Collective Bargaining neither a Privilege nor a Right

Nos politiciens au Canada ont l’art de transporter le problème à plus tard.

Par contre, les États américains ne pouvant pas faire face aux promesses électorales de politiciens irresponsables qui ont été au pouvoir avant eux, doivent renégocier les ententes.

Donc, beaucoup d’État américains pensent sérieusement à réduire le pouvoir de négociation de leurs employés représentés tout en réduisant leurs avantages, s’il le faut unilatéralement.

Exemple : Pourquoi toutes les générations futures devraient accepter des déficits actuariels des fonds de pension qui sont insolvables, accordés par des politiciens irresponsables et carriéristes. Et la réponse est NON.

Peu importe, ce que vous pensez, la réalité économique, va nous rejoindre et les acquis que vous avez gagnés par simple copinage avec les politiciens, vont graduellement s’approcher de la réalité que l’État peut payer tout en respectant une équité de distribution de richesse avec le reste de la population.

Aimez mon discours ou pas, la réalité va nous rejoindre.

Deux articles sur le sujet, un article du Globe and Mail et le second sur la situation critique en Californie, où on pense sérieusement tout renégocier.

Extrait de: We don’t have to surrender to public-sector unions, neil reynolds , Globe and Mail, Oct. 24, 2011

In the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt declared categorically that he would not give government workers the right to strike.

“A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intention on their part to obstruct the operation of government until their demands are satisfied,”

he said.

“Such action, looking forward to the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.”

Even in the late 1950s, the big labour unions themselves largely agreed. In 1959, AFL-CIO president George Meany said it would be “impossible” for a union to bargain with a government.

What caused liberal politicians and progressive unionists to change their minds – with such predictable and disturbing consequences? Manhattan Institute scholar Fred Siegel advanced a plausible historical explanation in a Wall Street Journal column earlier this year, and it provides a cautionary tale on either side of the border.

In 1958, New York City mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr., a Democrat, broke new ground when he gave New York’s employees the right to bargain collectively and the right to strike. Running for re-election in 1961, he won an extremely close race with public-sector-union support.

“His re-election resonated at the Kennedy White House, which had won office by only the narrowest of margins in 1960,”

Mr. Siegel writes.

“Ten weeks after Wagner’s victory, Kennedy looked to mobilize public-sector workers as a new source of Democratic Party political support.”

In 1962, he issued an executive order giving federal workers the right to organize and to strike. With this order, Kennedy turned federal workers, hitherto public servants, into a partisan political force.

Public-sector unions expanded rapidly across the county.

“In 1958, there had been but 15 public-employee strikes nationwide,
involving a handful of workers,”

Mr. Siegel says.

“By 1968 … more than 200,000 union members, mostly in local and state government,
were involved in 254 strikes.”

Mob action ensued when the newly unionized workers turned on the Democratic politicians who had empowered them. In 1975, New York sanitation workers went on strike,

“allowing garbage to pile up in the streets of a Gotham
already in the throes of a fiscal crisis.”

 In the same year, New York police went on strike,
with marchers carrying signs that read “Burn City Burn.”

In both strikes, New York’s political leaders caved – and, in capitulation, learned how to live with public-sector unions: Give them (and keep giving them) more or less what they want.

Canada followed the U.S. example. In 1965, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers waged its famous illegal wildcat strike and stayed off the job for two weeks until Lester Pearson surrendered unconditionally. The prime minister could have fired them all (as Ronald Reagan would memorably do in a similar situation with air traffic controllers in 1981); instead, he enacted the Public Service Staff Relations Act, extending the right to strike to federal employees.

Canadian governments learned the same lesson U.S. governments learned:

·         Give them more or less what they want.

·         Give them big wage increases.

·         Give them work-to-rule.

·         Give them the contract language that multiplies overtime compensation.

·         Most of all, give them gold-plated pension plans.

The consequences are stark.

When governments negotiate with public-sector unions, they tend to surrender their own authority, tend, indeed, to swap it – turning the unions, however episodically, into governments.

As George Meany said so long ago:

·         Impossible. A Canadian public-sector worker can retire at 55 and collect as much as $1.4-million. This worker can now earn more in retirement than he or she earned (on average) in their careers – a generosity few private-sector workers will ever enjoy.

·         The C.D. Howe Institute, meantime, reports that the federal pension plan is underfunded by $200-billion, most of which must be made good by private-sector workers.

We could tinker with the public-sector pensions (and we should), but we would be wiser to tackle the public-sector unions directly.

·         We could justifiably eliminate them.

·         We could justifiably eliminate the right to strike.

·         Or we could justifiably adopt the American model: Wisconsin’s reform law that limits public-sector collective bargaining to wages only (excluding benefits, work rules and pensions) and ends the right to strike. FDR would approve. With hindsight, Lester Pearson might, too.

Extrait de : End of Collective Bargaining in California? A Vote Could Be Coming Soon; You Can Help, Mike "Mish" Shedlock,, October 19, 2011

It is not often I side with economic professors. However, a proposal by Lanny Ebenstein to kill public union collective bargaining in California makes me stand up and salute.

Please consider
Benefit buster Lanny Ebenstein

Lanny Ebenstein wants you to vote to kneecap the state's public workers unions by banning their right to collective bargaining. Other measures scrambling to qualify for the November 2012 ballot would drop the hammer specifically on public employees' pensions or increase their retirement age, but Ebenstein's may be the most uncompromising.

Ebenstein, a lecturer in economics at UC Santa Barbara,
believes that it's too cozy for unions to be bargaining with bosses they've likely campaigned to elect -- and the state's economic doldrums are one result.
An eight-year veteran of the Santa Barbara school board and the author of volumes about conservative economists Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, he's now got a metaphorical book he wants to throw at public employee unions.

Interviewer Patt Morrison: Some people disagree with your numbers, and with your dislike of collective bargaining in the public sector. You cite a 1937 letter from FDR: "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service."

Ebenstein: I believe the principle of collective bargaining was never meant to pertain to public employees. The public sector unions have been able to exert undue influence on the political system to receive an undue share of resources from government.

Morrison: You're raising money so you can begin to collect signatures to put this on the ballot.

Ebenstein: We need $2 million. We are trying to get commitments of a million dollars. We only need two of those, but it's more like getting individuals to commit $100,000. We have several people who've committed $100,000 if we can get a million dollars.

Morrison: Are you asking the Koch brothers? They controversially put money against public employee unions in Wisconsin.

Ebenstein: We haven't gone to the Koch brothers yet, but we may. In the same way that the problem was created by Democrats and Republicans, the solution is going to be created by Democrats and Republicans. You have to unite Republicans who are concerned about taxes with Democrats who are concerned about public services.

Bid Filed

The Sacramento Bee reports Lanny Ebenstein filed Initiatives to End Collective Bargaining for Public Employees

1.      The first measure would ban recognition of all public-sector labor unions and prevent government authorities from collectively bargaining with them.

2.      The second would impose a higher tax burden on pensions paid through CalPERS or CalSTRS.

3.      The third would raise the retirement age for state employees to 65. Public safety workers would see their retirement age rise to 58.

A spokesman for a public employee group said he doubted Ebenstein's group could raise the money needed to campaign successfully for the three measures.

Collective Bargaining Neither a Privilege Nor a Right

I wish Ebenstein well. We all should.

This is why:
Collective Bargaining neither a Privilege nor a Right

Instead, collective bargaining drives up costs at taxpayer expense. Here is a recent case in point from the LA Times:
New contract for California prison guards lifts cap on saved vacation

Gov. Jerry Brown negotiates a new contract for California's prison guards, who will be allowed to save unlimited amounts of vacation, potentially leading to massive payouts when officers retire.

The track record proves public unions and union officials get in bed with corrupt politicians willing to buy votes, and that is why prison guards with only a high school education can make more in retirement than they do is a short career working.

The same thing applies to bus drivers, transit workers, trash collectors, and every facet of public service.

You Can Help

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the
California Center for Public Policy
headed by Lanny Ebenstein.