Let me make sure I have this right - because they are not civilians, members of the military are not public employees? What, precisely, causes this distinction?
Originally Posted by Boo Radley
Except that businesses must provide a service that people want and are willing to pay for. They must also run a profit, and they are also subject to competition. This is not broadly true of government, which changes the incentive structures involved. Unions in the private sector have natural limits placed on them by the competition of the market - if they sluice off too much or provide too poor a service, the host dies. Unions in the public sector have no such natural limits - since the government is not required to provide quality services nor to run a profit in order to survive, their abuse is not curbed by these boundaries, but rather only by the threat of the ruin of the states' fisc, to the harm of all citizens.
Actually, the government is a lot like every other employer. Police provide a service. Firefighters provide a service. Teachers provide a service and they are paid for doing that service.
That is incorrect. Public servants are precisely that - our servants. They work for us. They are not our boss, and this government belongs to us not them. When sectors of the government become interest groups, they are able to control that portion of the government to their own benefit rather than that of the citizenry. Government seeks to be For The People and becomes For The Government.
No, I am correct. There has bene no removal of soverity from the public. They are just as free to vote as they ahve ever been.
No - that's a crap cop-out designed to dodge the issue. You accuse local and state governments who are effectively controlled by unions as simply being "poor negotiators". They are excellent negotiators - they simply are not negotiating on behalf of the taxpayers and citizens, but rather on behalf of their political constituency, which is the union sitting across the table from them. Remember when John Corzine told a crowdfull of unionized public employees that he was going to "fight for a fair contract" for them? Who was he planning on fighting? He was the guy at the other end of the negotiating table.
NO, they negotiate better
States are more successful when they limit the power and reach of public sector unions. It limits the ability of the unions to prey on the State Fisc, and makes it easier for the state to be more flexible and adaptive. That's why localities in Wisconsin who aren't held up by local contract are doing so much better right now than those that aren't.
Variations Within Wisconsin
In his book, Mitch Daniels went to lengths to describe the impact of reducing the power of the public sector unions on the ability of his state government to provide good governance:
...The budget repair law experience has not been uniform across the state of Wisconsin. Some jurisdictions that are not encumbered by legacy labor contracts were able to achieve significant savings right away due to the budget repair law, and were not forced to make sharp reductions in employment—some, such as the City of Milwaukee, were even able to expand public services.
Milwaukee lost $14 million in annual aid payments from the state, but found $30 million in employee benefits savings, of which $20 million was made possible by the budget repair law. These savings came mostly from changes to health benefits: partly requiring employees to pay a larger share of their insurance premiums, and partly switching to more economical plans. This is an example of what Wisconsinites can expect to see in cities and towns across their state in the next few years.
But other jurisdictions that must honor existing contracts have had very different experiences. Take, for example, the Milwaukee Public Schools. The district lost $82 million in state aid. But it was not able to realize any health care or pension savings with unionized employees, because it entered into a four-year employee contract at the end of 2010. As a result, the district laid off 119 teachers and over 100 other employees.
This situation is difficult, but temporary. There will be significant labor savings available to the Milwaukee Public Schools starting in 2014 when existing contracts expire. Employees will make larger pension and health contributions, and the district will have a free hand to modify health benefits.
Those savings, when realized, should be substantial. A recent study found that even simply moving MPS employees into the same health plan used by state employees would save $64 million per year, enough to nearly wipe out the loss of state aid.
Over the next three years, municipal governments will begin taking advantage of labor reforms, and we can expect their ability to maintain or expand headcount to improve. Over time, the City of Milwaukee experience will move from unusually fortunate to typical—much as we’ve seen with how Indiana governments have weathered the recession...
...In Indiana our actions were only secondarily about finances. It is true that the freedom to restructure departments, consolidate functions, and so on saved Hoosier taxpayers tons of money. But the principal motive, and equally important gains, came in the transformation of state services. There simply was no way we could have revolutionized our Bureau of Motor Vehicles (more on this later), our state parks, our prison system, or so many other services if we had been hogtied by the old union agreement.
One of the most important changes this new freedom allowed involved the protection of children, one of the few literally life-and-death duties state government has, and one that Indiana was failing miserably at when my administration entered office. By almost every measure, Indiana had one of the worst child welfare systems in the country. Rates of child fatality and abuse in the system were shockingly high, and the average caseworker was overwhelmed with twice as many cases as the national average. There was tremendously high turnover among caseworkers, and incoming workers were rarely trained properly. At the same time, we had one of the poorest records anywhere of collecting child support for single parents. Only one of every two dollars in support ordered by a court was ever delivered to a single mom (or, occasionally, dad) in Indiana. …
Six years later our child welfare system was winning national awards from private evaluators, such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and from the same federal Department of Health and Human Services that was preparing to penalize the state for maintaining an atrocious system before we took office. Today, 60 percent of single parents who are owed child support in the state receive it. That’s a significant improvement—although it is not nearly enough, so I continually press for more progress.
Fixing the department required making thousands of organizational, process, and personnel changes. Hundreds of workers either were reassigned or, in some cases, dismissed for poor performance. The agency of 2011 looks totally different, and operates in a totally different way from its predecessor. If every one of these steps had required union consultation or signoff, as the old agreement provided, we would still be trying to take some of the earliest actions....
Yes. As in, leadership that is influenced by the Public Unions.
The few states that did a poor job do not reflect unions, but the poor leadership involved by the state.