NJ Teachers Union Head Tries Out For "Funny or Die"; Is Neither

A New Jersey teachers union is coming under fire after an internal memo included a veiled threat to Gov. Chris Christie.

The leaked memo, which was sent to union leaders in the New Jersey Education Association's Bergen County division, contains a closing paragraph written in the form of a prayer.

"Dear Lord," the letter reads. "This year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor."

Bergen County Education Association President Joe Coppola said the memo was confidential and the line was intended as a joke.

"It was inappropriate, it was in bad taste, and it was definitely in poor judgment," Coppola said.

As a Garden State native who has not lived with nose-range of the glorious fish factory in Belford or the sewage-treatment plant in North Middletown (nee East Keansburg) adjacent to Ideal Beach in nigh on 25 years, all I can say is...well, a whiff of partly processed fish and sewage on particular sort of humid overcast day is my madeleine cookie, triggering memories long feared (or is it hoped?) forgotten...

Where was I? Oh yeah: Why is it news when a union boss makes a funny about killing a politician? Have we become that sensitive, that P.C. in America? Mebbe, mebbe not. But this much seems certain. The CNN article clipped above goes on to add:

The incident comes as Christie and the New Jersey Education Association are entrenched in a bitter struggle over funding for New Jersey's school system.

Seeking to address an $11 billion budget deficit, Christie, a Republican who was elected in November, has proposed severe cuts to the state's education system, with teachers being hit especially hard.

More here.

Do you want to know CNN's definition of "severe cuts" that hit teachers "especially hard"? The governor has proposed $820 million in cuts to school aid and he has proposed that school districts that freeze wages for one year:

If school employees forgo pay raises, the state does not have to pay the federal Social Security and Medicare taxes those hikes would have generated. Those taxes were calculated in Gov. Chris Christie’s fiscal 2011 budget. Today, the governor said those savings will be given to the districts to help mitigate sharp aid cuts in his budget.... The Christie administration estimates that if New Jersey’s 591 operating school districts save $500 million by freezing wages, the state will send $38.25 million back to them in school aid. The state pays the employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. For Social Security, that amounts to 6.2 percent up to $106,800; for Medicare it’s 1.45 percent, with no cap.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, over the 2000s, student enrollment grew by 4 percent in New Jersey while total school hiring is up 14 percent. New Jersey, which boasts the highest tax burden in the country, is looking at a $10 billion deficit.

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  • MNG||

    This will be interesting....Many people here hate unions with a passion, but they also mock the p.c. tendency of the ultra-sensitive to not be able to take a joke, which this clearly was.

    Let the game of Twister begin...

  • ||

    Who will be playing today? When the email going around replaces the governor with Obama, I guess everyone becomes a racist teabagger for chuckling at it.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Exactly, Nick.

  • hmm||

    And MGN goes down at the end of the third round like someone dropped a sak-o-crap outa third story window.

    Nick by KO.

  • MNG||

    A KO by a "goose and gander" argument?

    Puh-leeze hmm, you're of better stuff...

  • hmm||

    Your goose and gander argument is unidirectional. To be honest I don't think you would freak about it with obama, but many would.

  • ||

    Those unions are taking money from poor and working class people and giving it to their over privileged members and not even giving kids a decent education in return.

    If you can't look at the situation and say that it is wrong for a woman making $10 an hour in Camden to pay higher taxes so that some teacher can retire after 20 years at 80% pay only to return to her job at full pay plus retirement, then you are not a liberal. You are just an apparatchik. I thought liberals were supposed to look out for the little guy? Fat chance.

  • TXLimey||

    It's news b/c for the last two years we've had Democratic jackasses braying about the threat of violence from the "radical right" every time someone suggests that the policy they are pushing might not be the wisest course. Now we have a lefty union actually joking about the death a Republican governor, and that's OK and everyone is supposed to understand it's just a joke.

    There's hypocrisy aplenty around this story, but it's largely coming from the side of the MSM and the left.

    For the record, I know it's a damn joke and I do decry the overly PC bullshit that get's everyones' panties in a bunch over dumb jokes. It's just fucking enraging when the bastards who invented this PC bullshit that strangles our civic discourse feel that they don't have to hold to it.

  • Some Guy||

    It's news b/c for the last two years we've had Democratic jackasses braying about the threat of violence from the "radical right" every time someone suggests that the policy they are pushing might not be the wisest course.

    The actual threats of violence from the radical right don't help, either.

    Now we have a lefty union actually joking about the death a Republican governor, and that's OK and everyone is supposed to understand it's just a joke.

    Yes, you are supposed to understand that it's a joke. So don't pretend not to just because the other side does sometimes, too.

    There's hypocrisy aplenty around this story, but it's largely coming from the side of the MSM and the left.

    It's just fucking enraging when the bastards who invented this PC bullshit that strangles our civic discourse feel that they don't have to hold to it.

    You're enraged at the wrong part. You should be happy when they do the right things (knowing a joke is a joke), and then quote them on those things later when they are easily offended asshats again.

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    Don't you have an ass to wipe?

  • ||

    MNG|4.12.10 @ 9:21AM|#
    "This will be interesting....Many people here hate unions with a passion, but they also mock the p.c. tendency of the ultra-sensitive to not be able to take a joke, which this clearly was."

    This will be interesting....some lefty will stretch for a non-sequi...
    Ooops. Beat me to the punch.

  • ||

    Once again you respond to comments that haven't been made.

    It's like you're Alan Vanneman except you won't go away.

  • Herpes||

    Alan Vanneman is my cousin sir! Y

  • West Texas Boy||

    How is that joke a "threat"?

    I've seen that joke in a few other places, with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi being the subject, too.

  • ||

    Same here. He took an email-forward joke, tweaked it, and threw it into an email to his minions.

    Yawn.

  • ||

    Very true. But imagine if Christ had done the same thing about unions. Good for the goose as they say.

  • cynical||

    Hey, leave Jesus out of your secular bickering.

  • MNG||

    Christ would never wish for anyone's death John.

  • ||

    You know who I mean.

  • WTF||

    To avoid confusion in the future, just refer to him as "The Anointed One; Our Dear Leader."

  • MNG||

    Let's just say if we give any credence to Freud then you have a far too high of a view of Gov. Christie...

  • WTF||

    Ah, not only are you terminally misguided, but your sarcasm detector apparently is permanently broken as well.

  • MNG||

    Your handle is apt, not even John tried to pass it off as sarcasm...

  • Ted S.||

    You mean Tim Tebow?

  • Mike M.||

    Outstanding. If the scumbags in the teachers' union want Christie to die, that means he's already doing a great job.

  • ||

    Exactly.

  • short, fat bastard||

    Dear Lord,this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. I just wanted to let you know that MNG is my favorite commenter on H&R.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Also, Paul Krugman is my favorite economics columnist, Mitt Romney is my favorite Republican candidate, and Michael Moore is my favorite documentarian.

  • ||

    Rush Limbog is my favorite "conservative." Barney Frank is my favorite queer. Nancy Pelosi is my favorite speaker of the house.

    I like this game.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    And who is your favorite president?

  • ||

    I almost said it, but then I'd have to add that Biden is my favorite VP. Oh, I said it.

  • The Gobbler||

    And Peter Suderman is my favorite...well...whatever it is that Suderman does.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Who has a favorite salesman?

  • ||

    I do. Ron Popeil, hands down.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Whoever is doing Old Spice commercials.

  • Maverick||

    Here's Neil Patrick Harris spoofing his old Doogie Howser role for Old Spice.

  • T||

    You could smell like a guy on TV, Art. Is that so wrong?

  • wingnutx||

    Bruce Campbell is immortal.

  • Chris||

    That fucker who screams at me about Oxy Clean.

  • Rhywun||

    Many people here hate unions with a passion

    No, we hate *public* unions - you know, the ones that give us no say over the salaries we're paying (beyond "voting" - as if). Get your gross over-generalizations straight.

  • MNG||

    Rhywun
    Why hate public unions? Even in Libertopia there will be government employees. They will bargain with their employers like everyone should. Some of them may coordinate their bargaining. What's the sin here?

  • ||

    God knows why I'm bothering to give you a straight answer, but here it goes...

    I don't hate unions, public OR private. What I hate is the fact that unions have been given special protection under the law. And before you start whining about corporations having special protection under the law, I hate that too.

  • ||

    Public unions are not like private unions. If a private union gets too greedy, the company goes bankrupt. Private unions are checked by the market. They know there is only a certain amount of money they can demand.

    Public unions in contrast do not have to depend on the market. Their wages are paid by the force of law. The government, absent extreme circumstances, is not going to go bankrupt. It will just coerce more money out of the tax payers.

    As a result public unions are doing real damage to the country. States like California and New Jersey are facing bankruptcy despite outrageous tax rates because public unions have demanded and gotten such huge salaries. The public pensions are going to bankrupt state governments. Unless those obligations are repudiated and the union power eliminated people are going to be paying huge taxes in return for greatly reduced services. That is an evil not present in private unions.

  • MNG||

    Public unions should be checked by elections. People should grow up, pay attention to issues and vote accordingly. Bitching because some special interest group plays the game well is unbecoming of you rugged individualists...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    A rational person would be in favor of getting rid of "play[ing] the game well". It's one reason we're so fucked as a nation.

  • MNG||

    And what do you propose? Public employees should be barred from voting or giving support to candidates? Should they just be held in a box when they are not working? WTF? People vote. They vote with their interests in mind. Like minded people do this in an organized way sometimes. This is a world of grown ups dudes.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, and quit fucking twisting my posts to fit your needs. I said nothing of the sort, above, and you damned well know it.

    I said, in another post, union employees should be able to opt out of political spending. I'm sure you'll disagree, MNG.

  • ||

    What part of "quit affording unions special protection under the law" don't you understand?

  • MNG||

    If you don't like unions because the NLRA forces bargaining (and that's all it forces btw), then OK. But this "unions make people join unions" or "the unions have taken over the government" tripe is exactly that.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, it isn't tripe, you fuckstain.

  • Upgrayyed||

    Funny- the property tax levy votes are always put up in off cycle election years. Guess who gets to pick when the vote goes down? Guess who shows up to vote?

  • CaptainSmartass||

    Public employees should be barred from voting or giving support to candidates?

    Sounds good to me. How about a blanket ban an anyone received funds from the Treasury (except for tax refunds) is barred from voting or serving on juries for one year after the date of the last check? So no more public employees voting, no soldiers, no welfare recipients.

    No one with a vested interest in increasing payments from the Treasury should be able to vote themselves a pay raise.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'm all for giving those forced to join unions, the ability to prevent any portion of their dues being paid to any political party/cause.

    Still waiting for MNG to spin that to his advantage...

  • MNG||

    Since noone is forced to join a union I'm not sure what you are getting at.

  • ||

    All public employees that work in a unioninzed job are forced to join under force of law - WTF are you talking about?!? Their dues get deducted from their paychecks!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Then point out why people who want to work for certain companies - or the government - are forced to join unions as a condition of employment.

    No freedom there. Wanna be a firefighter? You can be crazy qualified, pass all the physical/psych tests, be the best goddamned firefighter on the planet... but if you don't want to join the union, you're shit out of luck. Where's the freedom of association, MNG?

    Face it, you view non-union people as inferior. Period.

  • Mo||

    No one with a vested interest in increasing payments from the Treasury should be able to vote themselves a pay raise.

    Does that include people that work for companies that make money from the government? Employees of Boeing have a huge incentive to vote for pro-war candidates. Employees at Pfizer made tons of money off of Medicare Part D.

  • Madbiker||

    And in NJ, we did vote for someone to come in and check union power. His name is Chris Christie. And he is making good on his promise to check union powers here, and the union is pissed.

    I am part of the odious NJEA. We recently had an NJEA attorney present reasons why we should NOT have a wage freeze (we voted for it anyway). The propaganda is horrifying and I am surprised by the fact that a group of people educated beyond four years of college can not look rationally at NJs current budget situation and act accordingly (not necessarily my local, but the NJEA as a whole).

    And that is kind of what it comes down - a person is reasonable; people are illogical, panicky and quick to believe the first thing they hear (and fear). Union leaders are good at playing to individual fears for our families and welfare by making collectivist arguments about the downfall of society if schools don't get funding and we don't get bigger salaries, etc.

    In my district, and in my opinion, we voted the correct way. But we are one small part of a larger force that now sees us as complicit in the governor's plot to undermine teachers everywhere. It is not clear yet if there will be major consequences for our decision to have a wage freeze (ie, will the NJEA abandon us in the future if need for the union representation arises, as payback for going against their dogma?), but we don't feel the union-brotherly-love quite as much as we used to, and that seems to negate the touchy-feely aspect of "union brother- and sisterhood" we are told will be ours if we pay the 15% dues differential to become full voting members.*

    *ask me for clarity if that confuses you

  • Cliché Bandit||

    HOLY SHIT! MNG just supported the Citizens United SCOTUS decision. Awesome.


    "Like minded people do this in an organized way sometimes. This is a world of grown ups dudes."

    Hippo-crit: When a quasi marine mammal lands on MNG for 250hps.

  • hmm||

    Nick pretty much knocked MNG out right out of the box, and no the bandit is t-bagging him.

  • hmm||

    now even.

  • hmm||

    now even.

  • MNG||

    Shareholders don't pick the management that authorizes the spending involved in Citizens, so you're point is, well, wrong.

  • hmm||

    Shareholders pick the board, who decides the management, so your point is, well wrong.

    Why is it okay for a group of people that aren't managers to be like minded, but as soon as they operate a business they are now not like minded and no longer a group?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Because MNG is a union shill, but thinks Citizens United shouldn't be able to do what they do without being bitch-slapped.

  • ||

    Fascinating, explain how this works...the next time I vote there will be a box for "WSF workers get paid too much, please reduce their salaries"?
    Also, you are wrong to conflate the two types of unions. If a private union goes on strike, I can take my business elsewhere. If a government group goes on strike I can hardly shop at a different government.
    Finally, since you believe they are the same, are you in favor of the government locking out workers and hiring replacements while they strike? Waste Mangement may do that in King County, I'd like to see Marysville do it the next time their teachers strike.

  • MNG||

    You can support a candidate who will be tougher in dealing with government employees. The unions can't "make" anything happen. Voters vote in reps who sign these contracts.

  • ||

    So if I want to vote for someone I think will be less of a drug warrior (or GASP favors legalization) it means I approve of public unions and gun control? If I want to vote for someone who says they will cut spending and reduce taxes it means I approve of warrantless wiretapping and preventative war? Why do you think we're here? We don't trust them on the single issue to begin with so you know we're not going to vote for that issue and get everything else that comes with it. I think a lot of us would enjoy a line item ballot box. The two party system where we as minority voters are living is not befitting our ideals, morals, or political demands.

  • ||

    And if a rep wanted to cut the union contract in one of these "renegotiations" - the unions refuse to agree, and the case goes to binding arbitration done by guess who? Union friendly arbitrators who use the same arbitration firms over and over again. You are acting like voting make this a democratic process.

  • ||

    How can an election check a union? Union contracts aren't renegotiated at will, and often even then there are legal reasons they cant be substantially changed absent bankruptcy.

  • West Texas Boy||

    Public unions in contrast do not have to depend on the market. Their wages are paid by the force of law. The government, absent extreme circumstances, is not going to go bankrupt. It will just coerce more money out of the tax payers.

    This is true, but the key point I think is that political corruption that it enables.

    The union agitates for a raise, the politicians give it to them because they're not necessarily spending their own money (like the management of a private company), then the union turns around and spends a lot of money and effort infuencing the election and donating directly to the sugar daddy politician.

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

    Yes, corporations can, and do, do the same thing, to a lesser degree of outright corruption (imho), but that doesn't mean that it's OK for public unions to do it to. It just means that government should be smaller and less powerful.

  • ||

    I was listening to a report about the NJ public unions the other month. The contracts are so contradictory that the state actually has to hire consultants just to do the work that the union workers refuse to do.

  • ||

    Two more things about public unions:

    Vested benefits are property rights, that are Constitutionally protected, and its not clear that a public union's vested pension, healthcare, etc. can even be restructured in bankruptcy. This is likely to prove to be a very, very Bad Thing.

    Also, the justification for unions is supposed to be as a check on abuse by capitalist employers exploiting the proles for profit. That doesn't apply, at all, at all, for public unions.

  • MNG||

    But you're for property rights, right RC?

  • ||

    Sure. I'm just pointing out that the kinds of contracts you apparently get with pub-sec unions are different in kind, and are uniquely burdensome.

  • MNG||

    Government employers can be quite nasty too RC. Are you really arguing that public employees don't need unions because the government is so nice and trustworthy? Cuz given other stances of yours that seems to be Bizzaro.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Finally, MNG admits government is not perfect.

  • Barack Obama||

    I'll have a talk with MNG. I'll set his ass straight.

  • Rahm Emanuel||

    Y'wan' I should have him taught a proper lesson, Mister Pres'dent? I can have some of my boys rough him up a little...

  • Barack Obama||

    Find out when and where he showers.

  • .||

    Federal government employees - otherwisee known as the military - are not allowed to form a union or engage in collective bargaining and strikes; it's considered to be mutiny. Why should any other group of government employees be any different?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Good point.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Excellent question.

  • MNG||

    I think they should be able to form unions.

    But as to why they are not, I guess it has to do with them being the government employees with the guns.

    But we let police unions exist and tyranny hasn't reared its ugly head.

  • ||

    But we let police unions exist and tyranny hasn't reared its ugly head.

    That's just a matter of perspective.

  • Mo||

    But we let police unions exist and tyranny hasn't reared its ugly head.

    Are you sure? I'd recommend going here:

    www.theagitator.com

  • cynical||

    So, people with guns and authority are free to abuse other people and break the law without fear of punishment, but that's not tyranny?

    Does your definition of tyranny require death camps or something?

  • ||

    HUH???

  • ||

    Are you really arguing that public employees don't need unions because the government is so nice and trustworthy?

    Haven't you argued that no one is forced to join a union because they can always work for a non-union company?

    So how is anyone forced to work for the government?

    And, of course, this doesn't respond in any way to my point about why unions are allegedly so necessary to offset the capitalist employers.

    Why isn't the almighty voting public a sufficient check on government abuse of its employees, anyway?

  • MNG||

    No one is forced to work for any private company either, but even you would probably admit that if employees wanted to coordinate they could (you just would like it if the employer could retaliate and such).

    Voters should hold reps to the public interest, but an employee in negotiating with an employer over employer-employee relations surely shouldn't focus on that but on their interest.

  • ||

    Wait wait wait - you have often argued that the relationship between (non-unionized) employer and employee is coercive by nature. If the employer allows unions - apparently that is not the case?

  • ||

    And when an employee is forced to join a union - that apparently is never coercive.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No one should be forced to join a union, MNG. You can spin it all you want - that a man or woman can just get another job that isn't union - but that's all it is... spinning. Choice of occupation goes out the window if one does not wish to join any union.

    I'd change my mind a little about this topic, if ALL union employees had the option to forbid expenditure of any portion of their dues on political parties (yes, even the LP).

  • MNG||

    Who is forced to join a union? Even in union shop states you can just go work somewhere else if the employer and union have bargained to employ only union labor.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "you can just go to work somewhere else"

    See, THAT is what I'm talking about. But you don't see the use of force in play when someone wants to work in THEIR chosen profession unless they join a union.

    Fuck that. Choice goes out the window if you gotta sign your life away to get a job.

  • MNG||

    Wow, does "The Libertarian Guy" think people have a right to a job of their choice? Wow!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    If someone is qualified, and the employer wants to hire them... then, yes, that's where choice comes in.

    You fuckers who support affirmative action in hiring, but let said action slip from your memory when it comes to union participation, are some of the most two-faced bastards on the planet.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Bonus post:

    I said nothing of the sort, you disingenuous schmuck. I did say, in essence, that people shouldn't be prevented from being hired simply because they don't want to join a collectivist, bullying-oriented organization against their will.

    Now, quit being obtuse.

  • MNG||

    But that's the point, in a union shop the employer has signed a contract to only hire union members. That's a policy they have AGREED to.

    So you don't know what you are talking about. No bigee, happens to people who read right wing blogs for their news of the world...

    I oppose affirmative action btw, always have.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    This is about the only blog I read - unless you want to count Iowahawk as one of your hated right-wing feeds, which you likely will.

    Nice try, though.

    But then, you don't see the discrimination of "sign[ing] a contract to only hire union members". Not hiring good, qualified people based on non-participation in a collectivist strongarm society, is wrong. Companies shouldn't be forced to sign such contracts, either.

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    The misyake union shops make is believeng that union members provide the best labor. Reminds me of a non-profit I worked at that was run by gay people. Everyone they hired was gay (I got in because an old boss was gay and was friends with the non-profits president. Now certainly gay people can do a good job, but if you limit your hiring to just gay people, then you're missing out on some potentially stellar workers from the 95% of the labor pool you're ignoring.

    Pretty stupid.

  • MNG||

    You mean even if an employer only wants to hire members of a union you think the government should intervene to fight this "discrimination?"

    And you have that handle? WTF?

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    You mean even if an employer only wants to hire members of a union you think the government should intervene to fight this "discrimination?"

    And you have that handle? WTF?

    Stupid much?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    A company should be able to hire whomever it wants, MNG.

    Nice try at twisting my post, yet again.

  • ||

    I understand your argument and reject your premise. No union should be able to force employers to discriminate on hiring. No such agreement should be legal.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That's what I've been telling MNG, but he's too busy fellating the far left to understand such logic.

  • The Far Left||

    MNG doesn't swallow. His union rep won't allow it.

  • MNG||

    Of course no union should be able to force that. No union can. All the employer is forced to do is bargain in good faith. If he then agrees to hire only union members then noone has been "forced" to sign that contract.

  • ||

    Hiring only union workers shouldn't be on the table. Much like you can't discriminate based race, sex, religion, political leanings, discriminating based on group affiliation is wrong and no employer should have to choose between hiring only union and losing a contract.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Oh, but MNG is all about the discrimination when it comes to companies being forced to hire only "certain" people.

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    "No bigee, happens to people who read right wing blogs for their news of the world..."

    I'd point out that people who utilize ad hominem are stupid, shit-sucking assholes, but I don't want to appear hypocritical.

  • Steff||

    I'd also love to know where the stupid, shit-sucking asshole got the notion that libertarians are particularly right-wing.

  • The Gobbler||

    The Tony School of Libertarianism.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Why don't employers have the right to hire and fire anyone they want for any reason they want.

    Such as firing strikers and hiring replacement workers.

    It's called freedom of contract.

  • Madbiker||

    I was not strictly "forced," but the coercive power of giving up 85% of the dues to my union, and NOT receiving any representation or legal services if something should go awry for me, was powerful motivation to join and get full "privileges" as a voting member entitled to due process and legal aid.

  • Rhywun||

    Why hate public unions?

    I thought "because they're bankrupting my city and state" was a good enough reason.

  • MNG||

    You should hate the spineless reps who give them contracts with that effect, or better yet the goofy voters who return such reps after making such bad deals for the people.

  • Union Whore||

    If the general public didn't want us to live like queens, they would do something besides piss and moan. But the public keeps coming back for more and forking over more money each time.

  • Rhywun||

    I dislike both of those groups, too - especially politicians who game the system right along with their public-sector union pals, with little fear of any repercussions for reasons already amply explained above.

    It's harder to fault voters for so consistently voting against their own self-interest on this particular issue. There are only (at most) two viable choices, after all. People choose a candidate for many reasons, many of which conflict.

  • Steff||

    I can't hate both? Why not?

  • ||

    The spineless reps are elected by people, many of whom are in unions so they are basically electing the people in exchange for special benefits over the rest of us. But you know all this and are just an asshole.

  • ||

    Public unions are termites and parasites. The whole notion of arms-length negotiation falls apart because those that are supposed to be looking out for taxpayers' interests are corrupt and stupid (while the unions' negotiators are corrupt and effective).

  • Tony||

    It's only recently that I've seen this distinction made. Of course you can't be for individual liberty and against the right to collectively bargain and freely associate at the same time. I think being against "public" unions is the libertarian's way of expressing his innate anti-union sentiment without seeming like a total hypocrite.

    Although I think the logic is flawed, as I don't see why government employees shouldn't have individual liberties too.

  • T||

    I'm all for unions, Tony. I'm also all for the right of employers to a) not collectively bargain and b) fire everyone that goes on strike. Alas, the current law does not allow me to not recognize a union if my employees decide to have one. Right now the government forces employers to allow a 3rd party to interfere in labor negotiations. Surely you can see how libertarians might be against that?

  • Ronald Reagan||

    I wasn't a Libertarian and I fired those striking Air Traffic Controllers!

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    A grateful nation thanks you, sir.

  • Steff||

    I'm pro-union (I'm a union member, too), but until such time as people are free to vote with their wallets and businesses are free to do the same, public sector AND private sector unions are given an unfair advantage over the tax payer and business both.

    I believe that if both unions and companies genuinely did bargain in good faith (and smaller ones often still do), it'd be a whole different ball game. But good faith was taken out of the equation when unions began using the hammer of government as enforcement, and companies had no choice in the matter. In the public sector, especially, you won't see scabs or mass firings for employees; you'll see like what you did in Toronto not so long ago, where the garbage piled mile high and the public was held hostage, despite having been paying for that service. But nothing could be done for it.

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    Happened in my city a few years back with a transit workers strike. They wangted more money, so they made it really difficult for a million people to get to work. Strike went on so long that the raise they finally got will never cover the money they lost while on strike.

    Me, I just drove my truck instead, but for a lot of poor people needing to get to work or daycare or their doctor's office, it was hell.

  • Steff||

    Exactly!

    (This also just reinforces why public transit will never be as awesome as owning a car.)

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Steff, you sound like one of the good guys. Unions could use more like you.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Well, Tony, that means people should be able to be hired for work without being forced to join a union against their will.

    And if one MUST join a union in order to get paid for their services, then they should have the right to decide how any portion of their dues is spent. You should, at least, see the logic in that.

    For instance: If I had to sell my soul and join a union, I should have the right to not allow any of my dues to go to any political activity - even for the LP. I'll spend my money on politics, thank you very much.

    What say you, Tony?

  • Abe Simpson||

    I hate everything but Matlock.

  • WTF||

    My sister posted the same joke, but with Barry O. as the target, on her FB page, and one of her leftie acquaintances got his panties all in a bunch. There is more than sufficient hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle.

    As to the stench of various parts of NJ, I am quite glad to have escaped that state nearly 8 years ago, after having lived there the first 35 years of my life. Much of NJ basically is an appendage of NYC and the rest of it is trying to be L.A. light. Way too much liberal moonbattery and PC-ness going on there, with a consistently inefficient and largely corrupt Dem-lead government. And forget any kind of respect for gun owner rights. That issue is mostly controlled by worried mommies and school teachers. I still can't believe some of the responses I got when certain women discovered that actually (gasp!) owned ... GUNS!!

    And in my experience, the unfortunate reality is that many New Jerseyans have well earned the reputation they have as being pushy, rude and obnoxious. It is the "ME FIRST!" state - most especially on the public roads.

    When we left in 2002, the taxes on our 2700 square-foot house on 2 acres were nearing $10,000 per year. And the state had the highest car insurance costs in the nation.

    I don't miss the place.

  • Geoff||

    "And in my experience, the unfortunate reality is that many New Jerseyans have well earned the reputation they have as being pushy, rude and obnoxious. It is the "ME FIRST!" state - most especially on the public roads."

    I moved from New Jersey to Long Island almost two years ago. Long Island is like NJ on mega-steroids in the arrogant, obnoxious department.

  • WTF||

    True, that.

  • ||

    And what would have been the response from the Shop Steward if a student had put that lame fucking "joke" on a facebook page with the name of his principal in it?

    Something a little more substantial than a Nelson Muntz Hah, hah.

    Zero fucking tolerance!

  • ||

    Attached like a tick to the rich vein of the board. When will he be sufficiently bloated with strife to sate his selfish pleasures?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I don't think that's a vein... not in the Grey's Anatomy sense, technically-speaking.

  • vas deferens||

    I know! I know!

  • Glenn Quagmire||

    I know this one, too!

    Giggidy.

  • ||

    Wow, this is worse than I thought. The teabaggers have infiltrated the teachers' unions! Next thing you know those racists will assume the identity of the Democratic controlled Senate.

  • dhex||

    aaahhh joe copolla. stay slimy!

  • ||

    ROTFL, personally I think its hilarious!

    Lou
    www.whos-watching.es.tc

  • Death Panelist||

    Anon bot comes alive.

  • Peter Frampton||

    Homer Simpson wrecks my pig, Cypress Hill steals my orchestra, and Anon bot's in my cooler! Get out of there, you fictitious entity!

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    Dou you, you, feel like we do?

  • WTF||

    Only if you woke up this morning with a Sherman in your hand.

  • ||

    Attached like a tick to the rich vein of the board. When will he be sufficiently bloated with strife to sate his selfish pleasures?

    Deny him your essence, people.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We're all missing the most disturbing part of this memo. Those who are charged to educate our tiny, innocent children name a pedophile as their favorite singer.

  • Steff||

    Racist! How dare you call that spade a spade?

  • Lawn Gnome||

    Easy now, I have a legitimate fear of gardening spades!

  • Lawn Jockey||

    Tell me about it!

  • hmm||

    MNG is in top form today. Must be a slow day at solving the worlds problems.

  • kinnath||

    Takes a man with a terminal degree in polysci to shovel shit as well as MNG does.

  • ||

    I don't fault him for being addicted to human misery, I fault him for not doing anything about it. All he has to do is follow his principles.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Said principles doing nothing to solve problems or end misery, of course. But you have to admire his tenacity, and how tightly a man can cinch a pair of binders on his noggin without passing out.

  • kinnath||

    We need to find some bright lawyers to figure out how to use union regulations to fuck with unions the way the free software foundation fucks with copyright holders.

  • Spartacus||

    591 operating school districts? WTF?

    I see some administrative efficiencies to be had by consolidating and cutting that number by about, oh, 90%. I think that 540 fewer superintendents would make a dent in that budget.

  • ||

    Meanwhile, in Florida, teachers are apparently staging a sick-out to protest a bill passed by the legislature to establish merit pay and restrict tenure.

    Because they're all about providing a quality education.

  • Steff||

    They'll argue that it's really for the children. Watch and see.

  • Spartacus||

    I can't support a sick-out, but the "merit pay" plan on the table right now is silly and counterproductive, and will probably suffer the same ignominious fate as the old plan to pay bonuses to teachers based on the number of AP students they had.

    Measuring real student learning is hard; mesuring how much of it is due to the teacher is even harder. Basing your "measurement" on the result of a single test, graded on a 1-5 scale, is downright silly.

    Finally, an education is not something that is "provided" by others. It is something that an individual acquires, in a whole host of ways, many of which are idiosyncratic.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    The Libertarian Guy,

    Do employers have the right to hire whomever they wish? Yes.

    Do employers have the right to restrict their hiring only to union members? Yes.

    Do you have a right to force an employer to hire you if you don't meet the employer's requirements/demands? No.

    Hence, it is perfectly libertarian for a company and union to agree to a closed shop. Don't want to join the union? Fine, but you'll have to work elsewhere.

  • T||

    Everybody leaves out that part where the employer is forced, by the government, to negotiate with the union. Once you include that little tidbit in there, it changes the equation, doesn't it?

  • Steff||

    This. I'm pro-union, but I also believe that it needs to work under the ideals of good-faith, not under the proverbial barrel of a gun.

  • T||

    I'm not pro-union. My sister has been a member of IAMAW for most of her adult life. She was the secretary/treasurer for her local for a couple of years. Listening to her hasn't made me think kindly of unions.

  • Steff||

    Some suck, some do not. Pretty much like every group and individual in existence. XD

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No company should be forced to hire anyone, JP, but no company should be forced to NOT hire as well.

    You might want to check your post, though, as I see a glaring discrepancy:

    Do employers have the right to hire whomever they wish? Yes.

    Do employers have the right to restrict their hiring only to union members? Yes.

    Contradictory statements. If a company is not free to hire non-union people, it is not free to "hire whomever they wish".

  • ||

    Get back to me when the employer has the right to hire somebody else to do the job his union employees refuse to do.

  • Phil||

    He didn't "make a funny about killing a politician". He made a funny about praying for him to die of natural causes. Completely different thing.

  • T||

    Right, because the left didn't go at least half-retard about the Psalms 109:8 reference? Oh, wait, they did.

  • ||

    I'll admit it: I fucking hate unions. I worked temporarily in a union shop, in college; when the Shop Steward (or whoever that fucking dimwit was) came around and told me I "hadta" join the union or I couldn't work there any more, I told him to go fuck himself.

    What a bunch of useless, lazy drunken thieving morons.

  • ||

    MNG plays the dumbest two step on unions. On the one hand when people complain about high public sector wages, he rages that that is their right. And it is just the result of them playing the political game. But on the other hand when people try to play to political game back and criticize unions and limit their power, he says "how dare you attack unions, what is wrong with them?"

    If you didn't hate unions, reading MNG would make you hate them.

  • MNG||

    Actually John you'll see that I endorsed voting in reps which will bargain better with unions as a grown up solution. That's how it is to be handled: to criticize the contracts made and the makers. Yodeling about the unions as a juggernaut or faulting them for negotiating the best employment contract they can is silly.

  • ||

    So you can object to unions as long as you don't actually criticize them or point out the damage they are doing. Yeah, that makes sense.

  • MJ||

    The structural problem being is that pols don't have much incentive for hard bargaining with the unions until the fiscal situation has gone completely south (and sometimes not even then).

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    This is relevent:

    In July 2008, Rhee revealed her opening gambit with the teachers union: She offered the teachers a whole lot of money. Under her proposal, educators would have two choices. With the first option, teachers would get a $10,000 bonus—a bribe, really—and a 20 percent raise. Nothing else would change. Benefits, rights, and privileges would remain as they were. Under the second option, teachers would receive a $10,000 bonus, a 45 percent increase in base salary, and the possibility of total earnings up to $131,000 a year through bonuses tied to student performance. In exchange, they would have to forfeit their tenure protections. To make good on her financial promises, Rhee lined up money from private donors; she has been close-mouthed about their identities, but The Washington Post has reported that likely contributors include Bill and Melinda Gates and Michael and Susan Dell.

    Says Rhee: “I thought, this is brilliant. Everybody talks about how teachers don’t get paid enough; I’m going to pay teachers six-figure salaries! I’m going to pay the best teachers twice as much as they are currently making. Who could not be in favor of that? But people went ballistic.” Getting incentive pay required giving up near-absolute job security. “That,” she says, “is when the crap hit the fan.”

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....ol-reform/

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Everybody leaves out that part where the employer is forced, by the government, to negotiate with the union. Once you include that little tidbit in there, it changes the equation, doesn't it?

    Sure, and you also left out the tidbit about unions being prevented from sympathy and general strikes by federal employment law. That changes the equation again. In a free market, with general strikes, sympathy strikes, etc., unions may very well be even more powerful. Libertarians would do well to acquaint themselves with some labor history, and the abuses

  • T||

    I'll freely admit I dunno how the balance of power would change if we went through and chucked all the federal labor law. I'm guessing that general strikes wouldn't go over real well in America, though. If there's one thing Americans hate, it's to be inconvenienced. Spin the inconvenience as the fault of the unions and general strikes would have to be reserved for the nuclear strike option.

  • ||

    In a free market, with general strikes, sympathy strikes, etc., unions may very well be even more powerful.

    In a heavily unionized society, maybe.

    The one we have? Not so much. A "general" strike isn't even possible when most of your workforce isn't unionized. Sympathy and general strikes are likely to backfire unless the populace as a whole is pro-union, which it isn't. When a lot of your union workers are pub-sec, the probability of a backfire approaches unity.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    A "general" strike isn't even possible when most of your workforce isn't unionized.

    The point is that, in a free market, unions may have more power than they have now. We have nothing remotely resembling a free market, especially in management/labor relations.

    In a free market, where unions lose some protections, but regain some very powerful ones, the unions might be even more powerful. And if they're more powerful, they will attract more workers, and so on. It's a self-feeding process.

  • ||

    The point is that, in a free market, unions may have more power than they have now.

    Anything's possible, but the inability of unions to gain any traction in America, and the ground they have lost in recent decades, makes me think that in a free market, they would be a complete non-factor.

    In a free market, where unions lose some protections, but regain some very powerful ones,

    My take is that general and sympathy strikes are much more likely to be counterproductive than a source of power, in this country at this time.

  • ||

    Jersey Patriot|4.12.10 @ 1:03PM|#
    "....Libertarians would do well to acquaint themselves with some labor history, and the abuses."

    You mean like when the union thugs attacked the Pinkertons?
    (Meet You in Hell; Les Standiford, ppg 163 on)
    Yes, folks, the famed Homestead Steel massacre was union thugs attacking guards hired to protect the works. Nothing more. Not surprisingly, the guards fought back.
    And Standiford is no 'capitalist tool' he writes with sympathy to the union, maybe hoping you'll ignore the facts.
    That sort of 'labor history, patriot?

  • Jersey Patriot||

    How about when the Pinkerton thugs attacked the unions? How about all the striking workers they murdered? I guess they don't count, not being Randian supermen and all.

    The government, the management of government-backed corporations, and a paramilitary organization combined to kill workers striking against vile working conditions and terrible pay. Who do you think caused more suffering, them or striking workers?

    But hey, them poor ol' bawses need all the help they ken git.

  • ||

    Jersey Patriot|4.12.10 @ 2:51PM|#
    "How about when the Pinkerton thugs attacked the unions? How about all the striking workers they murdered? I guess they don't count, not being Randian supermen and all."

    How about, instead of repeating lies as a brain-dead lefty underman, you do some research.
    It doesn't count because it's a lie. The Pinkertons were attacked by thuggish union mobs and defended themselves.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    "...and the abuses the labor movement fought and defeated."

  • ||

    If you're good at what you do, you don't need to be in a union.

    Period; the end.

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    ^ This

  • ||

    We could delete every snarky, back and forth comment on unions in the reason archive only letting P Brooks's comment stand, and that is all we would need.

    "Period; the end", indeed.

  • cynical||

    True, no company has ever tried to screw a talented person just because there was a short-term buck in it.

    A ha ha ha ha.

    Hey, if you're both good at what you do, and have a good lawyer look over your employment contract, maybe.

  • Live Raw Sewage||

    Man Attempts To Assassinate Obama, 'But Not Because He's Black Or Anything':

    http://www.theonion.com/video/.....use,17220/

  • Mike||

    We would all be better off if we just admitted that everyone is wishing death on everyone else except our relatives, and sometimes even then.

  • ||

    If this teacher's union rep was a student, he would be arrested under zero-tolerance. What an example to set for the children. MY GOD! THE CHILDREN!

  • ||

    ALL NJ TEACHERS ARE FORCED TO BE MEMBERS OF THE UNION. When we refuse to become a member $700 is still deducted annually according to STATE LAW from our paychecks. All teachers say "why not join? They are going to take 80% of their dues anyway" Turns out it is about 70% but it is still rediculous and if it wasn't law, there are teachers who would refuse to join. I find it rediculous, unethical and completely unfair that Christie is destroying our education system over the union that HIS OWN LAW FORCES TEACHERS TO JOIN! I dont understand how the law that forced the state to pay into the pension system was ruled "unconstitutional" but teachers are forced to pay the union and then be crucified by Christie who hates the union and teachers it seems.

  • ||

    New Jersey teachers should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. We're in a horrible economy, people are losing their jobs left and right and you want to be compensated for doing a piss poor job? Really? Here's a thought? GET A CLUE!

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