92% of labor unions’ political contributions have gone to Democrats since 1990. The unions are slated to get another payoff from Congressional Democrats’ proposed health care legislation.
Senator Max Baucus, lead on the legislation in Congress, the Washington Post reports, “told reporters that taxing employer-provided benefits is ‘perhaps the best way to raise money for an overhaul of the health-care system’ and offered details about the form that tax is likely to take.”
Among the details: “And it would be likely to ‘grandfather’ in health benefits set as part of a collective-bargaining agreement, he said, allowing union plans to remain tax-free until new contracts can be negotiated.”
This is in contrast to the contractual rights of bondholders in the heavily unionized auto industry being overridden (not “negotiated”), and unions given a disproportionate share of the reorganized companies to support their comparatively lavish health care benefits. The priority of unions and their bought Democrat legislators will be to preserve their overly large piece of the pie in such “negotiations.”
The latest count from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has 7.6% of private industry workers as members of unions, and 36.8% of public sector workers. Their often gilt-edged health care coverage is to be given higher protection than that of non-unionized workers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports, as USA Today relates:
Public employees earned benefits worth an average of $13.38 an hour in December 2008, the latest available data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says. Private-sector workers got $7.98 an hour.
Overall, total compensation for state and local workers was $39.25 an hour — $11.90 more than in private business. In 2007, the gap in wages and benefits was $11.31.
The gap has been expanding because of the increasing value of public employee benefits. Last year, government benefits rose three times more than those in the private sector: up 69 cents an hour for civil servants, 23 cents for private workers.
Labor costs account for about half of state and local spending, according to BLS and Census data. Benefits consume a growing share of that, now 34%.
The rest of the two-thirds of the population under age 65 with employer-provided health insurance be darned, sayeth the Democrats with the union label.
While your reading, don't miss Ed Morrissey on Big Labor's Fiscal Insolvency, just desserts for where they're taking the rest of us.