Feb 21

Collective Bargaining Rant

Category: Uncategorized

<rant attribute=”enraged”>

I’m glad we can talk about anything in this country, but there are some discussions that should never take place; we should all know better.  For instance, do we need to “debate” the benefits of having sex with children?  How about debating if it’s ok for a US citizen to cross a state or county line without papers?  I’m not talking about academic discussions, but serious public conversations weighing the merits.

Outside of pure academia, why is it morally or politically permissible to debate whether or not it’s OK to restrict collective bargaining rights?  I know that unions can be inconvenient, but it’s nobody’s business who I choose to associate with or how I make my decisions (and I have never belonged to a union).

It’s none of my business how others bargain for their welfare.  I may not like it, but it’s just not up for argument.  They can do what they think is in their best interests, and as long as they don’t interfere with my basic freedoms, it’s simply not up for my review;  I don’t get a vote.  I can’t believe it’s even being discussed.  If I don’t like unions, then it should be up to me to organize my own movement against them, not outlaw them by restricting the speech and rights of expression of the individuals involved.

What else shall we “discuss” or “debate?”  Shall we “discuss” the merits of allowing women or blacks to vote?  How about torture…  oh wait.  This has happened.

Why is the country so slow to reform big business practices, but so quick to restrict the kinds of activities that give strength to “regular” people?

</rant>

8 comments

8 Comments so far

  1. Russ February 21st, 2011 9:24 PM

    You make a good point Dan and I suppose I can’t disagree with you. I however, am a “”management” type in a union shop and witness first hand some of the shenanigans that go on in a union shop: Employees sleeping on the job, refusing to do their appointed jobs, abusing sick leave, getting fired for breaking company policy and then being re-instated with back pay, being paid triple time to go home (Paid Rest) and on and on and on. There are many hard working union members in our shop who are totally frustrated for doing 110% while their “Brothers” slack off and get paid the same or more based on seniority. I’m glad I’m not in the union, but hey, if that is what the company allows, and what the union lets them get away with. . .

  2. Dan Greenspan February 21st, 2011 10:34 PM

    There are some terrible unions out there; some of the stories I’ve heard are awful. I know that unions are not always good.

    The issue for me is not whether unions are good or bad. It’s just that it should be off the table to try to solve a problem by limiting freedoms that are the spine of our society. This is a no-brainer, and leads me to conclude that people who would try to pass laws like those in Winsconsin were hiding behind the door when the civics lesson was given, or have a totalitarian mindset.

    For example: if someone didn’t like the fact that I was starting a pedophile’s club and as a consequence made it illegal for people to have clubs of any sort, that would be a poor decision, regardless of the motivation. It’s simply off the table, because it will crush society in the name of saving it.

  3. TJ February 22nd, 2011 10:20 PM

    In public corporations, the unions are kept in check by the market. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip (ala GM) or you won’t have a job. There is no market force to keep public unions in check. The answer is to raise taxes.. always. Collective Bargaining for public employees hurts many for the benefit of what should be the few.

    I disagree with you about how its none of our business how others negotiate for their welfare. For public employees, we are the employer and the money is ours. I want to be able to fire a police officer who gets a DUI in a government owned vehicle. I want to be able to fire an arsonist firefighter. I also want to make sure that compensation for good police officers and good firefighters is there and opportunities exist for compensation for excellence. I also want the libraries and parks clean and open and serviced. I just want the flexibility for those who represent my interests to be able to honor my wishes.

    God bless the labor movement and collective bargaining, I love my weekends. God bless also, common sense and reason.

  4. Dan Greenspan February 23rd, 2011 12:12 PM

    TJ, thanks for you comment. I agree that there are problems with unions as you mentioned. But the ends don’t justify the means; there are other ways of dealing with the issue rather than clobbering people’s freedoms in this way. It certainly is our business how the government is run, but I don’t want to see special rules limiting people’s right to association or speech just because it’s Inconvenient. I don’t mean to minimize the union problem, that’s a capital “I” in “Inconvenient.” I want to see the issue addressed, but not in this way.

  5. Fred February 23rd, 2011 7:35 PM

    Dan,

    Thanks for your comments. I have been contributing to my pension now for 10 years, the idea my retirement could be significantly altered worries me. I find most teachers do try to do a good job. Merit pay will not work because it forces teachers even more to teach to the test a practice that does not promote learning and creative problem solving in the real world. The bottom line is educators entered into a agreement to take less pay for greater stability to alter that agreement 1/3 rd of the way through by a legislative act seems somewhat caprecious.

  6. Dan Greenspan February 23rd, 2011 8:11 PM

    What we are seeing in the news is not about bettering the state of Wisconsin. This is a proxy war, similar to the way all of the nasty regional conflicts during the cold war were really fronts for conflict between the USA and USSR. What we are seeing is an effort to destroy unions in general. If one were to prioritize problems by the amount of money wasted, jobs lost, and damage done, unions would not be near the top. I think the amount of publicity this is getting is an indication that a) it’s a popular issue and b) something funny is going on.
    I’d love to see the problems of unions addressed in a way that is good for citizens – not just for workers or just for corporations. Unfortunately, that seems to be the last thing on the agenda. So, lots of noise will be made, perhaps one side or the other will triumph, but I’m pretty sure that the result won’t be good for most people.

  7. TJ March 23rd, 2011 4:47 PM

    Something funny IS going on. The public employee unions not only have been collectively bargaining, they form a voting block that gets to vote on the people that they will be collectively bargaining with. It sounds criminal if it wasn’t true.

    Eliminating collective bargaining for public employees WILL be a victory for taxpayers. We will get better service and lower cost.

    Merit pay is the American way. Good teachers want to be paid based on merit. Did anyone see the 60 minutes segment on the public school that is paying teachers over 100,000$ a year? I think that is fantastic. Paying on merit does not equal teaching to the test.. it means requiring measurable progress in the students year to year. Teachers need to be paid better in general but they also need to be held accountable for their results.

  8. Dan Greenspan March 24th, 2011 1:50 PM

    You’re right – people electing the official who will negotiate with them sounds like a conflict of interest. There is also something wrong with mandatory union dues being taken from people’s paychecks, unions protecting incompetent employees, and many other abuses.

    I want to find solutions to all of these problems. But what we are seeing now is not an honest effort to solve problems; it will cause other problems just as bad. It is like solving an illness by killing the patient, and it is not intended to bring fairness, and it is not being done on behalf of “the people.”

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