EPMU pays up

July 1st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has donated $60,000 to the Labour Party and $15,000 to the Green Party, the union announced this morning.

This is no surprise. They get to vote on the Labour Party Leader, so of course they’ll donate to Labour. Interesting they donate also to the Greens.

Of course this is the small part of their actual effective donation. The most valuable donation they make is staff time. Pretty much all their staff can take as much paid time as they want to campaign for Labour (or Greens or Mana). This adds up to a huge contribution.

Let’s say 70 staff spend half their working week for three months campaigning for Labour. Assume they are paying above the living wage and get $30 an hour. 260 hours is $7,800 per staffer and that is around $550,000 of donated wages. However it doesn’t have to be declared as a donation as it is up to each staffer if they campaign for Labour or not. They just have an employer who will give them as much paid time off as they want to do so.

Personally I think when unions bulk supply staff to campaign for a political party, it should count as both an expense and a donation. There is a difference between someone individually volunteering to campaign for a party in their spare time, and someone being effectively paid by a union to go off and campaign for a party.

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54 Responses to “EPMU pays up”

  1. notrotsky (59 comments) says:

    Do Rob Egan and Neale Jones still spend their days blogging at The Standard ?

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  2. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    Have the unions asked their members’ opinions on these donations?

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  3. Rich Prick (1,538 comments) says:

    And yet, when the Exclusive Brethren put out a few flyers pointing out the flaws in Green Party policy they are hounded by the full might of the left. Shall we describe unionists as chinless scarf-wearers?

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  4. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    RP,

    I have always thought that of the EPMU.

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  5. mikemikemikemike (304 comments) says:

    I agree – it should be seen as a donation. It raises an interesting point doesn’t it? If we have to declare all monetary donations over a certain level it seems fair that you should also have to declare time donations over a certain level also. (assuming time=money). Especially if you are being compelled to do so.

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  6. kiwigunner (213 comments) says:

    Assume they get $60 an hour then its $15,600, assume they get $120 an hour then it is an amazing $31,200. I could go on but why just make stuff up – oh it’s Kiwiblog.

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  7. Brian Smaller (3,983 comments) says:

    Make unions have to get their fees directly from the members rather than have the member’s employers acting as a collection agency for them. That would sort out unions.

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  8. Pete George (22,765 comments) says:

    Add to that the union involvement in supplementary campaigning. They were heavily involved in the anti-asset sales petition.

    And they are running a Get Out the Vote campaign – there’s a good bet this isn’t for the greater good of democracy and will be carefully targeting particular voters.

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  9. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    The lowest paid workers donating to highly paid politicians so highly paid politicians don’t need to use their own money for their advertising. It’s the union way – the 99% fund the 1%.

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  10. flipper (3,537 comments) says:

    Why should the EPMU have to declare even their monetary contributions ? That the law provides for that is simply a National/ACT plot. The same applies to the journalist members of the EPMU. They replicate the much criticised (unjustly) Ex Brethren, but do Labour-Green bidding every day. Should not APN, Fairfax, Red Radio, TV3 and TVNZ declare the contributions in kind to labour-green? Yep!

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  11. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    In other breaking news. Unite Union pays outstanding PAYE rather than spending on political advocacy AND Pigs are landing again at Wellington airport after being banned from landing due to low fog.

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  12. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    I simply can’t understand how lefties justify the pyramid scheme nature of unions. The same sort of reverse ‘trickle up’ is one of their big issues. But they can’t see it in themselves. I guess when you refuse to see socialism always fails it’s easy to ignore that it’s also funded contrary to your entire ideology.

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  13. Pete George (22,765 comments) says:

    Talking of unions and politics, this is the plan of the self proclaimed virtual founder of Mana and the Internet Party and architect of a IMP led left lurching Government.

    I believe that no matter your role in society, be it doctor, dentist, nurse, rubbish collector, stay at home parent, beneficiary, prisoner, accountant, farmer, pensioner, bus driver, tow truck driver, taxi driver, politician, labourer, what ever it is, you are important. The fabric of society and community is woven together by everyone and everyone deserves a fair share of the harvest. If the rubbish collector stops the cities shut down in a month, if Doctors refuse to work people die, if lawyers weren’t around we wouldn’t know how much we hated lawyers, everyone has a role to play. We counter a status driven self absorbed culture by demanding workers get that dignity with progressive conditions. If we are serious about a Living Wage, tackling poverty in a genuine manner and ending welfare and beneficiary ‘dependancy’ we should fight for a worker levy and open Union membership.

    I think every worker entering a new job should automatically be enrolled with the Union representing their sector. This open membership would cost a levy equivalent to two weeks union membership and workers could either chose to remain as members or if they don’t want to be a member for whatever reason, they can contact the Union and remove their membership.

    They would still pay the levy. That is the cost of the standards and work safety conditions the Union has already negotiated prior to that worker entering the job, and as such is the price for having safe work environments with beneficial conditions.

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/06/30/now-is-the-time-for-a-21st-century-unionism-with-a-worker-levy-and-open-union-membership/

    While that might be dreaming with the heavy involvement of unions in Mana and with their mate McCarten supposedly orchestrating a Labour led victory they might actually think this should happen.

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  14. spanish_tudor (47 comments) says:

    It’s probably just token donations from the EPMU – they’ll be keeping most of their cash aside to donate to Chicken Little’s campaign for the Labour leadership after 20 September.

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  15. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    70 staff seems a lot of people for a union representing about 40,000. Where did you get that figure?

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  16. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    Who does the work that would normally have been done by the people out campaigning for Labour? Do the unions hire temporary staff to cover them or is their workload so low that a three month break has no impact?

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  17. Rich Prick (1,538 comments) says:

    Actually $60k is pretty light, is the EPMU amongst the 90.4% that don’t prefer Cunliffe as PM?

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  18. Lance (2,441 comments) says:

    They are buying access, it’s an outrage. Why else would they be spending such money?

    /sarcasm/

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  19. questions (168 comments) says:

    This is outrageous, I really feel for the members of the union, who would have thought they were going to donate all that money to Labour? the unions definitely need to be more up front about which party they support.

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  20. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    You think these donations are somehow hidden from the members?

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  21. Yoza (1,524 comments) says:

    mikenmild (10,297 comments) says:
    July 1st, 2014 at 9:47 am

    70 staff seems a lot of people for a union representing about 40,000. Where did you get that figure?

    I’m more surprised it wasn’t a battalion fresh from training in Cuba or North Korea, paid for by funds the EPMU somehow pilfered from the Kiwibattler tax-payers toiling away on struggle street.

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  22. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Personally I think when unions bulk supply staff to campaign for a political party, it should count as both an expense and a donation.

    What other things beside advertising would you like included in the spending limit? Polling?

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  23. rouppe (914 comments) says:

    So this must be staff employed by the union, right? Not just union members.

    Cause I can’t imagine Fairfax saying “yeah no worries, take as much time as you want to work on the Labour Party campaign…”

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  24. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler

    Lets just get real and have 2 separate sets of rules. The ones for Labour where their only requirement is to follow all announcements of spending by “move on” and the rules for everyone else.

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  25. Alan (1,055 comments) says:

    Let’s start with a better question, how many full time employees does the epmu have ?

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  26. uncle_tom (10 comments) says:

    @ questions
    Yes, outrageous indeed! As a union member I demand that my union only supports political movements that seek to reduce individual’s right to free and fair assembly and the right to form unions; that work to weaken unions; and that endeavour to degrade worker’s conditions!

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  27. wreck1080 (3,725 comments) says:

    why should unions be allowed to advocate for a particular political party? I think its wrong .

    Unions will have members that support national and their fees should not be going to left wing parties.

    Unions are there to advocate for workers rights before the employer , not to swing elections.

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  28. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    uncle_tom

    If you belong to a union you abide by the collective. That’s the whole point right. You agree that as a low earner your money will be gifted to highly paid people so they don’t need to use their own money on their self promotion.

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  29. uncle_tom (10 comments) says:

    @ Burt
    Union representatives are that (or should be) – ‘representatives’ – and are democratically elected therefore, although some may be in it for self promotion (as many people in many sectors are) if they put themselves before the ‘collective’ then they will be voted out eventually. And the low earner comment – many union representatives earn on par (or less) with those they represent – unlike our political representatives!

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  30. Paulus (2,494 comments) says:

    Make Union Fees payable directly by the member, and not collected by the Employers and sent to the Union.

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  31. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    Make Union Fees payable directly by the member, and not collected by the Employers and sent to the Union.

    But then the effective Union’s bullying shake-down of employees would be too obvious.

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  32. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    How does collecting fees from voluntary members constitute a ‘shake-down’?

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  33. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    How does collecting fees from voluntary members constitute a ‘shake-down’?

    People voluntarily pay “protection” money too.

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  34. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    That doesn’t explain anything. Do you think this union is somehow able to threaten its members to pay fees?

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  35. thedavincimode (6,529 comments) says:

    How does collecting fees from voluntary members constitute a ‘shake-down’?

    In circumstances where there are threats and intimidation directed at non-union members. As I recall, the most recent workplace where this sort of treatment was reported was Ports of Auckland, not only during the strike, but before it. In those circumstances, fees paid by unwilling members are nothing more than a shakedown because of the coercion involved.

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  36. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    You have evidence of threats and intimidation being used to collect union membership fees?

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  37. thedavincimode (6,529 comments) says:

    It was in all the papers milky. You must have read about it on your tea break.

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  38. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    I certainly recall nothing about unions obtaining fees through coercion. Sounds most unlikely.

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  39. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    uncle_tom

    And the low earner comment – many union representatives earn on par (or less) with those they represent – unlike our political representatives!

    I can see why you wanted to say that, lets pretend that low paid workers are not funding the advertising costs of highly paid politicians by shifting the discussion to union representatives. Fail….

    Labour party leader living in a $2m house with a family income of probably $700K-$1m is getting money from minimum wage workers so he has no need to dip into his own pockets for his billboards. And you try and shift the debate to union representatives … You are a lost cause following a failed ideology.

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  40. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    thedavincimode

    Remember the ends justifies the means. It’s valid to shake people down so that the 99% can fund the 1% – It’s the union way.

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  41. Kimble (4,375 comments) says:

    I certainly recall nothing about unions obtaining fees through coercion. Sounds most unlikely.

    Yup, nobody has ever been bullied into joining the Union. E-VER.

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  42. dirty harry (417 comments) says:

    ..and to think I pay 7 bucks a week to be with these clowns…they are as useful as a chocolate teapot , believe me.

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  43. ross411 (220 comments) says:

    I’ve belonged to two unions in my life.

    The first, I was too young to know any better. We were all herded into a room, group by group, and given a presentation about how the unions are there to make things better. None of us had any idea what our money would be used for, except a general intimation of “our own good”. It was inferred that not joining was a bad idea, as you’d be making the people who did join responsible for paying to ensure things were good for us all. A guilt trip and some subtext we’d miss out on the benefits.

    The second, I was forced to join. Everyone in the country I lived in had to join a union. So they found the closest one to my job that there was and had me join. There was no way that union represented me in any way, but legally, I had to be in it. So there was another union that took my money and what was done with it was opaque.

    Maybe there was a day when unions did good, but I think that time has long since passed. Now they’re a corrupt remnant of what they used to be, where members likely have no idea what they are paying for, but have faith that the union is acting in their best interest.

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  44. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    dirty harry (339 comments) says:
    July 1st, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    ..and to think I pay 7 bucks a week to be with these clowns…they are as useful as a chocolate teapot , believe me.

    Well do something about it.

    Unions are, apparently, democratic organisations.

    Get out and get rid of the no-bloody-hopers in charge (vote them out) then vote in real people who will employ real people.

    Not too hard surely if you demonstrate to your fellows what they are paying $7 per week for.

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  45. dirty harry (417 comments) says:

    We are dumping them and forming our own collective. They really are turkeys..hear that EPMU..YOU ARE TURKEYS !!

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  46. OneTrack (2,579 comments) says:

    Now they’re a corrupt remnant of what they used to be, where members likely have no idea what they are paying for, and have no faith that the union is acting in their best interest.

    fify

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  47. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    dirty harry

    Why form a collective ? Surely you can just create a boilerplate contract that others are welcome to take and fill in the blanks ?

    You know once a collective is formed, the very next day it starts serving itself above its members. It’s might take longer if you and a few other ‘directors’ work hard on it, but as you guys eventually move on it will become just another Labour c##k sucking fundraising device.

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  48. big bruv (13,218 comments) says:

    I note that the extreme narcissist Bradbury is advocating for compulsory unionism over at the Daily blog. Anybody who thinks that the days of compulsory unionism are over should think again.

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  49. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    Compulsory support of the Labour Party … I’ll seriously consider leaving the country if I’m required to join a union.

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  50. Rich Prick (1,538 comments) says:

    I was a youngster when compulsory union membership was in force and suffered from their thuggery when I was a university student. Did compulsion apply to senior management and senior professionals back then as well? Just curious.

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  51. thedavincimode (6,529 comments) says:

    I certainly recall nothing about unions obtaining fees through coercion. Sounds most unlikely.

    The human mind is a wonderful thing milky – the way that it can deal with information that is too shocking to bear.

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  52. burt (7,793 comments) says:

    Rich Prick

    I don’t know about all times in the past but when I was younger unionism was compulsory below a threshold of about $18,000 ( mid to late 80′s ), hideous eh, if you were a low earner you were required to support a union. I got a pay rise in 86 that put me about $100 over the threshold so I could stop funding other people’s political aspirations on my dime.

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  53. Rich Prick (1,538 comments) says:

    “I certainly recall nothing about unions obtaining fees through coercion. Sounds most unlikely.”

    There was a time when union fees were collected by the ultimate in coercion, state threatened compulsion. And prison for failure to comply. No need for a shake-down in those days. These days they just urinate on social club BBQ plates to intimidate non-members aka Ports of Auckland.

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  54. Rich Prick (1,538 comments) says:

    Thanks brut, that’s right now that you mention it. There was a wage threshold, or as I like to call it, entrapment.

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