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CapCon says people paid to negotiate contracts are the real freeloaders

by: Eric B.

Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:40:35 AM EST


In the latest installment of the Mackinac Center's attempt to hurl everything including the kitchen sink at organized labor, professional intern Jarrett Skourup says that unions who pay people to negotiate on its behalf are the real freeloaders, not people who opt to not join the union.

When continually focusing in the media on being “forced” to represent people who don’t pay dues under a right-to-work law, union heads are implying that they spend the vast majority of their money on contract negotiations, representation or other non-political work. That is a myth.

For example, according to the most recent federal filings, the Michigan Education Association — the state’s largest labor union — received $122 million and spent $134 million in 2012. They averaged about $800 from each of their 152,000 members.

According to union documents, "representational activities" (money spent on bargaining contracts for members) made up only 11 percent of total spending for the union. Meanwhile, spending on “general overhead” (union administration and employee benefits) comprised of 61 percent of the total spending.

Well, for starters, contracts aren't negotiated by the MEA. Contracts are negotiated by local unions. The money spent on "representational activities?" Money spent in support of local bargaining units. The Mackinac Center ought to know this. A couple of years ago, it was flapping its arms and hooting over the fact that some local bargaining units get local school boards to agree to paying the salary of the local union president.

Our professional intern has the MEA confused with the United Way or any other non-profit charity, where money spent on overhead is money not used to directly assist those who the charity says it helps. That would be the case only if the MEA went to every individual school district and negotiated contracts for member teachers, instead of what really happens ... local teacher contracts are negotiated by local school boards and local teachers.

What does the MEA do with that money? Well, some of what it does is provide resources and training to local bargaining units in how to get the most out of contract negotiations. Some is spent on lobbying lawmakers and advocacy on behalf of teachers to the general public.

Towards the end, it is bemoaned that the MEA donates chiefly to Democrats, as if you'd expect a union group to give to lawmakers who want to destroy it.

Eric B. :: CapCon says people paid to negotiate contracts are the real freeloaders
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