In the beginning of the 20 century, it had become necessary for workers to associate with one another in order to directly confront their given employer on the issues of working conditions and employment. With the passing of each decade, as America grew more wealthy and powerful in world standing, the unions took on a new form that negated the original intent of their early beginnings. What started as a whisper, has now grown into a fundamental national issue; one which is so crucial that states, like Connecticut, have to worry about whether to appease union demands or cut municipal aid to its local citizens [the majority population mind you].
Tom Blumer of the NewsBusters organization wrote:
- Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, three states with recently elected conservative Republican governors, have either put their budgets to bed, or are on the verge of doing so, by cutting costs and not raising taxes.
- Connecticut, Minnesota, and California, three states with recently elected liberal governors who are Democrats, are on the verge of a shutdown, serious layoffs, or issuing IOUs. All three governors have enacted or want tax increases.
People may argue philosophically and politically induced ideology to any extent they deem appropriate [as to why unions are necessary], however the current situation has presented a clear indication on which path is a more sound policy to follow. The current debate should not be on whether unions have the right to exist, but what is the primary function and political influence unions may have on the majority of society today. In an age where federal law by itself already ensures the protection and necessary working conditions for citizens all across the nation, one has to wonder whether the union, as it exists today in America, is an dinosaur that simply wont admit defeat.
The cause is the enormous economic and political power now concentrated in the hands of union leaders. This hurts the nation’s economy be forcing on employers contract terms that encourage inefficiency, lower production and high prices – all of which result in a lower standard of living for the American people. Ultimately;
It corrupts the nation’s political life by exerting undue influence on the selection of public officials.
This does not mean that unions are not an instrument for achieving economic justice for the working man; the area of contention does not belong to the argument that man has an “inalienable right to associate with other men for the achievement of legitimate economic and employment objectives”, that is already understood by both Democrats and Republicans as a necessary American economic principle. The question should be, does the current abuse and corrupt nature of the union structure promote better economic and fiscal conditions on the majority of the American people? I believe it does not.
The natural function of a union and the one for which it was historically conceived is to represent those employees who want collective representation in bargaining with their employers over terms of employment. Not to have unions collectively target the entire industry when the employees’ grievance is targeted towards one company within a much larger industry; vital, mind you, to the fiscal and economic health of the American People. In the words of a great Conservative from Arizona,
The evil to be eliminated is the power of unions to enforce industry-wide bargaining.
In the case of Connecticut, this issue strikes at the very core of our state and its fiscal and economic health currently under scrutiny. As part of a surprisingly early-passed budget plan, the unions in Connecticut got a very beneficial compromise as the governor looked for ways to appease his supporters and close the state’s budget gap. Mayor Mark Boughton of Danbury, CT on his blog wrote this about the CT unions’ vote “NO” to the Malloy concessions;
Listening to various radio shows, reading articles online, and listening to my friends who are state employees, an emerging theme as to why there was such a strong “no” vote was that state employees were adamantly opposed to the possibility that their health care would be handed over to a new state health care program called SustiNet.
While nobody can really explain what SustiNet is with any clarity, many state employees felt that the health care provisions of the agreement were the first steps towards migrating their health care to a single payer system managed and operated by the State of Connecticut.
Interesting. Since part of the charge of the SustiNet panel is to leverage the new federal health care program (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”), this vote was a resounding rebuke by the state employee unions of a large government run health care program.
It is stunning that 40% of the state employee workforce felt that even the hint of an “Obamacare” health care system, would result in employees voting against their own personal interest. State union employees have been reliable Democratic voters for years and supported both President Obama and Governor Malloy in big numbers.
The unions not only have voted against their own personal interests and against the very influence of the political “reform” of the politicians they help elect, but now instead of a guaranteed 4 years of no-layoffs and 10% pay increases, more than 7,000 are at risk of succumbing to Malloy’s layoff threat.
I think there are model governors and state’s out there that have proven, not by political ideology but results of executive action, that unions can be reformed while be kept within the system at-large. The unions have finally exposed their corrupt and selfish nature and emerged from the typical rhetoric of “helping ensure vital Middle Class standards” as rather foolish. As a result of this Malloy can no longer be considered a serious leader. The governor has even lost the support and control of a necessary and vital political ally, and is now more vulnerable than ever. He has even asked the CT Assembly for more executive power in order that, “he’ll handle everything, just go home and rest”.
I think its time that CT wakes up and realizes their Liberal slumber is no longer a “given way of life” anymore and that tough times call for difficult decisions so that not only our states can regain their fiscal health and prosperity, but so future generations that will call themselves Connecticutters will be proud to do so.