Letters to the Editor

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SPENDING: Put an end to sweetheart contracts

Letter by Dan Mills, University Place on Feb. 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm with 14 Comments »
February 28, 2012 2:37 pm

Re: “Don’t blame public employee unions” (letter, 2-28).

I concur with the writer that all public employees deserve living wages and benefits. Where the letter writer and I may disagree does not involve this issue.

It involves the ability of public employee unions to support political candidates financially and with campaign labor and to then sit across from these same, now elected and now beholden, lawmakers and negotiate wages and benefits.

In the Jimmy Hoffa Teamster days, these were known as “sweetheart contracts.” I fail to see any public benefit from this arrangement.

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. The government could start by suspending all current sweetheart no-bid contracts with Halliburton.

  2. concernedtacoma7 says:

    1 comment in and off topic thread shift from a usual suspect.

    If you see the fed doing wrong in your eyes, it is ok for that to spread to all levels of govt?

    Why not start here? We collectively have a greater effect on local and state concerns.

  3. alindasue says:

    How many people who are not “public employees” work for companies contracted or subcontracted to do work commissioned by those same elected officials.

    The fact is that it is still one person, one vote and there is a much higher number of private sector employees than “public” employees. If the person that union representatives endorse win an election, it is only because there were enough union people AND not-union people voting for that candidate.

  4. concernedtacoma7 says:

    And the union money supporting the election?

  5. So Dan, you want billionaires to be able to spend unlimited funds on Republican candidates, but the union employees of government entities should not be allowed that right?

    Tell us how the public benefits by people like the Koch Brothers trying to manipulate the market to eliminate union employees within the government. I think if you’ll take a long look at Wisconsin, you’ll see that they disagree with your take.

  6. I notice the letter writer has no problem with corporations funding candidates then setting across from them negotiating sweetheart deals, or for lawmakers handing out do-bid cost plus contracts.

  7. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Ask Stockton CA how they feel about the unions sweetheart deals.


  8. This is no different from any other entity, organization or individual, which enters a contract with the government (which happens all the time with private organizations).

    It is not a problem, as long as it is entirely transperant and subject to the review and approval of the voters (as with any other action of the government).

  9. PumainTacoma says:

    Dan your Washington State legislators want you to have an income tax, keep all the local tax revenue you pay to the state and then make you pay additional local taxes for your roads etc… and not give a dime to your city to pay for bloated pensions, bloated unaccountable education system, and bloated state government. It’s easy to sit in Olympia and tell taxpayers that you are keeping all their money and then tell them to fend for themselves in their local community while increasing your local levy lid to collect more tax dollars. Sounds like tyranny.

  10. Pacman33 says:

    What are the contributions that public-employee unions make to our states and our citizens? Their incentives are to increase the cost of government and reduce toward zero the accountability of public employees — both contrary to the interests of taxpaying citizens.

    The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public-employee unions — who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public-employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic party.



    1. The Washington Federation of State Employees
    Spent $626,481 lobbying the Legislature through May, the largest amount of any single agency, business or organization, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. About $110,757 was for compensation for lobbyists or staffers who spent time lobbying, and nearly $515,724 was for expenses.

    2. Service Employees International Union Healthcare 775NW: $402,676 ($63,429 compensation, $339,247 expenses)

    3. Washington Education Association: $382,619 ($204,660 compensation, $177,959 expenses)

  11. Oh gosh. The union employees are supporting candidates that care about their issues. That’s terrible.

    We’re so glad that the Koch Brothers don’t expect anything in return for the money the donate to campaigns.

    Unions represent many people, thus a larger pool of wealth. Do I sense a class envy on the part of conservatives?

  12. taxedenough – why don’t you read your own support data?

    In recent years, thousands of new homes mushroomed in Stockton, part of a housing boom in suburban development that attracted buyers from the Bay area and beyond.

    But when the economy crashed and the construction bubble burst, Stockton was battered by foreclosures and lost income from property taxes and other fees. Multi-year labor contracts with escalating costs added to the burden, forcing officials to make deep emergency cuts to the city payroll, including its police department.

    It seems the union labor got cut, according to the story you linked. How can cut labor expenses be the problem resulting in bankrupsy? The cost was eliminated.

  13. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Kard- why are you obsessed with the Koch brothers? You have brought them into multiple threads with no connection to the topic at hand.

    This thread is about the scam of union employees hiring their boss.

  14. Pac, the main difference between union and corporate donations is unions do it in the open while corporations hide behind anonymous super-pacs.

    The other difference is union donations are approved by the union members, corporate donations are approved by the CEO or at best by the board of directors.

    CT7 – wrong again. The thread is about public union workers donating to political candidates who then negotiate wages and benefits deals with the union leadership.

    How is that any difference that billionaires (Koch boys) and corporations donating to political candidates who then approve sweetheart deals for their backers.

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