Is President Trump the best recruiter that unions ever had?

Is President Donald Trump the magic recruiting tool that federal unions have been seeking so they can survive and grow?

Is the president’s promise to drain-the-swamp making folks very nervous in the civil service?

Is the White House management agenda, which would trim take-home pay, reduce future raises and eliminate inflation protection for retirees, the terror weapon union leaders have prayed for to recruit from a workforce that has shifted? That shift has been from an army of clerks and blue collar workers — who saw the need for union membership and protection — to a higher-educated cohort of professional and scientific workers who, for whatever reason, just don’t “do” unions.

The massive downsizing of the federal workforce during the Clinton administration, via $25,000 buyouts and layoffs, hit blue collar jobs at Defense Department establishments especially hard. Up until then that group of mostly white, male military veterans supplied many of the dues-paying members essential to union operations. In many places, and especially so-called right-to-work states, most of the union members were postal or federal employees. At one time, the American Federation of Government Employees was the biggest union in Oklahoma.

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Unions in the federal and private sector have seen membership sink, except at state and local government levels, because of the changing workforce and loss of manufacturing jobs. As a result, recruiting new members has become a top priority. It’s especially tough because in many places unions are forced to “represent” nonmembers too.

The only advantage is that they can say that they represent X number of workers even though their actual dues-paying membership may be half that number or less. It’s accurate but also a stretch, not unlike your weight on your driver’s license.

This year, which is a nonpresidential election year, the White House is throwing everything it has against the civil service. The stated reason is that it has gotten too fat, too remote and needs a lot of body work. But for many active and retired feds and their families this is the most serious assault ever on their future as workers and on retirement, if they make it that long.

In addition to going after pay and retirement benefits, the White House wants to trim the amount of “official time” that union representatives — civil servants who are on the clock — can conduct union business. Union leaders say this time is used only on issues such as workplace safety, attending to employee grievances, health, etc. Critics contend that the unions also do union business on the taxpayers tab.

Whatever the reasons behind the proposed sweeping changes, which would cost workers and retirees $147 billion in the next 10 years, they provide a rallying point for bureaucrat-bashers. And maybe, just maybe, the same issues can be used by unions if they mount a hang-together-or-we’ll-all-hang-separately drive that appeals to generations X, Y and Z.

Quickly,  and if it works!

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Shrimp hearts are located in their heads.

Source: the dodo

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