Via Big Government.
As we embark on this great debate, an understanding of some of the key points is critical because the private sector vs. public sector dispute will remain with us as a pivotal issue in the 2012 elections.
First, we need to know the difference between the private sector and public sector unions. Many liberal Democrats and public union leaders are dredging up old images of sweat shops and brutal treatment of humans by big business. As we are exposed to these representations, that serve to tug at our heartstrings, we recall the Hollywood glamorization of unions as noted in films such as Norma Rae, which emphasized the deplorable working conditions in private sector factories prior to workers banding together against employers, with the help of a union organizer.
Drawing on these images, some of the Wisconsin public sector union members, like many liberal ideologues who hope that an outpouring of emotional images- albeit without any basis in reality- will sway their audiences, are outrageously likening themselves to the people of Egypt and Libya who, of course, have been struggling to free themselves from oppressive dictators.
As Lisa Fabrizio suggests, contrast these images with what is the truth: that public sector union members, unlike the people of Egypt and Libya, have some of the largest salaries, benefits, and pension packages in the country- courtesy of American taxpayers who, in the private sector, are struggling with a likely far higher than 10% rate of unemployment.
Yes, the table has turned and public sector unions, many of whose members can retire at the ripe old age of 55, with six-figure pensions, are now the “big businesses” of the old sweat shops, while taxpayers are the new “Norma Raes.”
……To understand further the destructiveness of collective bargaining in the public sector, we should consider that, in January of this year, the U.S. Department of Labor presented data which placed the rate of private sector union membership in the country at nearly 7%, down from more than 30% in the 1950’s, while public sector union membership was reported to be at slightly more than 36%.
Why the downturn in private sector unions? Thomas Cooley and Lee Ohanian report that the decline is due to the fact that unionization stifles competition, which leads to higher costs and, ultimately, job destruction. Once individuals, in manufacturing, for example, realized that, on their own, they would have more control over their own personal job opportunities and salaries, unionization lost its “glamor.”
The public sector unions’ fiscal success is due to the major difference between the two sectors: there is no risk of job loss, or no competition, for state and local government union workers. When it is time for their salaries, benefits, and pensions to be renegotiated, their leaders sit across the collective bargaining table, often from the very government officials they helped to elect to office. The rules of government collective bargaining are such that taxpayers do not have the final say on public policy related to state workers’ pay and benefits- which they fund. Elected representatives negotiate spending and policy decisions with union leaders, and then send the tab to the taxpayers. The result of this process is that all public union workers are eligible for higher pay and better benefits- even those with poor work performance.
Unions started out with a socialist agenda, ended up with bed with the mafia, and went downhill from there. The leaders spend member’s dues to suit their own political agendas, and line their pockets. So much for looking out for the “working class”. I would sic the IRS (finally, a good use for them) pitbulls on these pimps, and find out where every single penny ends up.
The author is 100% correct. The union created an entitlement culture and American taxpayers paid the price.