If you haven't noticed, a reoccurring theme has permeated this blog by various writers: Public Unions. The writers at KlamathNews.net have been very careful to make the clear distinction between public and private unions. We believe there can be a place for unions in the private sector. However the public sector is completely different. The public sector is a monopoly on a particular set of services for the community. It is this very fact that because governments hold monopolies on particular services that employees of the government should not be able to unionize.
Why? We'll let's look at an illustration. Suppose the union that manages the District Attorneys office think the DA and his crew aren't getting a good deal and decide to strike. Who else can prosecute a criminal case? No one. The DA's office owns a monopoly on that activity. Because this has the potential to do great public harm, Oregon law doesn't allow a public union to strike. Instead Oregon law states that if the county and a public union can't agree on a compensation package the matter goes to mediation. Almost always the mediator will rule somewhere in the middle. While that might seem fair, it isn't. What if the county doesn't have another nickel to spare? What if the voters want the commissioners is to cut costs? Does the mediator take these factors into consideration? Of course not. At best the mediator looks at the two proposals and picks something in the middle. But that is not what the voters may have wanted, so the public union process has subverted the people's will on the county controlling costs.
You've probably heard the phrase, "A government of the people, by the people and for the people." It is the last part of this phrase that public unions totally destroy. Public unions only represent the government employee's best interest (and their own), not the public at large.
The bottom line is that the purpose of Public Employee Unions is to obtain as much wealth for itself and their constituency as possible. This is fine in and of itself as we all try to do this. If Bob the barber can get $15 a hair cut instead of $12, he'll charge $15. However, public unions use special rules and laws to achieve their aim. Moreover, government is a unique organization in society. Governments don't create wealth. Governments get their "revenue" through force of law by taking it from the private sector (you and I). Therefore when public unions are able to secure contracts that make it almost impossible to fire poor performance government employees and have compensation packages that are unrealistic to sustain (let alone not based on merit), then what is really occurring redistribution of wealth from the people to the government and its union.
Look at any government budget and the number one problem is growing employee compensation — almost always dictated by the public union wanting more and more for its members. How government is supposed to achieve that "more" is none of their concern, and that is exactly why public unions must be dismantled. Only then will government be able to control costs and deliver an efficient government that is not an overwhelming burden on the people it is supposed to serve.