Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Case Against Public Employee Unions

The number of Americans that belong to unions in the private sector has been declining for years.   The reason is that as unions impacting business demanded higher and higher wages and benefits,  their jobs were shipped overseas, or eliminated entirely as a result of automation and robotics.  So in essence, while unions in general are usually job killers, at least in the private sector, their impact is mitigated by global competition and innovation.  And, the reality is that the original reason for unions, as they began in the early 20th century, to get better working conditions, benefits and job security are less of an issue today as most employers already provide good working conditions and benefits, as a matter of course, to retain talented employees in the jobs that remain in the United States.   

As unions in the private sector have declined, Socialists in the United States focused on unionizing the public sector in order to continue feeding at the trough.   Socialist President Franklin Roosevelt was against public sector unions for the very reasons we see today; the vicious circle between public sector unions and their ability to influence elections to achieve higher and higher compensation, benefits and gold plated pension plans that are bankrupting our country.   Originally, government workers were governed by civil service commissions charged with recommending compensation and benefits and rules related to working conditions and job security.  In the last 40 years that all changed as government workers were given the right to organize and collective bargaining by Socialist Presidents and Congresses. 

As a result, today government workers earn compensation, benefits and pensions that on average are 40% higher than what is typical for the same work in the private sector.  Of course, this is all at tax payer expense and or is in the 40 cents of every dollar that is borrowed to fund the federal government.   There are currently 2.65 million federal civilian employees working in various redundant agencies, commissions and departments managing many over lapping programs that are fraught with fraud and abuse wasting billions of tax payer dollars each year.   Once a program becomes law, it is rarely eliminated because it would impact the union employees tied to the program, even if there are 10 other programs just like it.

Public Employee Unions see the American tax payer as an unlimited source of their income and benefits.   It does not matter to them that government workers earn 40% more than their counterparts in the private sector, or that today we have a $16 Trillion National Debt and billions more at state debt to pay their salaries and benefits, Public Employee Unions would have the government tax and borrow more to keep the gravy train in place.   In addition, there is about $3 Trillion in unfunded federal and state pension liability sitting out there waiting to explode on the American people to provide government workers their gold plated pensions; many of whom are not in the Social Security system.  In fact, many government workers will receive 100% of their last salary as their pensions, when the maximum Social Security pension is about $2,600 a month no matter what your life time income, if you get it at all.    

Clearly, something is very wrong with this picture.   This has all happened because Public Employee Unions contribute about $500 million to Socialist campaigns every election cycle to keep the gravy train in place.  Whose bread you eat, whose song you sing.   Socialists at all levels of government, including President Obama, are owned, lock stock and barrel by Public Employee Unions.  This is the reason why Obama continues to argue for more Cops, Firemen and Teachers.   Obama wants more dues paying government workers to support Socialist campaigns.  And, it is also the reason it is almost impossible to fire an incompetent government worker.  Well dah!!

Government workers should be free to organize; but we must end collective bargaining.   Compensation, benefits and pensions should be bench marked with what is commonly provided by Mid Sized companies in the US; those with revenues of $10 million dollars to $1 billion.   By taking the mid point of what is commonly provided by these companies, government workers would then receive compensation and benefits in keeping with what is common in the private sector.   There would be nothing to negotiate.  It is what it is.   There are already employment laws on the books, at both the federal and state levels, that provide other protections related to working conditions, job security etc so again no need to negotiate any of these rules either. 

Most important, Public Employee Unions (not private sector unions) should be prohibited from making campaign contributions of any kind because it is a horrendous conflict of interest.  Individual public employee union members would be free to contribute to campaigns, or PAC's just like all other Americans, but Public Employee Unions cannot be allowed to make contributions to support the very same people that are their employers and bosses.   We see the corruption that this causes and it must end.  It is very easy to make a case against Public Employee Unions.  The best argument of all is the $16 Trillion National Debt and $3 Trillion pension liability sitting out there with no end in sight.   As a country, we can no longer allow Public Employee Unions to continue bankrupting our nation.  It has to stop. 

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