Look For the Union Fable
The good news out of Wisconsin is that public school students’ test scores skyrocketed last week, mystifying educators. The bad news is many student-teacher love affairs were hard-hit without access to janitors’ closets and locker rooms.
Democrats are acting as if Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s demand that public sector employees give up collective bargaining would have George Washington rolling in his grave (a clear violation of Gravediggers’ Local 803 regulations concerning the rolling of the dead).
In fact, government employees should never, ever be allowed to organize.
The need for a union comes down to this question: Do you have a boss who wants you to work harder for less money? In the private sector, the answer is yes. In the public sector, the answer is a big, fat NO.
Government unions have nothing in common with private sector unions because they don’t have hostile management on the other side of the bargaining table. To the contrary, the “bosses” of government employees are co-conspirators with them in bilking the taxpayers.
Far from being careful stewards of the taxpayers’ money, politicians are on the same side of the bargaining table as government employees — against the taxpayers, who aren’t allowed to be part of the negotiation. This is why the head of New York’s largest public union in the mid-’70s, Victor Gotbaum, gloated, “We have the ability to elect our own boss.”
Democratic politicians don’t think of themselves as “management.” They don’t respond to union demands for more money by saying, “Are you kidding me?” They say, “Great — get me a raise too!”
Democrats buy the votes of government workers with generous pay packages and benefits — paid for by someone else — and then expect a kickback from the unions in the form of hefty campaign donations, rent-a-mobs and questionable union political activity when they run for re-election.
In 2006, 10,000 public employees staged a rally outside the New Jersey State House to protest the mere discussion of a cut to their gold-plated salaries and benefits. Then-Gov. Jon Corzine leapt onto the stage shouting: “We will fight for a fair contract!”
Only later, someone noticed: Wait — isn’t he management? (It takes a special kind of courage to promise 10,000 crazed union agitators that you’ll fight to get them more money.)
Service Employees International Union officials openly threaten California legislators. At a 2009 legislative hearing, an SEIU member sneered into a microphone: “We helped to getchu into office, and we gotta good memory. Come November, if you don’t back our program, we’ll getchu out of office.”
It used to be widely understood that collective bargaining has no place in government employment. In 1937, the American president beloved by liberals, FDR, warned that collective bargaining “cannot be transplanted into the public service.” George Meany, head of the AFL-CIO for a quarter century, said unions were not appropriate for civil servants. As recently as 1978, the vast majority of states prohibited unionization of government employees.
Anytime there is the slightest suggestion that perhaps in the middle of a deep recession, public school teachers should pay 1.5 percent of their salaries toward their extravagant health care plans for their entire families, suddenly we get television ads of hard-working men doing dangerous jobs on docks and in foundries while being abused by their greedy capitalist overseers.
The unions must be desperately hoping that no one will notice … Wait a minute! WE’RE TALKING ABOUT TEACHERS! This isn’t the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” — it’s Mrs. Cooper’s seventh-grade “values clarification” class.
With heavy union dues, labor has plenty of money to pay for propaganda and to threaten and bribe politicians.
On his first day in office, the Republican governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, signed an executive order denying public sector employees the right to bargain collectively — something that had been granted, naturally, by a Democratic governor.
As a result, Indiana government employees instantly got to take home an extra thousand dollars that no longer went to union dues — and good employees started getting raises, while bad employees got cashiered.
But government workers think the job of everyone else in the economy is to protect their high salaries, crazy work rules and obscene pensions. They self-righteously lecture us about public service, the children, a “living wage” — all in the service of squeezing more money from the taxpayer to fund their breathtakingly selfish job arrangements.
There’s never a recession if you work for the government. The counties with the highest per capita income aren’t near New York City or Los Angeles — they’re in the Washington, D.C., area — a one-company town where the company is the government. The three counties with the highest incomes in the entire country are all suburbs of Washington. Eleven of the 25 counties with the highest incomes are near Washington.
For decades now, the Democrats have had a good gig buying the votes of government workers with outrageous salaries, benefits and work rules — and then sticking productive earners with the bill. But, now, we’re out of money, no matter how long Wisconsin Democrats hide out in Illinois.