View Full Version : Time to Restore Voter Control: End the Government-Union Monopoly

02-28-2011, 11:29 AM
Abstract: With Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attempting to rein in the unbalanced power of government unions, and given the fierce stranglehold that union members have on their ever-increasing taxpayer-provided benefits, now is a crucial time for Americans to understand the difference between private-sector and public-sector unions. Collective bargaining in the private sphere—where companies face competition—is a world away from collective bargaining in government—which faces no competition, and where unions have a legal monopoly. Heritage Foundation labor expert James Sherk explains why it is time to restore voter control over elected government, and how it can be done.

Collective bargaining by unions takes place very differently in government than it does in the private sector. Private-sector unions have competitors and bargain over the profits they help create. The government earns no profits. Government unions have a legal monopoly and bargain for a greater share of tax dollars. Collective bargaining in government means that voters’ elected representatives must agree on tax and spending decisions with union representatives.

Collective bargaining also politicizes the civil service. Government unions negotiate contract provisions that force workers to join and subsidize their fundraising. These subsidies have made them the top political spenders in the country. They use that money to lobby for higher taxes and protect their inflated compensation.

America can no longer afford these special-interest subsidies. State and local governments should:

Restore voter control over government spending by ending collective bargaining with government unions.
Restore a nonpartisan civil service by ending subsidies for union fundraising and giving workers the choice of paying union dues. Voters should tell the government how to spend their money, not the other way around.
Collective Bargaining: The Process

Under collective bargaining, a union is designated as the employees’ “exclusive bargaining representative.” The employer must negotiate with the union over pay, benefits, and work rules. The employer may not employ workers for anything other than the union-negotiated terms. This gives the union a monopoly on the labor supplied to an employer. Even if other workers would take the job, the employer may not hire them for anything other than union rates.


02-28-2011, 11:34 AM
John Engler did away with collective bargaining for Michigan's state employees in the 90s. I think it was via executive order. The union got enough signatures to put it on a ballot a few years back, and the voters overwhelmingly rejected it.

Previous Governors Milliken (R) and Blanchard (D) had allowed collective bargaining to be written into the contract.