Monday, February 28, 2011

Don’t Just Bail - Fix The Leak

Collective bargaining for public sector unions has to go.

Wisconsin has been in the news lately. So has Ohio, Indiana, and a slew of other states. Most of the discussion, if you follow the Main Stream Media (MSM), concerns the attempts of Republican Governors to balance their budgets by “Union Busting.” While the governors deny this, it is essentially what they are doing. I don’t think they should deny it. They should stand up proudly. After all, they were accused of being the “Party of No,” so now they are in control of many arenas and they are the “Party of Yes.” In the Wisconsin situation, the current “Party of No” is actually partying in Illinois - to avoid being present for a quorum so the bill can’t be brought to a vote. I don’t know if this is a new low for the Democratic party, but it is somewhat embarrassing that this kind of childish behavior takes place in America. I would not be surprised if one did some research and found that Republicans did this at some time or another in the past, but as of now, it is the Dems who look foolish.

As far as the “Union Busting” goes, here is why it should be done, and why there never should have been public-sector unions in the first place.

-This as a conflict of interest if there ever was one. Unions raise money for political contributions to Democratic lawmakers who then give great contracts with lucrative pay and benefits back to the unions and the cycle continues, all paid for by the public who has no say in this and is held hostage to the unholy alliance between the politicians in power and the special interest group that keeps them there. It’s the union members hiring their employers, with someone else required to pay the bill. Not exactly a good formula for balance. It’s the Fox Guarding the Henhouse.

Picture this. Suppose Republicans control the government of a given state. A large real estate holding company owns all the buildings that house state, county, and city operations. The company contributes huge amounts of money to Republicans, which helps get them elected, and who in turn give higher than reasonable rents to the real estate holding company, and the cycle continues. Do you think there would be cries of foul? What’s the difference, other than the additional union advantage of having a large voting block?

-In the private-sector, as nasty as unions may get, they know if they go too far, the company may go out of business and they are all without jobs. Not so in the public sector. Government can’t go out of business. So they must raise taxes or cut services to meet union demands. This is not a “balance of power” as the unions would have you believe.

-If a union strike closes down a business such as a grocery store, the public can go to another grocery store. Not so with governmental operations. If the government is shut down, there is no DMV to renew your license, no EDD to give you your unemployment check, and, conceivably, no police or fire to handle emergencies. Again - an unfair balance of power.

I don’t believe I have ever heard of any governmental agency, union or no union, exploiting it’s workers. Government workers do not need unions to have fair salaries and benefits - only to have exorbitant ones. And, of course, if the employee does not like the pay and conditions, they can leave and go into private sector work.

Despite all the ills of having unions in the private sector, there are unquestionably some benefits - both for the union members and for the public as a whole. Not so with governmental unions.

It will be interesting to see how this works out. Even in some Dem-controlled states, the governors are attempting to get concessions from the unions. While this is good, it doesn’t solve the control problem, and if the economy and government revenues start rolling again, the unions will be there to suck off all they can. Taxpayers will be forced to pay the exorbitant bill. This boat is sinking - we need to fix the leak instead of just bailing out the water.

That being said, I don’t believe there is a problem with public sector unions if they exist for the purpose of securing benefits outside of their relationship with the government. However, workers should not be required to join the union, and union dues should not be taken from pay checks. The union should exist totally outside the government, and should be completely non political.

As something of a side note, I find it interesting that the MSM reports that unions cry “union-busting” governors are against working families. It is working families the unions are trying to take money from and the governors are trying to protect.

Unions are the biggest “Special Interest” group in this country, and the public sector unions are the strongest, with the biggest conflict of interest. If anyone is concerned with the power of special interest groups, they need to weigh in on this.

Mercer Tyson

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