According to the Detroit Free Press, there will be six ballot proposals this November, and five of them are proposed constitutional amendments. It seems like every special interest has proposed an amendment this year, including unions.
The unions have introduced Proposal 2, which, according to the Michigan Secretary of State, will make unionization a constitutional right for all workers, eliminate all present or future local and state laws that restrict the ability of people to join unions and allow union contracts to trump any state law regulating working hours and conditions.
This is a bad idea because it will permanently allow all public employees to collectively bargain for wages and benefits, which is harmful to our state and local governments. Public employee unions are very dangerous because they give these employees an unfair advantage, unlike what any private-sector employee has. These unions don’t just collectively bargain, but they are also extremely active in the political sphere.
Why? Because they can campaign and donate money to pick the people who are the most union-friendly and try to put them in charge of the organization they are negotiating with. And it is in the union-backed politician’s best interest to give the unions what they want in order to continue to receive support, costing tax payers dearly.
Public employee unions are also unfairly advantaged because the government has a monopoly on the majority of the services it provides, so citizens can’t just go to a competitor for the same service.
Since any strike would bring a complete halt to certain government operations, many people could be harmed or angered by the lack of that particular service. This is one reason it’s against Michigan law for public employees to strike. However, this also incentivizes unions to play hardball with any unfriendly politicians because the politician cannot afford to make his or her constituents too angry or they may not be able to win reelection.
Even if there isn’t a strike, the unions can always use any negative publicity from the negotiations as ammunition when they spend millions of dollars to unseat these politicians in the next election.
For example, according to Yahoo! News, the Chicago teachers’ union has gone on strike, making it impossible for 350,000 children to go to school. In this case, it will be hard for the city to continue to negotiate toughly with the union when most parents simply want their children to be at school, because many of these kids have nothing to do but be on the street in a city that has serious crime problems.
According to the conservative publication National Affairs, even union champion President Franklin Roosevelt admitted that, “The process of collective bargaining as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
The magazine points out that Roosevelt believed, “A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent … to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied,” and that it would cause a “paralysis of government” by those “sworn to support it.”
And since governments work for the interests and protection of the people, a strike of public workers will always be against the interests of its citizenry.