‘Retro’ reforms are pro-business

We think money set aside in the public trust to promote worker safety should be spent on worker safety.

So say Sen. Mark Doumit (D-Cathlamet) and Rep. Bill Fromhold (D-Vancouver) in a must read guest column in Tuesday’s Seattle P-I: “State’s ‘retro’ program needs repair.”

Doumit and Fromhold do an excellent job of explaining what retro is, how it works, and why the BIAW has been able to exploit its inequities to finance their partisan political agenda. To summarize, employers can choose to pay their worker’s comp premiums into “retro groups” run by associations like the BIAW, who pool the funds, and forward the money to the Department of Labor and Industries. At the end of the year, rebates are paid back to associations with favorable safety records… savings that are supposed to be passed on to the members.

But the size of the rebate is based as much on the size of the group as it is on the its success at preventing injuries. The largest groups get the largest rebates, even if their safety records are mixed.

The BIAW runs the state’s largest retro group.

It is also one of the greatest beneficiaries under the current system. In one year, 96 cents of every dollar the group paid into workers’ compensation was paid out to injured workers. But because the group is so large, it received 24 percent of its premiums back in the form of a rebate.

In other words, the association received a rebate of more than $25 million even though the difference between premiums paid in and losses paid out amounted to a little more than $3 million.

Then, the association turned around and charged its own members a 20 percent fee, generating millions of dollars more than the cost of administration. This money could have been used to promote worker safety or to reduce workers’ compensation premiums. Instead, it was funneled into political campaigns.

This is the money that bought Jim Johnson his seat on the State Supreme Court, and that financed $750,000 of independent expenditures on behalf of Dino Rossi before the election, and god knows how much since. This is the money that paid for those $10.00 checks the BIAW used to defraud voters of their signatures.

But reforming retro is more than just partisan retribution — although the BIAW certainly deserves any retribution it might get. As Doumit and Fromhold point out, this is about fixing inequities in the program and returning to its original intent of helping small and medium-sized businesses.

Despite an unenviable safety record, the association was able to draw millions of dollars away from groups that had shown more commitment to safety simply because it runs one of the largest retro groups in the state. Calling the money the association received a “rebate” is misleading, since it never actually belonged to the association.

This is inherently unfair. Companies that uphold their commitment to worker safety should be rewarded. Money dedicated to worker safety should be spent on worker safety, not funneled away as a cash cow for organizations that have no right to it.

Republicans like to talk the talk about helping small businesses. It’s time they walk the walk, and join Democrats in reforming retro, so that more of the savings go back to the businesses to which it belongs.

UPDATE:
The Seattle Times editorializes on the BIAW’s “political sleaze.”

Comments

  1. 1

    Goldy spews:

    Cynical, I don’t always have time to read through the hundreds of comments posted a day, let alone reply to them. So let me just respond in advance to your inevitable rants on this topic with a blanket reply: “Fuck you.”

  2. 2

    Mark spews:

    And so the next thing these fair-minded, pro-business Dems are going to do is make WA a “right-to-work” state?

  3. 3

    Erik spews:

    Money dedicated to worker safety should be spent on worker safety, not funneled away as a cash cow for organizations that have no right to it.

    The bottom line is that the retro funds could be used to lower worker comp rates, or, can I say it, even given back to the employer. What’s wrong with that?

    If worker compensation payments are a form of a tax, isn’t lowering this rate a tax break for the employer.

    But businesses want to pay this premium for lobbying. They like it.

    Yeah right. However, even if they did, they could send a check to the party or candidate of their choice with the money they saved.

    No, the reason some republicans are against retro reform is because they know small business would never agree to send them the level of funds willingly. The retro program is basically acting as a 25 million dollar political party tax.

  4. 4

    Erik spews:

    Yeah, but don’t unions do the same thing. You dems are hypocrites.

    There’s a difference. Unions member can opt out of the lobbying activities portion of their dues. See the supreme courts decision in Lehnert below.

    It also clarified that non-members cannot be forced to subsidize union lobbying and public relations.

    http://www.nrtw.org/foundation-won.htm#Lehnert

    And the US Supreme Court case directly at

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/.....;invol=507

    However, under the BIAWs scheme, there is no opt out provision that I have heard of.

  5. 5

    Mark spews:

    Erik @ 4

    “However, under the BIAWs scheme, there is no opt out provision that I have heard of.”

    Very simple — don’t join the BIAW’s retro group. There are many groups with all kinds of members and management. You can even choose not to be part of a retro group at all.

    On the topic of my post @ 2, what is wrong “right to work” laws? I mean, if the union is so good for employees, one would expect people to be climbing over each other to sign up. Unions have nothing to fear from free will. Right?

  6. 6

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    LIE #1–In 1 year the Association received a rebate of over $25 million when the difference between premiums paid in and losses paid out amounted to a little over $3 million.
    That is a flat-out, big-time lie perpetuated by Big Labor Union bosses. It shows a total lack of understanding of how Retro works.

    LIE #2–The State Retro Program desperately needs reform because of influence of group size.
    The truth is the Washington State Retro program is based on the NCCI model overlayed over our W.C. laws. It was developed by the long-time L&I Actuary Bill White. He did not pull this out of his ass Goldy (like you do on almost everything you post—aka THE BIG BINDER). Size matters due to fundamental insurance principles and reinsurance.

    LIE#3–These Democrats want to reform Retro to “help” small and medium business.
    If that were the case, wouldn’t there be thousands and thousands of businesses requesting the help???
    L&I and these Socialist Legislators have ZERO support from specific businesses. ZERO!!!! They have been asked repeatedly for testimonials from businesses. ZERO!!

    This is a completely optional program.
    The so-called “reform” is nothing more than a partisan witchhunt. Newspapers have called it what it is repeatedly. I can’t see this ever getting through the Senate. Everyone already knows what this is about Goldy.

    Mark is correct.

    I predict the next State Initiatives will be:
    1) Right to Work
    2) No Union Dues for Political purposes.
    Both of these will pass overwhelmingly.

  7. 7

    Erik spews:

    Very simple – don’t join the BIAW’s retro group. There are many groups with all kinds of members and management. You can even choose not to be part of a retro group at all.

    The retro programs are not some sort of lazafaire business that pulled itself up by its bootstraps.

    The legislature created the program entirely and let it get out of control to the point where it is today : permitting entities to siphon funds out of the worker compensation system.

    The retro program is entirely a Washington State created anomaly.

  8. 8

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Erik–
    The Retro Program is entirely a Washington State created anomaly.
    That’s another Lie in a pack of Lies perpetuated shamelessly by you. Retrospective rating programs are as old as the hills. A fundamental insurance tool based on fundamental insurance principles. Do your homework before you look even more foolish.
    This program was based on the NCCI model and designed by L&I’s Actuary, Bill White. He didn’t just pull this out of his ass.

  9. 10

    Don spews:

    “In other words, the association received a rebate of more than $25 million even though the difference between premiums paid in and losses paid out amounted to a little more than $3 million.”

    Let’s see … if the BIAW kept 10% of the $25 million rebate that’s $5 million, and if the difference between premiums paid in and claims paid out were $3 million that means BIAW got $2 million over and above what its members paid in. That money came from other taxpayers.

    To those who attacked me in previous threads for saying BIAW was spending taxpayers money on the election contest suit: Here have some ketchup, crow tastes better if you douse it in ketchup.

  10. 12

    Don spews:

    typo correctin @ 9 – should say “if BIAW kept 20% of $25 million” (BIAW gets 20%, not 10%)

  11. 13

    Chee spews:

    Don@9. A recent household surevy showed Crow Helper has replaced Hamburger Helper by 10-1. I forsee Elephant Helper to be the future wave.

  12. 15

    Chee spews:

    Washington’s ABC Retro Group Refund from L & I for 2004 was $3,064,404.00. Lot of safety. Lot of money.

  13. 16

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 10

    “Right to work = union busting”

    How? All the laws typically say is that people have a right to work without being forced to join a union. If unions are so gosh-darn great, why not let people be free to choose? What are they afraid of?

    Here is Idaho’s basic law: “It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the state of Idaho, in order to maximize individual freedom of choice in the pursuit of employment and to encourage an employment climate conducive to economic growth, that the right to work shall not be subject to undue restraint or coercion. The right to work shall not be infringed or restricted in any way based on membership in, affiliation with, or financial support of a labor organization or on refusal to join, affiliate with, or financially or otherwise support a labor organization.”

  14. 17

    Chee spews:

    jpg@13.
    I got some great elephant and crow recipes from Martha that she got from the pen. I already got permission to use them in my new book called. “Big Repug Cookery Binder”. :-)

  15. 18

    Jpgee spews:

    Chee @ 17 I saw one of them on her website…..2 parts crow, one part mary lane, 3 parts mr CIdiot, 1 part zip, Elephant eats for breakfast….and for dinner you end up with one Lossssssi, out of political life and back to shamming innocent ole ladies

  16. 19

    Goldy spews:

    Mark @16,

    So I suppose you would support a “right to pay taxes” bill, that allowed people to opt out of paying taxes if they chose… or maybe only fund those parts of the government they like? I personally don’t feel like paying for the Iraq War anymore.

    It is convenient to your argument to ignore human nature. Of course people will opt out of paying union days… hell, they’re getting the benefit of the union contract whether they join or not, right? Of course, eventually the union whithers away, and all the workers get screwed, but that’s not the fault of one individual.

    Any effort to say that “right to work” does not equal union bashing, is incredibly cynical. The labor movement has been destroyed in right to work states throughout the country. That is the inevitable consequence of such legislation, and it is primary intent.

    Why is it that corporations should have all the power?

  17. 20

    Chee spews:

    Mark@16. The unions were a good thing when they were formed to rid of the Robber Barons. The unions have learned like anybody else to donate to the politicans to get what they want. Some unions are good and unions certainly have been a help and still are. On the other hand, I understand right to work should not be encumbered by joining labor orgs. I think balance must be maintained. I would not like to see the Robber Barons back. Unions do protect one’s job security when some dumb-ass SOB control freak Soup-head doesn’t like the way you part your hair and kicks your ass out before you have time to set your lunchpail in your locker. Next thing you know your at the welfare office in order to feed your family until you get another job.

  18. 21

    Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 19, Chee @ 20

    I’d have a lot easier time with unions if they didn’t impose things like seniority over skill. But unions have little interest in meritocracy. People with skills & motivation have value and know it, but that runs counter to the Bolshevik union model. People with low skills &/or motivation are the most helped by the union forced-promotion system and are its biggest supporters.

    The fact remains that there are many antiquated, inflexible union contracts that prevent entry into the field or prevent incompetent employees from being fired. Firing a state employee is about as hard as ousting a tenured college professor.

  19. 22

    jcricket spews:

    Firing a state employee is about as hard as ousting a tenured college professor.

    I’d extend that to nearly anyone these days, private or public sector – it seems that most managers are loathe to fire someone unless that person has basically burnt down the office (and even then).

    Back on topic, I am pro-Union, and understand their history, but Unions recently have done a lousy job at winning the PR war, even with their own members. Like any organization, perhaps some Unions need to reform to better serve the current needs of their members. However there is the counter-point that companies are still (100 years on) flexing their muscle by using union-busting tactics (like Wal-Mart shutting down stores that vote to join a Union) and hiding their true motives (paying workers as little as possible).

  20. 23

    zip spews:

    Goldy @ 19

    “Of course, eventually the union whithers away, and all the workers get screwed…Why is it that corporations should have all the power?”

    Not all of the union members in this state work for a big bad corporation. Try the government, guys, that’s who would supposedly “screw the workers” if they weren’t unionized. There is no good reason why government employees need to be “protected” from getting “screwed” by their employer.

    And with all the labor laws, workers comp, etc. there is little risk of a non-union worker getting “screwed” in private industry. If there were, why are so many non-union outfits thriving and keeping their employees? If it was so essiential to be unionized, these “screwed” employees would be leaving in droves.

  21. 24

    Goldy spews:

    Zip @23,

    “Right to work” destroys unions; that is its goal, and that is its result. If your intent is to destroy unions, then you should support it.

    We have the labor movement to thank for such things as the 40-hour work week, and the weekend. I also believe it was the success of the labor movement that saved this country from going communist (or fascist) during the 1930’s.

    Yes, times have changed, and unions are now much weaker. But to eliminate Labor would be to upset what little balance of power we have left between employers and employees in many industries, and the result would be a race to the bottom.

  22. 25

    prr spews:

    jcricket @ 22

    I think you are way off the mark on this. Look back over the course of the past 5 years and see about all the layoffs that happened in this state.

    Clearly Government Jobs, be that Federal, State, County, City, etc… Have a much better situation in regards to job stability than anyone else out there.

    While the salaries may be lower than the private sector, benefits are the key with these institutions.

    And yes, there are always exceptions to the rule. However, It is not a hard argument that unemployable individuals in the private sector are warmly received in Government jobs, where they have long careers at doing, basically, nothing.

  23. 26

    zip spews:

    Way to not respond to either of the points I made, Goldy!

    1. There is no good reason why government employees need to be “protected” from getting “screwed” by their employer.

    2. And with all the labor laws, workers comp, etc. there is little risk of a non-union worker getting “screwed” in private industry.

  24. 27

    Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 24

    Why do you (and others) always skirt the very real issue that unions are anti-meritocracy?

    Why should a more-skilled and self-motivated employee stagnate under the unions’ seniority system? Why are barely-competent employees who do nothing to improve their skills (and contribution to the company) automatically entitled to a raise? The they’re are able to stick around has less to do with company loyalty than the fact that they’re impossible to fire or promote around.

  25. 28

    Chee spews:

    Human nature is animal by nature, only differance is humans don’t eat their own offspring at birth. However, they do abort them. Picking flesh is part of the pecking order in our social order, very much like blood-thristy animals we go for blood. With that in mind, protection on the job and in the workplace has a place. Not all places of employment treat others with the same decency they expect to be treated with. I am not sure common ground is within everyone’s reach in right to work due to human nature. Unions are a bad word to some, good word to others. I will take my chances under union, not so fickle and far better odds.

  26. 29

    zip spews:

    Chee:

    So how would a non-union employee not have “protection on the job and in the workplace”? Have you ever heard of all the laws that are out there that employers have to follow? A non-union employer is at risk of getting sued for wrongful discharge every time an employee is reprimanded, fred, or laid off.

  27. 30

    Chee spews:

    Mark@27. I agree senority pisses some off and I am not for people sitting on their senority butt. But, a loyal well-proven long-term good employee getting first crack at moving up the chain of command to a better paying spot is indeed a matter of earning it. You don’t get the right to go to college at age to start pre-school, no matter how dang smart you be. You do not get to be a General in the Army in boot camp either or have a Purple Heart pinned on before combat duty is served up. The issue is…work your way up. Much like not getting retirement on your first day on the job

  28. 31

    jcricket spews:

    And yes, there are always exceptions to the rule. However, It is not a hard argument that unemployable individuals in the private sector are warmly received in Government jobs, where they have long careers at doing, basically, nothing.

    And what’s your evidence for this commonly made, but never backed up, “argument”? You can make the argument yes, but that’s a far cry from proving it.

    For example, I know (and have worked with) lots of “unemployable” folks who manage to “do nothing” in the private sector for years. Plenty of large employers (Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, RealNetworks, WaMu, etc.) have examples of “do nothing” staffers. I’m sure even small companies (like a tiny bookstore with a staffer who twiddles his/her thumb) have their share of unfirable employees (for one reason or another).

    And I know lots of people working for the government or state institutions (e.g. State AG office, UW, NOAA, PNNL) who work far harder, in worse conditions and for less money, than their private sector counterparts.

    Despite nearly constant criticism for the past 30 years, I have yet to see a study proving government workers (not government programs, which we can argue about the effectiveness of) are somehow more “lazy” or wasteful than the private sector workers. It’s always cited as “common knowledge” – but common knowledge is often not (knowledge) – see urban legends, for example.

    It’s simply not a convincing argument to start with the premise “People only work for the government for the benefits or because they’re unemployable in the private sector.” From that faulty premise, you can’t conclude “people who work for the government are lazy.” Simpler: If A, then B. Not A. Therefore, not necessarily B.

  29. 32

    Chee spews:

    Zip@ Sad to say, there are so many cleverly devious devised ways to get rid of an employee in private sector it would make your head swim and they use them; count on it. Yes, they get sued, big business plays the odds and repents in lesiure when they have to. Many are the employees who take their walking papers, put their tail between their legs and do not sue. I have seen that happen time and again. And also have seen how the chapter and verse right out of the get-rid trick book is used to get rid of the weaker links.

  30. 33

    christmasghost spews:

    Why am I not surprised that every single foul mouthed nut that comments from the far left on here is a union parasite?
    UNION=SOCIALISM
    I think everyone gets that…at least anyone that has ever been to a rally like the one in Olympia and had the “pleasure” of watching union thugs get paid to scream obscenities at nuns……what a class act.

  31. 34

    danw spews:

    Union busters @ all

    No one, not even Goldy are saying that Unions are perfect. What I believe the point is, that they are the last bastion of protection against a robber baron soceity taking effect again. What makes you believe that corporations left to their own devises would not return to the pre-union days. When their duty is to shareholders, why wouldn’t they all act like the Wal Marts of the world? Paying labor at a rate that is below substinance, requiring more hours without benefits, etc.. What is amazing is that we are helping with our taxes support those underpaid Walmart employees. by supplying welfare benefits, and emergency room care for them.
    You want to lower the taxes? make corporations share the cost of the American laborer. Henry Ford had it right, you need to pay well enough for people to afford your product. He was a rare exception of the time.

  32. 35

    JCH spews:

    Businesses must leave WASH, period. All businesses!! They are evil, so they must go. Then, the Democrats [union thugs, blacks, “guvment” employees, and welfare hacks can tax and support each other!] Atlas has Shrugged.

  33. 36

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 16

    Negotiating for better wages and working conditions costs money. Unions must pay for staff, office space, utilities, and equipment. Why should those who benefit from the union’s work get a free ride at the expense of the dues paying members? That isn’t fair! If we’re going to have laws mandating open shops, then those laws should also make it illegal for anyone not paying union dues to get the raises or other benefits obtained by the union. Otherwise, those people are freeloaders.

  34. 38

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 21

    Managements have little interest in meritocracy, either. They’re often more interested in pushing the 25-year-employee out the door so they can give the job to their wife’s cousin’s kid or the son or daughter of someone they know at church.

  35. 39

    Don spews:

    What’s so awful about workers banding together and saying to management, if you want our labor, we want you to give us a fair deal and fair treatment?

  36. 40

    Don spews:

    zip @ 23

    I hate to be the one to break this to ya, zip, but human nature is the same everywhere, and public agencies suffer from incompetent or overreaching management just as much as private business. I have personally seen a state supervisor harass an employee into quitting so he could hire his mistress for that job position, which is what he did. The employee quit on a Friday afternoon after being pushed beyond the limit of endurance by this supervisor, and Monday morning the supervisor’s mistress was at that desk. The state has an open shop, and consequently state employees have a toothless union, which is why this sort of thing could happen. The employee who was forced out of his job had little or no recourse.

  37. 41

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 36

    “Managements have little interest in meritocracy, either. They’re often more interested in pushing the 25-year-employee out the door so they can give the job to their wife’s cousin’s kid or the son or daughter of someone they know at church.”

    Nobody that wants to stay in business over the long term fires all of their effective employees and replaces them with relatives.

    In the union system, not only would the 25-year employee be retained, the union boss’ wife’s cousin’s kid would ALSO be hired for a make-work job and paid $25/hr.

  38. 42

    Chee spews:

    danw@33. Think of all those rich celebrities who have a corporate business like garment making and such, these celebrities have got caught using minors who work in oversea’s sweat boxs to cut corners and increase their profits. They do not want to pay union wages or even minimum wage. Prime example, Costa Rico put in law that Americans pay their servants their worth. This put an end to wage slavery.

  39. 43

    Don spews:

    prr @ 25

    Here we have another idiot who knows nothing about the public sector spewing the right-wing anti-government mantra that government employees are private-sector rejects who do nothing and are worth nothing.

    The truth is, it’s harder to get a job in the public sector and it’s harder to do public sector work, than it is to be employed in the private sector. You have to know, and comply with, a huge array of laws, regulations, and agency policies. You have to deal tactfully and effectively with a demanding and often hostile public. Your workplace is almost always understaffed, underfunded, and overworked. It’s not the bed of roses that government-haters try to portray it as.

    Something else I’d like to point out. Government workers work extremely hard at jobs that aren’t any fun to serve a pissy public that rarely if ever appreciates what they do for the public good. You may not like taxes, regulation, or government intrustion in your business or personal life. Fine, we can debate issues, policies, philosophies. But bashing government workers because you don’t like government policies is like bashing our troops. It’s unfair, it’s unpatriotic, and it’s a shitty thing to do to people who are making personal sacrifices for the common good and have no say in what the policies are. So — shame on you.

  40. 44

    Chee spews:

    Excuse me christmasghost. I meant to type post for 34. While I am here, I will agree with you on Union memebers can get over-rowdy. But you don’t have to belong to a Union to be so. Rowdy is as Rowdy does holds true anywhere with anyone.

  41. 45

    prr spews:

    Jcricket @ 31

    I am not saying that only people who are lazy work for the government.

    What I AM saying is that government jobs are welcome home for lazy people and once they are in, there is virtually nothing you can do to get them out.

    The fact that these entities even have an HR Department that addresses hiring is laughable. How many Government Employees do you know personally? I would hazard a guess and would be willing to bet good money the majority of staff positions at say, any given Department at UW or the Seattle Parks Department is staffed primarily with people who have gotten their friends and family jobs or have been hired by that same formula.

    As an example of worse case scenario, I am aware of a woman at UW who made over a million dollars in Fraudulent sexual harassment claims, and as part of each settlement had been transferred from department to department with glowing recommendations, just to get rid of her. Eventually, she relocated to another state. However, she knew how to manipulate the system so well that she collected a check for almost an entire years pay while living in another state and working at another job.

    Due to HR “rights” at these institutions and backed by Unions, these individuals are allowed, if not encouraged, to flourish.

    Is this common for all government employees? Absolutely not.

    Is it pathetic that we support a system where this can happen? In my opinion, yes.

    I don’t know about you, but I work in the private sector and if I do not deliver results, I am gone and if I do not show up for work, (outside of vacation and sick time) it affects my paycheck. We should all be held to these same standards.

  42. 46

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 39 & 42

    “The state has an open shop, and consequently state employees have a toothless union,”

    You’re oversimplifying. There are WMS employees and civil service employees. Which category was your mistress in?

    “it’s harder to get a job in the public sector”

    Only because the union system has set up barriers to entry for qualified “outsiders.” Thanks for backing up one of my points.

  43. 48

    RDC spews:

    Reading descriptions of the mythologies held by both sides of the pro-union, anti-union; private sector, public sector debates is entertaining, but….

    back to the subject. I have no objection to BIAW spending its members’ retro money on lobbying. Presumably the members could vote out the practice if they wished. What I don’t understand is the math. Why does the BIAW get back more in a refund than logic would suggest they get; i.e., the amount they paid in minus the amount of their workers comp costs? Can someone explain this, or direct me to a good source, other than reading the law itself?

  44. 49

    swatter spews:

    My support for the “retro” program is simple. If the government doesn’t need it, send it back.

    Many, many trades pay tremendous costs for worker comp. And surprise, surprise, they don’t have accidents, either. So, where does the cash go?

    You tell me where the extra money goes and that it goes to a worthwhile cause, then I can buy into it staying with the government.

    Gregoire took her Ecology department to new levels of deceit when she was director. Doubled her staff, she did. I didn’t trust her then and I don’t trust her now.

    The politicians would just waste the money. And isn’t Boeing exempt, too? They have had so many tax breaks over the years (and rightfully so) that I don’t know all the welfare checks/benefits they get compared to us middle class, a dying breed.

  45. 51

    danw spews:

    Many, many trades pay tremendous costs for worker comp. And surprise, surprise, they don’t have accidents, either. So, where does the cash go?

    A lot of it is going to a politcal attack dog commitee

    I wonder how many of these Laborers, who are required to join if there company does,( no right to work here) know that their money is not going to the safety training promised, but into a smear campaign.

  46. 52

    spews:

    how is “right to work” an attempt to bust unions? It doesn’t have anything to do with what the employer does; it simply allows a worker to reject union membership for employment. I fully support that right–I tried like hell to get out of the union I was voted into without my knowledge (between the time I was hired and when I arrived, my position class voted for representation). No dice–I pay $15 a month whether I like it or not. I think that’s wrong.

    As Don says, if you opt out, you obviously don’t get covered by union rules or benefits–but you should have that right. In that case you would be treated as any other non-represented employee.

    Some of the ignorant stereotyping bile being spewed about government workers is just ridiculous. If you think people in the private sector aren’t paid and promoted for failure, you haven’t been following CEO pay bonuses at failing companies lately. Hell, the Enron elite got tens of millions to stay on and attempt to clean up the messes they fucking made THEMSELVES.

    And if you think the private sector is an efficient engine void of deadweight, you probably don’t understand why the movie Office Space is so funny.

  47. 53

    prr spews:

    Toridjoe.

    Here is the difference.

    Office Space and the private sector Has lay offs and firings.

    Government jobs rarely do.

  48. 54

    spews:

    prr @ 53

    gov’t jobs rarely do? Excuse me? So I should just relax when I hear that my school district (a small to medium one; just 2 HS) is firing 30 licensed teachers? I should send the fire inspectors who got RIFed last year a message that prr says it was a mirage? And if and when we have to close 3 stations (which would be 12 firefighters, minimum) this year due to further cuts, I’ll plug my ears and pretend it’s not happening?

    Like I said, more ignorant stereotypings, we don’t need.

  49. 55

    jcricket spews:

    Prr writes – I don’t know about you, but I work in the private sector and if I do not deliver results, I am gone and if I do not show up for work, (outside of vacation and sick time) it affects my paycheck. We should all be held to these same standards.

    I’m held to those same standards and work in the private sector, and I agree, government employees should be held to those standards. However, it’s a huge leap (with no proof) from agreeing that people should be held to standards to asserting, fait accompli, that government workers aren’t held to those standards. You haven’t offered anything other than a few anecdotes and your strongly held belief (that government is some kind of “haven” for those that can’t work in the private sector). Strong beliefs != proof.

    Prr also writes: Office Space and the private sector Has lay offs and firings.

    I actually know lots of people at the federal government level (especially the CIA) who would disagree with you. There have been large layoffs, restructurings, firings, etc. in many government agencies.

    However, I’ve most government agencies don’t go out and hire 1000 people in a year to support a “new idea” that turns out to be a complete loser (see Infospace, Amazon, etc.) and then have to fire those people because there’s no revenue. I would argue that having mass layoffs regularly isn’t a sign of “successfully” running a business. And the lack of layoffs doesn’t indicate you’ve doing a poor job – in fact it might be the contrary, that you’re doing exactly the job you need in “right sizing” your company.

    The government, like any slow-growing large company, usually hires only when it needs to/can afford to. Fewer crazy binge hiring sprees leads to fewer layoffs. As Don has pointed out, contrary to the “common assertions” many government agencies run with people doing far more than their share of work due to lack of funds to hire the appropriate level of staff. This may help explain (unless you just reflexively hate the government) why roads go unpaved, children go unvisited, and public Universities don’t get new buildings).

    The government is not inherently worse, not inherently better, at managing its “business” than the private sector. Some government agencies suck, and so do some businesses – and yes, they probably all suck in different ways.

    80% of new businesses (across the US) fail, due to bad ideas, poor timing, incomplete execution, etc. Should I say that the private sector is some huge failure? No, but it’s a fact that the private sector doesn’t have it all figured out either.

  50. 56

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 10, RDC @ 48

    I placed a call to an “in-the-know” non-Republican and asked how the BIAW could have received a $25 million refund when the difference between premiums and payouts was $3 million.

    The first answer was a clear “things are nowhere near that simple.” Two explanations were offered as the most likely. First is that while the timing may have been close, you could be talking about two different time periods for the refund vs. the payout. Second, the numbers are based on all kinds of actuarial formulas and past, present and future performance may be involved in the calculations. That isn’t to say that it couldn’t have happened, but even if it did, the situation is far more complex than just a couple of ledger entries.

  51. 57

    prr spews:

    Toridjoe @ 54

    Speaking of ignorance.

    I can assure you one thing. Whatever is happening to the teachers in your school district, the last thing that is happening is that they are being “Fired”

    I shudder to think that in such a politically correct world as our liberal school system would even have such an insensitive word as firing. Hearing that word would most certainly cause two things:

    1. The administrator saying the words to be subjected to an extended period of sensitivity training. More than likely in plush surroundings as say a Hawaiian Resort.

    2. Let us not forget the Victim, who would no doubt be completely justified to sue the School System for the psychological trauma caused in hearing that word. In fact, beyond the multi-million dollar settlement that the poor victim would most certainly be guaranteed, we as tax payers would not only need to build them a house, built on Love of course, but also pay for the countless years of Therapy that a state employed therapist, who specialized in teacher trauma who have to oversee.

    Of course, this is something that we should have been thinking about all along.

    With a huge dropout rate in the school systems and an ineffective leadership in the school districts, trimming the fat off of some of these teachers may be the best thing that happened to education in Washington State.

  52. 58

    prr spews:

    Jcricket @ 55

    In response to you note:

    “I’m held to those same standards and work in the private sector, and I agree, government employees should be held to those standards. However, it’s a huge leap (with no proof) from agreeing that people should be held to standards to asserting, fait accompli, that government workers aren’t held to those standards. You haven’t offered anything other than a few anecdotes and your strongly held belief (that government is some kind of “haven” for those that can’t work in the private sector). Strong beliefs != proof.”

    Here is my proof:
    Now, I am off of work today as the fire system in our building spring a leak over the weekend and I have to be home for a repairman to come into our condo, hence I have a reason to be responding to all of your verbal diarrhea. However, I notice that you along wit ToridJoe, and Don are constant posters of feedback on this board.

    Am I correct in saying that you are all Liberals, preaching about how hard people work and screaming how no-one has proof at what slackers are out there, that you are killing yourself for not nearly enough money, and the Republican conspiracy creates fables about these do nothing employees, yet you have the time to monitor and contribute this board 24/7?

    You guys are not part of the problem; you are the friggin scoutmasters of this troop.

    You’ve spent the entire morning on this board. How dare you.

  53. 59

    spews:

    prr @ 57
    I see rather than counter the argument, you just move on to another ad hominem broadside that comes only from your pre-made mind.

    FYI, the phrase used is “reduction of licensed positions.”

    I don’t even know what “trimming the fat off some of these teachers” means. You’re simply ranting without substance.

  54. 60

    spews:

    prr @ 58

    “You’ve spent the entire morning on this board. How dare you.”

    You need a new watch. Somehow 10 minutes is being represented as 4-6 hours on your old one.

  55. 61

    swatter spews:

    No answer yet to my query at #49.

    What again is the government doing with my money it doesn’t use to pay for my workers’ injuries? Go into the pot?

    And unemployment compensation? Another boondoggle.

    Ergonomic rules for the middle class but Boeing and WalMart get exceptions?

  56. 62

    prr spews:

    Torridjoe@ 60

    10 minutes my ass.

    10 minutes on this subject or just this response?

    I’d review the blog and see how many postings you have contributed to while someone pays for your arrogant ass to be a victim, mincing everyones words.

  57. 63

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 41

    Liar!! It’s the manager’s wife’s cousin’s kid who gets hired for the $25-an-hour make-work job. Always has been, always will be.

  58. 64

    prr spews:

    Deafening silence…..

    I am well aware that the three of you old women in this aforementioned gaggle are teething at the bit, waiting to respond to the last post, but do not want to admit that your employment is a scam.

    It’s alright, everyone recognizes you for blowhards that you are.

  59. 65

    spews:

    prr @67

    It might be because we all realize you haven’t the slightest idea of what you are talking about. You’re just shooting your mouth off. If you want to continue making a fool of yourself as Cynical did, be my guest–but don’t expect me to continue the entertainment.

  60. 66

    Don spews:

    prr @ 45

    Yeah, we can tell you “work in the private sector” and your “knowledge” of public sector employment is limited to an anecdotal (and possibly apocryphal) story or two you read in the newspapers or on a blog. Does the kind of stuff you describe happen at places like the UW? Sure it does. Guess what, it also happens at Boeing and other large private sector employers, too. (Speaking of Boeing, look who just got fired for banging the female help!) Is there dead wood in public agencies? Yes. Same as in the private sector. There really isn’t much difference functionally between corporate and government bureaucracies. In all large organizations, there are unproductive employees, burnout cases, and mishires — and managers who try to push their personnel problems off on other departments and managers.

    Remember the rent-a-manager fad back in the 80s when corporations loaned executives to the public sector? What actually happened was the companies used these programs to dump their failed or unwanted managers on the public sector. The state got a couple of disastrous DSHS secretaries this way. A rent-a-manager was behind the Office of Support Enforcement document-shredding scandal of that era.

    Republicans love to peddle this crap to the public about how government would run so much better if it was run like a business, and if we put business people in charge things will improve. Experiments along these lines always fail dismally because of the crucial differences between running a for-profit business enterprise and a public agency, and the complete lack of understanding of these differences by people trained and oriented to manage or work in the private sector. A business has clear ways to measure how it’s doing: Sales, customer traffic, and bottom-line profit. It’s much harder to measure the effectiveness and efficiency (or lack thereof) of a public program. It’s also harder, more complicated, and requires a different skill set to manage employees with civil service job protections.

    Let’s talk about the civil service system for a minute, because people tend to forget why we have it, especially those possessed by a blind ideological hangup over the innate superiority of private markets and the private sector (“possessed” is used here in the demonic possession sense). Prior to civil service reform, governments were staffed by patronage appointees, a system that produced incompetence, inefficiency, and corruption (the Bush administration being a good example). Public workers need to be protected from retaliation for doing their jobs the way their jobs are supposed to be done. That is, according to the enacted laws and established policies, and without favor based on political influence or cronyism or whatever.

    Public workers CAN be fired and do NOT have job protection if they don’t follow the laws and policies, don’t do their work, or break workplace rules. And no, you don’t collect a million dollars in sexual harassment judgments if nothing happened. If the U.W. paid a million bucks to one woman for sexual harassment, I guarantee you that someone did something to her they shouldn’t have. Don’t blame this on unions, the victimized employee, or the lawyers. Blame the perpetrator. How hard is tht to figure out? Most of us have no trouble figuring this out, why is it a challenge for you?

  61. 67

    RDC spews:

    Mark @ 56

    Thanks. The complexity you mentioned could contain an acceptible explanation, or it could be used to cover up a gross inequity. I’m sure the details are mind-numbing to anyone not an accountant or actuary, but I’d still like to know more. I did take a look at the link Erik gave early to the law itself, but unless I missed it, it didn’t detail the financials. Perhaps your contact may know a good source for this information.

    Another question is whether or not it is legal for associations, such as BIAW, to self-insure its members, similar to the way Boeing (as I understand it) self-insures itself for workers comp.
    Many organizations are too small to take this risk, but the aggregate employment of BIAW members must be quite large.

  62. 68

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 46

    She was “exempt,” and why are you calling her “your mistress” (i.e., my mistress)? She wasn’t my mistress. I’ve never had a mistress.

  63. 69

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 46 (continued)

    I categorically disagree with your bullshit remark about public unions “setting up barriers” to hiring. This piece of flippancy is so blatantly false that I’m surprised you opened yourself up like this. The state unions have nothing to do with either hiring, or hiring criteria. The tests are written and administered by the Personnel Department. The interviews are conducted by managements. The unions are not invited to sit at the table in creating job descriptions, “required” and “desirable” qualifications, testing or interviewing procedures, or hiring decisions. Seldom has anyone posted anything on this message board so blatantly false, and it exposes your rabid and unthinking anti-union bias for what it is — a rabid and unthinking anti-union bias!

  64. 71

    Don spews:

    prr and Mark @ 46 & 47

    I didn’t post at 42. Just out of curiosity, are you guys two more examples of the failure of the public school system, or two more examples of the failure of the private school system? Just wondering.

  65. 72

    Don spews:

    Chuck @ 50

    Well at least Harry didn’t rob the cradle. On the other hand, she’s well preserved for her, um, vintage; so we don’t have to ask ourselves, “What was he thinking?”

  66. 73

    prr spews:

    Don @ 66…

    As to the woman at UW.

    When it comes to sexual harassment, you are guilty until proven innocent.

    The woman files a claim, legal, underwriting and actuarial assess what would be more expensive, legal fees for settling this or taking it to court – she is offered a settlement. As part of the settlement, she is given a glowing review and is transferred to another department, without anything on her record.

    The new department is represented by it’s own Human Resources person, who, by nature of the settlement, knows nothing of this situation and about a year later, boom another harassment suit comes up.

    In the situation that I am speaking. It took approximately 10 years for this little scam to be discovered at UW.

    But then again, look at UW and the pattern of settling with big bucks, so that problems just go away.

  67. 74

    prr spews:

    Don @ 70

    ya, you are a credit to whatever job you have. I can see the productivity already.

    Hopefully, you work for some poor private sector schmuck and are not suckling off the tax payers, but I don’t think that’s the case.

  68. 75

    Don spews:

    TJ @ 52

    Under U.S. law, no one can be forced to join a union against his or her will. You have the option to pay a “shop fee” in lieu of union dues. The shop fee reimburses the union for its costs of bargaining for your salary, benefits, and working conditions which is only fair. If you didn’t pay the shop fee, you would be getting those things at the expense of those who pay dues.

    You also have the option of choosing a non-union or open-shop employer when you look for work. Nobody made you work in a union shop. You chose to accept that employment.

  69. 76

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 71

    You clearly haven’t been paying attention to past threads on this. Goldy’s system sometimes holds posts and references get bumped once the held posts are inserted in chronological order.

  70. 77

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 56

    Those are explanations I will accept. They sound perfectly plausible to me. Considering that Democrats have been running the executive branch of state government for the last 20 years, I doubt that anyone in state administration intentionally sat down to figure out a way for BIAW to milk taxpayer funds for its own benefit (or political causes). Rather, this appears to be an unintended consequence of a system that was set up for other purposes which was rational when viewed from the perspective of that purpose. No doubt, the enterprising cleverness of BIAW’s minions is no small factor in this result, too. We’ve seen that the retro system has a flaw. So let’s fix the flaw. Taxes paid for injured workers should be spent on injured workers. If they aren’t needed for that purpose, they should be refunded to the employers who paid the taxes. They should not end up in a political slush fund, whether the BIAW’s or somebody else’s, whether GOP or Democratic. This is a no brainer.

  71. 78

    spews:

    Don @ 75
    When the shop fee is exactly the same amount as the dues, you are effectively forced to join–the burden is the same, without the benefits. And if I didn’t have to pay dues, then the union wouldn’t be bargaining on my behalf, and thus wouldn’t need my money.

    And you must not have read closely–I had no choice but to work in a union shop. I accepted the position, and before reporting the position was changed to a represented position, without the opportunity for me to vote (which wouldn’t have made a difference anyway).

    Being forced to sign up with a union in order to take a job should not be legal, and that’s what right to work laws should address. Regardless of the presence of a union for that position, you should not have to join in order to take the position.

  72. 79

    prr spews:

    Toridjoe @ 65,

    You clowns are asking for proof and substance. Here is proof and substance.

    I do not think anytone is paying you for monitoring a left wing blog.

    Spout off al you want, arrogantly call it nonsense and bullshit, but the bottom line is that between, and I don’t mind throwing the 3 of you into the same bucket, you are monitor this blog constantly.

    What is Bullshit is that you are a charging an employer for this addiction.

    Seriously, get a life,

  73. 80

    Don spews:

    prr @ 57

    Save your breath (or typing fingers); everyone here is familiar with the standard-issue right-wing rants. Come back when you have something original or thoughtful to say. Cliches don’t cut it on this web site.

  74. 82

    Don spews:

    prr @ 64

    I don’t know if you’re referring to me, but if you are, since you’re new here I’d like to inform you that I’m retired and blogging on my own time and dime — as you seem to be one of those people who assumes things and makes “an ass of you and me” (well, I don’t know about me, but certainly you).

  75. 83

    Don spews:

    RDC @ 67

    Yes, it’s legal, and that’s why the Legislature needs to remedy the situation. It shouldn’t be legal.

  76. 84

    prr spews:

    the get a life comment still applies Don, I see abunch of middle of the night postings on this.

    Political blogs are just as bad as porno sites when it comes to addictions.

    I’m sure you are familiar with both

  77. 85

    Don spews:

    prr @ 73

    I was under the impression that the UW legal department wasn’t paying nuisance settlements in the seven-figure range, but after this week’s Neuheisal settlement I’m forced to believe that you may be onto something. Perhaps our new, cost-conscious, GOP A.G. should look into this.

  78. 87

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 76

    OK, you’ve got a point, and you’re forgiven. But I’m still curious: Public school or private school?

  79. 88

    Don spews:

    TJ @ 78

    No, you’re not. If you opt to pay the shop fee, nobody expects you to go to union meetings, you don’t vote on the contract, and you don’t have to associate with THOSE people (except as co-workers, which is pretty hard to avoid). If it costs the union $15 a month per employee to negotiate for your salary, benefits, and working conditions why shouldn’t you reimburse the union $15, instead of $1 or $5? I doubt you have such a severe aversion to attending meetings, voting, or hanging up with union people that you want the government to legislate them out of your life, so I suspect in your case it’s about the $15 a month.

  80. 89

    Don spews:

    I think TJ shouldn’t be blogging at work, if that’s what he’s doing, no matter how lax his agency policy or management is. Public employees have no business reading or posting to political web sites on work time. I’ve said that before.

  81. 91

    spews:

    Don @ 87
    But the union doesn’t negotiate my salary, benefits and conditions if I’m not a member. That’s rather the point–by not joining the union, there is no action on my behalf, and I take the salary, benefits and conditions of non-represented employees.

  82. 92

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 86

    “Public school or private school?”

    Public, unfortunately. It is only because of my smart, involved and interested parents (+ the RARE teacher or two) that I learned anything beyond the three R’s.

  83. 93

    RDC spews:

    Don @ 83

    I am obviously missing something. Bear with me. When I say self-insured, I mean a situation where the organization (Boeing, for example) has to follow the laws of the state about such things as covering costs of medical care, schedule of compensation, etc., but is entirely self-financing. The organization pays no money to the state and receives no money. If the organization’s costs exceed what its insurance costs in the state system would have been, they lose money; and gain money, if the reverse is true. The retro system, as I understand it (a perhaps critical qualifier) is not really self-insurance. An organization pays money to the state, the state administers the program, and the organization gets a refund if certain conditions (complex, no doubt) are met. What happens if the reverse is true, is unclear to me. So, are you saying that it is legal for an association like BIAW to self-insure, in the sense I have decribed? Do you consider BIAW members to be self-insuring themselves, through the BIAW?

  84. 94

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    torridjoe–you have gone up a notch on my credibility meter.

    The unmistakable “gnashing of teeth” you hear if you stick your head out the window and listen is that of Don, jcricket and the Big Union Bosses realizing they have opened PANDORA’S BOX and can only hope some wise Democrat Legislator’s bail them out and slam the lid shut.

    Lot’s of interesting debate about the pros & cons of Unions. My father was a career blue-collar hard-working guy in the private sector. Union Bosses have become power hungry and political wildmen. It will backfire on them big-time.

    All these pro-Union/right to work arguments will get plenty of airing publicly when the Initiative is filed. Also the Initiative not allowing withholding of Union Dues. And they will both pass….easily. One of the issues will be how the far-left Democratic Legislature and Governor blindly support Labor’s clear attempt to punish Trade Associations. Trade Associations in Retro represent nearly 50% of State Fund premium. That base will mobilize and be powerful in passing these 2 Initiatives. Many Union members like torridjoe will vote YES!!

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    The Democrats will paint themselves in a corner they will not get out of for decades.

    DEMOCRATS==Anti-Trade Association==Anti-small business
    Believe it or not Don…people overwhelmingly support small business. BIAW and other Trade Associations overwhelmingly support small business. That is who they are.

    Don, just because you failed in the private sector (your own feeble admission that you spent 10 years building a business that made a whopping $1000/yr.) explains your bitterness and outright contempt for small businesspeople who are successful. 30 years on the public tit as a guv’ment lawyer soured you even more.
    YOU EVEN ADMITTED THAT YOU BECAME DISCOURAGED AND ONLY STAYED FOR THE SALARY AND PENSION!!!!!!!!

    Don now has his guv’ment pension and nothing at risk. Life is a “GAME” to him at this point. Don is totally disconnected from the real world…racked with bitterness.

    And so it goes……..

  85. 95

    Don spews:

    TJ @ 90

    You get the same salary et al. as the union employees doing the same work, don’t you?

  86. 96

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    RDC@92–
    You are very perceptive. Retro is not self-insurance. It has SOME similiarities.
    Retro Groups sign an annual contract and elect a Risk Factor. That is the Amount of Potential Penalty the group subjects itself to. More risk=More reward Potential
    Most groups risk between 10-40% based on how well their programs are managed.

    The LEFTISTS conveniently leave out the fact that their is RISK assumed by the Association. LEFTISTS conveniently leave out the fact that RETRO REFUNDS are EARNED by performance SUPERIOR to non-RETRO.

    LEFTISTS have LIED REPEATEDLY about groups like BIAW getting back $25 million when their premiums exceed payouts by only $3 million. It is a flatout LIE!!
    Why do they LIE??
    Because they are arrogant and blinded with rage trying to hurt all Trade Associations that represent the most important fabric of our economy SMALL BUSINESS!!

    Tens of thousands of businesses participate in RETRO and not 1 has come out in support of our LEFTIST Legislature “helping” them (small business) while thousands have sent e-mails telling government to BUTT out of a private, optional program/

    Clearly this is big Labor’s power grab attempt. It will totally backfire. The general public is sick of this type of bullyboy tactics and Legislators that sell out to them.

    Just my humble opinions.

  87. 97

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 91

    Well that gives you a leg up on most Republicans, who seemingly learned nothing, either in their school days or subsequently.

  88. 99

    Don spews:

    RDC @ 92

    All I’m saying is the retro setup is authorized by state law, and that money flowing into BIAW’s political slush fund isn’t breaking any laws.

  89. 100

    Don spews:

    Cynical @ 93

    I’m tired of your pantywaist whining about our fair and equitable work arrangements! I’m gonna make a coupla phone calls, and my union pals will “visit” you and “educate” you to clear up your ignorance! Where do you live?!!

  90. 101

    spews:

    Don @ 94
    Not if I were non-represented and were allowed to opt out, no. I was offered one set of salary and benefits as a non-rep employee, and then they changed when I was inducted into the union. If I’m going to have to pay whether I’m a member or not, I might as well join and exert influence. But if I were given the choice to not pay, and receive the pay structure I would have gotten as a non-rep employee, I would have chosen that.

  91. 102

    Don spews:

    prr @ 97

    I fear that, being new here, you have been misled by the loudmouth whining of Mr. Cynical, who keeps getting out of his cage whenever Mrs. Cynical goes shopping or to her bridge club meeting! Mr. Cynical has persistently referred to me as a “guvmint hack attorney,” materially omitting to mention that I’m a RETIRED guvmint hack attorney!!

  92. 103

    Don spews:

    TJ @ 100

    If the difference in pay is more than $15 a month, then you must have an issue with unions that we don’t know about. A bad experience in the past, perhaps. Care to share?

  93. 104

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Don @ 101-
    You are indeed a TIRED guvmint attorney hack. I agree.
    You also admitted your complete failure in private business which explains your bitterness.
    prr-
    What type of moron would spend 10 years working at building a business that generated $1000/yr. and no return on his capital investment??
    ANSWER—————–DON, the tired guvmint hack attorney etc.

    Don never admitted it but I figured out he was a loser AMWAY salesman!!!!!! He bugged all his relatives and his one friend to sign up….FOR 10 YEARS!

  94. 105

    spews:

    I have an issue with being forced to join them, is my issue. It’s absurd. I’d rather take less money (and believe me, I tried to, but they wouldn’t let me) than join one. I don’t like clubs, mostly because true believers make me uncomfortable. But primarily, I think it’s wrong to force someone to join a club–and I’m willing to forgo the benefits of that club in order to stand on principle.

  95. 106

    prr spews:

    Toridjoe @ 100

    I think everyone agress that you should be working.

    If you want to participate on your own time, that’s one thing. However, we are paying your salary.

    My God, I feel Violated!

    Don, you are still an attorney regardless of retiremnet. Come back out of the woods and represent me in suing Toiridjoe for violating my trust in Government workers.

    I want a trust fund and a house, built on a foundation of love. All free of charge at the taxpayes expense (Hey, if Chris Gregoire gets one, why shouldn’t I?)

  96. 107

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Oh and Don–FYI
    Mrs. Cynical does not shop any more for several reasons:
    1) No store has aisles wide enough for her substantial derriere.
    2) She perspires heavily and a has a serious low-giene (and hygiene) issue…SADLY.
    3) She has actually been banned from every grocery store and convenience store in North America. Her poster is at every cash register.

    She also does not play bridge but oddly resembles one when she plays with our granddaughter.

  97. 108

    Erik spews:

    My support for the “retro” program is simple. If the government doesn’t need it, send it back.

    I agree. Send it back to the business who paid it not for some forced lobbying tax.

  98. 110

    swatter spews:

    Don at 61, what did you agree with? I doubt you agreed with everything like Goldy does.

  99. 111

    prr spews:

    As I see you have been on this board between the hours of 9 and 5, I do.

    Seriously, stop wasting our money.

    You are no better than a thief.

  100. 113

    prr spews:

    What clue?

    You are being paid for one thing and are stealing from your employer chatting on a blog, end of subject.

    Or is this more unsubstantiated “Nonesense and Bullshit?”

  101. 115

    prr spews:

    One Hour More TJ, almost time to clock out after a busy, exhausting day.

    Honest days pay for an honest days work, huh?

    Friggin hack

  102. 116

    spews:

    hey, there’s a good example– you haven’t the slightest idea when I “clock out” (there is no time clock where I work), not to mention when I clock in, how long I’m scheduled on a given day, when I take breaks, when I take lunch, when I’m off the clock but waiting for a ride, etc.

    You must be totally bereft of something intelligent to add, which would be why you’re attacking someone personally instead.

  103. 117

    marks spews:

    tj @104

    “I have an issue with being forced to join them, is my issue. “

    Way to go. You should press the issue and sue for your individual rights. Seriously…I have no idea how they can force you to do that…

  104. 118

    prr spews:

    No, you are not turning this argument around back on me.

    If in fact you are working at a government job, which has been implied, it makes no difference when any of this takes place, you have no business at all being on the internet for personal reasons. Let alone for a left wing blog.

    I know for a fact that this is cause for dismissal from a government job and request that you identify the branch you work for and the name of your supervisor.

  105. 121

    Goldy spews:

    prr @117,

    I’m going to ask you politely to desist from attempting to use this thread in an effort to intimidate another member of this community from contributing. Please make a greater effort to stay on topic in the future.

    But in defense of TJ, you have no fucking idea what his job entails. You have no idea what his schedule is, and how many hours of his personal time he ends up putting into the job. And you have no idea how much flex time his manager offers him in return for his extra hours.

    So… please stick to the topic of politics, instead of concentrating so much on punishing somebody for the expression of theirs.

  106. 122

    RDC spews:

    Mark @ 91

    A good sound slap on the hand with the ruler for you! Public. Not public, unfortunately. The public schools are the best, and in some cases, the only, hope for an education for most kids.
    And, looking at most (not all; you need to lean a little more to the left) of your posts, I think your teachers did a better job than you give them credit for.

  107. 123

    Chee spews:

    prr@114. You pr makes wonder if you have a burr up your rectus-pectus. Either burr or pr could be part of screen name “prr.”

  108. 124

    RDC spews:

    Cynical @ 95

    Thanks for the first two paragraphs of your comment. My sense is that you probably know considerably more than I do about the Retro system, but please spare me the propoganda about Lefties.

    From your description, it sounds as if the control group;i.e., the group setting the standard for performance, consists of all those employers within a given sector of business that do not participate in the Retro scheme(no negative connotation intended). An association of employers that does participate in the scheme, you say, have an option of choosing the amount of risk they want to assume. How does this work? Does the state still administer the program on behalf of the association, or does the association administer the program itself? Does the risk lie in penalties (fines) imposed by the state on top of covering unplanned costs, or in simply having to pay out more to injured workers than planned? I’m asking that you enlighten us a bit, in a factual way, and hold back the white noise for another occasion.

  109. 126

    jpgee spews:

    prr @ 105 just a thought for you and your neocon cousins. It is assumed that TJ is a fireman. I assume that firemen still work rotating shifts. OMG, what if he is on the graveyard shift and blogs during the day………. rather than throw your idiotic diatribes at TJ, try to read a little and learn something of value and then come back and do your postings…….

  110. 127

    Mark spews:

    RDC @ 121

    “The public schools are the best, and in some cases, the only, hope for an education for most kids.”

    And that is the scary thing. We could do a LOT better job of educating our kids (it takes a village, right?), but there are a lot of roadblocks put up by the entrenched teachers, local administrators and state-level education bureaucrats.

    “I think your teachers did a better job than you give them credit for.”

    From K through 12, I’d say that some teachers were horrid (especially those pushing their personal politics on sub-teenagers), a few were outstanding (including one who cancelled a test because our puzzled looks told him that he hadn’t done a good enough job explaining), but the vast majority were mediocre and targeted their class levels to the kids just below the educational midline. As I said before, I give the most credit to my parents who constantly fed my intellectual curiosity and challenged me to never think small. (And, no, my parents were neither liberal, nor those obsessive “gotta make Johnny a genius” freaks).

  111. 128

    chardonnay spews:

    Don @ 63 and hundreds more, stay tuned for the budget reports when they come out in april. we will see who’s wife, or husband, is on the payroll.

  112. 129

    RDC spews:

    Mark @ 127

    This would be a good topic for a thread of its own. There are some terrific, well-educated kids coming out of the public schools, but at the same time there are clearly failures in the system. I know you were just making a quick response, but I think your identification of the roadblock builders is, in an apparent but not real paradox, both too sweeping and too narrow.
    Maybe we can pick this up in the next open thread.

  113. 130

    Don spews:

    Cynical @ 104

    Listen, Cynical, even Job would get tired of your whining and he has more patience than I do! You spend so much time whining on Horses Ass that you can’t possibly be working, and if you’re not working then you’re not paying taxes on the income you don’t earn while you’re busy whining on Horses Ass, which appears to be all of the time. Never has anyone complained so much about so little.

  114. 131

    Don spews:

    Cynical @ 104 (Part 2)

    I made $999 a year more than Lee Iacocca did so put that in your pipe and smoke it. It should clear your mind a lot better than whatever you’re smoking now.

  115. 135

    Don spews:

    prr @ 118

    Yes it does make a difference when and where he does it. If he’s blogging on his own time, at his own premises, with his own equipment, it’s none of your business. If he’s doing it at work that’s between him and his employer, just like in the private sector. Nobody appointed you as public vigilante.

  116. 136

    torridjoe spews:

    Don @ 132

    Are you suggesting I’m clinging to some exclusionary standard? I don’t get the Confederate reference at all. That was the bubbling up of philosophical questions of the extent of forcible union between states, predicated by slavery. But the union had already been made between those states years earlier. The Confederates sought to dissolve. I’m fine not even beginning something to resolve. So find a better comparison, please.

    I never said I expect to benefit from union efforts. I simply want the right to negotiate my own contract with an employer. I am grateful for the option; in principle I have the highest esteem for unions. I think they’ve by and large become entrenched or fundamentally oppositional, but whatever. Just don’t tell me I have to join one to get work.

  117. 137

    Don spews:

    chardonnay @ 128

    This may come as a shock to you, but co-workers (especially those too busy working to have social lives) sometimes develop relationships and marry each other!

    The state can’t fire people for getting married, but I know of a case where a supervisor accepted a demotion in lieu of involuntary transfer, as the agency would not let him supervise his wife.

  118. 138

    Don spews:

    TJ @ 136

    If you have a job somewhat different from the union members – let’s say for example you’re the IT guy for a firehouse and you don’t ride on the fire truck or put out fires – then you can plausibly argue that your position should be outside the bargaining unit.

    Let’s say, though, you’re a firefighter doing the same job as the other firefighters, but you have philosophical objections to belonging to a union and/or you don’t like being forced to pay union dues or a shop fee in lieu of dues. This situation pits your freedom of association rights against the union’s representation rights. This is often a survival issue for the union. Congress compromised by giving each of you half the loaf – you don’t have to belong to the union, but you have to contribute to the union’s costs of representing that shop if you want to work there. Obviously, this is both a philosophical issue for the individual, and a political issue for society as a whole.

    Most people need little or no instruction in the history of the organized labor movement. In early English and American law, unions were deemed illegal combinations in restraint of trade, and were broken up by courts and troops or armed police. Workers eventually won the right to organize via the legislative process, and unions caught on because they filled a need to balance the power of business owners and corporations with labor organizations during the industrial revolution. Unions were a major force in bringing about labor reforms such as the 40-hour week, overtime pay, safety regulations, minimum wages, and grievance procedures. Unions had advantages for business because they simplified bargaining (companies didn’t have to bargain wages and working conditions with each employee individually) and could assure management of labor stability and peace in exchange for an acceptable contract. There was something in it for everyone, and the union-management system became widely accepted and contributed to the nation’s prosperity.

    Whether unions are still relevant and useful in today’s changed economy is a fair issue for debate. I believe they are. I support them; you apparently don’t. So let us agree to disagree on this issue. Right to work laws gut bargaining rights and destroy unions, so I oppose such laws. Given that unions now represent only 17% of the workforce, those who prefer non-union employment have many times the options as they who want a union behind them.

  119. 139

    jpgee spews:

    This might be off topic…but the industiral revolution in the good ole USA has ended. IMHO the USA has to start thinking like Hong Kong did about 20 years ago. They realized that they could not compete with the other countries lower wages and started pushing forward to be a ‘logistic center’ for Asia. The results are seen. Our costs of daily employees is more than most Asian/African employees make in more than a month, ex, in Thailand the average wage is about $175 USD. But what the world doesn’t understand is that with that $175/m they can send money to their parents, help their brothers/sisters go to Universities and raise the entire families position in society. I always laughed at the ‘breaking news’ several years ago stating how horrible the big companies like Nike and Adidas were for paying such a pittance for salaries here in Asia. With that ‘pittance’ the entire family was upgraded, the worker had his/her own apartment and had the funds to purchase transportation. We, in the USA live in the most advanced and gifted country on this planet. Our views on what is ‘fair’ and what is ‘just’ just might not be the view of the rest of the world. Unions have had their position in our society and I truly believe in what has been done. But there comes a time for ‘evolution’ and perhaps the time is now. Just the passing thoughts of a Washingtonian that lives/earns his living abroad

  120. 140

    Chee spews:

    jpgee@139. Fair point. Rate of exchange is a big factor and yes unlike most Americans, portion of their hard earned money goes back to support mother, father, sisters, brothers and down the line. A lady from Peru I met living here, sends $100 a month to Peru, her mother can lie on that pittance. A lot to be said for other cultures where it is the family that respectfully and dutifully supports family; affirmed or otherwise. While that is a plus,there are drawbacks also.

  121. 141

    ranger06 spews:

    Don,

    What part of your attorneys mind does not grasp that these are not taxpayer funds! They are overpayments into a bloated system. These businesses essentially gave an interest free loan to the state for a two year period. The business pays in, they keep injuries down, they get money back. Simple. Your liberal mind seems to not understand property, did they teach that in law school in moscow?

  122. 142

    Chee spews:

    ranger06. Sounds like maybe you been out on the range too long. Don didn’t just get off the beet truck, doesn’t ride side saddle nor straddle fences. Keep bucking, not Don’s his first rodeo.