And Now Act 2 of the Dramatic Situation Between the Runnaway Train, i.e. the Public Sector Union’s Crushing Weight on California & the Battle for Reform

Here’s a link and a excerpt: San Jose’s mayor addresses legal challenges – Public Sector Inc. Forum
By Steven Greenhut on June 6

Pull Quote:

San Jose’s unions didn’t really fight the Measure B pension reform that passed with 70 percent of the vote Tuesday, but they did immediately file a legal challenge. Here is Mayor Chuck Reed’s response to claims that the reform he championed isn’t legal:
“Measure B was carefully crafted to follow California law. San Jose is a charter city and the California Constitution gives charter cities: ‘plenary authority’ to provide in their charters for the compensation of their employees. i San Jose’s City Charter reserves the right of the City Council and the voters to make changes to employees’ retirement benefits: ‘.. the Council may at any time, or from time to time, amend or otherwise change any retirement plan or plans or adopt or establish a new or different plan or plans for all or any officers or employees.’ ii San Jose’s…

Editorial: Even Massachusetts gets it about unions – Orange County Register

June 03, 2011|By ocregister

In Massachusetts, liberal-leaning Democrats run the government. But to its credit, the Democratic-controlled Legislature has boldly acted to bring spending of taxpayer money under control by voting to curb collective bargaining rights on health care for municipal employees…

These otherwise public union-friendly lawmakers are acknowledging taxpayers are not a bottomless pit of cash, and there are limits on how much government can dole out.

The California Legislature, also controlled by liberal-leaning Democrats, would be wise to learn from their East Coast kindred spirits.

Click here to read the short pithy commentary

“A Cogent Analysis” says Jack Dean of Pension Tsunami of The Differences Between Public and Private Sector Unions

Here’s the intro:
By Tim Kowal, on May 13th, 2011

Many supporters of public sector unions suggest there are no meaningful differences between public and private sector unions when it comes to collective bargaining. As I explain below, however, there are in fact several fundamental differences, many of which have been pointed out since the inception of public sector collective bargaining.

Here’s an excerpt:

Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector Is Anti-Democratic

Public sector union advocates suggest that collective bargaining in the public sector is essentially no different than in the private sector, and that far from being a problem, it is a positive good. To evaluate this argument, first briefly consider the policy reasons for authorizing private sector unions.

And another excerpt:

Conclusion

Collective bargaining in the public sector is fundamentally different than in the private sector. Put most simply, the government is not simply another market actor, because the government lacks the same economic incentives as private industry. Perhaps more importantly, the government is uniquely entrusted with the political power of the people to act for the benefit of the entire public. To provide to a special interest group unique tools and procedures to use as leverage to wrest that power for itself is anti-democratic and tyrannical. Finally, the public sector collective bargaining, unlike in the private sector, permits a union political leverage over the employer, making negotiations less than arms’ length.

It’s a lengthy article, comprehensive, historical and well reasoned. If you want to understand the distinctions, and argue with integrity, I please read it. Then if you disagree, tell me what you disagree with, but please, spare me the rhetoric about being anti Democratic or anti-worker’s rights. Click here to read more

A Collection of Works Addressing the Tyranny of Collective Bargaining in Labor Law and Practice

In The Libertarian Legacy of R.C. Hoiles, Part 1 by Wendy McElroy, Posted October 1, 2010, She cites Holis’ arguments against collective bargaining on moral principles:

“The Most Harmful Error Most Honest People Make” … “is the belief that a group or a government can do things that would be harmful and wicked if done by an individual and produce results that are not harmful, unjust and wicked. And “What a businessman or laborer could not gain through merit should never be granted through force or fraud.”
“…union privileges”… inflict…”harm on the nonunion worker. In a 1937 editorial entitled “Whom Will a Worker Obey?” Hoiles expounded on the “harm” collective bargaining inflicted on working people:

Collective bargaining advocates delude the poor, honest working man, who has not had time to study the matter through, with the idea that giving them the right to regulate his life — tell him at what he must work, for what price and how long — they will greatly add to his comfort of life. [Emphasis added.]

The phrase “who has not had time to study” is key. In a July 1938 editorial, Hoiles explained that the purpose of his columns was to make people think. Elsewhere, in a 1940 editorial, he stated, “Collective bargaining makes its members collectivists and tyrants instead of Americans and true Christians.”

In The Authoritarianism of American Labor Law by George C. Leef, he writes of the legal establishment of collective bargaining in The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the key piece of legislation controlling unionization.

It was passed in 1935 as a favor to organized labor for its electoral support of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. The new law wiped out all state laws covering unionization in the private sector and instituted a federal system based on the notion that collective bargaining was a good thing for the nation and should therefore be facilitated by government power.

Crucially, unionization was made to be a matter of collective decision rather than individual choice. Under the NLRA, if enough workers express a desire for an election to decide whether the workplace will be unionized, a federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), conducts such an election under rules that are supposed to ensure “fairness.” For example, it’s illegal for the employer to promise benefits to the workers if they vote not to unionize. That interference with freedom of speech and contract is just one of the many coercive aspects of the law.
To download a PDF of the document Click here.   Or to read the document on line, on google docs, you may click here.

In Why Socialism Is the People’s Choice by James Ostrowski, June 2003, Future of Freedom Foundation Daily:

Socialism does not work, because, instead of allowing the price system to be a vehicle of rational economic planning, it sabotages the price system as much as possible. In its extreme form, socialism would eliminate prices for capital goods — by seizing them — and thereby cause economic annihilation. Even socialism’s less extreme interventions injure the price system. Taxation, inflation, subsidies, occupational licensure, collective bargaining mandates, and so on all distort market prices and cripple their ability to convey accurate information about preferences and scarcities.

The entire piece is compelling, powerful and clear. To read it Click here.

And a repost from a recent post of mine on this blog: The Trouble with Public Sector Unions by DANIEL DISALVO, in National Affairs, Issue Number 5, Fall 2010

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

Courts across the nation also generally held that collective bargaining by government workers should be forbidden on the legal grounds of sovereign immunity and unconstitutional delegation of government powers. In 1943, a New York Supreme Court judge held:

To tolerate or recognize any combination of civil service employees of the government as a labor organization or union is not only incompatible with the spirit of democracy, but inconsistent with every principle upon which our government is founded. Nothing is more dangerous to public welfare than to admit that hired servants of the State can dictate to the government the hours, the wages and conditions under which they will carry on essential services vital to the welfare, safety, and security of the citizen. To admit as true that government employees have power to halt or check the functions of government unless their demands are satisfied, is to transfer to them all legislative, executive and judicial power. Nothing would be more ridiculous.

The very nature of many public services — such as policing the streets and putting out fires — gives government a monopoly or near monopoly; striking public employees could therefore hold the public hostage. As long-time New York Times labor reporter A. H. Raskin wrote in 1968: “The community cannot tolerate the notion that it is defenseless at the hands of organized workers to whom it has entrusted responsibility for essential services.”

Click here to read this insightful and timeless piece in full.

The Trouble with Public Sector Unions–Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers:

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason?

DANIEL DISALVO
Fall/2010

When Chris Christie became New Jersey’s governor in January, he wasted no time in identifying the chief perpetrators of his state’s fiscal catastrophe. Facing a nearly $11 billion budget gap — as well as voters fed up with the sky-high taxes imposed on them to finance the state government’s profligacy — Christie moved swiftly to take on the unions representing New Jersey’s roughly 400,000 public employees.

On his first day in office, the governor signed an executive order preventing state-workers’ unions from making political contributions — subjecting them to the same limits that had long applied to corporations. More recently, he has waged a protracted battle against state teachers’ unions, which are seeking pay increases and free lifetime health care for their members. Recognizing the burden that such benefits would place on New Jersey’s long-term finances, Christie has sought instead to impose a one-year wage freeze, to change pension rules to limit future benefits, and to require that teachers contribute a tiny fraction of their salaries to cover the costs of their health insurance — measures that, for private-sector workers, would be mostly uncontroversial.

The firestorm that these proposals have sparked demonstrates the political clout of state-workers’ unions. Christie’s executive order met with vicious condemnation from union leaders and the politicians aligned with them; his fight with the public-school teachers prompted the New Jersey Education Association to spend $6 million (drawn from members’ dues) on anti-Christie attack ads over a two-month period. Clearly, the lesson for reform-minded politicians has been: Confront public-sector unions at your peril. Click here to read this insightful and timeless piece in full.

Gallup: Strong Support for Collective Bargaining for Public Employees– Repost from the Democratic Strategist (Read Dick Morris’s poll on same issue, posted below.)

Gallup is not infrequently accused of conservative bias in survey methods,(Gallup may be accused of conservative bias, but it doesn’t make it true) which makes this lede from Dennis Cauchon’s USA Today article, “Poll: Americans favor union bargaining rights” all the more interesting:

MADISON, Wis. — Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.

The 28 point advantage favoring public employee unions in this controversy is impressive, but Independents were even more opposed to limiting public employee bargaining rights, with 62 percent opposed vs. 31 percent favoring limits. Wisconsin voters can’t be all that different from this nationwide survey sample in their views on the topic.

Gallup: Strong Support for Collective Bargaining for Public Employees–Democratic Strategist

THE DICK MORRIS POLL ON WISCONSIN at DickMorris.com

[Voters] support many aspects of the proposal by significant numbers:

VOTERS SUPPORT CHANGING THE BENEFITS TO STATE WORKERS, PAY, AND AUTOMATIC DEDUCTION OF UNION DUES

• By 74-18, they back making state employees pay more for their health insurance.
• By 79-16, they support asking state workers contribute more toward their pensions.
• By 54-34, Wisconsin voters support ending the automatic deduction of union dues from state paychecks and support making unions collect dues from each member.
• By 66-30, they back limiting state workers’ pay increases to the rate of inflation unless voters approve a higher raise by a public referendum.

VOTERS OPPOSE CHANGING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS

On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to wage and benefit issues, however, they break with the Governor, opposing the proposal by 41-54.

If the issues to be taken off the bargaining table are related to giving schools flexibility to modify tenure, pay teachers based on merit, discharge bad teachers and promote good ones, however, they support such limits on collective bargaining by 58-38.

ANALYSIS: Voters back the principal of collective bargaining. But they are also willing to limit these negotiations so that they would not impede education reforms.

It seems to me, the voters don’t understand what is collective bargaining. They’re for it, but they support reforms that address the unsustainable costs and excessive influence public employee unions hold over their state legislature.

THE DICK MORRIS POLL ON WISCONSIN at DickMorris.com

Jacob Hornberger is passionate about freedom. He’s a Romeo for freedom! Here he rips on Wisconsin statists and goes on a riff about all the other agencies that should be cut now, asap. It’s interesting and it makes sense and it’s passionate and loving. It’s spirited. It is compassionate.

Monday, February 21, 2011 A Solution for Wisconsin
by Jacob G. Hornberger
The controversy with public schoolteachers in Wisconsin proves, once again, that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference in principle between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. This time, the big battle between the statists is whether state schoolteachers should be allowed to collectively bargain. The conservatives say no. The liberals say yes.
Yawn. Click here to read more.

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