It's a Brave New World for Unions
The fact that public sector union members outnumber private sector union members is creating a whole new political dynamic.
12:34 PM, Feb 28, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
There's a good front page story in the Washington Post today about how political debates over unions are evolving. For one thing, a lot of people that are inclined to defend private sector unions don't feel obliged to protect public sector unions:
The Post story also provides another powerful reminder that private sector unions weren't always supportive of public sector unions:
It's one thing to bargain with a private company knowing that profits are finite -- it's quite another to just keep socking it to the taxpayer. (Note that unlike Meany in 1962, the current AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka thinks that raising taxes will actually create jobs. Not only that, Trumka wants to raise the gas tax with oil going through the roof.)
The whole article is great and worth reading. One bone to pick, however: the authors accept claims that government workers are underpaid:
These studies on government workers' compensation tend to be political footballs. For instance, it's definitely not true that federal workers are under-compensated relative to the private sector. (If you want to wonk out on that topic, this TWS, magazine article on the topic is unbelievably definitive. If you like that kind of thorough analysis, you really out to subscribe.) Depending on how you control for any number of variables, government employees could easily be said to earn more.
But on the whole, a good article that explains a lot about the bind unions are in.