Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Public employees unions?

I asked the following question of two of my labor law partners. I thought the question itself would make a good post:

"As you may know I have blog which I use to vent about things. I have a topic I'd like to write on but feel inadequately conversant with the facts.

Why do we have public employee unions in the first place?

It seemed to me that unions arose to counteract owner/ capitalists. The goal of the owners is to maximize profits, even at the expense of the workers. Union wanted the workers to at least benefit from those profits as well.

The government is not in the business of making profits. And as to the demands of the public workers who is on the "owner" side? Unlike the private sector where executives have large shareholdings, money paid to public worker don't personally come from the pubic officials who grant their demands. It doesn't appear that the taxpayer is being very aggressively represented. In fact the public worker are also taxpayers, so there is that quirk as well.

Accordingly the same dynamic doesn't seem exist with respect to contract negotiations in the public sector as in the private sector. I assume that is the reason that public sector unionization is growing and ever more powerful , unlike the private sector. Has there ever been a case where public employees have gotten rid of their union? There appears to be no concept of non-union alternatives for the consumer/taxpayer.

Sorry if I sound uninformed and naive but the thought just hit me the other day, with Greece and all."

I'll follow up with their answers, but what are yours?


Monday, November 1, 2010

Washington was right

For those of you who are students of American history, you may recall that George Washington strongly opposed the formation of political parties. He believed they would become destructive and divisive and thus not serve the best interests of our country. The parties would come to care more about winning elections and personal power than acting in the best interests of the country as a whole. Now his views might be viewed as quaint and old fashion, even naive; however our recent elections have proven more and more that his point should be quite well taken.

What is best for the country takes a decided back seat to what is best for the Democratic or Republican parties respectively. Both of their primary goals is to be in power-- sadly, mostly for power's sake alone. Oh sure they have agendas for the country , but their most important agenda is to be in power, plain and simple.

In this, and so many other things, George was right.

While George and I may agree, unfortunately neither of us had, or have, an alternative-- we have to govern ourselves some way and Athenian democracy would be even worse.

Any suggestions?

I recently heard about the idea of having open primaries where the two candidates who received the most votes( from any party, or no party) would run off in an election for each particular office. It won't fully solve the problem but it could save us from having some of the ridiculous choices we are faced with in this election due to the current primary system, which as we know , are run exclusively by the same two political parties.