Tonight Bill O’Reilly wants me to talk about today's NY Times front page story claiming "Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector Unions."
Most people back the unions? I'm not surprised Americans support collective bargaining “rights.” Unless you have really been paying attention, you don't understand what works in the private sector doesn't work in government, where unions bargain with politicians whom they helped elect. People don't know that federal workers can't bargain collectively, that President Carter outlawed that, and that even FDR said: “Collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
Sheldon Richman of the Freeman suggests I say this to Bill: "In the government sphere 'negotiations' are a conspiracy against the taxpayers. Union dues and union political contributions are laundered taxpayer money. And state workers do not pay taxes. They are tax-eaters not tax producers."
“Tax eaters.” I like that.
And of course, the Times distorts the issue. Even the wording --"Employees in the Public Sector"-- is biased. Why not ask about "government" workers?
And the Times poll asks about “taking away collective bargaining rights.” Rights? Why do they call it a right? I’d call it collective-bargaining “power” or “privilege.” It's not a right. But if you call it that, and then use charged words like “taking away,” people vote for the “right.”
What if they'd asked: "Should government workers be forced to join a union and pay dues to that union as a condition of working for the government?" I bet Americans would oppose that.
Something else that's suspicious: 20% of the poll’s respondents claim to come from union households. But only 11.9% of American workers belong to a union. What’s up with that?
People support the unions because they think they represent "labor" or "workers." But unions just represent organized labor. Most workers are hurt by union costs. All of us are hurt by union work rules.
Union rules kill innovation. What creates wealth is people getting together and coming up with new ideas. It’s why cities prosper. People who work near each other compete by testing their ideas against their neighbors’. Their best ideas have sex and give birth to even better ideas. That’s innovation. But union collective bargaining agreements smother that process.
The union is a monopoly. It’s collective bargaining agreement says there is just one way to do things. Any change must be painfully negotiated. So good ideas are never born.
Wisconsin's collective bargaining rules even negotiate the size of bulletin boards:
The Employer shall provide bulletin boards at locations mutually agreed upon for use by the local Unions to enable employees of the bargaining unit to see notices posted thereon. Such mutual agreement shall be arrived at locally. The normal size of new bulletin boards will be eight (8) square feet. The Employer will maintain bulletin boards provided under prior negotiated collective bargaining agreements and they need not conform to the normal size. In the event any new bulletin boards are mutually agreed upon, the Employer shall pay fifty percent (50%) and the Union shall pay fifty percent (50%) of the cost of such new boards.
O'Reilly won't give me enough time to say all this. But at least I get to post it on this blog.