Professor Bainbridge makes the case against public sector unions. Of note, unlike many conservatives, the good Professor supports private sector unions on principle. As he points out, the arguments justifying private sector unions don’t translate very well to the public sector context:
public sector unionism lacks the economic justifications for private sector unionism. It results in significant distortions of the political process, which have real adverse consequences for the taxpayers.
All Americans have a constitutional right to free association. But public-sector employees do not have a “fundamental right,” either moral or legal, to bargain collectively . . . — for the very good reason that they work, ostensibly at least, for the people, not for profit-making private corporations. Federal labor law specifically excludes public employees and leaves it up to the states to expand or contract collective bargaining for their workforces as they see fit. The man who signed that measure into law, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, disapproved of public-employee unionism.
Just for the record, I am probably a bit less sympathetic to unions than Professor B. My mother was a management negotiator when I was growing up, and what I experienced was not pretty. There were menacing and harassing phone calls (“We know where your son goes to school”), industrial sabotage, and direct acts of intimidation (another negotiator’s house was paint-bombed). We had to have security parked outside our house every night for months on end and there were days I had to be driven to school by an off-duty cop. This all just makes me a bit less willing to give unions the benefit of the doubt.
UPDATE: Calvin Massey says “Public Sector Unions Should Not Exist.”
UPDATE: It seems the American people aren’t big fans of public sector unions either.