Collective Bargaining? Not Really

Mar 10, 2011 by Dennis C

Collective Bargaining? Not Really

Let’s be clear about one thing right up front. No one, not Gov. Walker of WI, Gov. Kasich of OH or Gov. Christie of NJ is trying to kill anyone’s collective bargaining rights. They are trying to save their respective states from bankruptcy and brig some fiscal sanity to their budgeting processes. As everyone now realizes, finally, the public employees and their unions have carved themselves out a pretty sweet deal that was never sustainable, is grossly unfair to those in the private sector who have to pay for it and has to be reined in. They will still be able to collectively bargain for wages and personnel matters. It is the personnel matters that may, in fact, be the biggest problem. What this really means is the unions will still be able to protect the bad employees (i.e. lousy teachers).

The problem with public sector employees and collective bargaining is that there is no such thing. There is no ‘bargaining’ in the collective bargaining process. The unions own the politicians (almost exclusively democrats) that they put into office. The unions, as is their right, use their member’s dues as campaign contributions to get their candidates elected and, once in office, the unions hand them their demands and the politicians, who owe their jobs to the unions, give them what they want. How is this ‘bargaining’?

There is a good example of how real collective bargaining is supposed to work taking place on a very public stage right now. The National Football League (the NFL) and their player’s union, the National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) are currently trying to work out a new contract.

The way the negotiations are being conducted is, on one side of the table are the representatives of the union negotiating on behalf of the players. On the other side of the table are representatives of the team owners of the NFL. Each side has its own reps and they are bargaining, in good faith and at arms length, on behalf of the people who gave them their jobs. Hopefully, they will work out a new deal that both sides will accept and can live with.

Now, imagine how it would be for the owners of the NFL teams if the NFLPA selected the people who were going to represent the owners and made it clear to them that their jobs were dependent upon the NFLPA and not the team owners. Does anybody seriously believe this would be good faith, arms length negotiations? Of course not. But, that is precisely the deal the public employees’ unions have. There is no one sitting on the other side of the table negotiating on behalf management (the taxpayers) who have to pay the union workers. This is hardly collective bargaining since there is no bargaining taking place.

A lot of people, liberal media types especially, are trying to draw a comparison between the protesters in Madison, WI and what is taking place on the streets of many Mideast Arab nations. This is an extremely false analogy. The people in Madison are much more like those in France and Greece who rioted and tried to bring those countries down when their governments finally found the backbone to tell them the truth. That the socialist nanny state was broken and broke and could no longer afford all of the goodies and some sacrifices had to be made. The screaming, screeching children took to the streets and have yet to stop whining.

Over the coming years we are all going to have to make sacrifices so that the cost is shared and not simply left for our children and grandchildren and on and on to pay for. I, for one, say good and about time.

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  1. You are a liar. This is entirely about union busting.

    • Dennis C

      Union busting? What union has been busted? The reality is that the unions will still be in business, as they should be, and still representing their members, as they should be. But, we are beginning, finally, to see some representation on the part of owners and management. In this case, the owners and management are the taxpayers.

      Try to set aside your emotions and look at this rationally. No one has been representing the people who have to pay the bill (and that includes you, by the way).

  2. Dave

    Right on the money. Now the taxpayers of Wisconsin have representation!

  3. Curtis

    Absolutely. This is garbage. Nothing more than corporate propaganda.

    • Dennis C

      Exactly which corporation is involved here?

  4. RBT

    I found this comment in your article both interesting and telling,

    “That the socialist nanny state was broken and broke and could no longer afford all of the goodies and some sacrifices had to be made. The screaming, screeching children took to the streets and have yet to stop whining.”

    So what you are really getting to here is you figure unions, Social Security, Medicare, medicaid, etc are all evil socialism giving to undeserving people of a nanny state? Yeah I know that is what you think. Interesting. Honestly if we got rid of these programs this country would be inundated with the costs of uninsured, sick, homeless, and people suffering from malnutrition. Don’t care huh? Not your problem? Well then you better pass laws that forbid low income housing and make sure hospitals have the right to turn away the sick and deny them care or it will cost people a lot more than these programs do now. Don’t like Unions huh? They are what keep non-union companies from completely screwing their workers. It’s hard to justify paying minimum wage with no benefits, 100% part time employment,and other games to avoid insurance,pension, and/or 401k costs. You don’t think that’s true? If you don’t you are just an idiot. Yeah I know not every work place is like that … most are though. People are a commodity to most businesses… cost to much? Best way to squeeze money out of this commodity is to kill benefits and pay whatever it takes.
    You also said:
    “Over the coming years we are all going to have to make sacrifices so that the cost is shared and not simply left for our children and grandchildren and on and on to pay for. I, for one, say good and about time.”

    Are you serious… this is so weak I don’t believe you people and republicans spew this trash at all. Just simplistic crap is all it is. As I was saying to Fred Downing in one of his silly articles why don’t you people get a clue and go after NAFTA that’s probably one of the top 3 for why our country is screwed at the moment. You think it’s about having a nanny state? You don’t have a clue about what Social Security is or how it is paid for do you? Just what your republican pals have been feeding you for years (I’m not a democrat by the way). Anyway back to NAFTA kill it or start taxing Chinese and Indian imports to the point where it either forces American countries to come back home or at least allows our small business to compete AND allows them to hire people in THIS country at a LIVABLE wage. I mean you guys don’t get this? You think were in financial trouble because were a nanny state? republican propaganda man….that’s all that is. Were in financial trouble because of NAFTA, Wall-street,and the wealthy along with corporations who have avoided paying taxes for many years. You think public workers are leeching off your hard work? pff Public workers are providing services you would be crying about not having if they were not here and they are not rich! The MAJORITY ARE part of the middle class in our country. Do you realize how many public workers make under 20k a year? No I bet you didn’t know any made that little. There are a lot full time workers that make under 30k a year. Yeah they need to pay more into their insurance and into their retirement. You stoned? I don’t know where you live, but in southeastern Wisconsin try living off that sort of cash. Oh well I guess you can…hey wait lets kill these evil socialist programs like social security… well that under 30k year a fool better start stashing most of that cash into a retirement fund lol… damn that guy needs to eat, get gas, pay more into or buy their own health care, pay for utilities, damn kids better not get sick… huge copay, retirement hmm guess that person better work till they die… know why? Because they need to, “share the cost!?” Who you talking to man? Grade school teachers? Oh Walker needed these provisions to save jobs I heard too … lol Walker is a union buster that’s all he is.. a corporate lackey. He knows that by weakening unions he can affect private union strength by setting a precedence of taking away bargaining rights. You and people like you are just to stupid to see it… or maybe the Tea Party is just a Right Wing conspiracy. Oh so Walker and his pals just needed to change bargaining rights around to save the people money or they would have to lay off teachers eh? Remember that lie? Well he is going lay them off anyway so …oh and a ton of schools are going to get closed down…. yeah Walker is a hero.
    No no no you guys are right… we need to give tax cuts to Corporate America, and expand NAFTA so they can create jobs… you guys are nothing but a bunch of suckers…just wait…and watch what happens. unreal.. when none of us can get a job and social security is dead; were screwed pal.

    • Dennis C

      First of all, you need to try do something that liberals find virtually impossible to do (you claim you are not a not a Democrat but you are certainly a card carrying liberal whether you admit it or not,) and that is, step back, take a deep breath and try to allow a rational thought to enter your head and disrupt how you ‘think’. Virtually every thing you wrote about is based on irrational, emotion and not calm, reasoned analysis.

      You start off by writing that I “figure unions, Social Security, Medicare, medicaid etc all evil socialism.” I defy you to read what I wrote (try this time with an open mind and not through your liberal prism) and show me where I wrote anything about any of these things being ‘evil socialism’. And then, you go on to claim that you know what I think. You know what I think? Are you a mind reader? After reading what you wrote, I dont believe you know what you think let alone what I think. Mostly because what you claim to ‘think’ is not really thinking at all. It is emotionally driven by what you feel and what you believe is fair and the way things should be. It is childish nonsense. Grow up.

      Again, I did not write anything about ending social security, medicare or medicaid or anything else. You did. If you want to criticize me for something I did write, that is fine and fair game. But, dont criticize me for what you believe I think. That makes you look like a fool, not me. In fact, I dont believe these programs should be abolished. There are funding issues with them that need to be addressed. And it is time we did.

      The next silliness is the part where somehow, without any rational argument to back it up, you make the claim that making sacrifices so that future generations dont get stuck with our debt is somehow, in your world, simplistic crap. Really? Leaving a 14 trillion dollar (and growing) debt to future generations is simplistic crap? How lazy are you? How entitled do you think you are? Obviously, like so many people, you are entitled to want you want and someone else should get the bill. I dont think it is right to leave the bill to my children and grandchildren. Obviously you dont have a problem with that because you are entitled to what you want when you want it.

      I dont have a clue about social security? Again, I didnt write a single word about social security but, since you brought it up, here is some reality about social security. What was the original purpose of social security when it was enacted in the depression years? I doubt you have a clue. It was originally intended as a temporary source of some minimal income for widows and orphans who had a husband/father die to get them by until the woman could remarry. It was never intended as a massive pension for everyone in the country. That was a goody that politicians came up with to get elected time after time after time to keep themselves in office. Also, as to the pension part of it, the reason it kicked in at 65 is because the life expectancy was also 65. Maybe you should know some facts before you run your mouth or write your nonsense.

      As to your claim that I dont know how it is funded, it is beneath my diginity to respond to such a foolish statement. But, let me ask you this, how much money is currently in the social security trust fund? The fund that the government set up to pay social security benefits from. Do you know? Exactly zero. That’s right, there is no money in it at all. And why not? Because the government has to use it to pay itself.

      Given you believe NAFTA is one of the three main problems we have, your ignorance is astonishing. In the grand scheme of things, NAFTA isnt even on the radar.

      And then there is the typical, to be expected liberal blather about evil Wall Street and their most hated word, the one that libs believe cause all of their problems and are responsible for everything perceived injustice on the planet, (drum roll please) corporations. Yes, when all else fails, when you cannot take responsibility for your own life, when you refuse to look at the guy in the mirror and tell him he is responsible for your circumstances, blame the evil corporate devils who dont pay their ‘fair share’ of taxes so you can have all of the government goodies you are entitled to by accident of birth. Because, after all, there are 5,000 to 10,000 evil rich white guys who own everything and are keeping you enslaved. How truly tragic and what childish, moronic, tripe.

      First of all, go to your friends, neighbors and relatives and that, in the interest of social justice and to make sure you get all of the goodies the politicians have conned you into believing are yours by birthright, they will have to lose money on their pensions, including, gasp, shock, horror, union pensions, because you want to raise taxes on their investments. Yes, thats’s right, that is who really owns corporate America. Anyone who has a 401(K), a pension plan, an IRA etc are the ones who own corporate America. They are the evil ones and not the good little people like you who are getting screwed by evil corporations.

      As to the rest of your blather, you need a little history lesson. The job security or insecurity that you prattle on about, and even though you very likely dont realize it, that is what you are all worked up about, has been a problem forever. There is not and never has been guaranteed jobs in this or any country. If you work a job, you, and you always have been and always will be, at the mercy of market forces beyond your control. There is no such thing as job security. Even if you are the best worker who ever lived, you are subject to losing your job if the economy goes bad. That is simple reality. Now, why should government employees be exempt from this? Why should they have a job they will never lose, and make as much or more as their counterparts in the private sector, have a better pension and benefits package than they can get elsewhere, more vacation time etc etc all at the taxpayers expense? Because they do such good? That’s laughable.

      Finally, what you write is the same old tiresome, emotionally based, feel good silliness that liberals have been brainwashing the children with forever. Here’s a suggestion. Come up with an idea for a product or a service that people want and are willing to pay for. Set up your own company and start providing that product or service. It is called free enterprise and it is still very much available to you. You just have to somehow stop the whining, find some stones and do it. Stop waiting for someone or something (the government or the unions or your mom or whomever) to take care of you. Look at the guy in the mirror and tell him, out loud, that it is time to stop whining, wallowing in self pity, get off your lazy ass and take responsibility for yourself.

  5. RBT

    When I said,”
    either forces American countries to come back home or at least allows our small”

    I meant American companies

    Sorry for not checking my babbling for grammar issues..oh well… not going to be any jobs in this country soon anyway… don’t need those skills.. heh

  6. Taylen

    Ever stop to think who the biggest funders of each party are? On the right it’s huge corporations and the wealthiest in America (with a few exceptions of course, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet). On the left it’s unions. This is not about “fiscal responsibility” or fixing Wisconsin’s budget, it’s about defunding the left. If Walker was truly concerned about fixing the budget with his collective bargaining bill, why did he strip the entire bill of any mention of money to force it through the state senate? Oh that’s right, because it had nothing to do with the state’s finances to begin with. That was just his way of making it ok in the public’s eye and to get idiots like you to agree with it.

    In reality it is just a way to take money away from the Democrats running for office in 2012 and keep the GOP in office. If you want to fix the budget, raise taxes on those making $500,000 annually by a couple percent. That makes up for $30,000,000 pretty quick and I’m pretty sure they won’t miss the $.50 for extra BBQ sauce on their $100 burger next time they go out to dinner.

    Get a grip, dude. Way to be the most mis-informed person on planet Earth. Turn off Fox Propaganda Network long enough to realize that Gov. Walker is only doing this to pay for his next run at office. The Koch billionaires are backing his every move and if he can put more money in their pocket by busting unions that’s more money for his next campaign. Want to reduce public sector spending? Why doesn’t he start with his own $137,000 paycheck? Sure he could get by with being paid a little less (we all know there are plenty of millionaires willing to “lend” him a few bucks to get by).

    • Dennis C

      Yes, by all means, let’s raise taxes on the rich because they dont pay their fair share. And, best of all, I am not one of them. In fact, I am okay with raising taxes on anyone who isnt me. After all, that is what you are advocating. Raise taxes on anyone but me. I am all for it. But, remember, sooner or later you will run out of other people’s money to spend and then you will have to dig into your own pocket.

      Or, maybe we can start to ask the government to live within its means. Maybe we can all take a little more responsibility for ourselves and expect a little bit less from government. It is a novel idea and will scare all the little, emotionally thinking liberals but, maybe it’s time.

      Personally, I am getting sick to death of the whining that is going on in this country by people like yourself. Stop with this poor me, feel sorry for yourself, I’m a victim nonsense and get off you lazy ass, roll up your sleeves and get to work and earn your paycheck. If you were born in America you were handed a huge break on the day you were born and for no reason other than where your mother happened to be at the time. Stop the effing whining.

  7. Tina F.

    After reading this thread, I hadn’t really thought about this in such simplistic terms. I know there’s the peripheral screaming of the what, why and where and I’m certainly not demeaning any aspect of historical significance in how we reached this point. It’s the fact that we’re here now, we’re one people faced with huge, mutually historic problems that will not be ignored and each American bears the collective burden as such.

    Once a plane begins to crash there is really no negotiation as to the outcome but to regain control, together. Very crass analogy but there ya go. Well done Dennis C.


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