FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
A Note to Labor Secretary Solis: Collective Bargaining Has No Place in Government
This past weekend, when ethically-challenged U.S. Secretary Hilda Solis told a cheering DNC crowd that “the fight is on” (referring to the Battle of Wisconsin) she openly declared her devotion to union bosses, as well as her disdain for the 88% of Americans who are union-free and stuck with the tab. Though it shouldn’t be a surprise as Solis was a board member of the American Rights at Work—the union “shadow group” mouthpiece pushing the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act—while she served in Congress, such a blatant provocation on behalf of a particular constituency from an official in a cabinet-level position is a good reminder of just how far America has fallen.
Over the last few weeks, the once-quiet debate that has been brewing for the last couple of years has become a front-page news story due to the Battle of Wisconsin and the power of public-sector unions to hold taxpayers (the people who pay the bills). While the root cause of the Great Recession is the politicians in Washington, DC (past and present), like jagged rocks in a shallow pool, the decline of the stock market exposed how precariously fragile the house of cards had been built as it relates to union entitlements in both the private and public sector.
In the private sector, unfunded union pension liabilities are around $165 billion, the unfunded liability in the public-sector may be as high as $3 trillion. In the private-sector, without a taxpayer bailout, the problem is not on the back of the taxpayer. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the public-sector where unions and their political puppets have gamed the system, saddling taxpayers to shoulder the costs. This is why the Battle of Wisconsin (and other states) is so critical to the future financial stability of the country.
When unions have the ability to pour hundreds of millions into working to put into office politicians who expand the role and size of government—at the expense of taxpayers—they have gamed the system. This is why the Wisconsin battle has unions and their Leftist allies flailing spasmodically. They know that, if Scott Walker succeeds in limiting collective bargaining (not eliminating, as has been portrayed) It is an “insidious relationship,” as Senator Jim Demint noted Tuesday.
“It’s a bigger issue than people think, and it’s something that I’m going to work a lot on, because I really don’t think that collective bargaining has any place in representative government,” DeMint said on WVOC radio.
Demint is not alone in believing that collective bargaining has no place in government.
In addition to some of today’s Republican governors, the 20th-Century patron saint of unions, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, was also opposed to collective bargaining in the public-sector. In a 1937 letter to a union leader, Roosevelt wrote:
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
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, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. [Emphasis added.]
[Unthinkable and intolerable are good descriptors for today's public sector unions.]
Despite the fact that Wisconsin’s Walker is limiting collective bargaining (not eliminating it), and NJ Governor Chris Christie even supports collective bargaining, the Left has become apoplectic in its anger over the attempts to rein in unions’ runaway power. While union bosses and their government shills, like Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, will continue pushing the militant reaction, it is a slap in the face to the vast majority of Americans whose nation may be bankrupted by the folly of the Left.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776