The real issues with Public Sector Unions

Discussion in 'Politics' started by martybegan, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    As a disclaimer, I work for a firm that does consulting work for a government agency. (Environmental Engineering).

    While the whole Wisconsin thing has brought the debate over unionization of public sector workers to the forefront, The debate really does not go into the structural issues of the problems with unions for goverment employees. As stated above, I work for a company that does goverment contract work. This gives me what I belive to be an insight into some of the issues found in goverment work and unionization.

    To me the biggest problem is not with the unions themselves, but on the effects they have on elected officals. This is far more prevalent at the local level than the federal. Lets go with a comparison to a car manufacturer, with union workers. Here the union's goal is to ge the most compensation for its people. There is a limit however, and the union knows this, on how far it can go. If it makes it too expensive for the owner to sell the cars it makes, the owner goes out of business, and the people lose thier jobs. Thus a balancing act is created. The owners want to make as much money for thier stockholders as possible, the union wants to make as much money for its workers as possible, but both do not want the whole thing to go out of business.

    This balancing act is not seen in government. People can not simply go to another service provider for basic goverment services. You create a permenent clientele, short of people actually moving out of the municipality. In effect the company can not go out of business, because there is no competition for the services provided. Furthermore, the goverment can basically set the costs of those services via taxes, and short of voting said people out, there is not much that can be done.

    Here is where the concept of public sector unions as currently set up runs into trouble, particularly in areas where there is a larger portion of the workers employed by said goverments. The unions here gain enough power to sway elections. This creates a situation where politicans need to rely on the support of the very people they employ to get into office. At this point the balance you have in a private sector worker/owner relationship is basically non existant. It becomes easier for the politicans to give the unions what they want, instead of doing what is right for thier customers (taxpayers.) This leads to increased budget issues, which leads to more taxes.

    The other issue is that todays unions have run out of the basic things to fight for. They have the 40/35 hour workweek, they have overtime, and benefits. At this point all they can go for is wage increases, not based on senority or position, but just increases for increases sake, and protecting archaic work rules, with lower productivity. Work rules exist in private unions, but they still fall under need to keep up productivity, as if they cut it down too much, the company goes out of business, and everyone loses. This need to keep up productivity is largely abesent from public jobs. Again, they really cannot lose thier customers.

    The final issue I see is how unproductive people are dealt with. Private unions do have protections in place to stop people from being fired for arbitrary reasons, but in the end, they still have to abide by the need to work efficently to produce a product, so (again) the company does not go out of business, and everyone loses thier jobs.

    In the public sector, the way to handle unproductive people is to basically find them some position where thier perfromance does not affect things too much. Trying to get rid of someone once they are in is next to impossible. It is actually easier to layoff people indiscrimiately then to get rid of one person who is terrible at thier job. This then requires the people who actually care about thier jobs to work harder, use overtime, and basically cover for those who dont work.

    What is the solution to this? I'm not really sure, but it has to start somewhere. I think banning all unionization in public sector work is a rash move, but something has to be done. Making it easier to get more productivity out of public sector workers would probably be a start.
     
  2. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    The Gov. want the union members to pay more toward their pensions and toward the health care, he wants to limit their collective bargaining powers to "wages" only. It's either that or a massive layoff.
     
  3. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    The area I feel he is over reaching with is the trying to stop the union from collecting dues, and with the whole having to certify every year. Those moves just look petty.

    The limiting of the bargaining power to wages only is basically adresssing my last few points about inane work rules.
     
  4. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    The way I understood it was the governor was for letting people choose whether or not to join a union and pay dues, not that the union couldn't collect dues.
     
  5. washamericom
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    washamericom Gold Member

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    this whole epic in wisconson reminds me of tailgunner joe, the red scare and a good dose of mccarthyism
     
  6. whitehall
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    whitehall Gold Member

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    You can't get blood from a stone. It's human nature to demand more money and more benefits but what happens when the state runs out? If the public sector unions continue to demand more money sooner or later workers get laid off and services go down hill or chaos reigns. That's what Wisconsin and a lot of other states are facing. It's incomprehensible that teachers have the nerve to demand more money and benefits when everyone knows the public school education is sub-standard.
     
  7. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    Collecting dues from everyone? Including those who really don't want to belong to a union and pay dues? He wants a right to work state. I see nothing wrong with that. I thought libruls were all about "the right to chosse".
     
  8. barry1960
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    barry1960 VIP Member

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    It would be easier to respect the governor's position if it included all public unions, but he is exempting law enforcement since he received their support in the election.
     
  9. washamericom
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    washamericom Gold Member

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    so ?
     
  10. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    and this means we don't have to respect democrats position cause they received union support.. is this a correct assumption?
     

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