In states where employees are forced by government to join unions, the dignity of citizens takes a backseat to power. Union bosses crave the money and power they derive from subjugating their forced members, and politicians enjoy the benefits of catering to the bosses by reaping campaign donations. With backing from their bought-and-paid-for politicians, union bosses believe they can act with impunity. An example of that behavior comes out of the International Association of Fire Fighters, where union bosses siphoned off pension money to their own accounts. The National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC) reports:
Big-spending International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF/AFL-CIO) union President Harold Schaitberger and his crony Thomas Miller, the former IAFF secretary-treasurer, are saying very little on the record regarding a federal criminal probe spurred in part by allegations that they together illegally siphoned off well over a million dollars in pension payments from the union while both were still employed by the union.
However, since a September 3 news article in the Wall Street Journal reported for the first time that the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Labor Department had “issued subpoenas” to the IAFF union and to Miller, Schaitberger allies in the union hierarchy have made their views crystal clear.
And what Schaitberger apologists have asserted is, to say the least, deeply disturbing.
Schaitberger’s compensation package as honcho of the IAFF is overwhelmingly funded by dues collected from firefighters who are subject to union monopoly bargaining over their terms and conditions of employment. It has always been lavish, and is now reportedly in excess of $500,000 a year.
But he has clearly thought he deserved more than he got at the union rank-and-file’s expense. As a Journal news article published late in June explained, at the time Schaitberger assumed the presidency in 2000, IAFF rules “disallowed drawing pension payments until retirement.”
Schaitberger and Miller didn’t care. They arranged to start receiving monthly pension checks, along with their hefty salaries, almost as soon as they were in office. From 2000 to 2015, Schaitberger alone “received about $1.2 million from his pension plan.” The following year, the payments temporarily ceased when Miller’s successor as secretary-treasurer, Edward Kelly, ruled that the payments were not allowed. But Schaitberger eventually prevailed upon the IAFF board to reinstate them, and he and his ex-wife are now raking in “roughly $9,000 total each month in benefits, according to union officials.”
Because Kelly blew the whistle, the Schaitberger pension payments became the subject of an internal union investigation long before federal authorities got involved. On September 22, Rachel Cohen reported in the Intercept on the contents of the review conducted by a specially appointed committee of union officials.
The 22-page report, in Cohen’s words, did “not say definitively” whether Schaitberger had “improperly received” pension payments. It “acknowledged the federal government” may “find wrongdoing” by him. But even if federal law enforcement concludes Schaitberger piled up pension benefits to which he wasn’t entitled, he “should not personally be on the hook for it”!
To put it bluntly, the IAFF brass is sending a clear signal: Any penalties for the misdeeds of Schaitberger (who abruptly announced on September 29 he would not seek another term in union office once his current one expires in January) and Miller that are ultimately imposed will come out of the dues money of firefighters who didn’t do anything wrong, rather than out of the Big Labor perpetrators’ pockets.
The so-called “resolution” of the IAFF’s internal probe should leave no doubt in the minds of honest rank-and-file union members that the union must be defunded before it does any more damage.
Meanwhile, in states that have already made the transition to freedom-preserving “Right to Work” status, economies are roaring, and employees are kept safe from abuse by union bosses. NRTWC reports:
South Carolina is seeing new businesses invest in their state, a number of which are in Charleston. After seeing all the economic benefits of this Right to Work State, Vigilent Labs is bringing their headquarters to Charleston. Meanwhile, the local Defense Engineering Services is expanding operations not too far away. In Columbia, Mark Anthony Brewing is investing in a new location here.
Combined, these companies will invest a total of over half a billion dollars and create about 718 jobs. So these will be fantastic additions to South Carolina’s economy and job force.
Action Line: Is your state a “Right to Work” state that protects your freedom, or do you live in a forced-unionism state? See the map below to find out. If your state is green, you’re protected from forced unionism. Grey states don’t protect employees’ rights from union bosses.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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