Cost-cutting targets public unions

Tuesday - 1/4/2011, 2:38pm EST

As states face growing budget deficits, elected officials across the country are trying to limit the power of labor unions, particularly the ones representing government employees.

The New York Times reports that in states with Republican majorities, lawmakers are trying to weaken the bargaining power and political influence of unions, including those presenting private sector employees.

The Times reports that many of the proposals to curb union influence may not become law. But whatever does pass will probably reduce the influence of unions in elections.

The attacks on unions come as officials from both political parties look to cut government pay and benefits to lower the deficit.

However, the two-year federal pay freeze does not apply to any increases required by current collective bargaining agreements.

Bob Gilson writes in FedSmith that employees exempt from the pay freeze include the ones in the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Credit Union Administration and "a fair number of obscure or small agencies [that] bargain pay for their organized employees."

These are some of the highest paid feds, Gilson writes.

So, did the executive order to freeze pay accidentally let unions slip through the cracks? Or was this in return for unions' support of the Obama administration in the 2008 election?

Gilson writes, "Let's test the logic trail: unions support current President in election, President issues unpopular pay freeze covering everybody but some unionized employees, if they're left out, who will notice, ergo let's do the unions a favor."

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