free market politics

The best summary of the Wisconsin mess

Reason‘s Tim Cavanaugh sums up the problem the Wisconsin public sector unions have


One picketing government worker blames Ohio taxpayers for acting like victims:

“What I’m seeing here today is that management is trying to be seen as the victim here, but they sit across the table and negotiated these deals just like us,” said Lawrence McKissic, of Twinsburg, who was at the Statehouse on Thursday. McKissic is an IT specialist for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in Garfield Heights.

“My concern as a state worker is that we would be unilaterally taken out of collective bargaining and it is being done without any word or input from the union or the employees,” he said. “They’re just trying slam this through this committee.”

McKissic refers to “management” as if he’s calling out a cabal of plutocrats rather than the people of Ohio, who will have to take up the slack for whatever new benefits accrue to the vital IT specialists of Garfield Heights. I think this is where the pro-union movement will find its limit. Outside of Detroit, Hollywood and what’s left of the newspaper industry, when you say “union” you almost always mean “government employee union.” In the private sector they expect results. The hard truth is that where public sector unions are concerned, there are no bazillionaires to point to on the other side of the bargaining table.


That’s really the crux of it. The public sector unions don’t have as much to bargain with since there are no profits to split with “management.” The state is in difficult financial shape, the money has to come from somewhere. Unions telling everyone that they can’t suffer these payments are essentially telling everyone else that they should suffer instead. We’ll see how long the union can sway public opinion…


Oh, and another related post made me laugh. I saw a posting in a blog that said, “Obama wasn’t elected by ‘big money’ so he should give more direct support to the union in Wisconsin.” Excuse me? The AFL-CIO isn’t “big money”? The public sector unions are among the largest, and most powerful lobbying organizations out there. Anyone that thinks that this is a battle for “the little guy” is out of their minds…

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