Thursday, March 10, 2011

ALEC - Unions and Privatization, An Example

As I said in a previous post – ALEC is interested in privatization of government goods and services and dismantling public unions.

Here is a great example of how ALEC uses their member magazine to promulgate both their desire for their members to move government toward privatization and the push for the ALEC legislators to reduce the size of government – with the focus being on union member elimination.

The March 2010 Inside ALEC magazine published an article named “Who’s Afraid of IT Sourcing” written by a staff member of the Reason Foundation (a libertarian think tank, taking in $6 million a year – funded by 11 foundations including three Koch brothers foundations- [Source])

“Structurally, IT outsourcing is no different from other forms of government outsourcing or privatization.  However, unlike roads, parks and recreation, and sanitation services, IT encompasses the entire spectrum of government operations. The largest projects affect almost every government employee.”  The inference here is, if you can do it in IT – you can do it anywhere – with any government good or service – including examples cited in ALEC position paper written in 2002 named the “Making Privatization Work for State Government”  suggesting the possible privatization of highway maintenance, highway design, childcare, mental health services, custodial services, prison operations [already enacted as law in many states based on ALEC “model legislation and their extremely tight relationship with CCR], or building repair and maintenance.

“IT outsourcing and privatization also moves city IT workers into the higher paying private sector, which tends to make rank-and-file staff more open to the idea.”  The example given notes how the City of Minneapolis in 2008 outsourced their IT and 26 union IT city employees were offered jobs at the Unisys (the company that Mpls IT was outsourced to).  “Minneapolis saves about $2 million a year, mostly because it has reduced staff…”  I think this should say specifically “union staff” – but that’s probably too inflammatory.  I find this reference to Minneapolis interesting, as Minneapolis has a very progressive Democratic mayor – so I can only assume that there was a staffer in the Mayor’s office that has direct lines/membership to ALEC for this (a) to have happened and (b) to be published in an ALEC article.

“Finally, IT outsourcing and privatization tends to be less politically controversial than other privatization efforts. Unlike many other state and municipal services, IT never took hold as a “government- provided” service in the voter consciousness.”  I guess IT personnel aren’t as exciting as police, fire, nurses, or teachers – so the assumption is – it’s okay to throw union members in IT under the bus.

“Perhaps the biggest tussle over IT outsourcing and privatization has been in Virginia. … In August, VITA named George Coulter to the post. Coulter’s term got off to a rocky start when, three weeks into his position, he fired three subordinates who had been most critical of Northrop Grumman’s [an ALEC private sector member] work.”  There’s an interesting contractor/ state soap opera style drama in VA that goes with this story.  In relation to this – I have to go back to an earlier post that I did – VA bend over and take the position – ALEC owns your state.

Don't you see how inherently wrong this is?
Please request the elimination of any and all state and federal funding for our legislators to belong to ALEC, to attend ALEC events and to buy products or publications sold by ALEC.

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