Friday, February 18, 2011

WSJ: A showdown between public unions and taxpayers

Read the whole thing.  Here are a few excerpts:

Mr. Walker's very modest proposal would take away the ability of most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits. They could still bargain for higher wages, but future wage increases would be capped at the federal Consumer Price Index, unless otherwise specified by a voter referendum. The bill would also require union members to contribute 5.8% of salary toward their pensions and chip in 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums.

If those numbers don't sound outrageous, you probably work in the private economy. The comparable nationwide employee health-care contribution is 20% for private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average employee contribution from take-home pay for retirement was 7.5% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

The protests have an orchestrated quality, and sure enough, the Politico website reported yesterday that the Democratic Party's Organizing for America arm is helping to gin them up. The outfit is a remnant of President Obama's 2008 election campaign, so it's also no surprise that Mr. Obama said yesterday that while he knows nothing about the bill, he supports protesters occupying the Capitol building.

The reality is that the unions are trying to trump the will of the voters as overwhelmingly rendered in November when they elected Mr. Walker and a new legislature.

Public unions have a monopoly position that gives them undue bargaining power. Their campaign cash—collected via mandatory dues—also helps to elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with those same unions. The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table. This is why such famous political friends of the working man as Franklin Roosevelt and Fiorello La Guardia opposed collective bargaining for government workers, even as they championed private unions.

Posted via email from The Blue Pelican

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