Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Teamsters:$10 billion wasn’t enough, but $165 billion will work.

Here’s the first thing you need to know about Senator Casey’s event on March 22, 2010, introducing the Create Jobs and Save Benefits Act of 2010, is who was in attendance at the announcement:

“Senator Casey was joined at the event in Carlisle by representatives from YRC Transportation, ABF Freight Systems and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.”

Folks these days know that if you put the phrase “Create Jobs” at the beginning of a piece of legislation, its easier to yell at your opponents about how they opposed a “jobs bill.” There are about one hundred cliches, mores, and epithets that would work  right about now, but I think sticking with the old favorite “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

Borrowing from the Wall Street Journal, the bill would better be entitled “The Union Pension Bailout.” Because that’s what it is. During the health care legislation reform debacle, part of the bill was section 164 that bailed out failing pension funds to the tune of $10 billion USD.  It passed in the final version of the bill relatively unnoticed, giving Jimmy Hoffa a taste of sweet, sweet success.

Ten billion dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to how much money this legislation would cost. From the Wall Street Journal:

“Mr. Casey is claiming his multi-employer-bailout scheme will cost a mere $8 billion, but Moody’s estimated last year that multi-employer plans were $165 billion underfunded.”

“The tab is likely to be much higher given the moral hazard Mr. Casey would create. As Hudson Institute economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth notes, the bill creates “a vicious circle. Once PGBC took over some plans, other employers would want to declare bankruptcy, unload plans on the PGBC, and reorganize under another name. The incentives to do this would be enormous.” […]

Union chiefs prefer the power that comes with managing huge pension investments—even if they’re failing. They are now counting on Mr. Casey to preserve their power by making taxpayers pick up the tab for years of pension mismanagement. With the union priority of “card check” stalled, word is that the Casey bailout is Big Labor’s consolation prize. Taxpayers should let Congress know they don’t want to pay.”

If Hoffa wins this one, perhaps it will be enough to fend off the attacks from within his own ranks. Vice President Fred Gegare is vying for the number one spot, according to reports, in the upcoming election in 2011. Interestingly enough, the reason Fred Gegare cites for breaking ranks with Hoffa is all about pension funds:

Gegare especially points to the decision to let UPS out of the Central States Pension Fund, saying that move has led to employers “lined up” to get out of the pension fund, with Central States losing two-thirds of its participants. Gegare is the union chair of the Central States Pension Fund. He also alleges that the union is experience financial difficulties because of some Hoffa decisions. “I cannot understand some of your decisions in the last four years regarding some of your expenditure that you were questioned about,” he writes.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsChange To WinDOLEFACEntitlements CrisisNewsPolitical MoneyTeamstersUncategorized