(Fred Weinberg/Penny Press) – The nonsense you have seen in Wisconsin and Indiana during the past two weeks is being billed as a “defense” of workers’ “rights” to collectively bargain.
Workers, as a matter of law and public policy, certainly have those rights in the private sector.
And, interestingly enough, where they have those rights, union membership is down sharply.
Union membership is up, way up, in the one sector where those “rights” actually do not and should not exist—government employees.
Most government employees are subject to civil service laws which were originally designed to make the government workplace free of the patronage system which used to dominate government employment. Simply put, government workers would lose their jobs each time an administration changed so the new administration could hire who they wished.
With the advent of civil service in 1872, most government employment came to be hired professionally and subject to employment codes which made them difficult to fire.
Government employee unions are a relatively recent phenomenon.
Here’s a pop quiz: Who said this?
The main function of American trade unions is collective bargaining. It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government. Unions, as well as employers, would vastly prefer to have even Government regulation of labor-management relations reduced to a minimum consistent with the protection of the public welfare.
George W. Bush? Mike Huckabee? Mitt Romney? Bill O’Reilly? Sean Hannity?
How about the late George Meany who merged the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations and served as the first president of the AFLCIO. The biggest labor organizer ever.
How about this?
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees. Upon employees in the federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people … This obligation is paramount … A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent … to prevent or obstruct … Government … Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government … is unthinkable and intolerable.
Maybe Ronald Reagan? How about Richard Nixon? Perhaps Newt Gingrich?
If you guessed any of those names ,you might find out that while they agree with the sentiment, this was from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hardly a detractor of the labor movement.
Meany and Roosevelt, though strong union advocates, understood reality.
You can’t negotiate with the boss when you are the boss. And the ability of government employee unions to extract mandatory dues from their members to donate to politicians running for office makes them the boss. It is the reason why Clark County firefighters average $168,000 a year for a $70,000 a year job. Or Nevada state employees who not only out-earn their private sector counterparts but get pensions which make your pathetic 401k look like a blue light special.
So when the Governors of Wisconsin and Indiana decide to ask their legislatures to pass bills which stop mandatory union membership and remove collective bargaining from the table, the very people who visited these travesties upon the taxpayers see the gravy train pulling away from the station without them.
And you get the nonsensical bleating that you saw in Madison Wisconsin while 14 Democratic Senators ran like rats so the legislature would not have a quorum to pass the inevitable bill that would accomplish exactly what the people of Wisconsin elected a Republican Governor, House and Senate to do.
The union thugs should be ashamed of themselves, but they won’t be because they have no shame.
The people who profess to know history ought to read some.