SEARCH BLOG: UNIONS.
Here in Michigan, the Service Employees International Union has siphoned off well in excess of $32 million through a sweetheart deal with the former Governor (D) Jennifer Granholm from individuals who are home health care providers. That siphoning continues despite the fact that it was specifically outlawed by the current legislature and governor... although how they manage to do it seems a bit of a mystery.
This abuse has been written about extensively in the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and now the issue of government employee unions is raised in the Hoover Institution.
The hottest topic in Michigan today is not the looming presidential election. Rather, it is Proposal 2—“Protect Our Jobs,” which will constitutionalize collective bargaining in the state for public sector unions. As drafted, the proposal gives to “the people . . . the rights to organize together to form, join, or assist labor organizations, and to bargain collectively with a public or private employer through an exclusive representative of the employees’ choosing”—provided that this proposal is not preempted, or overridden, by federal labor law.
It is not clear from its general language whether Proposal 2 will roll back any of the modest reforms that Michigan now has put in place as a counterweight to union power, but the initiative is certainly intended to bolster union power in the state.
Michigan, long an economic basket-case, has started to turn the corner under Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who knows that the state’s fortunes won’t improve if it doubles down on a system of labor law that has proven itself to be a major failure. As the governor has argued, Proposal 2 is a step in the wrong direction.
We should be profoundly skeptical of any proposal that aims to improve the lot of the “people” by giving some people rights that necessarily bind others—in this instance, the public at large or the owners and employers of private firms. The folks on the receiving end of these collective bargaining laws are people too. No system has a prayer of long-term success if the gains that some people get by state coercion are smaller than the losses those laws inflict on others.
In this instance, the virulent economic protectionism of the “Protect Our Jobs” provision means that the losses will far outweigh the gains. Proposal 2 does not remove transactional frictions or regulatory barriers from the economy. Rather, it is a partisan call to benefit unions and union members at a time when most states around the country are rightly questioning whether the special protections for government employees have gone too far, especially on such key matters as pensions, health care, and work rules. [more]RELATED: