Dr. Lopez Misdiagnoses Unions

John Seiler:

In his Sunday column, L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez praises unions — but doesn’t distinguish between private and public unions. He writes:

Neither of my parents went to college, but we always did just fine because my dad had union jobs that paid a living wage. He drove trucks for milk and bread companies, and later worked as a candy and tobacco salesman.

…when I went to San Jose State, my parents paid my tuition and the bulk of my room and board.

For a couple of reasons, I’ve been thinking lately about the union job that paid for my college degree. First, because attacking unions has become a national sport. And second, because I’ve been notified by San Jose State that the school wants to give me an honorary doctorate degree.

But the attacks today area on public employee unions, as in Wisconsin, not private ones. Driving and selling for private companies involved private unions, not public unions. And when Dr. Lopez was growing up and enjoying California’s Golden Age, there was no Dills Act, which Gov. Brown signed in 1978, and which gave collective bargaining to government union employees.

If his father had gone on strike, people could have avoided tobacco or baked their own bread, or have driven to the store to get those things themselves. But with public unions, the government forces a monopoly on us. We don’t have any choice. We’re stuck with them.

Moreover, the public worker unions use their power to “elect our own bosses,” as one union boss put it. They sit on both sides of the bargaining table. They are “labor” and, by electing compliant politicians, they’re also “management.”

Did Dr. Lopez’s father get to elect his own bosses?

That’s why government is broke: Government unions got their bought-and-paid-for politicians to spike pay and pensions.

And the unions help pass wild spending, such as the $5.7 billion in community college bonds that, his own L.A. Times newspaper reported this very day, has turned into a cesspool of “poor planning, frivolous spending and shoddy workmanship.”

Any private company that wasteful and incompetent — such as the private companies his private-union father worked for — would have gone bankrupt long ago.

Now it’s government’s turn to go bankrupt. The day of reckoning, pushed on us by powerful and wasteful government unions, is here.

Dr. Lopez misdiagnosed the state’s fiscal malady.

Feb. 27, 2011

Related Articles

California chief justice calls for bail reform

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, in her annual State of the Judiciary address on March 19, renewed calls for bail

California Crossroads to Hell

John Seiler: According to legend, fabled bluesman Robert Johnson made a pact with the devil at a “crossroads” in Mississippi

Little Hoover, big report

Here’s a riddle: When is a well-written, thoroughly researched, eminently rational analysis of the state’s aging, hideously expensive infrastructure completely