Wednesday, January 07, 2009

More Broken Government

Here’s another tale of woe from your government, via The Washington Post

Federal Labor Relations Authority At a Crossroads

”As the new chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, Beck's task is to reinvigorate an organization that had become almost useless.“

From Wikipedia: ”The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) is an independent agency of the United States government that governs labor relations between the federal government and its employees. “

This is just another example of the Bush Administration crippling unions. If the authority that settles cases between union and management can’t function, cases don’t get decided. Management can impose whatever they want, stand back and say (in effect), “Take me to court”, knowing full well the union can’t. Back to The Washington Post:

”When Beck was sworn in as chairman in October, he found an agency with a backlog of some 400 cases. Until he took office, only one of three seats on the authority was filled, rendering it impotent for months. The agency has operated without a general counsel since March, which means the agency cannot prosecute unfair-labor-practices cases.“

But wait, there’s more.

”"At every level, our effectiveness was compromised by staffing issues," said Carol Waller Pope, the authority's other member."

Curiously, the previous management did not spend all the money it was appropriated, according to Beck. Between $1 million and $1.5 million of agency funding was returned to the Treasury each year since fiscal 2003, until last year. “

For those wondering, yes, I have covered this subject before.

For those that followed the links from this morning’s post, I hope you caught this line:

”There is no historic precedent for mass prosperity absent mass collective bargaining. The model cannot be constructed. “

There are hundreds of stories within our government just like this one. The clean-up task awaiting Mr. Obama and the next Congress is monumental. The stakes could not be higher. The years after The Crash in 1929 were not good ones.

1930s -- ”In Western Europe, Australia and the United States, more progressive reforms occurred as opposed to the extreme measures sought elsewhere. Roosevelt's New Deal attempted to use government spending to combat large-scale unemployment and severely negative growth. In Europe, multiple countries turn to authoritarian, nationalist, and fascist governments such as in Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. “

1940s -- ”The 1940s was a period between the radical 1930s and the conservative 1950s, which also leads the period to be divided in two halves:

The first half of the decade was dominated by World War II, the widest and most destructive armed conflict in human history. So consequential was this event and its brutal aftermath that it laid the foundation for other major world events and trends for decades to follow. This war was also the first modern civilian war.

The second half of the 1940s marked the beginning of the Cold War, the race between the US and the Soviet Union to invent better technology. “

You may think it’s a leap -- from the FLRA to World War II. We had this saying in air traffic control, “If you take care of the little stuff the big stuff will take care of itself.” If a man has a decent job and can feed his family, it’s difficult to stir him up. If you take his job, steal his pension and he can’t feed his family -- if you take away his dignity -- it’s a lot easier to get him to fight.

Don Brown
January 7, 2009

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