Blogs > Liberty and Power > Public Sector Unions Have No Right to Collective Bargaining

Feb 18, 2011 10:57 pm

Public Sector Unions Have No Right to Collective Bargaining

Public sector union’s collective bargaining is not the same as private sector union’s collective bargaining. When the United Auto Workers bargain with say Ford they are dealing directly with the people who will pay them. However, when the teacher’s union in Wisconsin negotiates it is not with the people who pay their salaries, the taxpayers. Instead they bargain with people who are beholden to the unions for funding, campaign workers, and votes. The taxpayers have no place in the bargaining process, so is it any wonder that the ordinary citizen is being royally screwed by these unions? Here is a charge that the Wisconsin governor has created an artificial crisis in a move to bust the union. If this article is true, which I doubt, then I say well done Governor Walker. Public sector unions, whose members earn their money at the point of a gun, have no right to bargain with people, government officials, who are not the ones responsible for making good on the deal, the taxpayers. Public sector unions are immoral and they should be abolished.

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Keith Halderman - 3/2/2011

You deny that there is collusion between public sector unions and politician I say you are wrong and your denial is absurd. How else are so many bad teachers still employed and over payed? You say I offer no proof but the evidence is abundant, declining test scores, tenure after three years, the impossibility of firing a unionized teacher, and the fact that students all over the world ouy perform American ones. Your excuses for them are lame. You really did not say anything else worth noting. If you want me to respond with personal insults I could but I refuse to stoop to your truly non-responsive level.

Arnold Shcherban - 2/28/2011

<You, as usually, did not respond to any of pointed out by me principal causes of poor state of US school education, which already contain the answer: yes, I do deny, since that wide-spread incompetence you allege without any proof, factual or statistical, is non-existent.>

How does you last comment that entirely dedicated to government's collusion with unions, can be regarded as a response to the above?
However, you insist on responding to my arguments.
Do you have a speck of integrity left in your soul?

By now you completely discredited yourself and your arguments by such responses... to no one, and therefore, I'm done with you, sir.
Don't bother to respond.

Keith Halderman - 2/27/2011

If you are so smart why don't you know the meaning of the word collusion. I will explain for your benefit. There are two parties. One gives something to the other, in this case,money, manpower, and votes, in return for something, in this case undeserved levels of pay and benefits as well as the protection of incompetence. I know you are going to say I have just described the sale of a loaf of bread at a supermarket, precisely right. GOVERNMENT POLITICIANS ARE SELLING THE USE OF THEIR MONOPOLY ON THE USE OF FORCE AND COERCION. i think that is wrong apparently you do not.

Arnold Shcherban - 2/26/2011

You, as usually, did not respond to any of pointed out by me principal causes of poor state of US school education, which already contain the answer: yes, I do deny, since that wide-spread incompetence you allege without any proof, factual or statistical, is non-existent.
Continue to live in a world of imaginary "collusion."

Keith Halderman - 2/25/2011

I have a BA in Social Science education and taught in the public schools in Florida. So, I know from first-hand experience that the alleged low quality of teacher education and performance is not a canard. If you going to say something as absurd as the “average American school teacher, is no worse, if not better, than its average European or Chinese peer” then you really should provide a much better citation. Besides colluding with politicians to bilk the taxpayer, the other main function of teacher unions is to keep bad teachers in the classroom. As you yourself admit the “US public school system produces below average results”, do you deny that the protection of incompetence by these public sector unions is an important reason for increasingly poor results?

Arnold Shcherban - 2/25/2011

You understand as much about education and teaching, as you do about representative democracy, i.e. next to nothing.
I emigrated to this country from a country with one of the best school education in the world (evaluated based on the knowledge and skills obtained by the students). In this country I used to teach and tutor Math and Physics in Junior High and High schools, and colleges.
Having kind of analytic mind I have good opportunity and time to compare pedagogical skills and methodological approaches of many American teachers with the respective ones of their European peers.
I, as many others specialists in education, came to the same unequivocal conclusion: average American school teacher, is no worse, if not better, than its average European or Chinese peer (the countries with the best school graduates in math and natural sciences.)
This effectively kills the right-wing canard about poor performance of American public school teachers.
However, the main question still remains: why does US public school system produce below average results, especially in the subjects, mentioned above?
One group of principal causes of the failure lies in essential absence of centralized and strictly enforced curriculum and severe lack of national standards in evaluation and grading of students' performance.
The second one - in socio-economic and ethnic divisions between people, which makes continuation of school education in college hardly accessible, or at least, infeasible to many, plus consistent ideological assaults and on science by religious majority and folks with agendas that have little to do with improving the quality of public or even private education.
Give me enough financial and social support and I'll provide you with the exact plan to eliminate the first group of causes over a decade.
I could have elaborated on those causes in much more details, but this is not the main topic of our debate, and, therefore, I wrap it up at this point.

Keith Halderman - 2/24/2011

What about workers who do a bad job, like the teachers in Wisconsin? Who bears the burden of that? In this example the students who are the sons and daughters of the taxpayers who are being ripped off by the union in collusion with politicians. You end collective bargaining and you end the collusion.

Keith Halderman - 2/24/2011

Your charge is false I have been responding to your absurd points, you just have no valid counter argument to what I am saying. That is why you keep on bringing up corporations. If you want me to say that some corporations use government's coercive power to benefit themselves at the expense of the public, fine that is something I have believed and argued against for years. But just because they do it does not make it right for these unions to do it too and the politicians are wrong in both cases

Arnold Shcherban - 2/24/2011

Remember, Keith, I pointed out in my first comment on your response that it makes no sense to debate with one, who instead of responding to opponent's arguments, forward new ones or misinterpret the ones he is supposed to respond to, according to informal rules of honest and unbiased debate.
But you continue to violate those rules by employing the very "breaker" of debate's logic, indicated above.
Moreover, you added something else:
self-defeating logic (which helps your opponent a lot in showing the absurdity of your main arguments, but takes away all intellectual pleasure of doing that.)

E.g. you avoided to respond to my
no representative democracy (i.e. indirect negotiating) - no democracy at all (anarchy or fascism.)
Instead, you misinterpret my support of such democracy with the insulting to anyone's intelligence notion that he assumes ALL, or even majority, of politicians/governments ALWAYS, or even on most occasions, act
on people's behalf, plus disregarding the possibility (quite often becoming a reality) that the people who continuously elect those politicians and governments who don't act on their behalf, despite numerous lessons of recent past, are themselves to be blamed for ignorance, naivety, and gullibility.
At the same time you insist that THIS
time those VERY naughty POLITICIANS do work on Wisconsin's and Indiana's people behalf by trying to take away
unions bargaining rights...?!
Very convenient, self-contradicting, and "willfully blind" position/"argument", indeed.

Further, if governments/politicians always give "sweetheart deals" to the public unions, who allegedly put them in office, then being unbiased observers and good students of elementary logic we have to conclude that Wisconsin's and other states' conservative governments give sweetheart deals to their main constituency and financial contributors - corporations - who put them in office, not to the majority of the population of those states, haven't we? Where is democracy here?
Self-defeating on your part, again.

Enjoy your self-serving fantasies, and have a good life, A.S.

Keith Halderman - 2/23/2011

If politicians act on our behalf then why is the federal government 14 trillion dollars in debt. Is the fact that Obama is going to borrow another 1.7 trillion really to our benefit or his? Like everyone else those in government act in their own best interests, which includes giving sweetheart deals to the public employees unions who put them office, not in the general interest. If you can not see that obvious fact then you are willfully blind to it.

Arnold Shcherban - 2/23/2011

<If union contracts in a private company become too onerous or if that company is mismanaged, it goes out of business; it fails and the employees lose their jobs.>
First of all, going out of business on that reason almost never happens, though the second part is true: the employees do lose their jobs, when the going of a private company get tough, though the owners and high management continue doing fine or even better.
That's exactly what's wrong with the corporate structure: the very providers of goods and services, i.e. workers get the brunt of punishment for egregious mistakes and miscalculations of the folks, i.e. the bosses, who reap the most rewards.

Arnold Shcherban - 2/23/2011

<Elected officials may have the authority to act on behalf of the electorate but they seldom do.>
Is this your primary argument (can you come up with something much, much better?)
Because, if you can't, then your entire position on the issue is doomed both logically and legally.
If, as you stated, the elected officials "seldom" act on behalf of the electorate, then the whole idea and practice of representative democracy, by itself, which exists in this and every other democratic society, is essentially a failure, i.e., does not work (or
"seldom" works?). Then welcome either
Left anarchy or private capital dictatorship or military/security state dictatorship...
(That's exactly why I greeted your suggestion with reference to Hitler.)

Also, then about 80% of the spending made by local and federal governments, including negotiating on your and my behalf with defense private companies and military contractors should be abolished.
Since the amounts of money spend by governments on all those things exceed the cost of public union contracts dozens times, why don't your fellas go after that, incomparably bigger, "prize"?
Let me answer the last question for you: private capital in this country (and some others) was targeting money invested in public sector since the initiation of the latter, often, thanks to your crowd and gullability of the American electorate, being quite successful at that. Now, in the time of economic and financial crisis it is insidiously trying to use many folks insecurities to plant the seeds of that reactionary devolution to finish public sector in its entirety in the nearest future (after 2012 presidential elections that your good fellas is set to win.)
Wisconsin government's current financial deficit came almost fully from the tax cuts given to the rich of the state. Now, with their cronies seizing the political power there, they are trying to fill up the gap on the account of the ones mostly affected by the crisis, not the ones at least affected - the affluent ones.
That's the whole kit and kaboodle behind current "fight for fiscal responsibility", and your theoretical

Keith Halderman - 2/22/2011

You are right, this is what politicians do they collude against the general welfare with those who give them benefits be it a defense contractor or public union. In this case a politician, the Governor of Wisconsin is trying to stop the collusion now and in the future. So even though the ultimate root of the problem is as you say government, the immediate cause of the problem is the unions resisting a more equitable system. When I say that public sector unions are immoral I am not saying it the union members who are immoral they are just looking out for themselves. It is with the politicians, who are supposed to be looking out for everyone, where the immorality lies

Mark Brady - 2/22/2011

You'd be on stronger ground if you were to criticize (a) the states that grant collective bargaining rights and special privileges to particular unions, and (b) the legislators that approve the settlements between their representatives and the unions. After all, aren't the unions for the most part just taking advantage of the privileges that the state bestows on them?

Keith Halderman - 2/22/2011

Elected officials may have the authority to act on behalf of the electorate but they seldom do. In this case they act on behalf of the public sector unions which give them money. manpower and votes. That is one reason why all of these states are going broke. Hitler was a socialist because he believed in a society run from the top down and ordered on the use of force and coercion,collectivism, the same as you seem to do.

Keith Halderman - 2/21/2011

Bargaining and collective bargaining are not the same thing. The government officials who buy goods are not supposed to be beholden to the vendors. If they are through say a bribe that is illegal. Also, there is competition, sometimes ,mandated, among sellers. On the other hand government officials who bargain with unions holding a monopoly are beholden to those unions through the election process. However. I will say the government should buy a lot less goods that it does now.

Arnold Shcherban - 2/21/2011

What's the point to present you, Mr. Halderman, any arguments, if you don't respond to them, as it is clear from your exchange with Mr. Rodgers.
The latter, e.g., gave you one unassailable argument by stating: "Public service employees negotiate contracts with our elected officials who have the full authority to act on the electorate's behalf." You, however, did not respond to this argument, instead referring to miscellaneous and ridiculous point about the gun to folks' head, etc.

I would add to this, that they are the officials, at least some of which you probably voted for, who collect your taxes, as well, as mine. That's what and how it happens in any democratic or, in general, civilized society.
The idea that only those things that can be negotiated directly between provider and consumer are legitimate, is pure water nonsense, and never has been or will be PRACTICALLY implemented in any civilized society.
You have the RIGHT to represent yourself in any matter, as you have the RIGHT to become the richest man on the planet Earth, but this right is not feasible for the overwhelming majority of people to "enforce", so say, and therefore they choose to work for that rich man, instead, and you or me choose to select representatives to negotiate on our behalf (as we select lawyers to represent our interests in legal matters.)

In regard to A. Hitler, you just repeat the obsolete and false canard of your regressive (since they call their adversaries progressive) fellas about him being a socialist.
First of all, he was not a socialist, but national socialist, or Nazi, who
not only jailed and killed those socialists and communists that you obviously refer to when calling him socialist, but clearly pointed at "bolshevism" (in his manifest of national socialism - Maine Kamph), that he conflated with
socialism, the same exact way and on the same reason you do now, as his and national socialism's greatest enemy.
So much for the myth of Hitler being a "socialist", targeting ignorant and "believers" (I guess they are called believers, because they believe any baloney offered them, allegedly, for their own benefits by regressive American "pundits" and self-serving politicians.)

Dale R Streeter - 2/21/2011

There's an important difference between public sector unions and those in the private sector. If union contracts in a private company become too onerous or if that company is mismanaged, it goes out of business; it fails and the employees lose their jobs. That never happens with public sector unions.

Charles W. Nuckolls - 2/20/2011

Public sector unions win concessions from government in the same way private sector unions win concessions from companies. There is no difference in principle. The taxpayers are represented in the same way stockholders are: by elected officials (legislatures and boards of directors.) One cannot condemn public unions on this count.

Mark Brady - 2/20/2011

"Public sector unions, whose members earn their money at the point of a gun, have no right to bargain with people, government officials, who are not the ones responsible for making good on the deal, the taxpayers. Public sector unions are immoral and they should be abolished."

Why stop there? On your argument, why does any person (individual workers) or any firm supplying goods to the government (e.g., munitions manufacturers) have the right to bargain with government officials?

Keith Halderman - 2/20/2011

No argument defending public sector unions just a lame insult which ignores the fact that Hitler was a socialist.

Arnold Shcherban - 2/20/2011

Heil Hitler, Herr Halderman!

Sheldon Richman - 2/20/2011

Their employing agencies should be abolished too.

Keith Halderman - 2/19/2011

Kenny do not pay taxes anymore and when they come to put in jail for doing so resist them and I am pretty sure you will see the point of a gun. Better yet make taxes truly voluntary then see how much you collect, Every public employee is paid with tax money and if the gun waS not there than the money would not be there either

Kenny Rodgers - 2/19/2011

Public service employees negotiate contracts with our elected officials who have the full authority to act on the electorate's behalf. If anyone is dealing under the strain of a "point of a gun," particularly in the cited Wisconsin case, it would be the unions representing the states teachers, police, firemen, nurses, and other hard working Wisconsonians. Working Americans teaching our children, endangering their lives fighting crime, fires, natural disasters, medical personnel saving our families lives, etc. Keep on our current path of dividing workers into public vs. private, old vs. young, white vs. blue collar and we destroy our communities. Take away the pride of labor and fair renumeration of same and we undermine our society by those who serve us, public and private workers. If we're not careful, say goodbye to all our freedoms because I foresee anarchy, and an eventual dictatorial police state to keep order. And order for whom? Not you and I but raw moneyed power who don't give a damn about any of us. United We Stand. This idea of a free market is a dangerous chimera where we'll all soon learn brute force and economic power will soon be the law of the land. What a horrible dystopia that will be. Shudder the thought!