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Author Topic: The right of the public sector to unionize
AI Wessex
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Paladine, in your view government hasn't done much and business has done almost everything. Since the federal government provides more funding for scientific, medical and military research I don't know how you can overlook it.

There's no question that business innovates and occasionally makes fundamental breakthroughs, but mostly business refines things that already exist. Steven Jobs famously stole the core design of the Macintosh GUI from the Xerox PARC Star computer design, which was built by Xerox largely relying on staff whose prior research was done under funding DARPA, NASA and the Air Force. Without DARPA there would be no internet on top of which to build any of the innovations you admire.

The satellite and GPS technology that cell phones use comes straight out of military and intelligence research, and many companies that pioneered projects building on those things were under contract or in partnership with the government when they did it.

I'm not saying nothing was done without government help, but I would say you should thank God that the government was behind virtually every system on which your favorite products were built.

The NEA works to eliminate pay inequities among teachers. I assume you think that is a worthy goal. How would you (and SG) achieve that in the absence of unions when each teacher would have to independently negotiate his/her salary and benefits? And how would it work for a school system to negotiate with 1000 or more teachers at the same time without simply dictating pay based on a set of school administration guidelines?

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Paladine
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quote:
Here's the problem: If a group of people working for the government get together, vote on a person to negotiate their contracts with the government, and agree to abide by that negotiation for all of the members of the group, the government has no choice, under the first amendment, to negotiate with that group, or hire an entirely different set of people
You're all perfectly free to abide by your agreement and refuse employment with the school district unless it meets all of your terms and does business exactly as you want. But you're all perfectly free to defect from that agreement, too, and to negotiate independently from the group. The only thing I'm proposing is that government stop ascribing legal force to the agreements you make among yourselves. You're still free as free people to do whatever you like.

The problem is that your union isn't just a collection of teachers meeting in the living room (I'm not proposing we disallow that); it's heavily reliant upon government forcing people to join it and government negotiating with it on a collective basis (I am proposing to disallow those things, to which neither of which you or anyone else has a right).

quote:
That freedom of association allows me to get together with the other members of my school district, form a negotiating group, and appoint a member of the group to be my representative for purposes of addressing my grievances with my employer, who, since it is the government, I have an absolute right to so petition.
The school district has an absolute right to negotiate with each employee the terms of his employment. They're not required by the 1st Amendment or anything else to have uniform terms of employment for everyone or to negotiate anything with your union representatives. You're not guaranteed by the 1st Amendment or anything else that the government force people to belong to your union; it's actually much more closely a violation of THAT person's freedom of association to force them to belong to and pay dues to an organization to which they don't want to belong and which in their judgment doesn't serve their interests.

No one suggested taking your right to petition anyone away. If you want to say that someone speaks for you and send him to the principal or the superintendent or the board of ed or whomever else, feel free. But the people you send him to are under no obligation to negotiate with him. They're certainly under no obligation to modify the contracts of people who don't agree with your group on the basis of your voting, and if you don't like it then you and everyone who believes as you do should be perfectly free to seek new employment elsewhere. I won't hold my breath on that happening, though.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The school district has an absolute right
The school district has no rights. It's a legal fiction designed to facilitate collective action. As such it only has what powers and freedoms that we, as the public that create the legal framework to support it, allow it. It makes no sense to force individual people to have to negotiate with collective entities rather than giving them an equivalent framework to allow them to negotiate on an equal basis.

quote:
perfectly free to seek new employment elsewhere
Only if they have either an alternate source of income or simply no need to pay for the sustenance, shelter, and transportation required to look for other work.
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Paladine
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quote:
Paladine, in your view government hasn't done much and business has done almost everything. Since the federal government provides more funding for scientific, medical and military research I don't know how you can overlook it.
I'm not overlooking it, Al; I'm saying that government funding doesn't begin to describe why we've been the greatest economic and technological powerhouse in the history of the planet. Again, our government doesn't do things like infrastructure or education or much of anything else particularly better than anyone else's. Our people have done things which no other people have done because they've historically lived in freedom and in liberty, in the context of a system which rewarded success and punished failure and allowed people to chase their dreams.

quote:
I'm not saying nothing was done without government help, but I would say you should thank God that the government was behind virtually every system on which your favorite products were built.
It wasn't.

quote:
The NEA works to eliminate pay inequities among teachers. I assume you think that is a worthy goal.
I think it's an ATROCIOUS goal. Why should a marginal employee be paid on the same basis as an excellent employee? Why should a vital member of a team be paid on the same basis as a borderline failure?

I think that people who contribute more and who do a better job should be free to negotiate for more and better compensation. That's how it works everywhere else in the economy. Success is rewarded and failure is punished.

quote:
How would you (and SG) achieve that in the absence of unions when each teacher would have to independently negotiate his/her salary and benefits?
I wouldn't.

quote:
And how would it work for a school system to negotiate with 1000 or more teachers at the same time without simply dictating pay based on a set of school administration guidelines?
They could have baselines from which they'd be free to deviate in either direction depending upon the individual case in question.
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Paladine
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quote:
The school district has no rights. It's a legal fiction designed to facilitate collective action. As such it only has what powers and freedoms that we, as the public that create the legal framework to support it, allow it. It makes no sense to force individual people to have to negotiate with collective entities rather than giving them an equivalent framework to allow them to negotiate on an equal basis.
No. We the people need certain things done. We elect government officials to hire people to do these things and to dictate the conditions under which they're to be hired should they of their own free will consent to be hired. No one's pressing teachers into service or forcing them to work in public schools (I personally wouldn't work in a public school; instead I've taken significantly less pay to work in independent schools which employ me on conditions more to my liking).

quote:

Only if they have either an alternate source of income or simply no need to pay for the sustenance, shelter, and transportation required to look for other work.

Yep, that's life. But the fact that you need or want something doesn't create an obligation on the part of others to accomodate you. Your rights with respect to your employment aren't different in the slightest when quitting would be financially difficult for you to do.
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DonaldD
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There are historical reasons for the current labour laws in your country; to argue about the current state without acknowledging how you got where you are is a bit of a waste of time.

So before proposing to roll back any particular aspect of labour law, wouldn't it make sense to actually discuss what that particular rule or constraint was initially meant to achieve, and whether that goal is still or could still be applicable today?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
quote:
IMO, you can kiss the standard of living you remember from 30 years ago goodbye.
And thank God for that. 30 years ago Microsoft hadn't sold you windows; IBM had just started making (comparatively awful) desktops. Apple hadn't made iPads or iPods or iPhones. There *weren't* any cell phones (those having been produced and sold to you by, you know, corporations). Plenty of diseases and conditions were death sentences which are treatable today thanks to our innovative drug companies. You had access to worse cars, worse food, less information, less music and entertainment, less and worse of pretty much everything there is.

If you really want to return to "the standard of living you can remember from 30 years ago" for the average person in this country, you're probably occupying a different planet than I am. For what it's worth, pretty much all of those technological innovations which have dramatically raised the standard of living of common people to heights of luxury, comfort, and convenience unimaginable to anyone on the planet a few short decades ago were produced by corporations.

The specific technology in question is irrelevant; you have to account for what is established technology at any given time to determine relative standards of living over time, just like you have to account for inflation to determine relative costs over time.

Standards of living are a matter of economic security and degree of access to current amenities, not the specific artifacts of any given era. If a family 30 years ago could easily afford their bills and 2nd generation technology with one worker who could expect a solid and secure retirement, while the equivalent family today needs to have two workers, struggles to meet it's bills while relying on 3rd-4th generation technology and has little no no expectation of being able to retire, then the standard of living has absolutely decreased in every aspect, regardless of the fact that today's 5th generation technology wasn't even possible to make 30 years ago.

Trying to measure standards of living as a matter of absolutely access to technology only really serves as a tool to paper over a relative decline in standing.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
We elect government officials to hire people to do these things and to dictate the conditions under which they're to be hired should they of their own free will consent to be hired
No, we elect them to negotiate (or, even more appropriately, bid for) not dictate the terms. And, especially as representatives of a community, that creates an explicit obligation to ensure that the baseline for the bidding is at a level that promotes security and growth, not one that forces people to undercut the community by underbidding each other into starvation.

The point you were replying to was that a "school district", regardless of whether it is public or private, does not have any rights. The district or any other company is not a person. It's a legal entity with no inherent rights and only what freedoms the community that allows it to exist it allocates to it.

quote:
But the fact that you need or want something doesn't create an obligation on the part of others to accomodate you.
Indeed- it's community and civilized society that creates those obligations.

quote:
Your rights with respect to your employment aren't different in the slightest when quitting would be financially difficult for you to do.
You're free to leave the jail any time any time you want; any inconvenience in doing so because of the manacles, locked doors and armed guards paid to keep you in is all on you, though.
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PSRT
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quote:
We elect government officials to hire people to do these things and to dictate the conditions under which they're to be hired should they of their own free will consent to be hired.
Except, again, as an employee of the government, I am explicitly granted, by the constitution the right to petition my employer for a redress of grievances, e.g. negotiate a contract that address working conditions, salary, conditions of employment and termination, etc. I am also explicitly granted the right to assemble in order to have my grievances heard.

And, bang, there you have it, the explicit constitutional right to form a union made up of public employees.

The government does not HAVE to agree to terms with the union, but it does have to respect the unionization of its employees, and negotiate with that union if the members of the union request it do so. Or, unless it has previously negotiated otherwise, fire all those members and hire new ones, which, yes, the government has the right to do, absent a contract saying otherwise.

Frankly, a corresponding proposal to Serotonin's would be that people who belong to a religious organization should forfeit the right to vote, unless they stop being a member of that religious organization, and participating in its rituals. That would be an equally unconstitutional proposal, and I'd never suggest it.

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djquag1
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I'd stop trying, AI.

Some people, once they've got theirs, stop caring. Sure, it's a tough old world, but they made it, so obviously everyone else can too.

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AI Wessex
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"I think it's an ATROCIOUS goal. Why should a marginal employee be paid on the same basis as an excellent employee? Why should a vital member of a team be paid on the same basis as a borderline failure?"

Sorry, I meant gender based inequities. The NEA acts on behalf of teachers when it discovers it, even though there are pay scales in effect now. Who would defend the teachers in the absence of the unions?

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AI Wessex
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dj, I understand that people resent other people seeming be granted privileges they don't have or they think those others don't deserve. The problem I have with Paladine's position is that it is very selective. He only resents certain groups of people who get certain privileges and uses the fact that some people exploit or abuse the system when they have them as the basis for his disapproval. By that standard the Catholic Church's system of male leadership should be abolished due to the proven widespread sexual misconduct of many of its officials and the coverups that have gone all the way up to the Pope. Except that Paladine is a faithful Catholic and believes that his Church doesn't deserve such harsh condemnation because of the good things that it also does.

He is espousing a pernicious form of bigotry, where those sufficiently unlike him in his own profession are undeserving of the organizational power they have managed to accrue, and he uses the occasional abuses that occur to justify condemning the entire structure of their organization.

The unwillingness to credit government for its foundational role in the invention and advances that led to the very tools he so dearly loves is a form of willfull blindness that is unfortunately driving the schism in the current political discourse and that is coming from his side of the political spectrum. Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann (not hardcore lefties) have pointed it out as clearly as can be. Because they represent both Democrat and Republican think tanks the only place in the media they could get a hearing about their views was on the Daily Show.

[ June 05, 2012, 03:34 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Ben
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TomD,

Sorry for the slow response. I missed that about WI furloughs, but New York tried doing this in 2010.

quote:
ALBANY — The Legislature approved an emergency budget bill on Monday that would authorize Gov. David A. Paterson to furlough about 100,000 state employees, roughly half the state’s work force, without pay for one day.

Public employee unions contended that the furloughs, which officials said would be the first for state workers in New York, would be illegal, and they said they would seek a temporary restraining order in Federal District Court here to block Mr. Paterson’s plan.

I also looked up another source and turns out I misremembered a city as a state, so I retract my comment about states, though the point still remains, that unions don't always "share".
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Paladine
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quote:
Except, again, as an employee of the government, I am explicitly granted, by the constitution the right to petition my employer for a redress of grievances, e.g. negotiate a contract that address working conditions, salary, conditions of employment and termination, etc.
You can petition them (send them requests). That doesn't mean that they need to negotiate with you or with your representative or that they need to agree with a single one of your requests. The right you have here isn't one I propose to take away.

quote:
I am also explicitly granted the right to assemble in order to have my grievances heard.
Sure, you can protest or show up at a board of ed meeting like any other citizen or any other group of citizens. I again don't see how this somehow equals a right to form a union whose majority votes or leadership decisions are legally binding on anyone, let alone those who disagree with them or explicitly decline to join such an organization.

quote:
The government does not HAVE to agree to terms with the union, but it does have to respect the unionization of its employees, and negotiate with that union if the members of the union request it do so. Or, unless it has previously negotiated otherwise, fire all those members and hire new ones, which, yes, the government has the right to do, absent a contract saying otherwise.
Or it can simply decline to make or respect any accomodations with the unions, and allow those members who want to remain remain and those who want to quit quit. That's what I'd propose, and I have a pretty strong hunch that pretty much everyone would stay on.

quote:
Some people, once they've got theirs, stop caring. Sure, it's a tough old world, but they made it, so obviously everyone else can too.
What makes you think that I've "made it" exactly? And is this where the Leftist contingent here comes to my rescue and starts bleating about motive reading, or is that charge only applied to people like G2 or Pete?

quote:
Sorry, I meant gender based inequities. The NEA acts on behalf of teachers when it discovers it, even though there are pay scales in effect now. Who would defend the teachers in the absence of the unions?
Other teachers. The students. The parents. The administration. Members of the community. They'd probably have to do what everyone else in the workplace does to protect themselves: foster good relations and personal loyalty with their superiors, subordinates, and the people to whom they provide service.

If they wanted to form voluntary associations which demand the same things as a condition of employment and quit together in the event that things aren't done to their liking then I'd be fine with that too. I just wouldn't be fine with people being compelled to belong to their association as a condition of employment or being compelled to pay money to their association; I wouldn't be fine with it negotiating on behalf of people who don't belong to it and don't want to be a part of it. Unlike some in this thread, I *actually* believe in freedom of association with no coercive force involved.

quote:
dj, I understand that people resent other people seeming be granted privileges they don't have or they think those others don't deserve. The problem I have with Paladine's position is that it is very selective. He only resents certain groups of people who get certain privileges and uses the fact that some people exploit or abuse the system when they have them as the basis for his disapproval.
Al, you're not listening. I don't have a problem with people having "privileges I don't have" and this isn't about what people do or don't "deserve". It's about whether we should have a structure in place which incentivizes government officials to collude with union leadership against the public interest, and whether membership in what's being falsely painted as a "voluntary" association should be required as a condition of employment for anyone wanting to teach. I think that people should be free to negotiate the terms of their own employment, to make more or less than their fellows depending upon the quality of the service they provide. I could very easy have the "privilege" of working in a unionized public school if I wanted; I emphatically *don't* want to work in that type of environment, which is why I've sought employment elsewhere.

quote:
By that standard the Catholic Church's system of male leadership should be abolished due to the proven widespread sexual misconduct of many of its officials and the coverups that have gone all the way up to the Pope. Except that Paladine is a faithful Catholic and believes that his Church doesn't deserve such harsh condemnation because of the good things that it also does.
Is it really *impossible* for a Catholic to discuss *anything* without having the sex abuse scandal thrown in his face? There are any number of logical problems inherent in this set of statements and at least one flagrant violation of our rules (again I'll not hold my breath on those being enforced or anyone even uttering a bit of indignation). I will just note that if I were to speculate in as uncharitable way about the motives of our liberal members as Al and DJ have speculated on mine quite a few of you would be trying to run me out on a rail with G2.

quote:
He is espousing a pernicious form of bigotry, where those sufficiently unlike him in his own profession are undeserving of the organizational power they have managed to accrue, and he uses the occasional abuses that occur to justify condemning the entire structure of their organization.
That's not what I'm "espousing"; it's what you're inferring on the basis of obtuse misconstructions of what I've said. I didn't use "occasional" abuse to justify anything; I used the structural incentives which were and remain in place as a basis for suggesting an alternative. You can agree or disagree with me about it, but there's nothing "bigoted" in anything I've said here, except insofar as "bigoted" can be defined as "disagreeing with Al".

[ June 05, 2012, 06:14 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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AI Wessex
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"Other teachers. The students. The parents. The administration. Members of the community. They'd probably have to do what everyone else in the workplace does to protect themselves: foster good relations and personal loyalty with their superiors, subordinates, and the people to whom they provide service."

Obviously, fostering "good relations" doesn't work when the employee is outweighed in the negotiations, since women earn about 77% of what men earn in the same jobs, and unless you think teachers don't strive for those good relations with their community.

"Al, you're not listening. I don't have a problem with people having "privileges I don't have" and this isn't about what people do or don't "deserve". It's about whether we should have a structure in place which incentivizes government officials to collude with union leadership against the public interest, and whether membership in what's being falsely painted as a "voluntary" association should be required as a condition of employment for anyone wanting to teach."

You don't even realize how slanted you make your case. You could have said that teachers have formed a collective bargaining unit to protect their rights so that they are not mistreated, overworked and underpaid by a government that is not accountable to the populace for its employment practices, only to a legislature that supports the administration or is willing to trade away those worker protections for other (possibly corrupt) objectives they care more about.

"Is it really *impossible* for a Catholic to discuss *anything* without having the sex abuse scandal thrown in his face?"

Try talking about the good that teacher unions do without throwing the occasional individual and systemic problems in our face. You've pointed out that if you want to be a Catholic you have to live within the rules the Church mandates. Toss an olive branch over the fence and see if our responses change.

"I will just note that if I were to speculate in as uncharitable way about the motives of our liberal members as Al and DJ have speculated on mine quite a few of you would be trying to run me out on a rail with G2."

No worries, Gx is dishonest and has worse character flaws. You're honest, just misguided [Wink] .

"You can agree or disagree with me about it, but there's nothing "bigoted" in anything I've said here, except insofar as "bigoted" can be defined as "disagreeing with Al"."

The hallmark of bigotry is being unable to appreciate the positive aspects of the subject under discussion. You have repeatedly and adamantly objected to teacher unions without considering what good they might represent or do. What would you call it?

FWIW, I don't think the Catholic male hierarchical authoritarian regime should be disbanded, just constantly surprised that good Catholics like you don't seem to think some reexamination of the structure of the organization or a purging of people in top leadership positions who knew about it and kept it hidden is warranted. Those people would be treated as the worst kind of pervert and criminals if they weren't wearing a clerical collar.

[ June 05, 2012, 06:41 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I again don't see how this somehow equals a right to form a union whose majority votes or leadership decisions are legally binding on anyone...
Technically, they are not legally binding in one sense; rather, they are contractually binding. The agreements organizations reach with a collective of individuals are binding on the organization because they have agreed to those agreements, not because they have been signed into law.

quote:
I just wouldn't be fine with people being compelled to belong to their association as a condition of employment...
This is precisely how, for example, we ensure that lawyers must have passed state bar exams, and doctors have a license to practice medicine.
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AI Wessex
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Not quite the same, since teachers don't all have a uniform qualification, particularly in private (or charter) schools.
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TomDavidson
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True enough. But the school itself -- and the union it has agreed to recognize -- both essentially function as such.
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
Sure, you can protest or show up at a board of ed meeting like any other citizen or any other group of citizens. I again don't see how this somehow equals a right to form a union...

Again, the first amendment right to assemble.

quote:
whose majority votes or leadership decisions are legally binding on anyone,
Union decisions are not legally binding on anyone.

quote:
let alone those who disagree with them or explicitly decline to join such an organization.
Again, these people are not legally compelled in any way.

What does happen is management agrees to only hire union members, as part of a contractual arrangement (which happens in private sphere unions, but I'm not certain it ever happens in the public sphere). This is a choice on the part of management, as are all negotiated decisions. The fact is, nothing ever happens anywhere without labor. Nothing gets built, produced, performed, prepared or accomplished without actual workers. And yet, due to some rather perverse notions of ownership (cultural holdovers from feudal and imperial cultures), its management who wields most of the power in the job market (and also who reap most of the gains.) Unionization is labor asserting a natural right: the right not to work. And when they do it collectively and effectively, they are able to claim a measure of the power that is naturally their due, by nature of being the overwhelmingly most important part of the economic engine. Every proposal here to curtail union rights involves depriving people of constitutional protections in order to keep more of that power in management. That is tyranny, pretty much a textbook definition.

A just and fair economy would look far different than ours at present. However, as long as workers retain the basic right to refuse to work, they can demonstrate how dependent management is on that basic function. Which, I suspect, is part of the reason why corporate welfare and corporate power proponents oppose social safety nets and unemployment benefits: take those away, and you diminish or extinguish a workers ability to refuse to work. I'm honestly appalled that we are contemplating a return to the de-facto slave-labor practices of a century ago, especially considering the unprecedented disparity of wealth we are currently experiencing. Since of "activist" courts have apparently upheld Walker's un-constitutional breaches of workers' right, I''d love to see Wisconsin unions fight the good fight, and stay at home en masse until the law gets changed. The state needs those workers more than the workers need employment, in the short run, and they should exercise that advantage to the fullest extent.

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AI Wessex
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In addition, the union manages the affairs of its members. In addition to negotiating for working conditions, salary and benefits, it also includes disciplinary procedures and standards. You can argue that they may be too lax and that unions have received too many concessions, but consider that all of the work done by the union on behalf of both management and the employees would have to be parceled out. Management, in particular, isn't going to hire additional staff to handle the functions and services that the unions are no longer there to provide. What happens is that nothing happens and the employees lose protections, redress procedures, disciplinary oversight and sheer good will representation to management.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Looked at another way; what is to keep the public sector employees in Wisconsin from meeting privately, writing a contract that they all support, and then each of them, individually, telling the state that that is the only contract they will sign?

What keeps them from doing it? The public sector employees themselves, they don't want to be in a union:
quote:
According a Labor Department filing made last week, membership at Wisconsin’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 40 — one of AFSCME’s four branches in the state — has gone from the 31,730 it reported in 2011, to 29,777 in 2012, to just 20,488 now. That’s a drop of more than 11,000 — about a third — in just two years.

<snip>

Labor Department filings also show that Wisconsin’s AFSCME Council 48, which represents city and county workers in Milwaukee County, went from 9,043 members in 2011, to 6,046 in 2012, to just 3,498 now.

Freedom to choose. Who thinks that's a bad thing?
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Pyrtolin
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Undermine the ability of unions to serve their purpose and people see less utility in being part of them. Big shocker there.

I bet sales of beer an liquor would take a huge hit if all the alcohol was removed from them as well. It's not a big surprise that things lose support when you make an active effort to render them useless.

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TomDavidson
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It's also worth noting that the number of public employees in Wisconsin has dropped by 20%, which may account for some of the reduction. [Smile]
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It's also worth noting that the number of public employees in Wisconsin has dropped by 20%, which may account for some of the reduction. [Smile]

Walker is doing a hell of a lot better than I thought. [Smile] [Cool]
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TomDavidson
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Except, of course, that private-sector job creation is at the lowest level in a decade and one of the lowest levels in the entire country, the state deficit is ballooning (despite accounting tricks that claim otherwise), and public services -- like road repair and education -- have been slashed 40%.

It's a great spectator sport for ideologues who don't have to live here, no doubt, but it kind of sucks to watch the failure of that ideology in practice from a spot inside the state. Me, I think it's a shame that a bunch of corporations have decided to screw over my neighbors after buying out the legislature and the Supreme Court.

[ April 08, 2013, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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D.W.
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Anyone in the US who thinks they are just a spectator isn't paying enough attention.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Anyone in the US who thinks they are just a spectator isn't paying enough attention.

QFT
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Paladine
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quote:
Me, I think it's a shame that a bunch of corporations have decided to screw over my neighbors after buying out the legislature and the Supreme Court.
Right, the government is corrupt and incompetent, bought out by big corporations and special interests. That's why we need to insist that it control more and more of our money and lives. Makes sense somehow, I'm sure. [Frown]
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TomDavidson
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quote:
That's why we need to insist that it control more and more of our money and lives.
I think you're sucking on a bit of a straw man, here. But of course that's exactly how you've been trained to respond by the sources who were paid to mislead you.

Seriously, though, if you don't think the Wisconsin legislature and Supreme Court have been purchased in the last five years, you have not been paying any attention whatsoever.

[ April 09, 2013, 02:29 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Paladine
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quote:
I think you're sucking on a bit of a straw man, here.
Am I? You seem quite bitter about the people in charge of your state government, but it seems like you're constantly asking that they be put in charge of greater and greater amounts of money and matters of vital concern. I'm genuinely curious as to how you reconcile those two sentiments.
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TomDavidson
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You seem to think that by privatizing state services and selling them off to companies that they and their donors own, the people currently in charge of my government are making those services more accountable to the people. This is in every way false.

-------

While I'm here, I just want to address this for a second:
quote:
it seems like you're constantly asking that they be put in charge of greater and greater amounts of money and matters of vital concern
Where have you seen me call for an increase in state services?

[ April 09, 2013, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
Right, the government is corrupt and incompetent, bought out by big corporations and special interests. That's why we need to insist that it control more and more of our money and lives. Makes sense somehow, I'm sure. [Frown]

No, that's why we insist that stronger rules are put in place that prevent such use of money to buy political power.

Government is an integral facet of a community; it's the collection of formal ways in which it coordinates and regulates itself. The more or less issue should be determined by equitable debate within the community in question and not one that should be for sale to the highest bidder.

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Paladine
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quote:
You seem to think that by privatizing state services and selling them off to companies that they and their donors own, the people currently in charge of my government are making those services more accountable to the people.
I don't think that they should be privatizing and selling things off more than they do. I actually tend to favor directness: when government is going to be funding something, I want for government to do it itself by and large. Inasmuch as your problem is with the unholy alliance between corporations and the state, we're actually probably in substantial agreement. One big problem I have with the Republican party is its corporatism and phony free-marketeering.

What I don't get, when you *know* that government is in the pockets of special interest groups and powerful companies, is why you tend to oppose those of us who argue that it should take less of our money and make less of our decisions for us. I don't recall seeing you support a reduction in the entitlement state, in government's massive spending on and control over education or healthcare or pretty much anything else (except perhaps the military).

My basic point is this: government is by its nature going to be run at least half the time by people with whom you and I have fundamental and powerful disagreements. Sometimes they're going to be corrupt, sometimes they're going to be incompetent, sometimes they're going to be adherents to political philosophies we find repugnant. This is the nature of living in a big, politically heterogeneous country.

It's even more true as government assumes greater control over and plays a larger role in the society. People who are principally interested in making money have an interest in government only inasmuch as government has it within its power to take their money or dictate who can make money and under what circumstances. Giving government more power and more ability to spend results in bigger incentives to corruption.

I don't want Barack Obama or Chris Christie in charge of my healthcare and education any more than you want George Bush or Scott Walker in charge of yours, so I don't propose and support government programs which create situations wherein that sort of thing is bound to happen. What the Left does, and what confuses the hell out of me, is to insist that government control vast amounts of peoples' wealth and oversee matters of vital and fundamental concern with respect to their personal lives even as they decry the corrupt and incompetent people atop the basket into which they'd place so many eggs.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I don't recall seeing you support a reduction in the entitlement state, in government's massive spending on and control over education or healthcare or pretty much anything else (except perhaps the military).
Government spends a pittance on education. But, yes, we should either control healthcare more or spend less on it.

quote:
I don't want Barack Obama or Chris Christie in charge of my healthcare and education any more than you want George Bush or Scott Walker in charge of yours
I also don't want Blue Cross, Meriter Hospital, Coca-Cola, or Toys R Us in charge of my healthcare or education, and would prefer that the government run those things to having for-profit corporations do so.
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Paladine
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quote:
I also don't want Blue Cross, Meriter Hospital, Coca-Cola, or Toys R Us in charge of my healthcare or education
Oh me neither.

quote:
and would prefer that the government run those things to having for-profit corporations do so.
Are those really the only choices?

quote:
Government spends a pittance on education.
It spends far too much. Education done right isn't a terribly expensive thing. We have the very basics wrong, and adding a bunch of gadgets and palatial buildings doesn't help matters when the basics are wrong.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
What I don't get, when you *know* that government is in the pockets of special interest groups and powerful companies, is why you tend to oppose those of us who argue that it should take less of our money and make less of our decisions for us
Because those who tend to nominally argue against such tend to actually support positions that do just the opposite. Like saying supporting a Federal surplus while saying that the government should "take less money from us" That a logical and mathematical impossibility because the net inflow of money to the Federal government is the direct converse of the net outflow of money from everything that's not the government.

The disagreement isn't on those principles, it's on the fact that the policies in question don't actually meet them, and generally run actively counter to them.

quote:
My basic point is this: government is by its nature going to be run at least half the time by people with whom you and I have fundamental and powerful disagreements
That's not the nature of government. That's propaganda generated by a two party system that has found it advantageous to use manufactured polarization and "us vs them" mentality as political tools.
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Paladine
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Pyr, we disagree about some very basic things with respect to how money works and how spending works. I don't want to rehash that debate in every thread, but it's difficult to respond to you without jumping back into that debate. Please don't be offended if I don't respond to a lot of what you say; I just don't want to talk about that particular issue at the moment.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
Pyr, we disagree about some very basic things with respect to how money works and how spending works. I don't want to rehash that debate in every thread, but it's difficult to respond to you without jumping back into that debate. Please don't be offended if I don't respond to a lot of what you say; I just don't want to talk about that particular issue at the moment.

Not at all. But Algebra isn't really a matter of opinion. If money goes into something, it must be come out of something else.
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Paladine
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Yes, we agree that it's a matter of fact. We disagree about what the facts are. Again though, I don't want to get much into this.
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Pyrtolin
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Fair enough. My core contention, though, still stands. It's misleading to claim that you're being opposed on the principles you state when, rather, the opposition is on policies that tend to actively run counter to those principles.

We can pick the nominal issue of this thread as another similar point. Advocating union busting policies under the nominal pretext of giving people more freedom, when the real effect is less protection from extortion, less freedom, lower income, and higher profit margins for the people that bought the influence to get such protections out of the way of their ability to exploit.

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