Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Part 5 - Prevailing Wage changes or Crippling the ability of volunteers to help their communities

In WI currently, there is a prevailing wage limit of $223,000.00 on government projects. That means that any project done to or by any business, person, or agency that receives government money must use union workers (or at least pay the same wage as union workers would receive) for any project costing $223,000.00 or more.
Our governor wanted to drop that limit to $2,000.00. The Joint Finance Committee bumped it back up to $25,000.00.

While a $2,000.00 limit would have prohibited volunteers from doing even small projects, a $25,000.00 limit will still discourage groups from doing many projects that would be to the benefit of their community. As an example, the Order of the Arrow (Scouting's national honor society) completed a massive project for our national parks system just last year. Under this limit, such an organization would not have been allowed to do that work in WI because the cost of the work done by those Arrowmen and women was significantly more than $25,000.00. I know that was a national project, done for the national parks system and not just WI, but I'm sure there are projects such an organization could do on a state level that would be equally beneficial to the people of this state that would cost more than the $25,000.00 limit and this change would prevent that.

When I asked him about the negative aspects of this change with regard to volunteerism, Mr. Leibham pointed out that only agencies which receive government money are affected by this. When I pointed out that the very college that was hosting his breakfast had just been the recipient of an Eagle Scout project, he conceded that such things would be nearly impossible under the $2,000.00 limit.
I would contend that the $25,000.00 limit is just as harmful. It limits volunteers from even envisioning helpful projects over that amount.

Why should the people of WI, or any state be bound by such a ridiculous provision? I'm sure the argument is that it would create jobs because more projects would require paid labor. The reality, if I'm understanding this correctly, would be that, either these projects will not get done or they will cost the taxpayers of this state, because we would be adding to the government payroll. While this may create jobs, it is creating government jobs. That means it is creating more debt and a larger deficit while simultaneously decreasing our quality of life and damaging the character of the people of Wisconsin.

Unions have a place in this country to assure safe working conditions. But when unions are preventing community members from volunteering to do projects that benefit the community, they have overstepped their bounds. I will grant that many projects require specialized knowledge, that safety and quality must be considered with such volunteer projects. But are we really so lacking as a people that we couldn't overcome such objections by having a union worker review the plans for such projects and leave it at that rather than force our communities to pay for union labor when we have perfectly capable volunteers willing to do the work? (Often the volunteers for such projects have the technical training or may be union members.)
I don't think we are and I would hope that the legislature would agree..

"There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God."~Ecc 2:24


Dr.D said...

Payoff for the unions is all a part of the Zero administration plan. Don't forget, he won! If you forget, he will be happy to remind you. This now means that you and I have no longer have any rights and that he and his goons and thugs are in charges of our lives in every respect. We can be so proud that both Iowa and Wisconsin supported Zero (ugh!); I feel like I am living in an insane asylum.

Call Me Mom said...

One hopes the Lord will remind them that there are large blocks of religious folks out here who do not vote,(For what I think are severely misguided reasons), like Jehovah's Witnesses, who are far more likely to hold conservative values than liberal ones. Their majority was only in the number of people who voted and I take great comfort in knowing that the numbers for that were fairly close.

You are not alone in feeling that way. One also hopes the Lord will remind union workers that they have an individual, personal responsibility to make sure their unions are acting in an ethical manner and to leave or oppose them when they do not.

There are an awful lot of people out there these days claiming the moral high ground. I wonder how many of them know the cost of that particular peice of real estate. I wonder how many are willing to pay it.

Dr.D said...

Mom, I think you must be living in a fairy land! I have never, ever heard a union member even think of crossing his union bosses in any way. The idea that an individual union member would think the ethics of the union was his personal responsibility just does not compute. And to ask him to leave the union when it does something beyond belief! If there were taken seriously, there would be no members in any of the unions at all.

But seriously, to leave the union, in most cases would mean to leave the trade because it would mean that a person could not be employed without the union card. Many states do not have right to work laws, so unions can prevent non-union people from working a job simply because they are not union members, even if they are fully qualified.

You speak of the price of the moral high ground. That is a very interesting concept. I doubt that any of those claiming the moral high ground have given it even a moment's thought at all. They just claim it, another empty claim like all of their other claims.

Call Me Mom said...

"I have never, ever heard a union member even think of crossing his union bosses in any way. The idea that an individual union member would think the ethics of the union was his personal responsibility just does not compute. And to ask him to leave the union when it does something beyond belief!"

Don't you think it's high time they did? Union membership is a choice - like everything else. It carries with it a responsibility. It's the same choice we have of allowing the MSM and a two party system of politics to dictate our choice of candidates, because we refuse, as individuals, to do the research on ALL the available candidates ourselves. It's time Americans starting taking responsibility for those choices.

If the union one belongs to is behaving unethically and one needs to be a member to work, then form another union. Free market principles should apply.

Maybe I am living in fairyland, but I think individual Americans need to start doing things like this to reclaim our country.

The price of that moral high ground is unrecognized courage and sacrifice. Often, it requires suffering ridicule as well.

"“The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the ‘little’ choices of years past—by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, [which was] whispering the lie that ‘it really doesn’t matter.’ It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away—the decision that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity—or dishonor and shame.”~ Ronald Reagan

Dr.D said...

I will tell you about taking that responsibility and making that choice. I did that. I refused to join the union at the UW-Platteville. When the union folks came to call on me about the third day I was on campus, I told them politely but firmly that I was a professional person and I did not join unions. Six years later, when it came time to be voted on for tenure, that choice cost me tenure and I was out of a job. I had done an excellent job of teaching and provided outstanding service to my department. I had published a number of papers and a book, far more than any of my colleagues during that time. But the union said I had to go, so the union faculty members voted against me and I had to leave. That cost me greatly in monetary terms and even more in personal terms. I had invested everything my life in that position, only to have it taken away from me by the union. That is what unions do to people. They stole my life and never blinked.

Call Me Mom said...

Time and past time then that unions be reminded that they are made up of individuals. Individuals who have principles enough to require them to behave in a manner befitting their members.

I thank you for taking that stand. More Americans should do the same.

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