Liberty News

What Is Government Collective Bargaining?

  • Legal Monopoly: Government collective bargaining gives unions a monopoly on the government’s workforce. The government must employ workers on the terms the union negotiates. It may not hire competing workers.
  • Private vs. Public-Sector: Unions operate differently in government than in the private sector. Private-sector unions bargain over limited profits. Competition from other businesses moderates wage demands. Governments earn no profits and have no competition. Government unions negotiate for more tax dollars.
  • Risking Public Services: When government unions strike, they can deprive citizens of essential services—such as education for children—until demands are met.

History of Government Collective Bargaining

  • Unions Once Rejected: Early labor leaders didn’t believe unions belonged in government. In 1955, George Meany, then-president of the AFL-CIO, said: “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” In 1959 the AFL-CIO Executive Council declared, “In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.”
  • FDR: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D) gave unions extensive powers to bargain collectively in the private sector but excluded them from government. FDR believed collective bargaining had no place in public service and that a government strike was “unthinkable and intolerable.”
  • A Change of Heart: Union membership peaked in the private sector in the 1950s. Unions came to see government employees as valuable new dues-paying members. Some states, like VA and NC, still do not negotiate public spending with government unions. 52% of union members in the U.S. now work for a government.
  • Leverage over Government: Granting unions a monopoly over work done in government gives unions enormous leverage over budgets and taxes. Unions use this power to raise taxes and get more of the budget spent on them.
  • Inflated Government Pay: Government unions win above-market compensation for their members. The average government employee enjoys better health benefits, better pensions, better job security, and an earlier retirement than the average private-sector worker, although cash wages are typically not inflated at the state or local level.
  • Forced Union Dues: In the 28 non-right-to-work states, unions negotiate provisions that force government employees to pay union dues or get fired. This brings government unions billions of dollars.
  • Politicized Civil Service: Government unions have the power to elect the management they negotiate with, so they spend heavily to elect politicians who promise them concessions. Government unions were the top political spenders, outside the two major parties, in the 2010 election cycle.
  • What about Wisconsin?

  • In Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker (R) is reforming collective bargaining. His proposal restores voter control over most spending decisions but does not completely eliminate collective bargaining.
  • Reforms: Walker’s proposal restricts government unions to negotiating over wages only, and not benefits or work rules (such as job guarantees for failing teachers). Voters would have to approve any wage increase beyond inflation. Unions would have to demonstrate that they have the support of a majority of members through an annual secret ballot. Wisconsin would stop subsidizing union fundraising by collecting union dues through its payroll system, and would no longer fire workers who choose not to pay union dues.
  • Is This Union Busting? A union is only “busted” if its members are forced to quit the union. Giving employees the choice to pay or not pay expensive dues is hardly union busting. Under Walker’s plan, Wisconsin unions would still have considerably more negotiating power than even federal employee unions.
  • See the video HERE.

    Source, The Heritage Foundation

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    From It’s Working Wisconsin…

    We heard the sky would fall and that there would be massive layoffs of state and local government workers and teachers. Some asserted that Wisconsin’s budget reform would mark the end of the state as we know it.

    But the sky’s still there. And Wisconsin is stronger than ever.

    Thanks to Wisconsin’s budget reform…

    IT’S WORKING

    A new website, ItsWorkingWisconsin.com is committed to providing the facts to Wisconsin taxpayers. Every week there are more examples of how It’s Working. Together, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy have chronicled success stories from across Wisconsin.

    We also arm you with the facts to explain why the reform was necessary.

    Facing a $3.6 billion deficit, Wisconsin’s general fund was hemorrhaging money, spending more than it was taking in.

    Wisconsin could have either raised taxes on individuals, families and job providers, or cut spending.

    As a result of Wisconsin’s budget reform, the state has cut the deficit and reduced the strain on local governments by giving them the tools to reduce their labor costs without massive program cuts or layoffs.

    This website details the positive results of local officials having the flexibility to reduce spending while protecting vital services.

    Wisconsin’s Budget Reform. It’s Working.

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    Until now many of the often-illegal antics perpetuated by several individual Wisconsin-based protesters appeared to be random acts committed by disillusioned agitators. But the MacIver News Service has learned that these acts have been highly orchestrated and perpetuated by an organization whose members are told to deny their involvement in the group. A group, we’ve discovered, which is financed by thousands of dollars from Big Labor.

    With that funding comes clout. They have shared the stage with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate. They’ve hosted prominent Democratic legislative speakers such as Representative Cory Mason and Minority Leader Peter Barca, a rumored potential candidate for governor.

    These protesters have played a key role in many of the most visible events in and around the State Capitol since February. This week, their organization was listed alongside the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and United Wisconsin as key organizers behind the efforts to recall Governor Scott Walker.

    And they’re currently organizing and participating in many of the ‘Occupy’ protests in Washington, DC, New York and Wisconsin.

    Bill Osmulski reports in this MacIver News Investigation. See the video HERE.

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    -By Warner Todd Huston

    As a recap on the past recall effort that just occurred in Wisconsin, a final accounting shows that liberal groups spent over $14 million to beat the six Republicans that were up for recall. They failed in four of the six attempts and in the two they won, well, it was a pyrrhic victory to say the least. It all goes to show that money is not always the final arbiter of an election victory.

    The MacIver Institute of Wisconsin has created a great graphic to diagram the spending the left indulged to recall these six Wisconsin Republicans. It was mostly union money, of course.

    Click Image to embiggen…

    Of the totals, MacIver says:

    These figures include direct contributions from political action committee to candidates, coordinated independent expenditure campaigns, and individual third party expenditures. The overall effort, however, is likely much larger. Member-to-member communications and issue advocacy totals are not required to be reported to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board and are therefore not included in this total.

    It was mostly wasted money, too. The people of Wisconsin did not accept the union’s viewpoint that the eeeevil Republicans were destroying the state. In fact, just the opposite.

    This was a big victory against modern unionism. And what is most encouraging is that this victory has occurred in Wisconsin, a state traditionally one of the most left-wing, progressive states in the Union. If we can defeat union thuggery in progressive Wisconsin, we can do it anywhere.

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    -By Warner Todd Huston

    Oh, the union thugs in Wisconsin will certainly try to act as if winning a mere two of the six recall elections of the Republican State Senators in the Cheese State was a big win… but it wasn’t. In fact, this recall nonsense shows that the union issues were a huge failure. After all, they even shied from using the union issues to push the recall efforts after they got going because they were looking like a losing issue.

    In fact, the two Republicans that lost their effort to beat the recall were the two that were a bit odd as it is, so beating them doesn’t seem to be such a great triumph. And even at that the margins of defeat were not great. David Fredosso of the Washington Examiner puts it well:

    In the end, the union-backed Democrats picked up only two state Senate seats in Wisconsin last night, at a staggering cost in time, effort, and of course money. One of the seats was solidly Democratic, held by a Republican due to an apparent fluke of nature. The other was held by an alleged adulterer who had moved outside his district to live with his young mistress, and whose wife was supporting his recall.

    A Pyrrhic victory, there, for sure.

    Unions and left-wing Democrat operative told us that the people of Wisconsin were furious at Governor Scott Walker and his GOP partners. We were told that “the people” would swarm to the recall election polls and throw the rascals out. But aside from the two problem children above, none of the elections were even close.

    So, what happened? With nearly $30 million spent on the recall efforts the two sides were pretty even (though the GOP had a slight edge). So, it wasn’t money that flipped the vote toward the GOP.

    The truth is, the state is already seeing major benefits from Gov. Walker’s GOP agenda. Schools are seeing huge budget savings and some of them are even standing up to unions to find further savings. Even better, due to Gov. Walker’s efforts Wisconsin led the nation in jobs creation in June with 9,500 new jobs being created in the Badger State.

    Wisconsin is growing again at last. Unions were the reason Wisconsin was being held back. And voters know it.

    Mickey Kaus (a famous left-winger, but quixotic that he is often anti-union) makes some great points about this recall election, too.

    Unions Lose Again in Wisconsin: It looks as if the organized labor movement has failed to recall enough Wisconsin Republicans to regain control of the state senate. That’s a) in an off-year election where union turnout usually makes the difference b) in famously progressive Wisconsin c) after spending many millions d) with a nationwide media and organizing push e) when labor had a galvanizing issue in Gov. Scott Walker’s direct assault on the institutional collective bargaining power of public employees, which led to a dramatic walkout by Democrats.

    That puts it all well in perspective to show how badly the unions lost, doesn’t it?

    Lastly, this whole recall idea is idiotic. We have elections to put people in office. If we don’t like them we have the opportunity to be rid of them during the next election. This frivolous use of recalls is simply illegitimate. But that aside, it is good to see that most of the people of Wisconsin understood that the folks that were only just elected needed the chance to get a fair shot at doing the job they were voted in to do.

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    [Madison, Wisc…] A national labor union dumped $778 thousand into the We Are Wisconsin PAC just one week before recall elections take place, according to finance documents reviewed by the MacIver News Service.

    The AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Account sent the money on Tuesday, July 5, according to Government Accountability Records.

    This followed on the heels of another contribution from a Washington-based union. The “AFSCME – WI Special Account” sent $350 thousand to We Are Wisconsin on July 1…

    See the rest of this first in a series of reports by the MacIver News Service

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