THE THREAT OF PUBLIC UNIONS, THE FUTURE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: While the private sector has lost 8-million jobs since 2008, the public sector has added 590,000 jobs during that same period. In addition, federal employees, on average, receive twice the salary and benefits that comparable private sector employees receive.

Public sector unions and congress are the keys that unlocked this Pandora’s box of economic irrationality. Imagine a circle comprising public sector unions, public sector employees, and Democratic members of congress. Each benefits the other. Democratic representatives vote to increase the wages and benefits of public sector employees, and their unions provide the necessary funds for re-election campaigns. Once re-elected, those representatives vote for higher wages and increased benefits for the union members who contributed to their election victories. And so it goes, on and on.

The result, of course, is ever higher deficits, spiraling into the stratosphere of economic irrationality.

And the disaster is not just confined to the federal deficit. The disease has infected state and municipal budgets across the country as well. According to recent estimates, state and city governments have inflated employee benefit liabilities in excess of $3-trillon!

Now with the NLRB firmly in the hands of pro-union ideologues, an agenda is coming into focus of an effort to increase the wages and benefits of private sector employees to match those of government employees. And the NLRB will attempt to do so by making private sector unions, such as the AFL-CIO and SEIU, as powerful as their public sector counterparts. It isn’t enough that public sector unions have egregiously contributed to the possible bankruptcy of governments, their private sector counterparts now want to inject that same virus into the body of Corporate America.

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A DEFEAT FOR COLLLECTIVE BARGAINING

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: Congress finally killed a bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had wanted the lame duck congress to pass. It was named the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2010. The bill would have required that all states and cities ensure that collective bargaining rights be given to police and fire fighters’ unions. One can only imagine how nearly bankrupt states from California to New York would have dealt with striking police and fire fighters demanding increased salaries and benefits when those state can barely keep up with present payroll pressures. Never mind the six-figure pensions that have become commonplace amongst retired public sector workers. The Cato Institute recently disseminated a position paper averring that public-sector unions are pushing for higher pay and increased government spending "with little restraint" and "don't care if the cost of government services goes up because the burden is borne by someone else." Of course, there is also the problem of who would protect citizenry and their property if police and firefighters all called in sick because they were unhappy with the results of collective bargaining. Chaos would reign supreme, and anarchy would become the disorder of the day. The public sector employee unions had believed that their numbers, which are so important in local elections, would force the government to pass a collective bargaining bill that would benefit them. They are now sorely disappointed; however, tax payers can now breathe a sigh of relief and hopefully look forward to a series of commonsense acts by the new congress taking office January.

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