What is collective bargaining with public sector unions?

Collective bargaining? That is an oxymoron. There is nothing in it that is collective, and nothing that is bargaining.

First of all, what is collective bargaining? Traditionally it is a process where representatives of the workers (the “collective”) bargain against their “adversaries” — management. The old “labor” verses “management” bargaining table comes to mind. Where management tries to get “more work with less pay,” while the unions try to get “more pay for less work.”

However, with public sector unions, we are finding that many of the workers are not in fact being represented by the unions. A good case can be made that these unions in fact do not represent the workers, but rather represent themselves. A great article by Thomas Sowell, Union Myths, makes this point very well.

Secondly, we find there is very little if any “bargaining” involved. Bargaining implies an adversarial relationship, in which the representatives on one side of the table are initially at odds with those on the other side. This largely does not occur with public sector union so-called “bargaining.”

In fact, here is what really occurs: the union representatives sit on “one side of the table.” The government representatives sit on the “same side of the table.” As has been famously stated by prominent union leader Rhoda Wallen about the relationship of public sector unions and government representatives:

“This is our opportunity to elect our own bosses,” California School Employees Association Chapter 224 head Ronda Walen said about a said of an election concerning the San Juan Capistrano Unified School District. (Quoted from The Foundary, In California Unions Are The Government.)

The sad fact is that the government representatives are not in a position to say to the unions “work more for less”, as the rightful position of management should be. Instead they are in the pocket of the union, giving them sweetheart deals at the expense of the taxpayer, whose rightful position on the other side of the table is empty.

Conservatives, including the Tea Party, are against this collaboration of public sector unions and their government lapdogs against the taxpayer.

If you want to preserve collective bargaining for public sector unions, then propose a way that the taxpayer can really be represented on the empty side of the table.

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