Archive for Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Another bill opposed by unions introduced as House gears up for debate on paycheck measure

January 29, 2013


— As the Kansas House prepares to debate one anti-union bill, another anti-union bill was introduced Tuesday.

The newest measure is House Bill 2123 and is called the "public employees freedom act." It is nearly identical to "model legislation" developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate backed group that describes its mission as promoting free markets, limited government, federalism and individual freedom “through a non-partisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government and general public.”

Colin Curtis, who works for the United Steelworkers of America, Local 307, tweeted that HB 2123 "Strips public employees of all collective bargaining rights."

Working Kansas Alliance said the measure would prohibit public workers, police and firefighters from bargaining to improve their wages and working conditions.

The bill's introduction comes as the House gears up for a debate Wednesday on House Bill 2023.

That bill would prohibit the Kansas National Education Association from taking voluntary paycheck donations from teachers and using those funds for political advocacy.

Supporters of HB 2023 said teachers were being coerced into signing over funds for political campaigning. Opponents of the measure denied that allegation and said the bill would make it more difficult for teachers and the state employee organization from participating in the political process.

The bill drew fire nationwide from labor advocates when Eric Stafford, a lobbyist for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, told a House committee, "I need this bill passed so we can get rid of public sector unions."


jafs 1 year, 2 months ago

Really, it's very simple to find out what the requirements are for collecting unemployment benefits.

They include not being fired for cause.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 2 months ago

"Union Membership Continues Decline".

With 35.9% of government employees in unions compared to 6.6% of the private sector workforce, more than half of all union members are now in the public sector. That my friends says it all.


cmorriskc 1 year, 2 months ago

I was appalled when I read the substance of HB2123, the so-called “Public Employees Freedom Act”. This bill almost re-enacts slavery in the government workplace.

If we can be arrested if we protest, that is not freedom. If we cannot sign our name on a document because it deals with collective bargaining, that is not freedom. I suggest that the provisions in this bill actually violate my constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association.

This would be another black eye for Kansas and subject us to even further ridicule than we already receive. A bronx cheer to the Tea Party ding-dongs who came up with this one.


jafs 1 year, 2 months ago

People who are fired don't qualify for unemployment.

Only those who lose their job through no fault of their own are eligible for those benefits.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 2 months ago

Bill Passes 66-54.

Kansas's elected officials voted on this bill. Obama would have done it by executive order.


bobberboy 1 year, 2 months ago

this is just taking the eye off of insurance companies - the true rip-off artists !!!


Linda Endicott 1 year, 2 months ago

"Working Kansas Alliance said the measure would prohibit public workers, police and firefighters from bargaining to improve their wages and working conditions."

What kind of idiot would introduce legislation like this? Do they want a worker uprising on their hands?

So if HB 2123 is passed, does this mean that the legislature can no longer vote in their own pay raises? They can no longer decide what days they will or will not work? They are all public employees, after all...

And what is the American Legislative Exchange Council anyway, except another type of union?


autie 1 year, 2 months ago

Agno, I don't think you will get any valid response in so much that no listing exist. I have many family members that belong to KNEA and they tell me that all of that is just a bunch of ballyhoo. All faculty members are treated the same and when the contract time rolls around the team negiotiates for ALL the staff, not a select bunch and no one is excluded. Read this bill for what is, an attempt to eliminate dissention and make everyone fall into lockstep with the keepers. And it is flat out unconstitutional.


Agnostick 1 year, 2 months ago

Please provide a published, verified example of any public employee being forced to join a union, and/or pay dues to a union.

I issue this challenge to anyone reading this, but particularly to notajayhawk and Cant_have_it_both_ways. The latter user, in particular, has a long history of posting wild, unsubstantiated claims without veracity.


weiser 1 year, 2 months ago

I want to retire after 20 years and have you pay for my boat, truck, etc.


Centerville 1 year, 2 months ago

Why can't they "participate in the political process" like everyone else and give money directly to the causes and candidates that they, individually, support. Unless they do that, they aren't even coming close to participating.


autie 1 year, 2 months ago

I wasn't aware that any public employee was ever forced to join a union. I know teachers that chose not to participate and do their own thing with their local boards at contract time. Is this law like the voter ID laws, something used to reduce the influence of another group based on ideology and not practicality?


notajayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Despite the usual rhetoric of Mr. Rothschild in referring to HB2123 as an "anti-union" bill (and the immediate chiming in from the usual lemmings), the bill in no way "Strips public employees of all collective bargaining rights." It merely outlaws employees being forced to participate. Perhaps a real reporter, especially one supposedly covering government and legislative affairs, would have actually read the proposed legislation, instead of shilling for the United Steelworkers.


Scut Farkus 1 year, 2 months ago

I worked in a non-union metal fabricating shop in the early 70's. About 75-100 employees. The working conditions were deplorable. No ventilation, no breaks, no sick leave, no retirement, 1 week vacation. We unionized in '75. It wasn't about the pay, it was about the treatment of the employees. I'm not sure what role the unions play in today's workplace, but it was literally a life saver back then. I haven't been in the union for 30 years but I remember the pure joy when we were told that we now had 2 coffee breaks a day and an extra week of vacation.


William Weissbeck 1 year, 2 months ago

Let's get a few definitions understood. Capitalism and free markets are not one in the same. Capitalists do not favor transparency (what they can hid under the guise of trade secrets, or construct through market manipulation, all the better), oppose government oversight or regulation (let the "best man" win, by whatever means the "market" allows), and clearly will pursue monopoly whenever, wherever possible. A person who wants free markets believes in transparency of information available to all market participants (and consumers), regulation by an impartial body (a government) to insure that all market participants play by the same set of rules and disclosures, because they understand that markets don't regulate themselves, and above all accept as a fact that participants in the market do not have equal bargaining power, but there is nothing inherently anti-business for individuals to group together to improve their bargaining power.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

The repub party,Koch Brothers, ALEC are waging war on salaries for white and blue collar workers. IF they are successful in doing away with unions, workers in the USA will see a dramatic reduction in wages across the board for blue and white collar workers.

Union or not reduction in wages across the board is the primary objective.

Do you want to work for less? Unions are responsible for good wages in the USA and:

  1. over time pay
  2. 40 hour work weeks as opposed to 80
  3. Vacation with pay
  4. Sick leave with pay
  5. Medical insurance coverage
  6. Pay Increases
  7. Job protection based on legitimate concerns
  8. Protection against race and gender discrimination
  9. Disability Pay

Who wants to work for less?

How can lower wages pay back college loans?


jafs 1 year, 2 months ago

Seems to me that these sorts of bills are blatantly unconstitutional.

Individuals have the right to speech, assembly and petition, as do groups of individuals organized to do that, and apparently even corporations have them these days.

Unions, and/or union employees meet virtually all of the above criteria.

Since contributions that go towards political activity are voluntary, there's no real issue I can see.

If Wal-Mart and other large corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money on political activity, what's the justification for denying that right to unions?


Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

There are at least 12 other states with radical right wing governors such as Brownback trying to pull off the very same agenda. It's a Koch/ALEC orchestrated movement.

Explain how lower wages make an economy strong and resilient?

Are YOU willing to work for way less?

Why isn't corp USA cutting CEO and BOD wage packages by 75% instead of hitting on worker wages? CEO's could easily survive on a 75% pay cut.

Why isn't corp USA cutting golden parachutes 100%?

Why isn't corp USA cutting special interest campaign donations?

Why isn't corp USA cutting corp jets from their budgets?

Why isn't corp USA eliminating retirement pay from the wealthy CEO's and BOD's retirement packages?

IF all USA workers refused to go to work for 60 days the nation and tons of those in the 1% would likely be filing bankruptcy. Workers are the most important piece of the economic pie.


sciencegeek 1 year, 2 months ago

None of the teachers I know have been pressured to join KNEA. Many join because of the professional insurance it provides.

What I DO know is that state employees, who effectively have no union, have been intimidated, pressured and put down by this administration since Day One. They dare not speak out, even in private. The threat of dismissal is ever-present. They're leaving in droves, taking their knowledge with them. Consequently, the state is in trouble on many fronts, but no one dare speak. If something breaks, it isn't because of understaffing or underfunding--it's those darned incompetent employees. Those that have left dare not speak either; any friends or relatives still in the state's employ may pay the price. In other words, they no longer have the right to Free Speech, not in this state.

This administration is ruthless. ALEC and Koch rule. What's being done to teachers should come as no surprise to anyone.


newmedia 1 year, 2 months ago

To quote another champion of the little guy "What difference does it make".....


Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

So, while the membership appears to be public sector, the bankroll is almost entirely private sector. In fact, public sector membership dues account for only around one percent of ALEC’s annual revenues. ALEC claims to be nonpartisan, but in fact its free-market, pro-business mission is clear.

The result has been a consistent pipeline of special interest legislation being funneled into state capitols. Thanks to ALEC, 826 bills were introduced in the states in 2009 and 115 were enacted into law.

Behind the scenes at ALEC, the nuts and bolts of lobbying and crafting legislation is done by large corporate defense firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon. A law firm with strong ties to the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, it has long used ALEC’s ability to get a wide swath of state laws enacted to further the interests of its corporate clients.

ALEC’s campaigns and model legislation have run the gamut of issues, but all have either protected or promoted a corporate revenue stream, often at the expense of consumers. For example, ALEC has worked on behalf of:

-- * Oil companies to undermine climate change proponents.

-- * Pharmaceutical manufacturers, arguing that states should be banned from importing prescription drugs.

-- * Telecom firms to block local authorities from offering cheap or free municipally-owned broadband.

-- * Insurance companies to prevent state insurance commissioners from requiring insurers to meet strengthened accounting and auditing rules.

-- * Big banks, recommending that seniors be forced to give up their homes via reverse mortgages in order to receive Medicaid.

-- * The asbestos industry, trying to shut the courthouse door to Americans suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

-- * Enron to deregulate the utility industries, which eventually caused the U.S. to lose what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimated as $5 trillion in market value.



Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

What the media fails to spell out is this bill and ALEC are all about reducing wages on workers across the USA.

Why do anti American Republicans want USA white and blue collar workers to work for less money? So USA corporations can show larger profits = another republican big government facist activity.

Republicans are not only selfish,insensitive,Anti American they are flushing the American Dream down the toilet.

What about American Legislative Exchange Council/ALEC?

ALEC currently claims more than 250 corporations and special interest groups as private sector members. While the organization refuses to make a complete list of these private members available to the public, some known members include:


  • Exxon Mobil
  • the Corrections Corporation of America
  • AT&T
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Comcast
  • Verizon
  • Phillip Morris International
  • Koch Industries
  • along with a host of right-wing think tanks and foundations.





Keith Richards 1 year, 2 months ago

I know many teachers who feel pressured and compelled to pay the $600 union dues by other union members in the Lawrence School District. It almost raises to the point of harassment at times.


usesomesense 1 year, 2 months ago

Unfortunately teachers are one of sectors of public employment that would have a huge impact from this. Since the state virtually has a monopoly on K-12 education it would be very difficult for the majority of teachers to just go work for another employer.

This is another measure to destroy Kansas' public education program. Keep reducing funds to schools which will result in pay cuts to teachers. The best teachers will either get lucky and be able to work at a private school or change careers.

Once the good teachers are gone and all of our schools are failing standardized tests the voucher system will start flowing - giving a very nice 'discount' to elite private schools, while the general public will only be able to afford the few schools that accept at or near the value of the voucher for tuition. When those schools can't pass standardized tests due to lack of resources they'll lose certification and 'restructure' - shuffling some teachers around and management, all the while pumping out more kids without basic skills while those of wealth free up more of their income for whatever they desire - creating jobs or hitting the ski slopes. After the last few years I'm betting most have missed some of their big vacations and would prefer to take those and put off creating new jobs.


goob 1 year, 2 months ago


Governor Sam Brownback and republicans in the Kansas legislature are seeking to put an end to all unions in Kansas. HB 2023 and SB 31 are a direct attempt at silencing the hard working men and women of Kansas. As the Kansas Chamber of Commerce lobbyist, Eric Stafford freely admitted in committee "I need these bills to pass so that we can get rid of public sector unions", it's time to put an end to the war on Kansas workers.

That's why I signed a petition to The Kansas State House, The Kansas State Senate, and Governor Sam Brownback.

Will you sign this petition? Click here:



oldexbeat 1 year, 2 months ago

The Koch Brothers Inc that own the Kansas government and the governor and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce (boycott HyVee as a start, by the way -- until they drop out of that Chamber) and they own AELC, too. The legislature is now the pinched nosed bitter fat bald white men and women. They hate every one. And they really don't like working men and women, but have used religion to trick them into giving up all their money and minds. Wow. Sure glad I don't have to support a family now from the wages that are going to be lower and lower in Kansas. And the brain drain -- oh well, Koch Brothers don't like brains.


Claudean McKellips 1 year, 2 months ago

Out-of-state, moneyed interests like ALEC and AFP have opened their checkbooks; therefore, legislators will no longer be interested in any of the wants or needs of Kansas constituents.


Bob Forer 1 year, 2 months ago

While we are at, might as well roll back everything the trade union movement struggled for decades to achieve, such as occupational safety laws, health insurance, the minimum wage, the 40 hour work week, child labor laws, paid vacations, etc.

Those evil union people. With them gone, the good and decent millionaires can make even more money.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 2 months ago

This is one of the best things that could happen. My experience with unions, although there are some really good people in them, are bastions for malcontents and lazys. The union cares very little about its people. They are focused on the unions survival. When members are walking the picket lines their compensation is a fraction of what they are used to. Many run up financial problems that last for years while the union bosses are vacationing somewhere. Does anyone think the union bosses take a pay cut while their members are walking the picket lines?


toe 1 year, 2 months ago

Public employees do not need bargaining rights. They can vote just like the non-employees.


question4u 1 year, 2 months ago

"...where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."

Ronald Reagan Sept. 1, 1980

If the anti-American extremists of Kansas are suggesting that Ronald Reagan was too liberal, how far will they go? Welcome to third-world politics topped with a generous layer of hypocrisy.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 2 months ago

The Kochs' minions ratchet up their class warfare a couple of notches.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.