.

Why do taxpayer dollars pay for union business?

If taxpayer money is used to pay for union business, shouldn't we have a voice in how it is spent?

This morning, August 23, 2012, MSNBC reported that teachers unions spend 30 percent of the union dues they collect for member benefits. The other 70 percent is spent on influencing politicians. Now, I guess this also benefits its members. (I missed the total amount of money that the teachers unions collect in dues, but it was in the billions of dollars.)

HOWEVER, can someone tell me why in my school district, Rocky Point, as in many other districts, about 70 percent of the union president’s salary is paid for by taxpayer dollars?

And does anyone know why it is legal to use taxpayer dollars in this way?

Finally, if taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for union business, shouldn’t the public know specifically how that money is being used? Especially if the money is being used to lobby for a specific agenda?

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Captain Howard Hawrey August 23, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Great questions that you will never get answers to. Not that you shouldn't. You just won't. I am in a Union. I don't get paid for vacation but get paid a certain amount a day for everyday worked toward vacation pay. After working a minimum of 60 days I can collect a lump sum for those days. The Union takes out a "daily adminstration fee" which is quite large from this. I'll never find out about this fee either! Unions were necessary at one time but no longer take care of their membership. They are now a business themselves and the Union member is just a contributing employee identification number!
AnotherLocalMom August 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Welcome back, Mrs. Franco. I was hoping to hear from you again now that school will be starting. You’ve been one of the most sensible voices out there about the problems with the school budgets. You’re absolutely right about the salary for the union president. And, as you so aptly stated at one of the board meetings, you’re not implying that union presidents shouldn’t be paid--just why not have it come out of union dues? And what you’re saying now makes me wonder even more why it isn’t. If I remember correctly the Rocky Point union president makes about $94,000. If we multiply this by the 70% that comes out of taxpayer money that’s about $65,000. Multiply that by the number of school districts on Long Island (124) and the LI school districts could save about $8.2 million (and that doesn’t reflect the amount that goes toward the retirement benefits when the money is paid by taxpayers). How many school programs could be saved then? Instead of threatening to cut kindergarten last year why didn’t they do something about this?
AnotherLocalMom August 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Last year, after one of the last board meetings where you asked again why teachers aren’t being asked to contribute more toward their medical benefits, a teacher came up to me and said that you didn’t really care about the kids because you didn’t have any. Well I have kids in the district and I’ve heard you say time and time again, if it’s about the kids, let’s stop cutting programs and look for the money where most of it is spent. Again you’ve brought up something that makes this point. Keep up the good work!
Ernestine Franco August 25, 2012 at 11:38 AM
You’re right Captain Howard. Whoever is responsible for this practice, whether at the district or state level, since it goes on everywhere, will never own up to another abuse of the taxpayer. But since this is an election year, perhaps voters should start asking these kinds of questions to candidates. Here’s another question that needs an answer. Why have public-sector pension funds in New York State been increased by 904 percent over the last ten years? And everyone should note that pension increases are controlled at the state level, for both teachers’ funds as well as all other public-sector employees, including the very politicians that approval such increases. Again, it is an election year. Let’s get some accountability for the decisions that politicians make about our money. Local Mom: Thanks for your words of encouragement. And I want to encourage everyone to go to their school board meetings. (The Rocky Point meeting is Monday, Aug 27 at 7:00 pm at the Carsiti School.) District Boards have to realize that they represent the taxpayers as well as the kids. They do not represent the teachers unions. The union president has that job, even though we are paying him his salary. It is time that voters stand up and make their voices heard.
Ernestine Franco August 25, 2012 at 12:14 PM
CORRECTION: I may have given the incorrect location for the Board meeting on the 27th. Even though the district web site says the location will be posted on the home page, as of 8:12 Saturday morning, it still is not listged. It MAY be listed on the marquee in front of the HIght School, but you will have to dirve there. As usual the Board is not forthcoming with making it easy for residents to attend.
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