Kansas Bill HB 2023
Posted: 21 January 2013 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The current Kansas statute KSA 75-4333 is entirely devoted to the actions public officers are prohibited from regarding their public employees in a union, things like assist or prohibit the formation of any employee organization (employees are supposed to form organizations, not their bosses, since it’s a conflict of interest), or discourage membership in any employee organization, etc.  The new HB 2023 is proposed to replace that. You can read the whole thing here (PDF)—it adds a new section to KS 75-4333 which prohibits employees organizations (i.e. unions) from using dues taken out of paychecks for political purposes.

The definition of political purposes is broad. It forces these organizations to have a separate account for political moneys. It appears that employers who don’t narc on organizations they think may be comingling money from each account will be punished by fines. There are also additions of “and amendments thereto” in reference to KSA 75-4324 et al., which are the statutes that allow Kansans to unionize… looks like someone is planning on amending some of those in the future and is paving the way for it.

And another thing: KSA 75-4333 already said “it shall be a prohibited practice for a public employee organization to endorse candidates, spend any of its income, directly or indirectly, for partisan or political purposes”—this new HB 2023 is unnecessary, unless something else is going on that we aren’t privy to yet.

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Posted: 21 January 2013 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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One principle mantra of the right is to kill all unions.  In many instances, unions have over-reached and do need some regulating.  Likewise, many unions still perform a valuable function.  The right, however, wants to see the unions have zero power and make it as difficult as can be legislated for workers to unionize. 
It appears that the first section does include ALL unions.  Carpenters, pipe fitters, eletricians, etc. cannot see any money from union dues go to political campaigns.  Unions have traditionally supported democratic candidates and the right wants to see that stop.  This bill, if enacted, will cease any and all contributions of unions to political campaigns.
The second section of the bill seems to deal with unions organized by employees of “public organizations”.  Is the definition of “public” implied?  I do not see a definition in the proposed bill.  State and municipal government workers would be covered by the restrictions on “public organizatons”.  Would the school boards across the State?  I am certain the Republicans putting forth the bill will assume so?  Hospitals?  If the hospital is owned and operated by a 501, non-profit corporation, are they “public”? 

We have seen the right have huge success in many states, enacting legislation doing away with unions.  This is no different.  Brownie and his hard right majority in the State legislature are merely marching lock step to the orders of big business.  Why should the Koch Bros. have to pay union wages?  Why should a Democratic candidate receive contributions from unions, while the Repubican candidate doesn’t… even if that Repubican candidate’s platform is 180 degrees from the union’s agenda? 

I have no doubt this proposed law will be enacted… sliding through the legislature like grass through a goose.  The far right contingent of the Repubican Party is in charge in Topeka and will push this through.  With Kansas already a right-to-work state, it may not change a thing.  Hopefully, the unions will find a way around this blatant attempt to shut them down.  Guess I’ll ask.  If a local teacher’s union sends a specific percent of the locally collected dues to the national organization, cannot that national organization still support local politcial candidates?  I guess I don’t see how a State law can prevent the national Firefighter’s Union, for instance, from supporting a Democratic candidate in Missouri or New York… or Kansas.  How would the State ever prove that a portion of a specific employee’s union dues sent to the national headquarters was what came back to Kansas to support a Democratic candidate?

This is on the same Brownback agenda list as is shutting down Planned Parenthood, etc.

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Posted: 21 January 2013 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The high-pitched chatter against unions and for a total and complete “free enterprise” system poses some questions.  Wonder what folks think…

1.  Wages and benefits should be completely decided and dictated by the employer.  If you don’t like the wages and benefits… find employment somewhere else.
2.  No employer should be required to pay any portion of health insurance coverage.  If a person wants coverage, find it on your own… even if this means all citizens will soon be covered by a national health care plan.
3.  Skilled workers who have performed well for an employer should be able to, as a group, demand fair wages and an employer assistance towards securing health insurance.
4.  There should be no minimum wage law or child labor law.  Both are intrusions into private industry by ‘nanny’ government.  If a business can hire 12 year old kids, it should be the parent’s responsibility to decide if they will work… not the government’s.
5.  It IS the responsibility of government to collect millions of dollars through taxation and hand those dollars to the wealthy… under the guise of “economic development”.  There should be no requirement of businesses receiving eco-devo dollars to provide a specific level of wages or any employee benefits.  It should be enough to merely make jobs available to the less fortunate, “blue collar class”.
6.  IRA’s, 401k’s, etc. are contributing to the national deficit due to employees being able to lower their tax bill.  These type of plans are not in the best interest of lowering the deficit and should be ended.  (Brownback says he will remove the State of Kansas tax deduction on home mortages this next year.)  The earnings of CEO’s, politicians, corporations, etc. should still be allowed to be placed in off-shore bank accounts to reduce their tax burden.  If you can afford the tax attorneys and accountants… you should be able to take advantage of every loophole.  If you cannot afford those professional services, you don’t make enough to “count” and, therefore, should pay more towards solving the deficit crisis.

Stacia… See??  There is good reason to rid the nation of evils like unions!!!!!

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Posted: 22 January 2013 01:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I also couldn’t figure out the definition of “public.” I’ve been browsing through the statutes but finding nothing that helps me. A group called Working Kansans has tweeted about this issue but they haven’t explained anything, just stated the law is anti-worker. Which it sure seems like it to me, though a few details here and there are vague enough I admit I’m confused. The media doesn’t seem to have said a thing about it.

I don’t understand that if a company can use its profits for political reasons, why can’t a union? I mean, I KNOW why righties want that stopped, but in the basic floor-level discussions of this issue, it seems hypocritical.

Conservatives want teachers and firefighters and police officers paid very little, to not be able to unionize or effectively unionize, but they also want everyone in the U.S. to own 27 assault rifles each so that way it makes the jobs of teachers and firefighters and police officers even MORE dangerous than they already are. Good plan, can’t see how this can go wrong.

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