Very interesting article in the Washington Post Monday titled "Ohio, Wisconsin shine spotlight on new union battle: Government workers vs. taxpayers." The article includes the following chart showing the degree of financial trouble in various states. The chart might as well be labeled "States raped by unions:"
Here are some excerpts from the article:
The divide between government worker unions and their opponents, playing out now in several state capitals, highlights a critical aspect of the evolving labor movement.Goodness, if only a fraction of this gets through the liberal media filter which is trying to portray the greedy state union workers as victims, then the jig is finally up!
Throughout U.S. history, the most prominent union clashes largely involved employees squaring off against big corporate owners over how to share profits. The recent state budget controversies feature union members bargaining against state and local governments over wages and benefits provided by taxpayers.
The shift reflects the profound changes in American unionism. Last year, for the first time in American history, a majority of union members worked for the government rather than private firms. About 36 percent of government workers, or 7.6 million people, are members of unions, compared with about 7 percent of private-sector workers, or 7.1 million people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And with that evolution comes different tactics and politics.
"These people are bargaining against the American taxpayer," said Ned Ryun, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and the president of American Majority, a grass-roots political training organization that also has helped coordinate anti-tax rallies. "I'm not sure they can win the PR battle. People are saying, 'You're kidding me. They're making that much and I'm paying for it?' "
"Government workers were not exploited," said Henry Farber, a labor economist at Princeton University and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research who has studied public-sector unions. "They were never squeezed the same way as workers in the private sector were, because they had civil-service protections."
When a union makes demands of a private firm, the workers and the owners can easily see that there is a natural limit on how high compensation can go. If compensation for workers is too high it will force the firm to close - or, more often these days, result in jobs shifting overseas.
Government workers, meanwhile, can demand wages based on how much tax money is available. With many government services standing essentially as monopolies, it is more difficult for customers to shift.
"In my view, the public sector is less naturally suited to collective bargaining, because of the lack of market discipline," Farber said.
Farber and others have also noted that politicians have sometimes proved eager to yield to demands for higher pension and other benefits because the full costs will not be realized until much, much later.