We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I do not know the history of how government unions came to be, but I deplore them. Who are they defending those employees from? Their evil neighbors who pay their salaries and their benefits?
The days of fat-cat evil Capitalists oppressing workers are long gone. Private sector unionization is in the dusk of its history, but government unionization is growing by leaps and bounds. Can anyone imagine a unionized military?
In my view, public employee unionization should be illegal because their opponent, in effect, is the public. But there is the basic right to free assembly. At the very least, public employee unions should be prohibited from politics and political contributions: that seems corrupt by definition but, again, there are logical consistency and freedom issues here.
As the latest BLS statistics reveal, more union members – 7.9 million – now work for the government than the 7.4 million union members working for companies in the private economy, which has five times more workers. This imbalance has profound consequences for all workers, and for democracy itself.
We have allowed public employees to ascend to a privileged place - a pedestal that they were never intended to occupy by the Founders - to the point where their influence over politicians, especially at the state and local level, have made them a force unto themselves in growing the size of government. More public employees means more union members, which means more dues money, which translates into more political contributions to friendly politicians who will gladly repeat the cycle.
This vicious circle must be ended. The biggest reason is that it is bankrupting us.
At Reason, Class War: How public servants became our masters:
People who are supposed to serve the public have become a privileged elite that exploits political power for financial gain and special perks. Because of its political power, this interest group has rigged the game so there are few meaningful checks on its demands. Government employees now receive far higher pay, benefits, and pensions than the vast majority of Americans working in the private sector. Even when they are incompetent or abusive, they can be fired only after a long process and only for the most grievous offenses.
It’s a two-tier system in which the rulers are making steady gains at the expense of the ruled. The predictable results: Higher taxes, eroded public services, unsustainable levels of debt, and massive roadblocks to reforming even the poorest performing agencies and school systems. If this system is left to grow unchecked, we will end up with a pale imitation of the free society envisioned by the Founders.
One thing that seems to be overlooked when observing this engine of financial ruin, is that the cops & firemen, you know, the guys with the guns & the legal authority to use them, are virtually all unionized government employees enjoying the salaries, retirement benefits & perks that come with those positions.
Can they be expected to side with the taxpayers and give that up when this unsustainable scheme collapses?
I'm thinking we'll find out sooner rather than later.
I do not know the history of how government unions came to be, but I deplore them.
A big part of the responsibility lies with President Kennedy, whose Executive Order 10988 of January 17,1962 allowed Federal employees to unionize. Some sources say this also resulted in mass unionization for state and local employees.
While this may be the case, there were unions of some government employees before JFK’s Executive Order 10988 of 1962, such as the Transport Workers Union of America, which by 1940 represented workers in the publicly owned and operated New York City subway system.
I absolutely agree that public employee unions should be illegal. Even if I accepted the union arguments (which I don't, necessarily), public employees already have avenues for grievance and pay negotiation - that is: the taxpayers.
Public section unions form a forth branch of government. Union dues are collected and then this money is used to back politicians sympathetic to the Union's demands. It becomes a perfect circle of legalized corruption. And once entrenched, the circle cannot be broken.
I would agree that federal government workers do not need a union. They have some protection from gross discrimination built into civil service regulations. "Average" government worker pay has largely been misrepresented because, for the past 20 years lower wage jobs have been increasingly contracted out.