Saturday, February 19, 2011

Curious About Wisconsin

It seems the people are protesting in Wisconsin because the government is trying to take away their employee union's ability to engage in collective bargaining.

Is that even possible? For the "management" to just come in and say to a union, "you can't negotiate with us anymore"... I mean, obviously "management" can try to do whatever it wants... but is the union somehow obliged to listen or act in accordance?

Comments from anybody who knows about this would be welcome.

p.s. Here is a good article for and a good article against the proposed union measures. My personal opinion is that the increases in Wisconsin's federal employee contributions to pensions and health insurance are reasonable in the scope of austerity and budget-balancing measures. But I do not see the benefit of removing the employees' union's ability to negotiate those increases in the future... which is essentially what the government of Wisconsin is trying to do.

4 comments:

info said...

Collective bargaining is usually part of state law or related code. If the law is changed as they want to do in this case, then all bets are off.

tomm said...

So the teachers unions donate to the "management" election campaigns, then they come and negotiate their new contracts, with a wink and a nod, I wonder who getting screw? FDR had this one right there should be No collective bargaining with the government.

Jungle Jil said...

I read this and it makes sense to me:

A core problem with public sector unionism is that it creates a uniquely powerful interest group. In theory, bureaucrats are supposed to work for and be accountable to the elected representatives of the people. But suppose those bureaucrats organize into large, well-funded, powerful unions that can tip election results. With very few and very unique exceptions, no workplace in which the employees elect the supervisors functions well for long. ... In effect, public sector unionism thus means that representatives of the union will often be on both sides of the collective bargaining table. On the one side, the de jure union leaders. On the other side, the bought and paid for politicians. No wonder public sector union wages and benefits are breaking the back of state budgets. They are bargaining with themselves rather than with an arms'-length opponent.

I would hate to think that the only way to solve this problem is for public employees to have no collective bargaining power at all. This is not my area of expertise and I'm basically learning about public sector unions as the Wisconsin debate unfolds... but I'm still thinking there has to be some middle ground in all of this.

tomm said...

I think Gov Walker propose a middle ground with unions able to negotiate wages and voters deciding every thing else