“Wisconsin labor officials fairly note that they’ve acceded to many of their governor’s specific demands — that workers contribute to their pensions and health-care costs, for example. But they don’t want to lose the right to collective bargaining.
The Maddow people said all of the demands except for that of giving up the right of collective bargaining. How accurate that is as opposed to the National Review, I don't know. It seems that there is substantial agreement between the two, however, which is nice to see.
But that is exactly what they need to lose.
Private-sector unions fight with management over an equitable distribution of profits. Government unions negotiate with friendly politicians over taxpayer money, putting the public interest at odds with union interests, and, as we’ve seen in states such as California and Wisconsin, exploding the cost of government.”
I don't think this is quite true.
Yes, Equitable distribution of profits are indeed matters of negotiation in private sector negotiations with Unions. But they are not in the public sector. Pay raises, benefits and salaries are always important points of negotiations, public or private, and sometimes even more important in the public sector, because laws that often apply to private employers do not always apply to public sector employers, and there must be some method available to work out disagreements between the two parties to the contract.
In fact, it appears that it is only the use of Unions that allows bargaining to be governed by contract, and the behavior on the part of the employer to be governed by anything other than political experiency. Indeed, there is enough political expediency already in the behavior of the government towards its employees. Civil Service regulations were a result of the early quarrels in this sort of matter, protecting workers from at least some degree of political exploitation, and protecting the country from a complete turnover in government jobs each time administration or party might change.
Unions have gone some distance in providing at least some protections beyond those granted by the civil service.
Salaries and benefits are not the only things unions and workers have gained through collective bargaining.
Working conditions are a major point of contention between government agencies and workers. Where possible, government employers have sought to increase the difficulty of working conditions and to create more dangerous working conditions for workers in government jobs as a means of instituting savings. Fire fighters and police will frequently be able to tell stories about the difficulties created by not putting sufficient personnel on the job, with consequent increased risk for these folks. Some schools are fully as dangerous as some police jobs, and the protections are much less serious for employees.
Some folks on the right wing believe that an increase in class size to up to sixty students is not unreasonable, in the same way that some police jurisdictions have felt it appropriate to reduce the officers in a squad car from two to one. I suggest that such things are dangerous for the workers involved and give a false impression of how dangerous some neighborhoods might be if sufficient policing were supplied.
I can also suggest that the number of cases that some social workers are forced to take responsibility for is more than it is possible to actually process and deal with in a safe and protective fashion. Children's services are very hard hit in this regard, and they have been for years. The working conditions are woeful.
I would further suggest that the government is fully capable of holding its own against union pressure, since all of these problems have been of reasonably long standing, through administrations of both parties. The Unions could be criticized for not being more hard-nosed in looking out for their members, but you need to remember that we are talking about public sector unions here, and most of them have, by now, reached some sort of accomidation with the governments with which they negotiate.
Blaming the fiscal plight of the states on the unions is pretty much straight rhetoric, near as I can tell.
We've been creating and going through the single largest economic downturn since The Great Depression over the past ten years or so. Any number of imprudent financial institutions have bit the dust, and a major housing bubble has burst. A record number of people have been out of work and continue to be out of work. Our manufacturing base is down. We refuse to pass sufficient protective tarrifs to make sure that the rest of our manufacturing base has some sort of a fighting chance. We have borrowed a huge amount of money to pay for a tax break to the very very very very wealthiest folks in this country, and even now struggle to pay that money back, while the congress has recently held up all business unless we agreed to continue that policy.
Oddly enough, the fact that tax revenues are down is now greeted with terrible shock and rage by the Republican Right and the Ultra Right. Clearly, the people to blame, they suggest to us, are the people who spend their time doing our scutt labor and putting their lives on the line for us; and the place where we need to make the correction is by attacking the slim margin that allows these folk, by and large, some margin of dignity and safety. By making the lives of these folks more marginal and more dangerous, the net effect will; be to make government less useful, and we will be attacking some of the more useful functions the government serves.
These has been done in the past by cutting police down, by cutting back fire-fighters, by not paying for infrasystem repairs, by not caring so well for our underprivilaged, for the endangered and at risk kids. Already we have pretty much dismantled our public mental health system.
“The labor-politician negotiations can’t be fair when the unions can put so much money into campaign spending. Victor Gotbaum, a leader in the New York City chapter of AFSCME, summed up the problem in 1975 when he boasted, “We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss.””
That may in fact have been true in 1975. I don't know. Unions were certainly in much better shape at the time, and covered a much larger portion of the working public than they do today, didn't they?
You'd have a way to go to convince me that such a thing might possibly be true today; just as you'd have to go quite a way to convince me that Ford was still president, both statements that might be made about 1970.
How much money Unions can put into elections today is not what I see The National Review arguing, is it? Nor do they mention the amount of money, legitimate money, under current law, as is the union money, contributed to right wing causes by the Right Wing. Is there something wrong with labor advocating in their interest, just as the Right Wing advocates in theirs?
It sounds as though The National Review believes there is.