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  • Government Unions 101: What They Won’t Tell You

    There has been a lot of discussion and confusion as of late about the role of government unions. What does collective bargaining look like for government workers? The Heritage Foundation has released a new factsheet that explains everything you need to know about Government Unions, what they do, and what they won’t tell you.

    For government workers, collective bargaining gives unions a monopoly on the government’s workforce. The government may not hire non-union workers. In the 28 non-right-to-work states (which includes Wisconsin), this means that unions can force government employees to pay union dues or get fired.

    There are major differences in collective bargaining for government workers and private sector workers. In the private sector, unions bargain with owners to redistribute the profits created by the company. Governments make no profit. The only thing government workers bargain for is more tax dollars.

    It wasn’t always this way. Collective bargaining with the government is a relatively new concept.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned us about the dangers of a government strike which he called “unthinkable and intolerable.” The president of the AFL-CIO, in 1955, said it was “impossible to collectively bargain with the government”.

    What is happening in Wisconsin is that Governor Walker (R-WI) is trying to reform collective bargaining. He wants to give the voters more influence on where money is being spent. He is not eliminating collective bargaining or “busting” the unions. This is an important battle to fight because there are lots of states are facing large budget shortfalls. This is simply a measure to balance the budget and avoid layoffs.

    You can download the pdf of this fact sheet here.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Government Unions 101: What They Won’t Tell You

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      As the mantra goes, unions were created to go up against “bad” and “evil” rich bosses. But we all know they are the first step of implementing socialism – which BTW worked!

      Let’s go with the mantra. The boss has a company which makes a widget that people are willing to pay high prices for. In return the boss provides very little pay to his employees for their work.

      Just want to note that these people decided to work for the company when they were hired, knowing what they were getting paid. In addition, I would like to point out that there might be employment alternatives a disgruntled low paid employee could seek out for higher pay. But that is beside the point.

      The bosses employee’s decide they want a bigger cut of the profits so they organize and force their way. The boss either will end up with less cash or he will raise the price. To maintain his personal incentive to keep the business going, he will probably raise his prices to compensate. Because of the higher prices, less people buy the widget so profits decline and the higher paid employees are laid off. Then less widgets can be made so even less can be sold. The boss ends up with fewer profits and maybe even no profits – or worse, debt. All his workers are laid off. . . but I digress again.

      The idea is that the employees unionize to collectively bargain for more pay or whatever. But regardless how you feel about the boss, the company and the boss is answerable to the volunteer actions of the customers. Ideally, the boss or the company should do better than their employees.

      An enterprise exists out of incentive for the owners to get more in life. But never the less, the “give and take” is within an intimate relationship between the employees and a single entity.

      Unionizing against the taxpayers on the other hand can be damaging. Going too far a privae sector union will only kill a single company, but nothing else. Also the boss usually does have a financial reserve to work through or has control to make adjustments either by increasing efficiencies, raising prices, closing shop or so on.

      When public employees go too far, they bankrupt the ENTIRE NATION/STATE or TOWN! The taxpayers are on fixed incomes, they have no reserves. They have no administrative ability to increase efficiencies, reduce cost or even go so far as to shut it down. The agreements with union public workers are made by other public workers (namely elected officials). We the boss – the people – have no rights to make adjustments to compensate. Look at congress, they refuse to listen to the people! What have they cut so far?? Nothing! They only have proposals. (I guess the current CR has effectively reduced $4 billion – so yea! We have $1.596 trillion to go!)

      Worse even, the boss has the advantage to “bail-out” if his incentive goes away. Public unions with their evil grab for our money cannot be avoided. We are thrown in jail or have our property taken away if we do not pay them. Private sector unions – as bad as they are – at least have a small impact if they end up destroying the hand that feeds them. Public employee unions destroy all. The boss is usually richer than his employees. The taxpayer earns half of what most public sector employees are paid (especially the feds!). It is clear that when you look around, we are being destroyed.

    2. Margaret Wilkin says:

      Thanks, for the information and facts. When is enough going to be enough and common sense come back to this great country? So I get it tomorrow I’m going to my bank and if my banker gives me a lone I will vote for him at the next shareholder meeting. Can you say bribery .I support Governor Walker and just wished we had someone as brave here in California?

    3. Bobbie says:

      It is shameful of the democrat party to be playing these childish games when they didn't do the job they were expected to last October! Democrats dump their mess and run and hide and then refuse to comply with practical solutions and tough government self-discipline in the expedient manner necessary as democrats defend unions who work directly against the tax payers. Is this what the states of this country expect? Is this what was voted for?

      The democrats record continues to show every job they do is left undone for the dignified to clean up and then they childishly refuse to comply, pointing fingers at the ones left to clean it up causing a government shutdown? It's time to hold the accountable, accountable. Democrats threaten the jobs of others who will be forced into lay offs because of democrats dependency on unions. For the protection of the unions (strong?) they can't willingly govern with integrity.

      It's necessary and the right thing to do to bust government unions. They work non-productive and abusive to those that pay the bill.Unions and their members invoke threats, violence and immature, dangerous behavior. Unwilling to reason or allow it. What a disgusting display of Americans.

      Everything dictated from the union leads mouth, comes out of the members mouths. "FOX LIES!" the members shout when there are no specifics of any lies the members can identify. Which means they are directed not to EVER watch FOX. Members will never know the truth if they're kept from it or if they've lost their minds ability to reason and find out for themselves.

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    5. O_Henry says:

      To George Colgrove, VA;

      "As the mantra goes, unions were created to go up against “bad” and “evil” rich bosses. But we all know they are the first step of implementing socialism – which BTW worked!"

      George don't mistake that "it" also worked very, very well for capitalism in the private sector; the phenomenon of which I'd like to address. In Soviet style socialism the union bosses said to the workers: "overthrow the owner, nationalize the factory, make this a workers paradise," and the workers did it. In the USA in the early 1900's the union bosses said to the workers, "overthrow the owner, nationalize the factory, make this a workers paradise," but because of apparent upward mobility the workers went home and told their children, "go to school, study hard, and own the factory," so "socialism" really didn't take well in the USA in the early 1900's. Today the union bosses say to the workers, "go to the government and have it force the bosses to pay exorbitant unemployment and workmen’s compensation, then demand the government send in regulating agencies to tell the boss the kind of work standards and manufacturing environment you would like to see in your industry." The rank and file complies. The owners and bosses feel the intrusive nature of the government demands and also the union demands and review the data with many coming to this point: a free factory in a free country is free to leave. So the owners and bosses pack up the factory, machines, and inventory lock, stock and barrel and leave the regulating agencies, unions, and BTW the USA. 30 years later the unions have learned nothing (other than try and bring about government action to stop the factory owner from relocating his factory, which btw is an obstruction of the owner's freedom) by observing this process; repeated before their very eyes; time and time again; yet wonder why there are so few value added manufacturing industries for good paying jobs in the USA. Good luck, George! We'll need it!

    6. Perry,Oklahoma says:

      I have told my people "you ever mention UNION on my jobs, you go home" it may not be legal. But it is my Right as owner. If you don't like it I will shu it down and open a new one next month. The greed of this country and all the entitled that don't and won't work, make me sick. I watched the goverment union protect UNION people that cost people there lives, all be cause the union backed the incompetent paramedics.

    7. George Winthrop, Ari says:

      I will use deliberately hyperbolic arguments to make my point. First of all if you start waxing about the threat of socialism when its common knowledge that the gap in income between the wealthy and the poor in our country grows every year makes claims to a socialist takeover seem ridiculous and thoughtless. In other words it means you have no, and i quote, "common sense". At this moment 12% of the population control 60% of the wealth. This was not true 4 years ago. States without unionized state-workers have a multi-billion dollar debt themselves. The problem with Wisconsin's budget crisis is not the state workers fault. The reason the states are in such bad shape is due to several reasons. Wall Street screwed up. Big time. We had a chance to make them pay, we had them so to speak by the throat but our political leaders most of whom were complicit in the financial meltdown quickly turned our attention to the dangers of giving poor people health insurance and hoe THAT was going to destroy our economy. Second, don't forget the role of the Koch brothers who gave Gov. Walker 5 million dollars in return for 75 million in tax cuts. I don't know about you but that sounds like bribery to me. Third you gotta realize that this argument that private sector employees don't have it as good is because for the last 30 years big business has worked hard to curb rights like collective bargaining. And because having a profitable year is not enough as they must make as much profit as possible they must look to new frontiers, to new people to screw over. Someone commented about how hey can get a better job if they don't like the one they have. Last time I checked there were 15 million people waiting for that job. So please I urge you to give it a little thought. Think about their families. Think about our fragile economy. Think about how much we depend on people spending every cent they make to survive and keep our meaningless existence going. Think about whether it help anyone bu the rich to give tax cuts to the rich. It's not like the Koch brothers are hiring. Get out of your little echo chamber that is Fox News and rise up against the real tyrants. Those who have our government held at ransom and our futures held at ransom as well.

    8. Bobbie says:

      About the income gaps between rich and poor growing every year, is a direct action of government broadening qualifications to accommodate instead of encouraging freedom.. Witness of holding people down. In a free country, which once had various jobs and opportunities, income gaps are expected. As the government promotes class warfare, the intent is obvious socialism.

      The only equal wages should be in government when it's government that takes control away from money earned in the private sector. You lack common sense tremendously.

      In this country, the poor who are welfare recipients, have been convinced they CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT BEING DEPENDENT ON GOVERNMENTt that the poor of years ago, worked hard to achieve the rich they are today, WITHOUT DEPENDENCY on government AT ANY TIME.

      Most people aren't born with silver spoons in their mouths and some may not get one at all. That's America. Only government is stopping the poor from earning a wage the poor might rather earn and in return, dismiss dependency on government. The more people doing for themselves, the more government can do their expected job defined in the people's Constitution which should be respected and followed at all times. For some reason, exception is made today.

      In America, people live at their own pace and work to become what they want. Rich or poor, THAT'S FREEDOM!

      With government influence, that INDIVIDUAL pace may never be known, as people now wait for government's handout instead of using their abilities to make something of themselves and provide for themselves.

      You're defense of greedy government goons is gutless.

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