Majority of union workers now in govt.

A study just out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, for the first time, the majority of union members work for the government, rather than the private sector. This is why, years ago, private-sector union bosses opposed unionizing government workers: they feared, rightly, that the government workers would end up dominant.

Unfortunately, in the early 1960s President Kennedy allowed collective bargaining for federal workers. Most states followed suit, California in the 1970s under Gov. Jerry Brown.

Here’s the problem with government unions: They sit on both sides of the negotiating table. They represent workers. But they also, through their immense political clout over politicians, represent management.

Put another way, government unions are the government. So in negotiations, they’re just negotiating with themselves.

Not surprisingly, government unions not only have come to dominate the union movement, but the governments they “work” for. At the federal level, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics study, government worker pay is double that in the private sector.

In California, by far the most powerful political forces are the unions, especially the teachers’ unions, the prison guards’ unions, and the police and firefighters’ unions. No wonder the state government has nearly gone bankrupt paying for their immense salaries, pensions and other benefits — and we suffer under the highest state sales and income taxes anywhere.

One move to reduce government unions’ immense clout is an initiative to make union political dues voluntary. Doing so would let union members themselves decide what to do with their own money.

But ultimately, governments need to change laws to again stop negotiating with government unions.

– John Seiler

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