The recent activity in Madison is creating conflict even amongst friends. The pro union people see this as an assault on unions in general. I come from a family that had people on opposite sides of the issue. One grandfather was a Union organizer for the International Association of Machinists who espoused why the unions were necessary and why they came about. The other worked in Management who constantly complained that the unions obstructed him from hiring the best person for the job and how it was almost impossible to get the job done on time because of the unions.
The entire concept of unions was the workers fighting against oppressive employers. If the state or the Federal government is oppressive it is time to replace the government not have a union that protects just a minority of the population.
This is not an attack on unions in general, just public sector unions. Most people don’t realize the lobbying power of labor unions. They also don’t realizes that while the teachers union alone only 45% of the teachers are Democrats yet the teachers yet the union gave 94% of their donations to the Democrats.
This is wrong on so many levels it is hard to comprehend. For starters these donations don’t politically represent the due paying members. They are paid by the taxpayers and therefore the dues are paid by the taxpayers. So in essence taxpayers are paying for lobbying efforts that may not be in the taxpayers interest.
Worse yet, collective bargaining is suppose to be an adversarial process. How often do the employees get to vote on who the opposing negotiator will be. If public sector workers were independent contractors hired by the government and competing for the job they would have a legitimate argument but they are not, they are part of the government as government employees so if they strike it is the government striking against the taxpayer.
Even FDR (the patron saint of unions) saw the conflict of interest with public sector unions.
For example, although he had a lock on labor’s vote, he expressed caution about public sector unions. In a little-known letter he wrote to the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees in 1937, Roosevelt reasoned:
“… Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the government. 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 … The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for … officials … to bind the employer … The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives …
“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 … This obligation is paramount … A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent … to prevent or obstruct … Government … Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government … is unthinkable and intolerable.”
This is not about workers working in a sweat shop here, we are talking about the government and the right of the government to Unionize against the taxpayers.