News Flash: Unions limit liberty, contribute to fiscal stress

I’ll let Chris Edwards commentary at CATO speak for itself:

Statistical studies find that unionized public sector workers earn a wage premium of about 10 percent over non-unionized public sector workers… employee compensation represents half of all state and local government spending. Aside from inflated wages, public sector unions have pushed for excessive pension benefit levels, which are creating a fiscal crisis for many governments…. Unions certainly have free speech rights to voice their opinions about public policy. But collective bargaining gives unions the exclusive right to speak for covered workers, many of whom may disagree with the views of the monopoly union. Thus, collective bargaining is inconsistent with the right to freedom of association.

Madison Protest: Unions Are Angry — but Wisconsin Should Go Even Further | Chris Edwards | Cato Institute: Commentary.

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2 responses to “News Flash: Unions limit liberty, contribute to fiscal stress

  1. Yes allowing people to vote in their workplace is the first step toward tyranny.

    Most of these comparisons of union vs non-union vs public vs private are comparing apples and oranges. A valid comparison must use people in similar fields and with similar education levels to get a true representation of the differences. Taking an average of both groups and making some judgments is not valid especially when Union members such as teachers have higher than average education levels and require certification with specialized skills.

    ps – sorry for the inappropriate acronym but thanks for letting me repost.

    • No problem. I recognize that sometimes the heat of the moment leads to a poison pen. I’m not “without sin” myself.

      I don’t necessarily agree with your point, however, or your logic. The economic argument aside (and I have yet to see anyone show me data that indicates public employees are paid less, while there are many reports that show they are paid more–for example, see here: which does do an apple-to-apple comparison, finding that only in the medical field do government employees lag behind the rest of the labor market), the more important point is that unions restrain freedom of expression and freedom of association.

      Many reports, including in the New York Times (not exactly a bastion of conservative thought), are indicating that there is increasing friction between unionized government employees and union leadership. Unions protect all teachers, including the bad ones. Further, the action in Wisconsin does not destroy unions, but actually requires that they be reinstated yearly. Specifically, it requires that teachers vote each year to keep their union leadership. So, far from stopping people from voting in their work place, it actually requires that they vote more often. This provides the benefit of making sure their voice is heard, not only with their employers, but also with the union. Union leadership, predictably, wants nothing to do with a requirement that they respond to teacher inputs about when they should go on strike, protest, demand more concessions, negotiate, etc, etc. And as long as Walker’s proposal shifts power from the union leadership back to the union members, there’s no way that the union is going to rest.

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