There are unions, and there are unions

There is a difference between private sector and public sector unions. ? Private sector unions are not necessarily bad. ? It is possible that they can provide for the safe working conditions and liberty of the workers in a specific industry, e.g. coal mining. Yet too many unions have helped to chase American jobs overseas through demanding exorbitant wages and using government to regulate additional benefits over and above what is negotiated in the union contracts. ?The quality of a private sector union depends on its leadership, mission, and agenda. ? The same can not be said of public sector unions.

Public sector (government employee) unions are inherently bad. ? Calvin Massey explains:

In the public sector, by contrast, a union is not bargaining for a greater share of the revenue produced by economic activity; it is bargaining for a greater share of revenue that is obtained by force of law ? taxation ? or, if not a?greater?share, at least for a?constant?share of those revenues extracted from the citizens. What a public sector union can and does provide in return is political support for the faction that chooses to increase taxes or the union?s share of existing taxes. If public sector unions deliver on their support, they will be rewarded by ever more generous payments. There is no market that acts as an external monitor of worker compensation; there is only a steady repetition of a corrosive bargain ? tax the public ever more in order to maintain political power. That is inimical to responsible government.

The collusion between government leaders and workers against the taxpayer needs to end. ? It is time for public sector unions to be abolished, to help lower the runaway costs of government here in New Jersey.


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  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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3 thoughts on “There are unions, and there are unions”

  1. There are many private sector unions across the country that do indeed keep their workers safe,earn a fair wage and represent them honestly in a management-employee beef.However,the publice sector unions that have singlehandedly gutted the budgets of cities,staes,counties,leaving these bodies of govt broke.I blame the negotiating management,arbitrators for yielding to these unions for whatever reason.The teachers union is probably the worst of the bunch,administrators,assistant principals,union chiefs sucking the lifeblood of budgets all “FOR THE KIDS” Hogwash.Until strict enforcement of pension reform,salary reform,annual increase reform and every faction of giveaways are redefined,it will get worse,much worse.!! NATE NATHANSON

  2. I was told by a local conservative activist that he believes that it is actually illegal to not honor the current public employee contracts. Is that true ? I can believe it may be, just by the word “contract.”

    Regardless, how do we go about demanding salary cutbacks, greater health insurance contributions by the employee and lower pensions when the next contract is due to be negotiated ? Is this totally up to the local school boards and city councils ? If so, one method of progress might be to demand that all board members go on the record RIGHT NOW as to whether or not they support the above. If not, then they should be forced explain publicly why it is moral or ethical to ask people who are making often 75-50% (or less) of their salaries and benefits to pay for their “ride.”

    We also need to demand right now of current board members that pensions of future hires be eliminated immediately. This helps a ton down the line and hurts no one. Absolute no-brainer.

    Who stands in the way of #4 of L & P’s “Eight Point Program ?”
    We should demand that whoever has the power to stop or allow that info to go on record NOW as to their stand on this. If against Point #4, then they should publicly have to explain what they are hiding, who are they protecting, why, and how they can rationalize that Americans who are forced to pay for something are not entitled to know where the money is going.

    A local school teacher wrote an editorial in the Press (last week I believe) lamenting the recent mild outcry by some of us over teacher salaries and our view of their (lack of) job difficulty.

    Yes, some of us talk about the fact that some teachers work little more than 180 days/year. Some of them are less than inspiring, fair or creative but have close to zero fear of job loss. But this is not just mindless conjecture; even many teachers, in their more honest moments, admit that there are many cases where this is true. I know teachers who have admitted that tenure is a ridiculous, counter-productive concept. Yet we still allow it !

    But an even more clear-cut issue is the inevitable (sorry, big taxers/spenders) facts, math and logic. It doesn’t matter if a particular teacher does a great job in terms of dollars and cents. That is what the word afford means. It means you can only purchase it/hire them if you have the money.

    The writer of this editorial actually embarrassed himself by saying that teachers are taxpayers too. How stupid does he think I am ? So I should feel bad that he pays $3000-$5000 too much in property taxes, like the rest of us, and in exchange gets paid $10,000 to $40,000/year more than what we can afford ? And he gets excellent low cost health insurance and a lofty pension to boot ? (neither of which most of us get). This guy lost complete credibility when he made this idiotic statement. He actually helps to make the point that public employees are far, far removed from truth and reality.

    There is this crazy, age-old concept of supply and demand. Been in existence since the beginning of the human race and will never go away.

    If we are following common-sense supply and demand, responsible public employee monetary policy, then why are there usually 25-500 or more applicants when a single public employee position opens up ? Everybody, including the “tax more and spend more” folks (if you catch them in an honest moment), will admit that you could fire public employees not willing to accept cutbacks to remove some of the huge tax burden suffocating us, and every position could be filled within 24 hours. (Can you handle the truth ?)

    I watch folks who are on the wrong side of truth, facts, math and logic occasionally (finally) get hit right in the forehead with a question they don’t want, and they either change the subject or start name-calling. We have to stand strong, ask the hard questions, and not allow the folks who should be held accountable to duck the truth and answer the question posed.

  3. Public employee contracts, including contracts to pay pensions can be legally voided for at least two reasons. They can be void as unconstitutional. Article 8, Section 2 of NJ Constitution makes it illegal for the legislature to borrow money or make any contract that cannot be complied with within a year without a vote of the people. Therefore, if public employees were promised future pensions, and not enough money was put aside to pay for them, and if the voters never approved, any unfunded pension promise can be set aside as unconstitutional. Also all contracts, including public employee pension contracts can be set aside by a bankruptcy court, if the debtor is not financially able to make the payments. That is what happened in Detroit.

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