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In 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a letter to the head of a federal employees group, proclaimed that:

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service…. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or bind the employer … The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives…”

This is the essence of the sovereignty argument against government-sector unionism, that collective bargaining undercuts the inherent power of the state as a sovereign representative of the people, and therefore is anti-democratic.

Government employee collective bargaining laws must be reformed. The free ride government unions receive must end. Government employees’ pay, health care and pension plans are bankrupting state and local governments across America. Collective bargaining gives unions unchecked power to influence politics and shape government policy.

Government employees have the fundamental right to associate together, but there’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that says their government employers must negotiate with them. More recently, the U. S. Supreme Court described government union bargaining as a privilege or entitlement. In Davenport v. Washington Education Association (2007), the Supreme Court said: “it is undeniably unusual for a government agency to give a private entity the power, in essence, to tax government employees.” Later the court described collective bargaining as “an extraordinary and totally repeatable authorization to coerce payment from government employees. . . .”

By definition “rights” cannot be taken away. Collective bargaining for government employees is a privilege granted by legislation. Thus, government employees who enjoy this privilege can have it restricted or repealed at any time.  All citizens have the right to associate in groups to advocate their special interests to the government. But it is something entirely different to grant any one interest group special status and access to the government decision-making process. When government enables and strengthens unions, dues-paying members are coerced flourish, filling union coffers. This allows government sector unions to use big money and political clout to elect favorite political candidates. Government sector unions are among the most powerful special interest groups in America. In the 2010 elections, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) was the biggest outside spender with total contributions of nearly $90 million. More than 98 percent of this money went to Democratic candidates and causes. NEA spent $40 million and AFT spent $16 million.

 

Read the original article here.

photo by: Michelllaurence

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