14 March 2011

Public Unions Should Not Be Allowed

Recently I was having a discussion with a friend who supports public unions and I was trying to get my ideas across about public unions.

I think that private individuals should have the ability to form unions. Personally, I don't think that unions are needed anymore as they currently exist. People have always had the freedom to associate and unions are just another form of association. Its perfectly acceptable that when one works for a private sector employer they can come together with their fellow employees and collectively enter into contract with their employer. Of course the employer always has the option to find new employees, should the costs of labor exceed what the business can get on the free and open market, providing he hasn't engaged in a contract that doesn't allow him to do so. While I believe any contract that doesn't allow an employer to 'start over' if contract negotiations break down is a foolish employer, but I support their ability to enter into any contract that voluntarily agree to.

Of course, public unions are a different animal then private unions. In the private sector a customer is free to buy or not to buy a service or product should that product or service not meet their needs or is priced more then they are willing to pay or whatever it may be. In a public union the employer is the public. Anyone who works for the public does so with the understanding that they are serving the public and the idea of 'making a profit' goes out the window, because they choose to work for the public and not a private individual. Working for the public means that you should expect your pay and benefits will be lower then the private sector not more than them, regardless of how 'important' the job may be.

I normally wouldn't be caught dead taking a cue from the likes of Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is my opinion that F.D.R. dealt the world a mighty blow with the policies during his term of office, the likes of which may be only equaled to those actions taken by Mr. Abraham Lincoln during his term. However, all men, regardless of their over all value have good points to be made. I take to heart those words by F.D.R. in his "Letter on the Resolution of Federation of Federal Employees Against Strikes in Federal Service" dated August 16, 1937.
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
A member of the public workforce can not make demands upon his employer because  his employer is all of the people. His employment is by its very nature based on what the people need or want. If the pay or benefits are not to his liking, he may always leave and join the private sector. To demand his employer, the public, pay him more then his job in the private sector is to say to the people whom he works for, 'I have a right to your money'. He is no longer the people's employee but now he attempts to act as it is he whom the people work for him.

Public workers are paid for by the people. It is said that the people incur taxes by their representatives, it is actually that those in power demand you give them what they ask or you can sit in a cage, but I digress from my point. If we were to equate the quality of the service given to us by comparison, we are paying for a luxury   car and getting a Volkswagon.

Statistics are compiled every year, showing us how public educated children are in the lower middle of educated children in the entire world. Our own state by state statistics show that it isn't the amount of money spent on education that isn't the problem. Some of the best schools in the US have the lowest per child per capita rate.

Teachers aren't the entire problem, the public unions are the problem. If a member of the people doesn't like the quality of Wal-Mart products, they can goto Target, or to Costco. The people however are stuck with public worker's since their jobs aren't 'readily transferable' to the private sector. It is in fact that they are, it is however the public unions that block all attempts to privatize those industries. All public workers would be far better off working in the private sector then in the public sector.

Another problem with public unions is that they and their members expect things that not even the private sector has. Pensions are no longer available in most, if not all, private sector jobs. If they aren't available in the private sector, then they ought not to be available in the public sector. The idea that you can get a portion of your income for the rest of your life isn't realistic as it once was. Many companies have choked to death on their pension plans, that is why they aren't available anymore. Today it is public sector pension plans that choke the budgets of every state, leading the people of those states to ruin.

Based on my own experience with health coverage, I've often lived without coverage because it was too expensive for me. At one dealer I worked at, the monthly rate to cover my healthcare was $571 a month, considering I made only $2200 a month, that was a large part of my income, had I taken it. The average cost of health insurance today for a family is $1176, so I would have been paying half of the total cost of my healthcare every month. If it is true in the private sector that employees pay half of the cost of their healthcare, then it ought to be that public employee's pay for half of their healthcare. Regardless of the actual percentages, it should be that public workers pay as much as private sector workers for the same thing.

In the private sector retirement plans employee contributions are the bulk of the money that gets put into the plan. Public workers aren't putting their fair share up for their retirement.

In the end, the private sector does things, produces things, provides services that people actually want because they voluntarily pay for them. Some people desire the things that public workers provide, if everyone wanted what they provide, they wouldn't work so hard to decrease their tax burden. If you are going to point a gun at my head and tell me to pay for a teacher, police, or other public worker, they better not be making more in total compensation then a private employee makes for the same job, or you might as well pull the trigger because its not worth it.

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