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What I Think About … Unions

There is a lot of union bashing going on in the Conservative and Libertarian camps.  I have done my share of it, although not on the internet.

Then I figured something out. UTLA doesn’t exist to protect the kids or the schools, it exists to protect LA Unified teachers.  The UAW doesn’t exist to protect the auto companies, but to protect the auto workers. The CCPOA isn’t concerned about  public safety, it is concerned about the guards in California prisons. The ILWU doesn’t exist to protect trade, or truckers, or shipping lines, it exists to protect longshoremen.

I admire the unions for their success at serving their membership. I do think that the legal and regulatory deck is stacked in favor of the unions.  And I despise that the unions have become a cog in the Democrat Party political machinery.  I would like to see far more regulation around disclosure of union (and other) political contributions, activities, and expenditures.  But that is different than holding the unions responsible for all of the problems with our schools, car companies, and government bureaucracies.

However, the real blame for the excessive pay, abusive work rules, obscene pensions, free platinum health care and other assorted complaints lies with THE PEOPLE WHO SIGNED THE CONTRACTS.  The blame lies with the politicians, school boards, and corporate management who sacrificed the long term financial stability of their organization for short term gains. And with the voters or shareholders who empowered them, and didn’t punish them.

That’s right.  Californians shouldn’t blame the CCPOA for the prison financial problems, we should blame our legislators. Angelenos shouldn’t blame UTLA for the state of the schools or the quality of the education, they should blame the LA School Board and Superintendent Cortines.

Certainly, a whole bunch of attention needs to be paid to quid-pro-quo around contracts and campaign contributions.  But really, the blame lies with us.

As an aside .. A couple of interesting articles by Stephen Brill about NYC are worth reading.

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