Government unions rob working class blind
With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, it is less likely the Supreme Court will issue a ruling to stop publicsector unions from forcing nonunion members to pay dues.
That’s a shame for American workers and taxpayers, who struggle to afford public unions’ lavish compensation packages. Taking into account both wages and benefits, the average federal public sector worker makes nearly 80 percent more than his or her private sector counterpart. That disparity is in large part a function of coercion: unions can force new workers to join, amplifying their bargaining power.
For hard-working middle-class families, a Supreme Court ruling against the public-sector unions would put money back in their pockets and improve government services. Indeed, after the passage of legislation allowing public-sector workers to opt out of unions in Wisconsin, memberships in local National Teachers Union fell by half.
Public sector unions are now one of the biggest campaign contributors in the country. In 2014, they poured more than $65 million into federal campaigns and causes. That money has bought increasingly generous pay and benefits.
This rogue scheme is a betrayal of ordinary voters— and it is swamping state and local budgets, forcing taxes up and government services down.
It wasn’t until relatively recently that unions were able to organize government workers. Even staunch labor advocates like President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the risks involved in letting government workers unionize.
When private sector unions sit down to collectively bargain, they are in an adversarial relationship with corporate management. Ultimately, both sides work out a compromise they can live with.
However, with public unions, politicians are “management.” They are negotiating with somebody else’s money— the taxpayers’. There is no incentive for re-election-obsessed politicians to turn down their public union supporters’ extravagant demands. Both parties are effectively on the same side of the table.
The advantage isn’t just with wages. Public union workers get far better benefits— materially more generous health insurance, retirement plans, and paid sick leave— than unionworkers in the private sector.
While private sector union membership has been in decline for decades, public sector unions are thriving. Where fewer than 8 percent of private sectorworkers belong to a union, almost 40 percent of state and local government workers do.
Public pension costs are swamping state and local budgets. These costs have contributed to a number of municipal bankruptcies, including Stockton, Vallejo, and San Bernardino in California and Detroit in Michigan.
Of course, it’s taxpayers— most of them middle-class and working class families— who foot the bill for this mind-bending largesse.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg once admitted that “every penny in personal income tax we collect will go to cover our pension bill.”
Unions once served a noble purpose in this country, protecting workers from abuse and boosting earnings without undermining business growth. Today, unfortunately, public employee unions have morphed into vessels of unrestrained greed. Labor bosses have been exploiting the odd dynamics of public sector employment to boost wages and benefits well beyond what is reasonable. The Supreme Court should bring this to an end.
If you are a private company worker, the best way to get a raise is to quit, and go to work for a public employee union.