| Rat. Scab. Cockroach.|
Those are some of the nicer words used to describe people who are willing to do work outside of a union contract.
So, with a few states (Wisconsin in particular) either passing laws or working towards passing laws that roll back the influence of unions in government, I thought I'd offer my opinion... not that you asked.
I should first say that I have never been a union member. I've worked at plenty of jobs that unions represent: busboy, clerk, etc... just never for an employer that hired union workers. I should also say that I've never worked for any government, other than a short stint in a government run workforce that doesn't allow unions and requires the wearing of various shades of green and brown.
Now that the disclaimers are done, I don't dislike unions. I think they serve a purpose, for those who want to join them. In the private sector, customers are free to choose between products and services offered by both union and non-union providers. This offers competitive pricing and differing levels of quality for those price levels.
Unions were born to help the common man (or woman, I guess) not get screwed over by a company owner who was only out to increase his bottom line. Now, the government has seen fit to legislate most of that crap. Owner forcing to work on a holiday? There's a good chance it's one of the days the government says you get to be paid time and a half. Owner trying to make you work 60 hours a week for straight time pay? There are laws against it. Owner telling you that you have to work through lunch and he's not going to pay you for it? Yep, you guessed it... the government backs you up with a law.
Unions have no right being in the public (or government) sector. None.
The number one reason for my stance is that the government owner is EVERY taxpayer. We aren't making you do anything. The same laws that protect a private businesses employee protect a government employee.
But lets look even deeper into my reason for this stance against public sector unions.
Well, how about wages. We hear time and time again about how underpaid public sector union employees are compared to private sector employees in comparable jobs. I've seen people claim that public sector employees are paid as much as 25% less than people in the private sector.
Public sector UNION employees might be paid less than private sector UNION employees in comparable jobs, but they make more than every comparable non-union private sector employee. Add to that the fact that non-union private sector employee's outnumber private sector union employees, and it's an apples to oranges comparison. The majority of private sector taxpayers aren't union members, and make less than their government employee counterparts.
Benefits. Ahhh, benefits.
This is where government union employees tip the scales in their favor. Even when compared to their private sector union brethren. Contractually guaranteed raises based not on performance, but just on the fact they didn't do enough to get fired by another contractually agreed to issue. Holiday pay? If the government agency observes it, you get to sit at home and enjoy the free money... or if the job requires coverage on that day and you work it, big bucks. I won't even go into the complexities of trying to figure out the differences between private sector non-union retirement plans versus government union retirement plans, except to say that for the most part government union employees don't even come close to the money deducted or the percentage of money paid to the retiree comparable to final salary.
My final point is this.
I can donate all the money I want to my employer from my paycheck, and it's not going to influence him to increase my pay or benefits one bit. But government employee unions donate millions of dollars every year to the campaign funds of the people who vote on their raises, pay, and benefits. In the real world, that's called a bribe.
So, while non-union workers might be rats, cockroaches, or scabs... government unions are the festering sores.
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