One of the best parts of this job is hearing from folks from a variety of places on a variety of matters. Sometimes they are job-related, sometimes not. They all help me escape from the Inside The Beltway box.
In the last couple of weeks we’ve talked about the pros and cons of federal-postal unions making political endorsements. Fascinating feedback.
“I guess that I will be the first to break with the pattern and say that the elected representatives of the unions should, if desired, endorse candidates. Unions have goals in mind for their members. The issue is which candidate will make it easier for the unions to reach these goals. For example, would have federal union goals been more easily reached under Reagan or the Democrat? Same with Bush versus the Democrat? The same applies to congressional candidates. This is why the elected representatives of the unions endorse candidates.
“Since union dues (are) paid for union activities instead of political activities, unions should not be permitted to use union dues for political activities. They should be and are permitted to set up political funds such as TEPAC which is used by the National Treasury Employees Union.
“Note that the same issues apply to corporations. Corporations cannot use their funds for political activities. However, we hear about various people of a particular corporation supporting a particular candidate for a political office.” S with the IRS
“…Several of us are of the opinion that unions pretty much became useless about 25 years ago. They no longer serve the purpose for which they were created because they did their job a long time ago.
“They should all be done away with because all they do is take money from people they’re supposed to represent and line the pockets of those who run it. Nowadays they are basically nothing more than a legalized mafia.” Kelly P in DC
“Interesting column on political endorsements. I’ve been a manager with IRS for 10 plus years. Frankly, I don’t have any problem with fed unions endorsing a particular candidate, presumably because they believe that candidate may favor their positions on many issues. However, it seems to me that the union brass (and their members) might be better served by an actual evaluation of individual candidates, rather than by (generally) blind adherence to party affiliation.” Stephen J
“This is a response to your ‘Smart Move or Poking a Skunk’ column, and the two comments you quoted in it. Level playing field, my eye. The main problem federal unions have is that they don’t have the same rights as unions in the private sector (for example, they can’t strike). Equating any actions by your journalists’ union with the situation of federal workers is therefore logically flawed.
“In the private sector, when deciding whether to endorse a candidate, the real question for a union’s leadership is whether that candidate will be pro union or one who, if elected, will harm the interests of their membership. It seems to me that union members in the private sector should understand this, and many, if not yourself, do. Indeed, from 1980 on, labor law and precedent have been consistently turned inside out by certain administrations in order to take working people back to the 1890s, a time when workers were completely at the mercy of their employers.
“Admittedly, Federal unions have a special problem since the winner of a presidential election has direct power over them in a way he does not over unions in the private sector and, if he is not the candidate the union endorsed, he may hold a grudge. But that just gives Federal unions a Hobson’s choice: endorse a candidate that is for workers and their union rights and risk the revenge of the opponent if he wins – or – do nothing and accept further erosion of their rights while they sit waiting for that ‘pie in the sky when you die.’ That is, they’re not going to get the ‘ear’ of an administration that has consistently eroded the rights of workers; they’re just going to lose more ground.
“Since you say that you did not receive any responses that say endorsements are a good thing, perhaps you will now note in your column that you have received at least one ‘yes’ response, for union endorsements in both the private and public sectors, and note the reasons for this yes response.” Jessie S