There is a problem with what unions have come to represent in this country. No longer are they the voice of the workers- they’ve become a cash cow for Democratic lawmakers- the same way Wall Street has done for lawmakers willing to look the other way on regulation.
The real issue isn’t workers’ rights to strike, or the deals- it’s political Neanderthal thinking – using a club instead of diplomacy.
It’s also a bit of resentment thrown in. Unions have gotten a bad rap for adding in protections for people who suck, and refusing to accept what the normal world outside their political playpen preaches- pay for performance is the norm.
Public employee unions are the last bastion of union strength right now- and they should be looking closely at what happened to their auto worker brethren. From today’s New York Times on Hyundai in Alabama:
For more than a year, workers at the Hyundai plant have been putting in 10 hours of overtime a week as part of their regular schedule, plus occasional Saturdays. With an average regular wage of about $20 an hour, the additional overtime hours mean workers here are earning more than many workers at the unionized plants up north. The United Automobile Workers union has long tried to organize plants in the United States operated by foreign carmakers, most of which are in the South, but has yet to succeed anywhere.
The real solutions to this perceived problem are more than health care, retirement, step increases, seniority, tenure- a rational approach to the problems would revolutionize our “capitalist” system and give it a chance to compete in the future:
- Take the money out of politics. It’s time for real campaign finance reform. It would be cheaper for the taxpayers to pay directly for short campaign periods, with equal money for each candidate. We’d also need to institute Instant Runoff Voting to stop making this a lesser of two evils race every time.
I mean, if you look at the last election, 2010, the AFL-CIO spent $100 million and 90-some percent, 98, probably, percent of that money went to Democrats. You had the American Federation of State (unintelligible) and municipal employees spent $50 million electing Democrats. So the Democratic Party is very much beholden to these public employee unions.
- Retirement, except for highly dangerous public service like the military, police, fire etc. isn’t until 65. No pension payments until 65- no more double dipping.
- Universal health care plan- and I’m not going to try to argue that one here- let’s just say that our health insurance industry is out of control and it’s time to go to direct pay health care.
- Eliminate tenure except for college professors- who are supposed to be able to do research, publish, etc.- in addition to teaching. However- make it easier to fire for cause- and, compensation is no longer linked to seniority.
- Eliminate “prevailing wage” from the vocabulary- competition is essential if we are to have free and open markets. I’ve also found this idea odd- in that some people are more productive- and prevailing wage takes none of this into account.
There are solutions to the issues. But striking out with a hammer when what is needed is some good diplomacy isn’t moving our state forward.
Maybe it’s because John Kasich is an idiot- to use the term he used to talk to a police officer doing his union job– or maybe it’s just another case of Wall Street muscle screwing us again.
Either way- collective bargaining isn’t the problem- collective brainlessness is.
Unions began as a way to ensure equality- equal and fair pay for people doing the labor that produced profits. Our plutocracy in America would love to take out the last effective tool of leveling the playing field.
Don’t let it happen. Think of the three R’s: Resist, revolt, recall.