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The Public (Unions) Be Damned

Roger Kimball has an article up on the Obama regime's latest power-gift to public sector unions. It's damning in its own right, but it's hardly unique. It's quite possibly the most blatant exploitation by the unions, but it's not the first. As Roger notes, public sector unions have been one of the greatest scourges on fiscally-responsible governments.

In fact, it has me questioning the very validity of public sector unions. Because the model of the private-sector union simply doesn't translate into the public sector.

In the private sector, management has a great deal of power over the workers. But they are have constraints on them, factors that limit their actions. For example, it would be good for labor relations to simply give the workers whatever they want, but they can't. They are accountable for many things, but two of the main ones are productivity and the bottom line.

Neither of them really apply to the public sector. "Productivity" is notoriously hard to measure in the public sector, and the bottom line is largely irrelevant. The costs won't be borne by anyone management has to account to, but "the taxpayers." There is not only no incentive to do things like come in under budget, but a perverse incentive -- spend less this year, get less to spend next year.

Further, the raison d'etre of unions is to protect the workers from being exploited by management. Pretty much all of the abuses unions are organized to fight simply don't -- and can't -- happen in a government workplace. There are already tons of protections for federal workers -- look at the horror stories involved in trying to fire one that desperately needs to be fired.

In the public sector, the power balance is hopelessly out of whack. The unions can demand more and more concessions and pay hikes and protections, and there is absolutely no reason for their management -- who often belong to their own unions -- not to simply grant them. There is absolutely no connection between the concessions they grant and their own authority, compensation, or even job security.

Public sector unions are simply a luxury that we -- the taxpayers, the ultimate layer of "management" in the public sector -- can no longer afford. It's time for them to go.

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Comments (9)

In private industry, unions... (Below threshold)
sam:

In private industry, unions organize against the evil corparations.

In public sector, unions organize against the evil taxpayers.

There is not only ... (Below threshold)
Eric:
There is not only no incentive to do things like come in under budget, but a perverse incentive -- spend less this year, get less to spend next year.

Years ago I worked for the Va. Dept of Transportation. I worked on a project where we completely repaved a two mile section of road that didn't need repaving, it was perfectly fine. When I asked why we were repaving a perfectly good section of road, I was told that our office came in under budget. If we came in under budget, we weren't going to get that money next year. In fact, they ripped up so much of the road that they ended up going over budget enough to justify getting a budget increase the next year.

That's how government works.

Let them go on strike. See... (Below threshold)
BlueNight:

Let them go on strike. See how much money the taxpayers save then.

"We refuse to define three-paragraph rules for open spaces unless we get $45,000 each year, with retirement pay of $30,000 each year until death, with full medical."

Fine with me.

Public unions were created ... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Public unions were created for one reason and one reason only; democrat party support.

For that we can thank one of the most over-rated presidents of modern times, JFK, who signed into law Executive Order 10988.

Public unions were creat... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Public unions were created for one reason and one reason only; democrat party support.

For that we can thank one of the most over-rated presidents of modern times, JFK, who signed into law Executive Order 10988.

Bullseye, on both counts.

JFK was at best a mediocre President. If he'd ducked at the opportune time he'd now rate just above Jimmy Carter.

The sickness of the Unit... (Below threshold)
gaius piconius:

The sickness of the United States defined...public sector unions, progressive social politics and political correctness. It's a terminal malady with the clinical name...nulli cerebellum Demokrati compostico. Unless treated by Nov 2012...prognosis... grim.

don't forget government 'ed... (Below threshold)
Idahoser:

don't forget government 'education'. The rest would hardly be possible if the masses weren't indoctrinated properly.

The cited editorial is repo... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson:

The cited editorial is reporting on a guidance letter. Here is the link to read the actual letter that the editorial is about:

http://www.afge.org/Index.cfm/NationalCouncilPre-DecisionalInvolvement.pdf?Fuse=document&documentID=2629&FileID=2773

The Mafia-mobbed-up Kennedy... (Below threshold)

The Mafia-mobbed-up Kennedy Crime Family's pretend "president" is not "one of the most over-rated presidents of modern times."

Kennedy is absolutely the most overrated pretender to that position of all time!




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