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Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013

* Zorn quotes from a Bureau of Labor Statistics study

In 2012, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union–was 11.3 percent, down from 11.8 percent in 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.4 million, also declined over the year. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers….

Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.9 percent) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers…

About half of the 14.4 million union members in the U.S. lived in just seven states (California, 2.5 million; New York, 1.8 million; Illinois, 0.8 million; Pennsylvania, 0.7 million; and Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio, 0.6 million each), though these states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.

* From coverage of the governor’s school safety summit

Other members of the school safety summit said getting students to speak-up about potential threats is, perhaps the best idea from the Springfield meeting.

It would also be the cheapest.

Roger Eddy, a former state lawmakers and current head of the Illinois Association of School Boards, said Illinois cannot afford to do much more than talk about school safety.

“Certainly most things are going to cost money and resources,” Eddy said. “And some communities are going to have to make tough choices about that.”

Cinda Klickna, who spoke at the safety summit for the Illinois Education Association, said the price tag could be huge.

“If you are going to have resources for students, programs for students, and personnel to help students, you are going to have to pay for it somehow,” Klickna said.

Quinn angrily denied that if Illinois were to pay the nearly $1 billion it owes local schools and local government that there would be ample money for school safety.

“I’ve gone out and gotten resources for our schools, and for a lot of other things in Illinois, two years ago. Check it out,” Quinn retorted.

* Speaking of schools, Greg Hinz follows up on my earlier stories about how $35 million for an UNO school construction project was inserted into the supplemental approp budget and helped kill it

But, in checking around, I hear that the guy who really pushed the proposed $35 million grant was House Speaker Michael Madigan, whose district has turned overwhelmingly Latino in recent years and who probably could use one of those new UNO schools in his district. Mr. Madigan — his spokesman failed to return calls — was so hot for the grant that he actually tried to add it to some other bills, multiple reliable Springfield sources say.

Mr. Rangel confirms that the money “quite possibly” would have gone for work in Mr. Madigan’s district, where schools are “severely overcrowded.” And guess where that new soccer high school is? At the north end of Mr. Madigan’s legislative district, at 5050 S. St. Louis Ave.

So it goes in our fair capital city. Education money is short, and CPS is talking about shutting schools. But those with friends have their ways.

* Other stuff…

* Quinn compliments Cullerton pension plan

* Illinois sets $500 million bond sale

* Chicago Catholic Schools see enrollment increase

* Illinois home sales jump 15.2% as local markets recover

* Chicago-area home sales up 19% in December

* ‘No second thoughts’ about fire safety extension, alderman says

* Former Democratic congressional candidate Goetten back on state payroll

* 292 more cops could move from desks to street: inspector general

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    “Roger Eddy, a former state lawmakers and current head of the Illinois Association of School Boards, said Illinois cannot afford to do much more than talk about school safety.”

    Thereby confirming the old adage, “talk is cheap.”

  2. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 3:27 pm:

    Here’s a couple of more stats buried in the report:

    Total unionization rate: 11.8% to 11.3% percent
    Private-sector unionization: 6.9% to 6.6%
    Government unionization: 37% to 35.9 %.

    I believe there is more at work here than just the recession. We remain among the highest corporate tax rate countries in the world, and have instituted many new taxes and regulations in 2012 (e.g. Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, EPA closures of hundreds of coal-fired plants among other things, NLRB and Boeing) which are discouraging business and job creation (over $1T of capital parked overseas).

  3. - dave - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 3:40 pm:

    **We remain among the highest corporate tax rate countries in the world**

    We have high corporate taxes on paper. But we don’t have high effective corporate tax rates. In fact, our effective corporate tax rates are right in line with the rest of the developed world.

    But it does make a nice (but wrong) right-wing talking point.

  4. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 3:49 pm:

    Interesting that several of those states with the highest union percentage are also states that export more federal dollars than they get back.

  5. - Fed up - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    Interesting some of those states with the highest union percentages have the largest pension liabilities and budget deficits

  6. - Irish - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:00 pm:

    Maybe if the School Safety Summit came up with the suggestion that they would allow for these safety measures to be included in the list of Life/Safety items, a district could levy for Life Safety bonds to cover them.

    While not all Districts are at the point where their Life/Safety items/mandates are current some are. And those that are could levy for bonds that would allow them to make these improvements. It’s not a huge step or something that could be taken advantage of by everybody but it is a step utilizing a tool that most schools use to make these types of improvements.

  7. - Union Guy - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:17 pm:

    Zorn missed this quote. From the BLS press release:
    In 2012, among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings
    of $943, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $742. In addition to
    coverage by a collective bargaining agreement, this earnings difference reflects a variety of influences,
    including variations in the distributions of union members and nonunion employees by occupation,
    industry, firm size, or geographic region. (See table 2.)
    In short, Union members make $200 more per week.

  8. - Union Guy - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:20 pm:

    Quotations should start before “Earnings” and end with “(See Table 2.)” The last sentence was mine.

  9. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:27 pm:

    - Interesting some of those states with the highest union percentages have the largest pension liabilities and budget deficits -

    You’re right, it’s easier to manage your state’s finances if you get help from states like us.

  10. - Sgt Schultz - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    “So it goes in our fair capital city.”
    “How about funky math, Springfield style?”
    “I love Springfield.”

    It has always irked me how some reporting refers to Springfield. Many people recognize that the reference is to our elected officials who go to work in the Capitol and some reporters use it in a context that’s clear, but many times it seems intentional. But what really stinks is to hear elected politicians refer to Springfield as though it’s something separate from themselves.

  11. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:44 pm:

    In China, the effective corporate tax rate for publicly traded companies, including all payments to various entities, can approach 60% — unless one of your key stockholders is a high-ranking member, (or their immediate family)of the Communist Party. Then, depending on who it is, and what side deals they can make, it can approach zero.

    It’s hard to make comparisons across borders.

  12. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:47 pm:

    Oh, and foreign companies do get special tax breaks to move manufacturing to China.

  13. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 5:15 pm:

    ===We remain among the highest corporate tax rate countries in the world===

    Hardly a surprise considering we have the most powerful, best equipped and most professional fighting force mankind has ever assembled. We spend more on defense each than almost every other country combined.

    Should that be paid for by individual taxes only? Or do corporations benefit by the roughly $700 billion we spend each year to protect the globe?

    Freedom isn’t free. Or something.

  14. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 5:47 pm:

    –**We remain among the highest corporate tax rate countries in the world**–

    What do Illinois’ Fortune 500 companies pay in corporate income taxes?

    CAT. ADM? McDonald’s. Walgreens?


    Small corporations, do pay.

    What’s the point of being a chump and pretending that Illinois is bad for big business or Indiana is good for it?

    If Indiana was better, wouldn’t big business be there by now?

    Like Illinois, Indiana is centrally located, has lake access and has every characteristic of Illinois.

    Why is Illinois’ nearly three times as large?

    Ask Bruce Rauner. He’s a believer in the power of the ego-maniac individual. And he’s sweet on Mitch Daniels.

    Me, I think the millions of business people, farmers, and laborers are the real power, not balding shorties who like to look in the mirror.

  15. - Horace Mann - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 7:09 pm:

    Between Roger Eddy and Pat Quinn, you couldn’t raise any money for schools, but you would have enough wind to spin a good 10 turbines.

  16. - Downstater - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 7:44 pm:

    =In short, Union members make $200 more per week= Doesn’t do much good, if there are fewer jobs.

  17. - wishbone - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 10:15 pm:

    “EPA closures of hundreds of coal-fired plants among other things,”

    And we urgently need to close thousands more if we are to make a dent in climate change which threatens the lives of our children and grand children. The total ignorance on this subject is amazing.

  18. - Bemused - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 10:29 pm:

    The lights in at least six union halls in central IL were doused this month. A cost saving move I am told. One of them would have been 125 years old this year.

    I have watched the numbers for organized labor decline for years. I worked in the field for some years trying to turn around that trend. It would seem to be an easy sell, join us and make 200 more a week. The reality in todays world is it is very hard to unionize in the private sector at least.

    It takes a long time to get too an election. Once the papers are filed for an election the pro union busters start to contact the employer by fax. People are fired and intimadated between that time and the election. If the union side wins the election the union busters show the employer how to “Bargain in good faith” for the next year. All the while more folks lose jobs and more fear is spread thru the workplace. The Union very often will not even challenge a decert election after the year is up.

    This is not to say the Union leadership does not also need to get thier house in order. They have treated the member like a mushroom for a long time. If the member does not feel connected you lose ground level support. In the trades I see Unions fighting each other for a larger share of a shrinking pie rather go after the non union contractors. This of course ticks their own contractors off to no end.

    I sit and watch the fight over state pensions and shake my head. To this day I do not think those folks understand the above numbers do not bode well for them in the long term.

  19. - Backwards - Thursday, Jan 24, 13 @ 9:14 am:

    “We have high corporate taxes on paper. But we don’t have high effective corporate tax rates. In fact, our effective corporate tax rates are right in line with the rest of the developed world”

    or more accurately

    We have high corporate taxes on paper. But we don’t have high effective corporate tax rates, because corporations go about doing unproductive things to avoid taxes.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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