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.
We have reached a potential turning point in the relationship of public employee unions and the electorate they ostensibly serve. Over the past year, there has been a steady drumbeat of criticism focused on public unions and the havoc they have wrought on our public finances. Governments -- city, country, state, and federal -- are drowning in red ink Our taxes are flowing to ever-voracious government workers (whose own ranks are growing steadily while the private payrolls shrink); they are better compensated than private workers in comparable positions.
What is to be done?
In my view, public unions should be illegal due to conflict of interest.
The whole purpose of unions was to reign in abusive corporations in the early 1900s. There were legitimate reasons (child labor, worker safety) for the unions to be given power. There is a natural limit to the power a union can yield against a corporation-if salary and benefit demands become too great the company will go bankrupt (except GM and Chrysler). No such natural limits exist in the public sector. It is almost impossible to reign in excessive government once the union gains control of management (elected officials). You end up with a California situation where taxpayers have lost control of the fiscal process.
Yes, public sector unions are a conflict of interest. More than that, they are a major contributing factor to our current economic woes.
Perhaps the Ronald Reagan model of hiring non-union workers to replace Air Traffic Controllers might be appropriate. The unions wouldn't even have to go on strike. I am sure there are thousands of unemployed, skilled workers across the country that would be happy to do a simple government job for half the salary that is being paid now. Just list the jobs on Monster and let people bid for employment.
I realize that this is illegal under current regulations, and we won't see any change to the regulations with current politicians in place, but there are marketplace solutions to these issues. We just have to decide to do it.
The first step is to throw out a few politicians.
What a great idea! Fire the whole lot and re-open the jobs (or the portion of them actually needed) to bidding. Close down the whole thing except for the military. Give them a 50% raise effective immediately.
iirc reading somwhere, the precedent was set by Mayor John Lindsay of NYC, allowing a municipal employee association to collectively bargain with the city --in the 1960s --just yesterday, really, in the scheme of things 'traditional'.