I was asked recently why union members are protesting in Wisconsin, but we did not see similar protests in Springfield when the lame duck tax hikes were passed in January. The answer is simple: Taxpayers cant afford to take off from work.
Public employees enjoy generous work rules and lavish benefits that allow them to protest without consequence. Taxpayers, on the other hand, must pay for paid days off. There are consequences if you dont show up for work in the private sector but apparently not if you are a Wisconsin teacher; schools are closed since the teachers union is the monopoly provider of teaching services.
And therein lies the difference between public and private sector unions. If unions in the private sector negotiate unsustainable deals with dumb management, then the business fails. Other competitors, unionized or not, will move in to compete at lower costs with better services and products. Need proof? Compare legacy airlines to Southwest; UAW unionized auto manufacturers to non-union transplants; and unionized steel workers to offshore and non-unionized producers.
While there are alternatives to some of the governments union monopolies, the alternatives always require spending more money. Whether its sending your child to private school because the local public school is failing or hiring a security service because you are concerned about your safety, you have to pay twice: once through taxes for the monopoly government service, and a second time using disposable income for the alternative.
Paying twice, however, usually is not an option for the poor, disadvantaged and most of the middle class. So when the protesting teachers didnt show up to schools in Wisconsin, who paid the price? The children especially those with poor and working class parents.
Makes you wonder whose side the unions are on, doesnt it?
Now, I’m not anti union, though I’ve been accused of that. What I am for is the liberty of workers AND employers. They should be able to freely come to a mutually agreed upon arrangement. Today, union workers have terms dictated to them. Gov. Walker is trying to expand worker freedom.
Many have said Walker is taking away the unions collective bargaining rights. In the public relations battle underway, the messaging must change. Walker is not reducing bargaining rights; he is expanding worker rights by giving individual union members more control of their own work arrangements with their employer and with their union.
Unions shouldnt be able to dictate to workers a $1,000 annual payment to political action committees any more than an employer should. Individual members shouldnt have their wages confiscated by the state and used to fund union political work unless the individual union member opts in. You have more rights regarding membership in our e-mail list than union members have in their relationships with the public employee unions. This is why I believe individual union members should have greater freedom and control that is, in part, what this fight is all about.
But the fight is also about something more fundamental to our liberty. FDR opposed unionization of public workers because he understood that public workers are unique. He understood it was a dangerous and destructive precedent to have unions with monopoly control of services; they have all the leverage and the public is left at the mercy of those service providers.
As public employee unions became politicized and began supporting political candidates, that danger came into full realization as unions gained representation on both sides of the bargaining table. On one side are the unions, and on the other are the union backed legislators. That makes for a friendly and expensive settlement. Left outside with their wallets fleeced are taxpayers and business owners.
The stakes are high in these fights. To learn more, click here.