Older Americans may fondly remember bygone days when some labor unions played a positive role in our free economy. In the 1950s, many unions were very anti-Communist and expelled Communist agitators. Today's unions, by contrast, are organizations that promote big-government solutions to every problem. That's because the membership of powerful unions has dramatically changed.
Today, the majority of union members are not in private industry but are government employees. For the first time, more than 50% of union members are federal or state government employees. The political power of these unions of government workers is a major reason why government spending is now out of control. The average pay of federal workers is now over $71,000 a year (in Washington, DC, it's $94,047), whereas the average pay in the private sector (if you have a job) is $50,028. Government employees enjoy close to lifetime job security and benefits including retirement. Annual raises are a matter of course. Congressman Jason Chaffetz commented, "I about fell off my chair when I saw that the number of federal employees making more than $150,000 a year have more than doubled in the last 18 months."
These government workers unions also work for a lot of questionable projects other than increasing government spending. The government workers union (known as SEIU) spent $500,000 and the California teachers union spent $1,250,000 to defeat Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to protect traditional marriage. After the voters approved Prop 8, over 50 unions signed a brief asking the courts to overturn the will of the people. And the unions spend large amounts of union members' money to elect leftwing candidates.
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