024 // Public sector unions’ hold on government employees isn’t a lock. State legislatures can pass laws that rein in unionization and membership recruitment and protect employees. States can choose a different path by, for example, ending artificial union subsidies and requiring union executives to prove their value to employees. States can follow Florida’s lead: Last year, the Sunshine State ended union payroll deductions and doubled down on recertification, forcing unions to demonstrate actual support from membership to remain in power.

    OP-ED: Labor Department’s new independent contractor rule is a mess. We need a clear national standard instead.

    February 2, 2024 // This confusion has serious consequences. Worker classification affects not only minimum wages and overtime, but also fringe benefits, taxes, insurance, liability for injuries, and union organizing. It can even implicate antitrust law. So if a business classifies a worker incorrectly, it can face serious legal penalties. And those penalties aren’t just monetary: some states have even made misclassification a crime. And make no mistake, this isn’t only a problem for companies; it’s a problem for workers too. Look no further than what has happened in California. In 2020, the state changed its classification rules to crack down on supposed misclassification. The state’s goal was to shift workers out of independent contracting and into employment. But not only did contracting dry up, so did employment. A new study shows that more than ten percent of contractors and four percent of employees in the affected professions simply lost their jobs. Businesses were so afraid of the new classification rules that they cut opportunities across the board.

    Union-backed bills pose biggest challenges to cities

    October 16, 2023 // The reasons: a tight labor market with unemployment under 4% and pro-union policies by the Biden administration. But one reason not cited is the difficulty of fighting union power in one-party, Democratic states such as California, New York and Illinois. Indeed, the SEIU’s clout was shown this month when Newsom appointed Laphonza Butler to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the late Dianne Feinstein. Most recently the head of Emily’s List, Butler was before that president of SEIU California, representing 700,000 California workers. Through its contributions, the SEIU has a stranglehold on hundreds of local officials in the state. When Republican clout is moribund – and the party seemingly can’t get its act together, as most glaringly in California – there’s no countervailing power to union demands. Urban residents are most dependent on public services and the tourism and entertainment industries represented by these newly energized unions. Strikes always are disruptive and can paralyze an economy, damaging city finances and driving away businesses. The rusted-out remnant of Detroit, until the 1960s dubbed the Paris of the West, is a cautionary example. But one California economic sector will benefit for sure: moving companies. Better pack up before they’re unionized, too.

    OP-ED: LAUSD’s unions could support policies to help all Californians

    March 14, 2023 // According to the SEIU, the average annual salary for the 30,000 LAUSD service workers they represent is $25,000. But that includes all service workers, from part-time to full-time. About 75% of the members work fewer than eight hours per day, and with school in session only 180 days, or 36 weeks per year, even many of the workers with “full-time hours” are off for up to 16 weeks per year. Union representatives themselves acknowledge LAUSD’s reliance on a part-time workforce. But it raises an uncomfortable question that applies to teachers as well: If K-12 schools in California operate for the equivalent of just 36 full weeks per year, is it reasonable for people working in these schools to expect to earn enough to cover a full year of expenses? Similarly, if some of the service jobs require a worker for only a few hours each day, how can the district’s taxpayers afford to pay them for a full day?

    Unionized Public Education is Destroying California

    March 13, 2023 // The teachers’ union in California supported a ballot initiative that guarantees at least 38 percent of the state general fund is spent on K-14 public education. This guarantees that any new government program – such as last year’s single payer healthcare proposal that would have added hundreds of billions to the state budget – will pour more money into public education. This creates an incentive for California’s teachers’ unions to push for huge increases to the size of the state government, because they’ll get 38 percent of the pie no matter how big it gets. Because California’s public schools receive state funds based on attendance, the teachers’ union is also incentivized to support anything that will increase the student age population. Hence they have an incentive to support anything that will facilitate mass immigration, whether or not that puts a strain on housing and other services. If those students are from low-income households or don’t speak English as their first language, the per student allocations are increased.

    Opinion: Imagine there’s no public employee unions

    February 21, 2023 // But try as President Joe Biden has, it just hasn’t been enough. Automation (including not only factory machinery but also the gig economy), trade, high-profile union corruption cases, failing pension funds, and a string of adverse court rulings are among the many factors rendering private sector unions irrelevant to workers in most modern fields. This has led the unions to desperate measures, such as organizing esoteric, low-income professions, including graduate student teachers and video game testers. Yet the story is quite different for unions in the public sector. The unionization rate of public employees remains robust, at more than 33% of all government workers nationwide. Local government workers are the most likely to be unionized, at a rate of nearly 39%, and public sector union members are concentrated in states that mandate collective bargaining. The states with higher rates of unionization seem to correlate with the nation's least functional state governments: California (54.5%), Illinois (48.7%), New York (66.7%), and New Jersey (59.3%) among them. As their private sector cousins starve, public employee unions are fat and happy — a strange development, given that there was no public sector collective bargaining at all 70 years ago, when unions were at their apex.

    McDonalds President Says It Might Be ‘Impossible’ to Operate in These Key States

    February 1, 2023 // While California has led the pack with fast-food worker protection movements, Virginia followed with a similar bill just six months later. This month, it introduced Virginia's House Bill 2478. While not committed to a specific minimum wage, the passed law would require a council of state legislators, elected officials, industry representatives and fast-food workers to get together and regularly oversee worker conditions and compensation.

    Amazon warehouse workers plan walkouts, call for strikes on Black Friday

    November 25, 2022 // Labor stoppages are being planned for several warehouse locations throughout the country, including Bessemer, Ala.; Columbia, Md.; Detroit, Mich.; Durham, NC; Garner, NC; Joliet, Ill.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Portland, Ore.; and Washington, DC. There is also a planned work stoppage at several Whole Foods store locations. Whole Foods is a subsidiary of Amazon. Amazon employees and labor activists also plan to hold a protest rally in front of a New York City residence owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, according to CBS News. The labor actions are being organized on social media under the hashtag #MakeAmazonPay.