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Why The Public Unions Can Afford To Defend The Indefensible

A friend whose son has autism sent me this absolutely horrific tale of abuse and neglect by New York State workers who are supposed to care for the cognitively disabled. These are unionized workers who are, like most of New York’s civil service, very hard to fire. Naturally, the union fought as hard for them as it could. And so rather than fire them, many of their supervisors simply transferred them to other homes, even though offenses included punching their charges, throwing them against the wall, and sexually abusing them. The man who was caught standing between the legs of his disabled charge with his pants down and her diaper off describes himself as just waiting until he can collect his state pension.

Megan McArdle. (HT: The Atlantic)

When I read the story linked above, I didn’t totally buy it. Megan McArdle claims that the Civil Services Employees Union was legally required to represent the reprehensible sexual pervert above. In a strictly de jure interpretation, that may well be temporarily true.

However, if defending individuals like the ones described in McArdle’s article actually extruded a real and legitimate cost from the union members, these laws would very rapidly change. The union members would demand a greater level of discretion and selectivity in who their monies were put up to bat on behalf of. For now, public unions are able send the bill to the taxpayers, suffer no economic liabilities from defending the morally indefensible, and the results, as shown above – are beyond disgusting.

Regrettably, all the monies paid into public unions come out of salaries already paid by the national, state or municipal tax bases. The costs are passed through. The worker paying the dues doesn’t ever really see the difference. If they did, it would just be time for another job action to increase the salaries.

The employing government would then be negotiating with somebody else’s cash. They would probably be represented by political leaders at least partially bankrolled into office by the very same public union. They would roll over like a hound dog expecting a hush-puppy. Thus, the union has no reason not to defend the perverts and abusers above – unless of course they have some sort of old-fashioned moral hang-ups or something.

The AFL-CIO, as much as I disagree with a lot of their political advocacy, wouldn’t have anywhere near the same motivation to defend the detestable creeps described above. Their union members pay non-fungible dues. This is even truer for plants located in Right To Work States. Joe Smith, the Bumper Guy at a Ford factory, has his dues taken out of his personal funds.

He therefore sees these dues as an investment. He will logically demand a larger ROI on this than the emotional satisfaction of saving the job of some sick (redacted) who rapes the autistic. When FDR spoke out against public unions, I doubt he had even had nightmares about it getting quite so bad.

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