Collective Bargaining is a Privilege, not a Right

Collective Bargaining is a Privilege, not a Right

Collective bargaining in the private sector is a time-honored and respected means of resolving differences between a company’s employees, who have organized willingly absent union intimidation, and the ownership/management of a private company. Collective bargaining is productive when conducted in a civilized manner, free of coercion, and not for political gain. Unfortunately, collective bargaining in the public sector is nothing more than a monopolistic process dominated by big labor and politicians to the ultimate expense of the taxpayer. There is no system of checks and balances as big labor often is negotiating with the very politician it elected. President Roosevelt, a champion of labor unions, realized the potential for political corruption and union monopolies and warned that public sector employees should not be provided the right to organize. However, in 1962 as a payback to big labor, President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988, public sector employees to organize. Since that time, monopolistic public unions have become the sustaining money pump for the Democratic Party.

It is inconceivable that people at either end of the political spectrum would believe that collective bargaining with a politician elected through massive campaign funds is a fundamental right (see There is No Right to Collective Bargaining). Common sense would dictate that elected officials cannot be objective in negotiations with public unions. Unlike private sector employers, elected politicians have no personal stake in the outcome of collective bargaining, as any costs are ultimately covered by taxpayer money.  These politicians, therefore, are concerned only with the political ramifications of opposing collective bargaining demands. Ultimately, their decisions are politically expedient. They cave to union demands in order to avoid the negative publicity and lack of support, which would follow if they were to voice opposition (see Why I’m Fighting in Wisconsin). Big labor and the politicians that support them, however, consistently convey the inaccurate proposition of collective bargaining as a fundamental right, a legacy that should survive in perpetuity (see Behold. Your Public Sector Unions at Work). This is a classic example of the fox guarding the hen house. Despite their rhetoric, Big Labor’s protection of the collective bargaining “rights” of public employees has nothing to do with “fundamental human” rights, but rather a veiled attempt to save themselves and the politicians dependent on them from extinction.

As recently witnessed in Wisconsin, supporters of collective bargaining (including the liberal media) utilize a number of arguments to justify their position that collective bargaining rights of public employees should be maintained. They argue that corporations and businesses control the political process through massive campaign contributions. However, public data shows that unions pour as much money into political campaigns as do corporations.  They also incorrectly misrepresent that current local, state and federal deficits are due to low tax rates on business. This is clearly disputed in The Laffer Curve: Past, Present, and Future. Despite the misrepresentations, the truth is that businesses cannot “bargain” for tax rates. Like any party with an interest in legislation passed in Washington, they can only use their lobbying power and their political contributions to effect policy.  Meanwhile, labor unions, which have the same rights of lobbying and political contributions, are in an advantageous position due their “non-profit” status. They pay no taxes at all, yet are able to donate money foisted from their membership to elect officials who in turn provide substantial political paybacks through collective bargaining.

Labor unions also mischaracterize dealings between government officials and the business sector as cozy, corrupt affairs when, in fact, business is done at arm’s length, with multiple bidders involved. The same cannot be said about the monopolistic bargaining public unions enjoy, which at best is a form of “political incest” (see article Political Incest). Despite big labor’s claims, employers do not enjoy a “buddy system” arrangement similar to the corrupt collective bargaining process currently in place for public unions.

Big labor argues that it is unfair and wrong for conservative politicians to attempt to pass bills that they consider to be “union busting,” even when these politicians have won fair elections on such platforms. They use these misrepresentations and arguments to then justify walking out on sessions and promoting “rent-a-riots” to intimidate conservatives into backing down and withdrawing the bills (see Unions Advertising on Craigslist for Rent-A-Mob Protesters. and The Re-Education of Wisconsin). These and other coercive methods (as are described in detail in The Devil at My Doorstep) are consistent with union tactics that create an unlevel playing field when they cannot win by the rules. It is the typical Saul Alinsky approach described in  his book “Rules for Radicals” and vividly displayed  in the article, Police Thugs Lean on Mom and Pop, and video Crossroads GPS “The System” (see also  Rules for Wisconsin Radicals). The rules only pertain to the other side. If the roles were reversed, they would expect the conservatives to stay and do their job and live with the bills pushed through by the liberals. They are good at “do as I say not as I do” and lecturing that “elections have consequences” as long as they are on the winning side.

Big labor and their supporters are masters at playing the class warfare card, insinuating that conservatives are attacking the middle class when, in fact, the polar opposite is true. They are masters at brainwashing those that are naïve, easily manipulated, or intimidated into believing that business is the big bad wolf, keeping people in poverty and decimating the middle class. It is their rallying cry for social justice and redistribution of wealth. As articulated in America at a Crossroads. As Wisconsin Goes, So Goes America, union collective bargaining tactics in the private sector decimated the steel and automobile industries and, in effect, created a super middle class that effectively reduced the size of the true middle class. In reality there is only so much money to go around and the unions redistributed the wealth from one part of the middle class at the expense of the remainder. This is now reflected in the situation in Wisconsin (see Wisconsin Union-Busting Drive Feeds Off Towns that are Shrinking).

About the author: David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!