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  • Government Unions vs Taxpayers

    CATO’s Dan Mitchell has a new Center for Freedom and Prosperity video out titled “Bureaucrats vs. Taxpayers” on how “government workers have now become a cosseted elite, with generous pay, extravagant benefits, lavish pensions, and ironclad job security. In exchange for this privileged status, they reward the politicians with millions of dollars of support and a host of in-kind contributions.”

    Dan’s presentation details much of the best research on government worker compensation (especially the work of CATO colleague Chris Edwards) but left unmentioned in this video is the role that government unions play in enriching their members at the expense of taxpayers. But as Heritage’s James Sherk documented early this year, government unions are integral to this story:

    New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that a majority of American union members now work for the government. The pattern of unions adding members in government while losing members in the private sector accelerated during the recession. The typical union member now works in the Post Office, not on the assembly line. Representing government employees has changed the union movement’s priorities: Unions now campaign for higher taxes on Americans to fund more government spending.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Government Unions vs Taxpayers

    1. Billie says:

      Where is the discipline? If Obama ran a dignified government, unions would be ban from government under a code of ethics as conflict of interest to the taxpayers, How do we get rid of all useless, wasteful government at all levels?

      It would rebuild economic freedom. (A democcrat running for senate says "we need innovation in government services!") direct message! The more governent the weaker the people and less, if any, freedom.

      Greed the president includes to be white and wealthy, hard earned money achieved with no infringement when the greed is government and their abuse of power and empowering more waste (unions, bureaucrats, lobbyists, etc.) just another way to create a crisis and do everything possible not to let it go to waste.

      Clean the house!

    2. Greg, Chicago says:

      Death, taxes, and the Left being wholly wrong about economic issues are the three guarantees in life. What a joke!

      The drive toward centralized power in the hands of a few, even after those "few" prove to be entirely incapable of handling smaller doses of power and control, is one of the fundamental flaws of Leftist thinking.

      Do yourself a favor and read this young blogger from Chicago's assessment of this very problem: http://rjmoeller.com/2010/06/the-lefts-fundamenta

    3. Drew Page, IL says:

      Why do government workers need a union? I thought our government provided its workers with generous pay, pensions, insurance benefits, vacation time and safe working conditions.

      Do the government workers suspect that the government will take away these wonderful taxpayer provided wages and benefits? Do government workers need a union to protect their right to strike? In that case, taxpayers would be paying government workers to go on strike and force taxpayers to pay them even more.

      What's next? Are the members of the Armed Forces going to demand to be unionized? Will they have the right to strike for more pay, better benefits and working conditions? During a war would be the best time to do so, don't you think?

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    5. G Davis says:

      When the economy started to tank our family relocated to an area with more employment opportunity. For the short term my husband and I are both federal employees, he took a paycut for his job and I make about the same as I did in private industry. Our healthcare plan is NOT better than what we had with our former employer. We pay a higher share of the premiums, higher copays and more out of pocket expenses. We are also paying more into our 2010 taxes than we ever contributed in the past just to break even. Neither one of us will join the union because they fight the wrong battles and contribute to campaigns that they have no business being involved in. I am currently watching the union defend an employee who has used his position as a welfare handout for over 25 years. He is a burden to his fellow employees as well as the tax payers. Many government employees are conservatives and are just as disgusted with the state our government is in as the rest of the country.

    6. William Person says:

      I think what we all must remember is that most of the legislation passed to assure equality and fiarness in the workplace is mostly as a result of poor managemenet in govenrment agencies. It is not private business that has a probelm with EEO and the miriad of human frailties that Human Resource managers deal with daily, it is government. People in government are not hired on the qualitfications. A big contributor for being hired is, "Who do you know?" Now this also happens in the private sector the only difference is that a business relies on being able to compete over the long term to stay in business, government does not and therefore incompetence however employed is never held accountable!! The reason government workers need unions is that their managers are not competant to manage well!! Managers in private enterprise lose their jobs!

      Most of the federal government function belongs back at the state level anyway so get rid of most of Washington!!!

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    8. Ash McGonigal says:

      As a lefty who knows a thing or two about economics and of politics, I heartily encourage you all to continue to rail against working Americans who make enough to support their families. There's no earthly reason why the Republicans shouldn't have a majority in the House and the Senate next year, but the pickup opportunities in Nevada and Connecticut have all but vanished, while Rand Paul appears eager to flip his red seat blue and Charlie Christ looks poised to cruise to a spot in the Senate as an independent who will almost surely caucus with the Democrats. And losing seven of the last eight House special elections makes me think that Republican results in that chamber may be just as dismal.

      I wholeheartedly applaud your class warfare tactics. The class you're warring with is still the majority and we're still a representative democracy, so go to it and best of luck to you all.

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    11. Brian, Connecticut says:

      Typical union bashing from the uninformed. Funny how the CATO institute can lump all government workers in with the Post Office. The Post Office doesn't cost the taxpayers anything except for mailing material for the blind. Otherwise they are wholly self-sufficient (or under their current PMG,who is a tool for the right-wing privateers, self-deficient).

      And even if we are to take all the other misogeny at face value, it should be noted that unions have been giving back at almost every contract negotiation for almost the last two decades. Their benefits, pay and pensions are hardly lavish, unless you're comparing them to a day laborer in El Paso Texas. If you really want comparative outrage, do a side-by-side at what a federal or municipal worker makes up against that of a corporation CEO or member of their Board of Directors. Then you'll see who is getting the lavish and extravagant compensation.

    12. Brett says:

      I have listened to your video, and feel you don't live in the real world. The private sector has a big turnover simply because of Unfair Labor practices. If more joined their prospective unions then less turnovers would exist. True some Federal Agencies overpay their people in management, and they stay in their prospective jobs. Even though they could get more outside, they stay with their jobs due to fear of changing their jobs at least a few times before retirement. As far as lumping into your figures the United States Postal Service you are totally mistaken. Any salaries, benefits including retirement come from the money the U.S.P.S. collects from stamps and other services. Not one slim penny comes from the government or taxes. Please check your facts the next time you decide to comment.

    13. Brett says:

      I apologize that I did not read all the comments prior to posting my first comment. I did not realize this is a Republican view which only Republicans can share their comments on. In that case I say "GO RUSH LIMBAUGH WITH YOUR BAD SELF!" I think since the Republicans who ran government for the past 8 plus years did such a bang up job, then why don't they put Rush Limbaugh up next time. The Republicans will not have a chance with Palin. Thanks to the Republicans we are all in the state we are in right now. President O'Bama just became president not to long ago. It takes time to fix problems caused by someone else. By the end of President O'Bama's term then comment on his fsilures. I bet you if any there will be alot more accomplishments. To finish I applaud Ash McGonigal for his comments.

    14. Wildcat from Dallast says:

      One would think this would be a simple “T” styled analysis started by Ben Franklin. Pro’s for having federal workers unionized and con’s for not having them unionized. Having supervised federal government employees (some of which were super and others (usually in positions of greater authority and responsibility and therefore more pay were oxygen thieves at best) I am unable to determine any benefit to the American taxpayer and not exactly much for themselves either. That is unless you like to spend a portion of every paycheck on union dues rather than have that for other more personally pressing needs. The cons include granting employees the ability to get “free” benefits and larger pensions for the same or less productivity relative to the American taxpayer and having to pay those pesky union dues.

      When you consider that most federal government employees do NOT produce anything of value in the market place therefore there is virtually no risk routine businesses have with making payroll that those workers should be worry free of having the dreaded layoff situation compared to those who actually produce something. Generally speaking their working conditions are more than reasonable, they have adequate breaks, time for a meal break (lunch), sick days and paid time off just to name a few. Since we (the taxpayers) are the ones providing the money from which they derive their pay and benefits regardless if we directly benefit from their efforts.

      What do you do relative to those employees who may actually serve in a critical capacity (remember the air traffic controllers strike?) when a genuine crisis happens? Do you follow national security protocols or the union contract?

      Since we already have several federal government agencies who are supposed to be looking out for ALL employees, then why is there even a need for ANY union anywhere in America? Why not pass a law eliminating the ability for collective bargaining period and level the employment field for ALL Americans?

    15. Sara Somerset NJ says:

      Has anyone investigated the rule of law, if there is one, regarding

      the fact that Teachers and State Workers have a Union at all?

      I would wonder if it would be unlawful, for anyone who receives Taxpayer funds for their job, to be in a Union.

      I could understand a Union in a profit based business, like General Motors, but Teachers and State workers do not produce a profit.

      I would like to investigate this further and write to anyone who could help me start a campaign to stop anyone from belonging to a Union if they receive Taxpayer funds.

      Thank you very much,

      Sara Somerst, NJ

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