quoting John Hayward:
they don’t like the idea of sacrificing some of their benefits. They can’t protest by leaving their current positions and finding more lucrative work with a competitor, or becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own businesses. They don’t see their employer, the government, standing on the verge of closing its doors unless they make sacrifices, no matter how dire Governor Walker says the budget situation might be. They’re not worried about losing market share to aggressive competition and going out of business. These people exist within a system that makes it logical to stage a wildcat strike and march around the Capitol, screaming threats. The resource of political influence is cultivated by maintaining solidarity.
I consider myself a libertarian. (please, no rotten eggs) I believe in the individual, and that every person should be empowered. I do not believe in corporate power as a good thing. So this leaves me sympathetic to unions. Or at least sympathetic to the idea behind unions.
So the ‘union busting’ part of Scott Walker’s legislation seemed mis-aimed to me, before I understood the issues. But I have read, and now I can say that I am squarely behind the elimination of public service unions. Here is my argument:
In a negotiation, each side of the negotiation should represent the interests of one of the two parties to negotiation. In the case of public employees, the interested parties are the employee–paid for work, and the employer–paying for work. The employer in this case is the tax payer.
If government employees have a union to represent him, presumably the government employee union is elected by the government employees with no input from anyone else, no input from taxpayers who are not government employees.
Then it stands to reason that sitting across the table from the union representative should be a taxpayer representative who is elected by taxpayers, with no input from government employees. This would represent a fair negotiation. But this is not the team that is negotiating.
If there are going to be government employee unions, then government employees must not be allowed to vote in open elections. Which is of course, unfair and unworkable. Certainly there are other solutions to the problem, but I am certain that nothing even close to fair will be possible politically, and until something reasonable exists, government employee unions are unfair to taxpayers, because elected officials are beholden to both government employees and to taxpayers who are not government employees and therefore any negotiation is unfair to the taxpayer.
But what do I know, I am just the guy footing the bill