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Daamien
02-26-2011, 12:18 PM
I wrote a thread about unions (http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?281405-Public-Unions-Flaws-in-Collective-Bargaining) the other day but forgot to include a poll. So, should public employees be permitted to unionize? Feel free to vote.


I'm going to start writing about controversial topics that interest me and share my unorthodox viewpoints. Share your thoughts and feel free to challenge me.

Today I'm going to focus on collective bargaining, particularly in the public sector. This is a topic in the news because of a stand-off between lawmakers and unions in Wisconsin who oppose the governor and Republican majority's plan to reduce union benefits and strictly limit public collective bargaining rights to decisions regarding pay. 14 Democratic lawmakers in the minority who oppose the bill to rein in public sector spending and limit collective bargaining have fled the state of Wisconsin to prevent a vote in the state senate, which requires a quorum of 20 members to vote on a bill. Given that there are only 19 Republicans in the majority, the bill cannot pass under this quasi-filibuster. I want to explore three topics:

Are the benefit cuts appropriate and necessary?
Should public workers be allowed to collectively bargain by forming unions?
Should lawmakers be held accountable for neglecting their duty to partake in the legislative process?

CUTS:
While I think the benefit cuts are unfortunate given how most public workers probably work hard to contribute to society and were not directly responsible for the mishandling of state and municipal funds, the cuts are necessary to bring in excessive public spending. I am not opposed to raising taxes as a means of temporarily bringing revenue balance in a crisis, but that is not to say that spending cuts should not be the priority. The state will simply use increased tax revenue as justification for increased spending and the crisis will repeat itself while even more capital is drained from the private sector, affecting unemployment. So, how bad are the proposed cuts? Governor Walker’s bill attempts to raise what union members pay for their health coverage from 6% to 12%, which seems reasonable given the average American worker pays between 20-25%. Furthermore, public employees would fund 50 percent of the annual pension payment, which would be a contribution of about 5.8% of their 2011 salary. I think it's fair to expect public workers to have to shoulder some of the burden of their benefits, especially given how private sector taxpayers in Wisconsin make only 74% of their state-level public sector counterparts. This is the 48th worst pay differential in the nation.

The alternative to cutting benefits and raising taxes would be a reduction in the number essential public workers. How many public sector jobs might be lost if concessions are not made by public unions? If the state misses a deadline to refinance $165 million of debt it will be forced to start issuing layoff notices to a potential total of 1,500 employees. I don't think anyone wants to see that scenario play out, so it would be in the best interest of the taxpayers and the public employees to find some common ground by agreeing to a package of tying any temporary revenue increased to cuts to benefits and non-essential services.

There is one final option: the state defaults on its debt obligations and declares bankruptcy. This sounds scary, but losses are shared with investors who will no longer receive 100% principal as debt is liquidated. In a bankruptcy scenario the restructuring of the state's finances would be achieved quicker, allowing for the market to rebalance risk and reward and resume growth at a faster pace. The consequence for government will be that it will be hamstringed in further efforts to incur high levels of debt as a result of higher interest rates. The economic downturn would admittedly be sharp initially and services would be limited to what is essential, but the recovery would be hastened by the liquidation. The sooner and more thorough the correction, the more economically sound the state would be in the future. Even if this scenario were to potentially occur, which is highly unlikely because of the stigma associated with bankruptcy and the political fallout, the US federal government and the Federal Reserve would likely bailout the state to prevent the liquidation process entirely or extend the correction to the benefit of the politicians and financiers who were on the losing side of betting on the state's finances. This would create a moral hazard by establishing a precedent for future bailouts when states fail to take serious steps to balance their budgets. This encourages privatized gains while socializing losses, making taxpayers nationally pay for the excesses of a few.

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING:
Let's start by exploring why collective bargaining in general exists. Unions are proposed, voted on, and certified to advocate worker rights and benefits. They negotiate to secure these interests. Unions collect dues from their members in order to advocate for these rights and benefits, organize a professional team to negotiate for their interests, and pay into union-sponsored plans such as work insurance in the case of a strike. So, should public employees have collective bargaining rights? The question comes down to who they are bargaining and negotiating with. Private sector trade unions negotiate with management, who act on behalf of shareholder interests, as two distinct entities without impacting third-parties. It is in the interest of a private sector union not to financially ruin the business they are negotiating with. The problem with public sector unions is that taxpayers are not represented at the negotiating table when the unions and politicians both have a vested interest in more spending.

It's interesting to note that military members don't have collective bargaining rights as public sector employees. The reason is not because they provide an essential service which requires compliance and hierarchy, because the same argument could be made for police unions. It's because their work is not for the distinct benefit of themselves like private sector workers, it is to the public benefit. As public servants they should be treated well and rewarded for their work, but their costs and benefits must be considered by the general public rather than negotiating independently.

Now, there are plenty of other problems with public unions as well. Private sector employment is based on needs and merit, but this generally does not apply to the public sector where it is arguably more important to society to effectively address public needs and instill meritocracy. For example, agreements with teachers unions such as in New York generally establish that seniority outranks performance in determining pay and employment within the public school system. Lack of competition within these public institutions leads to poorer services and sacrifices a younger, more innovative workforce in order to protect the established. Another significant problem is that many public workers do not have the right to refuse to join a union or the right not to pay compulsory union dues. This, along with the fact that public union certification does not require secret ballots, provides public unions with an unnatural monopoly and hurts public workers who do not desire to partake in the collective bargaining.

LAWMAKERS:
What should happen to Wisconsin's state senators who fled the state to prevent a quorum and avoid voting on difficult cuts? Well, given that they are abandoning their jobs to participate in governance for Wisconsin's constituents, they should lose their jobs entirely. If they want to filibuster the bill, they must do so within the legislative process, not by avoiding the legislative process. We live in a republic where the constitutional rule of law is supreme, not any decision of a majority. Therefore, their efforts should be focused on overturning such a bill as a violation of constitutional rights and limitations if they cannot overcome the bill through a vote.

guitarlifter
02-26-2011, 12:23 PM
Anything that isn't absolutely 100% necessary to exist as part of the government in order to protect every last one of a person's rights shouldn't exist.

Golding
02-26-2011, 12:25 PM
I don't have a problem with public unions, and I'm not so sure about forcing them against unionizing. But likewise, forcing people into unions just to get a job is atrocious and is much more commonplace than anyone forcing against unions. There's a lot of talk about "union rights" being removed. That's not what we're seeing.

The thing is, I don't think that teachers should be public workers, nor fire departments nor policemen. I think Wisconsin is making the right move for the sake of fiscal survival, and a precipitous approach is probably better than just eliminating the public sector altogether. I wish my state had the courage to do the same, but that will never happen.

MRoCkEd
02-26-2011, 12:26 PM
Nope! I have no problem restricting "union rights" from people who live off the taxpayer.

pcosmar
02-26-2011, 12:29 PM
Nope. Government jobs should be a public service, not a career.

FrankRep
02-26-2011, 12:29 PM
Public Unions will Exist regardless.

Should they have special Collective bargaining rights? NO

Aratus
02-26-2011, 01:42 PM
can mere unions encrouch on a sense of sovreignty?

Anti Federalist
02-26-2011, 01:52 PM
No.

All of the free market checks and balances WRT to collective bargaining; labor costs, profit and loss, competition and productivity all go out the window when it's a government job, paid for with extorted money, that has no competition in the market and no incentives for increased productivity, advancement and market growth.

freshjiva
02-26-2011, 02:00 PM
Gonna have to disagree with most here and vote Yes, public unions should be allowed to exist.

Public workers earn a living from the branches of government that are necessary for the general benefit of the people. If you agree with the Founders and believe that governments can actually add value to society, then public employees are every bit as important as private sector employees.

The only reason why you would vote NO to this question is if you're a pure anarchist.

FrankRep
02-26-2011, 02:05 PM
Gonna have to disagree with most here and vote Yes, public unions should be allowed to exist.

I agree. I have no problem with the existence of public unions.

RonPaulCult
02-26-2011, 02:07 PM
Yes they should exist if the workers choose to create them. The right to associate freely is a universal, natural right. HOWEVER, the government has no obligation to work with/deal with unions - just like a private employer does not have to.

RonPaulCult
02-26-2011, 02:09 PM
Gonna have to disagree with most here and vote Yes, public unions should be allowed to exist.

Public workers earn a living from the branches of government that are necessary for the general benefit of the people. If you agree with the Founders and believe that governments can actually add value to society, then public employees are every bit as important as private sector employees.

The only reason why you would vote NO to this question is if you're a pure anarchist.

I agree with most of your post except for the last part. Would a pure anarchist use GOVERNMENT FORCE to not allow people to unionize/associate freely?

RonPaulCult
02-26-2011, 02:13 PM
You might as well be asking if The Muslim Brotherhood should exist. Um - if they want to exist they can - are you going to use the force of government to stop them because you don't like them?

Anti Federalist
02-26-2011, 02:13 PM
The only reason why you would vote NO to this question is if you're a pure anarchist.

See post #8

100DollarBarrelofOil
02-26-2011, 02:25 PM
Seems like the wrong question to be asking, honestly. "Should public unions exist?" implies that the state should have its hands in education/law enforcement/the fire department. Realistically, all these services should either be completely private or the state should contract these services out to private companies.

Given that, sure, these workers can unionize if the market allows for it.

Brooklyn Red Leg
02-26-2011, 02:30 PM
Hell. No.

Public servants (remember, that term?) make a living at the sufferance of the taxpayers. Their method of earning money is not even remotely the same as a private sector worker that may or may not belong to a union. Sorry, but you accept relative job security whereas the rest of us live under The Sword of Damocles in the private sector.

VIDEODROME
02-26-2011, 02:39 PM
Strangely aren't public labor unions kind of a redundancy? I mean you're assembling a group to represent your interests and negotiate with your representative government?

Oh well I guess I can see some value in them for public workers but we can't have our government give them premium pensions and benefits that burden the private sector who has to pay for it.

AlexMerced
02-26-2011, 02:47 PM
The Questions shouldn't be whether people have right to organize unions in the public sector, the questions should be whether there should be a public sector at all.

romacox
02-26-2011, 02:56 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVJM5s8GzJ8&feature=player_embedded

FrankRep
02-26-2011, 02:57 PM
The Questions shouldn't be whether people have right to organize unions in the public sector, the questions should be whether there should be a public sector at all.
The majority of Americans don't want anarchy and neither do I.

Mini-Me
02-26-2011, 03:00 PM
I don't like the emphasis or wording, but I voted "no" anyway. Instead of focusing on the employees, the question should ask, "Should the government be allowed to hire unionized employees?" (No.) I get the feeling the "maybe" votes had to do with the misplaced emphasis as well.

VIDEODROME
02-26-2011, 03:03 PM
Hehe there should be a public sector within reason and the more local the better. Having public works and workers next door is easier to watchdog and keep it smaller and hold it accountable.

oyarde
02-26-2011, 03:04 PM
Nope! I have no problem restricting "union rights" from people who live off the taxpayer.

Correct. If your check comes from taxpayers , you should not be allowed a union.

ClayTrainor
02-26-2011, 03:10 PM
The majority of Americans don't want anarchy and neither do I.

The majority of Americans think it's okay for a group called "the government" to steal private property, and so does frank.

FrankRep
02-26-2011, 03:13 PM
The majority of Americans think it's okay for a group called "the government" to steal private property, and so does frank.

So does Ron Paul apparently.

pcosmar
02-26-2011, 03:19 PM
The only reason why you would vote NO to this question is if you're a pure anarchist.

Not even close.
I am for limited government.
There are very few jobs necessary, aside from elected positions and those should be considered "service" rather than employment.
So no,I don't think there should be "public employees" let alone unionized employees.

ClayTrainor
02-26-2011, 03:20 PM
The Questions shouldn't be whether people have right to organize unions in the public sector, the questions should be whether there should be a public sector at all.

The word "public" makes no sense to me, when associated with the state.

These are privately owned and managed organizations that have been granted the power to steal from people, through an organization called the state.

Warrior_of_Freedom
02-26-2011, 03:21 PM
no, I hate unions both public and private. I was in a union and they were trying to dictate who I should vote for and where I should shop, etc.

ClayTrainor
02-26-2011, 03:22 PM
So does Ron Paul apparently.


"All initiation of force is a violation of someone else's rights, whether initiated by an individual or the state, for the benefit of an individual or group of individuals, even if it's supposed to be for the benefit of another individual or group of individuals." - Ron Paul

MHD: "What do you say to people who advocate for self-government rather than a return to the Constitution? Just like ..."

Ron Paul: "Great. Fine. And I think that's really what my goal is.".

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1376/1404773871_44f3260a74.jpg

FrankRep
02-26-2011, 03:27 PM
"All initiation of force is a violation of someone else's rights, whether initiated by an individual or the state, for the benefit of an individual or group of individuals, even if it's supposed to be for the benefit of another individual or group of individuals." - Ron Paul

MHD: "What do you say to people who advocate for self-government rather than a return to the Constitution? Just like ..."

Ron Paul: "Great. Fine. And I think that's really what my goal is.".

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1376/1404773871_44f3260a74.jpg

Go to New Hampshire declare Anarchy. See how well it works out for ya. I'll be curious myself.

ClayTrainor
02-26-2011, 03:29 PM
Go to New Hampshire declare Anarchy. See how well it works out for ya. I'll be curious myself.

Go to "_________" and declare the constitution as valid. See how well it works out for ya. I'll be curious myself. ;)

pcosmar
02-26-2011, 03:46 PM
Go to New Hampshire declare Anarchy. See how well it works out for ya. I'll be curious myself.

No income taxes and a LIMITED Govt is not anarchy. It is Constitutional.

FrankRep
02-26-2011, 03:50 PM
No income taxes and a LIMITED Govt is not anarchy. It is Constitutional.

Yes. I support the Constitution, not Anarchy.

The Constitutional Amendment for Income taxes needs to be repealed, however.

Mini-Me
02-26-2011, 04:28 PM
Back on topic, this is not a poll. ;)

mczerone
02-26-2011, 04:28 PM
Yes. I support the Constitution, not Anarchy.

The Constitutional Amendment for Income taxes needs to be repealed, however.

The majority of Americans think it's Constitutional for a group called "the government" to steal private property, but frank does not.

Go to NH and declare the amendment invalid. See how well it works out for ya. I'll be curious myself.

(Do you see the irrational double standard you're applying to the anarchists?)

Doug8796
02-26-2011, 04:31 PM
they should be able to unionize without bargaining rights.

teacherone
02-26-2011, 04:57 PM
Question translation:

Should an entity granted monopoly power by government over vital industries be able to demand higher wages paid by taxpayers forced to purchase its product?

South Park Fan
02-26-2011, 05:22 PM
Coercive monopolies should not exist.

Brian4Liberty
02-26-2011, 07:02 PM
The larger issue here is who will look out for taxpayers, Unions or not. There's hundreds of ways in which taxpayer money is wasted and stolen.

Dr.3D
02-26-2011, 07:11 PM
Any worker where the company they are working for has no chance of going bankrupt and through a restructuring has no business having bargaining rights.

MN Patriot
02-26-2011, 07:21 PM
I've been a union member for 20 years in the private sector. Plenty of laziness and bad attitude towards the employer when the Marxist unions are continually whining about profits, CEO pay, etc.
The public unions likely share the same union enabled laziness and have a bad attitude towards the taxpayers. Kind of ironic, they pay taxes, too.

QueenB4Liberty
02-26-2011, 08:37 PM
No.

All of the free market checks and balances WRT to collective bargaining; labor costs, profit and loss, competition and productivity all go out the window when it's a government job, paid for with extorted money, that has no competition in the market and no incentives for increased productivity, advancement and market growth.

I agree with this.

Matt Collins
02-27-2011, 02:35 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVJM5s8GzJ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FRVZYzfxgI&feature=related

freshjiva
02-28-2011, 10:02 AM
I agree with most of your post except for the last part. Would a pure anarchist use GOVERNMENT FORCE to not allow people to unionize/associate freely?

You missed my point. If we had a pure anarchy, we wouldn't be having this discussion, because there would be no public employees to unionize.
That is the only legitimate reason, in my opinion, why you wouldn't have public unions. The public sector doesn't exist.


See post #8

I did see your earlier post. I disagree that free market competition is a necessary requisite to union formation.

But that's why I said that if you agree with the Founders that a central (or State) government CAN add value to society, then you'd agree with them that public employees are every bit as important as private sector employees. Even though they are operating in a public, noncompetitive environment, why should they be denied the right to unionize? I agree, ideally speaking, that public employees should be a service, much like working for a nonprofit charitable organization, but who can enforce that?

The public sector is no different, structurally, from any other organization: we, the taxpayers, are the bosses AND owners of all public assets and jobs. Let them unionize. We ultimately decide their compensation (through our elected leaders, of course).


The Questions shouldn't be whether people have right to organize unions in the public sector, the questions should be whether there should be a public sector at all.

Definitely not going to argue over the merits of anarchism versus republicanism, but if you're for pure anarchy, that's the only reason why you'd be opposed to public unions, because of the fact that in pure anarchy, the public sector wouldn't exist.

erowe1
02-28-2011, 10:11 AM
But that's why I said that if you agree with the Founders that a central (or State) government CAN add value to society, then you'd agree with them that public employees are every bit as important as private sector employees. Even though they are operating in a public, noncompetitive environment, why should they be denied the right to unionize?

They shouldn't. And their employer shouldn't be denied the right to fire them for it.

ChaosControl
02-28-2011, 10:13 AM
Any group of people, regardless of whether they are private or public should have the ability to collectively bargain if they so desire.
That doesn't mean I support the way current unions do thing, but I think everyone has the right to unionize and therefore have more equal bargaining power with their employer.

Bergie Bergeron
02-28-2011, 10:31 AM
What about the right of association? The liberty to unionize (sp?) is as good as any liberties..

erowe1
02-28-2011, 10:34 AM
What about the right of association? The liberty to unionize (sp?) is as good as any liberties..

Yes. And again, the right of association also includes the liberty of the employer not to employ them.

The union workers have the right to try to collectively bargain. They don't have the right to be successful.

ChaosControl
02-28-2011, 10:37 AM
Yes. And again, the right of association also includes the liberty of the employer not to employ them.

The union workers have the right to try to collectively bargain. They don't have the right to be successful.

Of course. The people can collectively bargain and refuse to work until their demands are met, but the employer can choose to fire them and be without any workers if he so desires.

Kludge
02-28-2011, 10:43 AM
Sure, so long as the government NEVER accepts (and ideally, a right-to-work law should be in place) that all employees be part of a union. For example, many public teachers are forced to unionize & pay dues even if they don't want to. There was a publicized case in MI where an independent daycare was forced to pay dues and be represented by some childworkers' union because she accepted clients who receive gov't subsidies.

pcosmar
02-28-2011, 10:45 AM
Of course. The people can collectively bargain and refuse to work until their demands are met, but the employer can choose to fire them and be without any workers if he so desires.
Or to hire other workers of his choosing.
Of course the Union will be there to beat and harass them as they attempt to get to work.
And the police (another union) will protect them.

pcosmar
02-28-2011, 10:48 AM
Sure, so long as the government NEVER accepts (and ideally, a right-to-work law should be in place) that all employees be part of a union. For example, many public teachers are forced to unionize & pay dues even if they don't want to. There was a publicized case in MI where an independent daycare was forced to pay dues and be represented by some childworkers' union because she accepted clients who receive gov't subsidies.

The newly elected "R"s are promising to make Michigan a "right to work" state.
I ain't holding my breath.

erowe1
02-28-2011, 10:52 AM
Of course. The people can collectively bargain and refuse to work until their demands are met, but the employer can choose to fire them and be without any workers if he so desires.

Most of the time, the employer would so desire. They would replace their union workers with non-union ones, and end up with more productive workers at lower cost.

The government should do that with its employees. And it should not have any laws that prevent private employers from doing it. If both of those things happened, unions would practically disappear.

sailingaway
02-28-2011, 10:52 AM
I go at this backwards. When should something even BE a 'public job'? My thought is, only when the private sector can't do it. So it is a job usually where strikes would be out of line. ALWAYS benefits would be paid for by the taxpayer who is not at the table to negotiate when benefits come up. The workers already have 'bargaining' through their representation in government just as much as other taxpayers paying their benefits, so why do they get two bites at that apple against those paying the bills?

I would think they could organize as voter groups, rather than as unions, and if they are of a different kind of work, perhaps it shouldn't be a government job, at all.

Having said that, I haven't thought this through entirely, that is just my philosophical knee jerk reaction.

Kludge
02-28-2011, 10:57 AM
The newly elected "R"s are promising to make Michigan a "right to work" state.
I ain't holding my breath.
I think it has a decent chance to get through. Mackinac Center has been doing a great campaign against forced unions in MI & was involved in the MI daycare union case. With econ. conditions as shitty as they are in MI, and the need to start cutting edu. funding, crushing the teachers' unions should be getting more and more popular.

MC resources on topic @ http://www.mackinac.org/8527

pcosmar
02-28-2011, 11:05 AM
I think it has a decent chance to get through. Mackinac Center has been doing a great campaign against forced unions in MI & was involved in the MI daycare union case. With econ. conditions as shitty as they are in MI, and the need to start cutting edu. funding, crushing the teachers' unions should be getting more and more popular.

MC resources on topic @ http://www.mackinac.org/8527

conditions
chance
need

I will hope. I still ain't holding my breath.
;)

Stary Hickory
02-28-2011, 11:50 AM
I am opposed because it is abusive of a system which is imposed on the people via force. In any normal situation each and every individual can choose not to patronize companies that have unions which make their products too expensive or of poor quality.

The individual has no option when dealing with the state. So no I am opposed to them. But let us be honest here, Unions should NEVER have special laws protecting them. They should have no more rights than a lone individual looking for employment should have.

Unions have one weapon and that is quitting all at once, this is legal and requires no legal protection. If they choose to strike then they it follows that they should be in danger of losing their jobs if the employer thinks it worth it to get rid of them and find new hires.

What makes unions so bad is the laws on the books that forces companies to deal with unions. This needs to change.