Breitbart had this link up yesterday, "Big Labor Bosses Demonstrate Why Right-to-Work is Necessary." Can I just say YES! The union powers that be sure like to 'shame' everyone else into either joining them or giving union workers more 'rights' or 'benefits' than the average working person. Right-to-work can and will go a long way to reducing deficits on local and state levels (federal, if we ever achieve that level of cooperation) and reducing the disparity between union and non-union workers. No one should feel forced to join a union, or obligated. If they choose to, that's fine. I remain strongly opposed to public sector unions.
Speaking of reducing deficits, The Economic Collapse Blog has an awesome article up. You can always count on this blog for accurate and well-explained economic information. Unlike the news media.
But back to unions. This article below is my response to the Wisconsin battle as it was happening, as published in my private blog on March 4, 2011.
Collective Bargaining Rights versus Solvency?
warning: full of rhetorical and philisophical questions. I'm trying to make sense of the current political atmostphere.
is this even a question? I'm confused. For all the tizzy that Wisconsin
and Indiana lawmakers (whining in Illinois, a state in even more
financial trouble than theirs) are in about giving up collective
bargaining 'rights,' you'd think it was actually in the Constitution.
But it's not! They didn't even exist more than 50 years ago. Most states
never have allowed collective bargaining, and those are the states that
are fiscally solvent. Why do some states allow them? My own
understanding is that unions lend their weight and donations to
political causes (is that legal?), which means that blue states want
collective bargaining. What I can't figure out is why collective
bargaining was ever allowed in the first place: it seems to weight the
vote of certain citizens above that of other citizens. How is that
constitutional? And in the case of public sector unions, it is the
average citizen who is paying for other citizens to have benefits and
salaries and work hours on average far better than their own! That
smacks of unsustainability to me. And injustice. No wonder so the
citizens of these states have voted in new leadership.
wonder if Illinois would be attempting this discussion too, supposing
that Quinn, who narrowly 'won,' hadn't cheated the military out of their
votes (he sent them ballots way too late, with no penalty), and hadn't
allowed convicted felons now in prison to vote. Which is against the
law, in case you didn't know. But did anyone call him on it? Not a
chance. Chicago and Chicagoans run the state. Chicago is too true-blue
to consider blowing whistles. It surprises me to some extent that
everyone outside of Chicago hasn't fled the state to avoid the
ridiculous laws and taxes here. Everyone knows Chicago politics and
politicians are corrupt. It's a given. What's sad is that it's accepted
and even expected.
In Chicago, there are so many unions
with so many rules that many companies have fled the city or the state.
For just one example, many large conferences no longer convene in
Chicago because of the prohibitive cost of putting up a conference in
McCormick Place. Companies are required to have a certain Chicago union
unload and load their trucks, rather than members of their own
companies, which would cost half as much. It seems like there are unions
with great salaries and benefits in every aspect of city life:
education, transportation, construction, trash collection, fire, police,
nurses, health... On the other hand, all city workers are required to
live within city limits so as to not avoid the taxes.
are so many public services and entitlement programs here. To support
them, the sales tax here in Chicago is 10.25% (7.25% or so for the rest
of Illinois), with 2.25% on grocery items. That is why we did NOT buy
our minivan here - let's say we pay $20,000 for a van, the tax on it
would be an additional $2,050. The state income tax was just raised 66%
for the middle class. The price per gallon of gasoline is nearly 50
cents higher in the city than out of it because of whatever taxes are
slapped on it. The property tax ranges from 6 to 16% in Chicago. Can you
imagine? Suppose your mortgage was a mere $120k, and your property tax
was 10%. That's 12,000 a year on top of your mortgage, or an
entire $1,000 each month just for property taxes. To start up a
business, it costs some thousands in fees, while in Indiana across the
border it's about $200 (and less red tape) if I remember correctly. How
has this sort of tax burden lasted this long? Good question. Very, very
Trivia for the day: doctors are not
allowed to unionize. You can imagine why, I hope. Doctors would be
jeapordizing lives if they went on strike. But it occurs to me, how is
that different for nurses, police, fire, or even educators? If human
lives and quality of life are what we value, why do we allow educators
to walk out on their students? For police to leave dangerous
neighborhoods unguarded and unwatched? Do unions really need to exist
anymore? The days of the monopoly barons are over. Do unions really
exist solely for the greed and selfishness of their constituents,
seeking better pay and hours than their non-union peers? Even stranger, I
know in some places (like Wisconsin teachers' union) the unions force
every member of the profession to join, which sounds illegal to me. No
one should be forced to have to pay dues to support a union which may
not support the members' policital or societal views.
solution (not going to happen, dream on): dissolve all unions and
combine overlapping entitlement programs. The states and local
governments no longer break the bank. Income taxes probably go down. No
citizen pays dues to a union. Everyone receives merit based pay. If one
does bad work, one doesn't get work (think of bad teachers being fired
or put on probation to get more training!). Most companies would still
offer health insurance and retirement plans and hopefully people would
exercise financial responsibility by saving towards their own
retirements. Business would thrive. More jobs would be created. Our
economy recovers! Taxes pour in to the federal government because more
people are working and more businesses have more money. Federal deficit
goes down! Win, win, win!