Comments about ‘In our opinion: No secret bargaining’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "This is not to say that unions have no place . . . ."

This is. Unions have no valid place at the table. Public employees have already co-opted the politicians they serve, and have no real need of union "protection."

Until we, the people, have a seat at the negotiating table, there is nothing that can validly be called "negotiation."

No valid negotiation -- no valid need for the liberal scam of public employee unions.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

State governments are currently beholden to banking, construction, real estate, agri-business and insurance interests.

What little attention state governments pay to education and public safety is almost entirely due to the influence of public sector unions.

In Utah, our legislators are greedily counting the ways they and their friends will get rich from moving the prison at a taxpayer cost of hundreds of millions, while at the same time they can't scrape together a fraction of that amount to keep our schools funded for just the annual growth in enrollment.

So long as politics is dominated by corporate money, public sector unions are a vital necessity if _anyone_, public sector or private, hopes to preserve America's middle class.

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

"The data (pdf) come from Rutgers's Jeffrey Keefe, and he also ran "a separate calculation that controls for full-time status, education level, years of experience, age, gender, race, employer organizational size, industry, and hours worked," which found that "public employees are compensated 2-7% less than equivalent private sector employees." " -Public employees don't make more than private employees, The Washington Post, Ezra Klien

Yeah, soldiers make so much more then their private sector counterparts. By the way, who in the private sector makes just about poverty wages to get shot at, and have limbs blown off? Yep soldiers are making bank. Especially when they rotate back and get hired easily in good paying jobs.

And cops are just raking in the money. Who are their private sector counterparts? Security guards? Yeah right. Everyone knows if you want to get rich just become a cop.

And firefighters are just swimming in cash. What private sector job is it that you absorb deadly toxins through your skin? Average life expectancy for a firefighter is 5-6 years after retirement. Well at least they are dying when they are supposed to, so they don't put a strain on social services.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

Police and Firefighters get paid better than average. They make way more than my private sector job and get the perk of a 20 year retirement at 50% of the average of their last three years of employment wages (70% if they last 30 years). Not a bad deal while still young enough to get another job. I've been at my job for 22 years. A 20 year patrol officer with Unified Police makes a lot more than I do. I'm not crying for them.

I'm responsible for paying into my own retirement with my own money. The police and firefighters get part of their retirement contribution paid by the entity they work for.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Actually it is illegal for federal employees to strike, so one of the assumptions in the editorial, at least for federal employees, is bogus.

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

Flashback, you haven't been paying attention. The Utah legislators changed the retirement of public employees. It was in all the newspapers. You say firefighters and cops make more then you. Put you didn't say what your job is. What is your job? And how is it comparable to what they do? And if you like the job they have so much, why didn't you become a public servant?

I didn't ask you to cry for them. (Well maybe you could for the two Texas firefighters that died in a fire last week) My point is they aren't getting rich, and government sector employees do not make more then comparable private sector. Are they starving? No. But that's okay with you isn't it? You don't mind, do you flashback, if we actually pay the people that keep us safe a living wage do you?

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Actually it is illegal for federal employees to strike . . . ."

Illegal, yes. But, sadly, not particularly uncommon.

Remember the air traffic controllers? And "blue flu" is common enough to have entered into our lexicon.

Even here in the reddest of red states, the teachers' union has gone out on strike a couple times.

JerseyGirl
Sandy, UT

lost in DC, where in the editorial does it claim that is is legal for federal employees to strike?

Turtles Run
Missouri City, TX

This editorial leaves a lot of details out. For example the federal workers with only a high school degree do out earn their private industry counterparts but those with advanced degrees make significantly less than private industry.

While I do agree with the prohibition that Federal employees not be allowed to strike I have no issue with then bargaining collectively in private. Like private workers they earned the compensation they are given and like others have a right to collectively bargain and in private if they so wish.

One issue the editorial also does not mention is that the decline of private union membership has coincided with the decline in the wage growth of the average worker. Instead of fighting to end the collective bargaining rights for public sector employees maybe we should work to expand the use of collective bargaining rights for non-public workers. We should be racing to expand worker rights not participate in a race to the bottom.

slpa1
West Jordan, UT

@lost in DC

In Salt Lake City, where the employees are both unionized *and* collectively bargain, city ordinance prohibits them from striking. So the article was wrong in that regard as well.

@procuradorfiscal

We all know what happened to the PATCO members who went on strike - every one of them was fired. It was one of the telling moments of the Reagan administration, and certainly a bellwether for public unions.

If strikes by federal employees are so common, as you say, name one other instance.

Ex Pat
Salt Lake City, Ut

Not sure this qualifies, but they held up the ports in the NW. They destroyed grain. Sorry, I grew up with a father who was head of a union (a big one). In those days it was tough going and tough organizing. No wages like trumpka makes now. In fact when he died there wasn't even life insurance. How things have changed!

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "If strikes by federal employees are so common, as you say, name one other instance."

How about 39? That's the number investigated and reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just between 1962 and 1981. And that, of course, doesn't count the thousands of "blue flu" incidents during the same period, such as postal and other federal employees who were suddenly taken ill -- in support of PATCO during the Reagan years. Nor does it count many that have occurred since 1981 -- including a "sickout" by overseas DOD teachers during the mid-'80s I'm personally aware of.

But, federal employees are, by far, not the worst offenders. State and municipal employees -- Rahm Emanuel's Chicago teachers, for example -- walk out all the time. So did Wisconsin's, a year ago last week.

Even Utah teachers have been known to do so, when they feel like it.

Union bosses and shills intent on asserting government employee unions are pure as the driven snow should do a little research first.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I think the last teacher walk out at a state level was in 1990, maybe 1989. It's not that it happens a lot in Utah. Teachers are more likely in Utah and sit there and take it then fight for what they deserve. It could be argued since they don't fight for better pay and conditions they are getting what they deserve.

Prodicus
Provo, UT

When a single employer has monopoly power in a segment of the employment market, organizing a countering labor monopoly with bargaining power can help make outcomes more fair and efficient. That's why unions were important in the days of single-employer factory towns and low worker mobility- much more important than they are in most of the economy today. Usually it's better to avoid both kinds of monopolies and encourage competition. But we don't want to have several competing governments with the same jurisdiction. So the public sector is one of the few places where unions make sense.

However, I absolutely agree with the DN that public-sector bargaining- as with all other aspects of government- should be made as transparent as possible. Otherwise we end up with all kinds of principal-agent problems. Without close oversight, legislators, bureaucrats, etc meeting privately with unions, lobbyists, etc will continually make agreements that are in the interest of those present but are to the detriment of the public.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "I think the last teacher walk out at a state level was in 1990, maybe 1989."

That may well be what you think, but the last walkout was actually 5 Dec 2000, not too long after longtime leftist union boss Lily Eskelsen's "ascension" from UEA to NEA leadership, but clearly at her urging, nonetheless.

Additionally, walkouts were threatened several times, though not actually implemented, during UEA/NEA's 2007 all-out war on school choice.

slpa1
West Jordan, UT

@procuradorfiscal

The fact that you have to go back 30-50 years, add in non-strikes such as sick-outs, and then throw in non-federal employees such as out-of-state municipal employees - and one Utah teacher strike - to try and make your point, shows that public employee strikes are, in fact, uncommon. Not unheard of, but certainly not common.

Out of all the instances you name, how many constituted an illegal job action? The PATCO strike, certainly, but not many others. Public employee labor laws are quite varied and mixed when it comes to strikes. Not all public employee job actions are illegal.

Hemlock
Salt Lake City, UT

Sunlight is the best sanitizer. Legislators, union leaders and individuals can be secretive with their own personal finances, but not the publics funds. Why is there a discussion?

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

"...manifests nothing less than intent on (our) part to prevent or obstruct the operations of government until (our) demands are satisfied," he noted.

Republicon manifesto.

And then we learn...

"Such action, looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable...".

Republicon Manifesto exposed...

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Procuradorfiscal,
Local teachers are not federal employees. Blu flu episodes are investigated – perhaps not as frequently or vigorously as they ought to be, but…

JerseyGirl,
It may not state it is legal, but the basic assumption behind the editorial is striking public employees hold a government hostage, which, unlike a private business, cannot fail.

The intent of the comment was to remind the editorial writers that they need to get all the facts straight and complete, or there can be no confidence in the conclusion. Reasonable people can look at the same facts and come to different conclusions, and can provide reasonable support for those conclusions, but when the underlying premise is false or incomplete, the support for the conclusions is lacking, even if the conclusions are correct.

Star Bright
Salt Lake City, Ut

Lost in DC: you'd think they are federal employees since 0bama has said they will be laid off in horrendous #"s.
BTW, not in Utah, but what about what the teachers did in Wisconsin? They were a horrible disgrace to their profession and a horrible example to their students! What they did to their state house was dispicable. If I had a student in school there and their teachers were part of it I would've pulled them out and sent them to a private school or home schooled them.

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