Skip to comments.3 Ways to Reform Labor and Save Our Country
Posted on 07/14/2012 9:01:01 AM PDT by Kaslin
Now that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has resoundingly won the recall election organized against him, pundits and policymakers are wondering whats next. As economists and labor experts from across the country, we believe its time for legislators at all levels of governmentlocal, state, and federalto recognize that the labor reforms begun in Wisconsin need to be implemented nationwide.
The stakes couldnt be higher. A ticking fiscal time bomb has already begun to explode in some cities, a direct consequence of unsustainable union pay and benefit packages. Meanwhile, state laws that mandate union membership as a job requirement are contributing to a status quo that delivers workers paychecks and citizens taxes into union handsand from union hands to the bulging coffers of labor leaders favorite political allies.
The appropriate response to this perfect storm of excess is threefold.
First, steer our cities away from insolvency and bankruptcy by passing meaningful reforms to public employee pensions and compensation. Careful economic research has shown public-sector workers receive a level of compensation, pension benefits, and retiree health coverage in excess of what comparable workers in the private sector enjoy. In some instances, the total premium can be 30 percent or higher. The resulting burdens on municipal and state budgets are simply unaffordable.
In the city of San Jose, for instance, pension costs skyrocketed from $73 million to $245 million in just 10 years. The same night as Governor Walkers victory, the citys residentsboth Democrat and Republican alikelooked past aggressive campaigning by public employee unions and voted overwhelmingly to make modest pension cuts that will save taxpayers millions. (Unions responded by filing suit.)
A similar vote happened down the coastline in San Diego, which means a bipartisan effort like this should be possible elsewherebefore its too late.
The next step, at the state level, is to advance right-to-work legislation that gives employees a choice in union membership.
A key tenet of our democracy is freedom of associationincluding the freedom to form a union. But what about the right of a worker to choose not to join a union? In the 27 states that havent passed right-to-work laws, this right doesnt exist.
In 2012, the state of Indiana showed that such laws can become a reality, even in the face of bitter opposition from labor leaders. Not only are such laws good for employeesthey also make good economic sense. Research published in the journal Regulation compared manufacturing employment in counties with a pro-business environment (including right to work laws) to counties across a state border that didnt have such laws. The study found that manufacturing job growth was nearly 90 percent higher between 1947 and 1992 in the pro-business right-to-work counties.
The last step to effective labor reform should happen at the federal level, with the passage of the Employee Rights Act (ERA), a piece of legislation sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
The provisions of the ERA include reinforcing the right to a secret ballot union election, regular recertification votes on whether employees wish to remain part of a union, and paycheck protection to allow employees to prevent their dues from going to politicians they dont support. Unsurprisingly, in polling commissioned from Opinion Research Corporation, these provisions receive 80 percent supporteven in union households.
Before Gov. Walkers victory, this comprehensive policy program might have seemed too ambitious, however necessary to shoring up budgets, bolstering labor market flexibility, and securing Americas economic future. Now, its clear that our ambitions can rise to the level of our needs. Its an opportunity policymakers cant afford to miss.
Sounds good, but the Dems. would go to war to protect their cash cow.
They forgot "job security," the primary reason for which civil service employees used to receive LOWER compensation than in the private sectors.
One thing that needs to be done is getting rid of multiple government retirements
Not sure about other states....but here in Florida we have people getting seperate retirements from state pensions, while getting a pension from a municipal government. There are even some with three different government-funded retirements...as some government funded plans allow you to collect after only a few years
We need to limit people to one state/municipal retirement. If you get a government funded retirement from, say, Ohio...you cannot then get another in Florida.
We should just do as China does and make unions illegal. No workers should have the right to assmble and organize. Maybe let them keep their employee picnic but make sure the event is closely monitored and for sure that the picnic is only at an approved location.
>>We should just do as China does and make unions illegal. No workers should have the right to assmble and organize. Maybe let them keep their employee picnic but make sure the event is closely monitored and for sure that the picnic is only at an approved location.
Great idea! Let’s take it even further though. If someone is too stupid to own a business, then he is a peasant. Throughout history, peasants have not had rights or disposable income or luxuries. Why do we waste these resources on peasants in this country? Its an insult to those who are successful to have to share roads with them and to see them standing in line at the grocery store buying excess food.
We should just put all the peasants into a common labor pool that the elite can draw from when they need work done and then send them back to the pool to wait for their next task. The weak will starve and die, but that only strengthens our labor force and, ultimately, our economy. Darwinism is strength!
Kill Davis-Bacon. Ban all public unions. Let gov’t employers compete for labor at marketplace rates, not sweetheart deals for votes.
You forgot the /s
Though if you think the idea that making being in union non mandatory is akin to no unions at all, maybe you should consider why it is that people, when given the choice, generally leave the unions.
I have no problem with private sector unions because constitutionally you can’t prevent them from forming and they have a right to collectively negotiate their contracts for whatever reason.
However, the entire notion of a public sector union is pure stupidity and nothing but a corrupt but legal form of extortion, where employees are basically diverting their union dues into the coffers of the Democratic Party.
Public employees are already protected under labor and health safety laws as well as administrative law.
They are not being exploited for profit and there are no health and safety issues where they need to be protected.
Keep in mind you, and your business will eventually be bought out by the company and you will be forced to work for the company and you will be owned by the company the same way those poor bastards were that were slaves at the steel mills. I hope you are prepared in life for that.
“One thing that needs to be done is getting rid of multiple government retirements”
You point out multiple pensions from several states. That’s only one part of the problem. Here in California it goes on internally. One of our Governors, Dukmejian I believe, had a pension from the Military, from being a State Judge, and then as our Governor. The other one that’s criminal is “retiring” from your government job, getting your pension, then being “rehired” to the same position as a “contractor.” Our worthless Chief of Police was forced to retire due to a heart attack. Since we are a contract city, our cops are from the county sheriff’s department, they “hired this guy back” after “retirement” to be a recruiter. so he was double dipping. Then, when he reached 70, and was forced by “the rules,” to “finally retire,” they arranged for him to get a PI license and kept him on as a “contractor.”
Absolutely right on. Billions saved on leaches that have raped the system.
You sure you logged onto the right site? This isn’t Daily KOS.
You point out multiple pensions from several states. Thats only one part of the problem. Here in California it goes on internally. One of our Governors, Dukmejian I believe, had a pension from the Military, from being a State Judge, and then as our Governor. The other one thats criminal is retiring from your government job, getting your pension, then being rehired to the same position as a contractor. Our worthless Chief of Police was forced to retire due to a heart attack. Since we are a contract city, our cops are from the county sheriffs department, they hired this guy back after retirement to be a recruiter. so he was double dipping. Then, when he reached 70, and was forced by the rules, to finally retire, they arranged for him to get a PI license and kept him on as a contractor.
Yes, that happens here in Florida, too.
Retired state/muni workers retiring...then get hired as “contractors” to do same job. People retiring from one state job...working another govt job to get that retirement
Scary thing w Florida is that this is a Right to Work state, and, there are few public employee unions...and the stuff happens here
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Whether there are PE unions involved or not, with today's computer systems it's not hard to ferret out the mult-dippers. My guess is that the “government higher-up’s” are content to let it happen. The same POS CoP I mentioned is also on our Fire District BoD. It wasn't until the voters found out that the whole damned FD was running millions of bucks in OT that they finally hired more people and stopped most of the OT, which was a union scam. “I call in sick, you work OT for me, then you call in sick, and I work OT for you.” We had some FF’s who were making less than $150k per year who were adding on another $100k or more in OT. North Las Vegas Nevada just put the blocks on FF OT and the first year's savings amounted to $57 million! I am sure that the cops are bad, but the FF’s are the worst. They sit on their asses 95% of the time, having steak barbeques at the station on our dime and then they rob us quite literally. The good news is that with the economy the way it is, the whole sorted mess with the PE unions and the public safety folks primary, is unavoidably going to come out.
If you are talking about a caste system then we would be talking about India and not China. With what the government has heaped on the middle class, nearly wiping it out, I'd say we are not far from a caste system. What do you think?
I'm not sure I was going that far but was definitely playing the devil's advocate in the conversation.
I've got what I consider to be a conservative view regarding unions, that people should be free to join them (which is your point) and that they should push as hard as they can to get better benefits and wages for their members.
I consider that as part of a natural balance in the checks and balances of a healthy system. Balance is the key word.
I also don't blame the unions for all that they have gotten, even if in the public sector it is way too rich. I place blame with my elected representatives that shook on the deal when they were at the negotiating table. Is a deal a deal when you shake on it? The conservative view is that it is.
That said, we are in a mess and there has to be adjustment. But if someone is saying that people should not have the right to form a union, it has gone too far for me. Again, your point on choice is well taken.
I am fully an advocate of freedom of assembly. If people want to be in a union, that’s fine. If they don’t that should be protected as well. FDR tipped the scales towards unions too far, and it has to be tipped back sometime.
You are spot on about politicians giving unions too much, and honestly who can blame the unions for taking it. However this doesn’t mean there are reasonable curbs to take us back from the blatant tipping of the scales in favor of unions that the government does now.
I know where i am at and the company around here too. It amazes me how only 11.9 percent of the workforce can shake this place up and scare people around here. There are reasons for why unions were formed and why people died forming them and maybe a few folks around here actually investigate those reasons.
And yet while people love to bring up the history of labor with regard to unions, they conveniently skip the part where federal and state labor laws took over to curb the excesses.
The only reason that 11.9% has any consequence is that they buy politicians well. You know, like their patsy in the White House at the moment.
Business does the same thing so it end up tit for tat. In history though we find that business typically slowly tends to abuse people that work for them and it gets to the point where the workers get brain washed into believing that their labor is only worth pennies an hour and that safety issues mean nothing. They even hold mandatory classes in anti union tactics and the loveable dolts simply follow along like little widget workers that they have become. Like little serfs these people do anything to survive since they don’t know any better and that with a little self respect on their part their lives could be much better.
The scumbag rats waged a filthy, all-out war in Wisconsin - - and lost, big time.
So let the scumbags "go to war".
Yes, if we follow proper Marxist dialectic, we do learn such history. However, not everyone studies that version of history.
I suppose I could pick up a Chomsky book to catch up on your worldview, but I’d rather read more interesting and well written fantasy.