After a little research and reading, I think I’ve done a complete about-face on public unions and collective bargaining.
Here is what I think is happening and gonna happen…
1- Despite what they are telling you, Republicans in gubmint are going after public worker unions as hard as they can because those unions are big supporters of the Democratic party. All you have to do is look at the big fish political donations over the last ten years – I think 14 out of the top twenty are unions, public and private – and exclusively Democratic.
2- Those Republicans are under intense pressure from their big supporters, bizness interests, to gut all unions. It just makes sense (see next point).
3- Financial concerns are real only if you look at this from the employer/investor point of view.* Proof of this is that police and fire unions, traditionally either Republican supporters and/or big lightning rods for public sentiment, are not being touched….
4- News coverage is being manipulated, to some extent. Example: you really don’t hear a lot about concessions unions have offered or already made.
1- Unions are going to be separated and lose their focus. That is one reason fire and police unions are not being targeted. It’s planned that way, which leads us to…
2- There won’t be a general strike – see above.
3- An even more confusing “right to work” landscape between the states. As more states adopt limits on collective bargaining and weaker public unions, courts will be flooded with all kinds of rights violations and challenges.
4- *Gutting unions and collective bargaining won’t help the economy. In supposedly “saving our progeny” from financial disaster, we’ll just be moving that financial disaster from one shell to another in the big game.
Baby boomers are retiring – all over, not just from gubmint. But retiring gubmint and public workers are the ones who stand to lose the most of their safety net from this political solution to gubmint’s cash crisis. We're just moving that stress from an already planned (That's the sick part of all this - we are planning on breaking promises and f-ing up peoples lives, and giving them practically no notice.) from the public to the private sector's not-so-golden parachute.
Most people aren’t seeing the difference between civil servants and teachers and their retirement packages. Teachers at public institutions pay a pretty large chunk of their salaries towards retirement. Most of them have to have 30 years in before it actually pays for them to retire. Thirty years.
5- Channeling GHWB, here “Not gonna help the economy. Not gonna…”
Ignoring the fact that in busting the unions to get at their retirement packages is breaking both a promise and in most cases a contract, it doesn’t make sense economically. Can we adjust the contract from here forward? Sure. But changing the rules in the middle or end of the game is just plain wrong. Wrong.
Do you think that cutting the retirement benefits of teachers – many of whom could have made more money in private sector employment, but chose teaching as a calling, not a job – is really going to save the state money, when they have to go back to work, after working thirty years, just to pay for their health care? Whose job will they take? Maybe yours? Your just-out-of-college-and-trying-to-pay-off-their-loans child’s job? If there’s justice – yes.
In the end, public is now going to mirror private sector compensation, but it’s not going to result in a better life for middle-management on down...
Political appointees and their staff (the VPs of the public sector working-world) are going to end up with all the perks and huge salaries (This is already happening in public institutions such as colleges, where Deans and VPs and Presidents make three-four-five times more than even the longest tenured teachers.), while average worker pay and compensation decreases. Lower budget deficits equal higher profit margins… only they don’t – because the “middle-class” takes a huge hit as public workers join the working poor of the public sector, and the “American Dream” will exist only for an even fewer few.