Originally Posted by HolyHandgernade
Public sector unions do not fight against politicians, we argue for or against policy. We support politicians, no matter which party, that support union issues, and not all union issues revolve around pay.
Our public sector union fights FOR the public safety. We oppose policies that want to run the NAS "like a business". We're not a business, we're a safety and service provider. We don't make profits or have a natural competition. We work with users to make the system as efficient as we can without sacrificing our commitment to safety. So, when the taxpayer sees a "policy" that "claims" it can save them money, that isn't necessarily the entire story. What corners does it cut to achieve this better savings? What impact does it have on the already existing operations? We tried this "run it like a business" approach during the Bush II years and it had disastrous results. Now, we work in a collaborative fashion, and the system has improved in efficiency, cost and savings. If one compares that to another national/regional system, ours is the more efficient despite working more traffic.
"Bad employees" are going to occur in any system. The union, at least ours, does not fight to "keep bad employees". Its function is to make sure management follows the outlines for what constitutes justified dismissal. Even if the employee is "bad", we can't just let management do whatever it wants because it sets these things called "precedents". Maybe one time was an actual "bad employee", maybe the next is an employee a manager had an axe to grind with. If we let an unorthodox procedure fire an agreed upon "bad" employee, management will cite that procedure as justification to keep using it.
Certainly, these aren't easy problems, and even most union members could identify these bad apples. But, the solutions aren't always easy when you're trying to protect the larger portion of your membership. Like I noted earlier, we're instituting self-policing measures known as "professional standards" to help bring "bad" employees up to par. This can be initiated from either co-workers or management who want to try and resolve something before more formal proceedings. The point is, most union members are proud of their jobs, and they represent what is left of the "middle class" who aren't private business owners. They are the consumers that can afford to consume what others want to sell. Shouldn't we try to make this class bigger? Instead of reducing the wages of working people so they are on par with third world workers, shouldn't we work towards a middle class that can afford to live within its own society?
The superlative was "completely lost". I'm not completely familiar with the NEA to speak to their level of bloated-ness or whether the majority, or even large minority, would prefer there was no union. You would have to get someone from that demographic to speak for them.
Appreciate the reasonable debate, by the way.
I agree with you on those fronts. It's why I've never said public sector unions need to be disbanded. I believe they are very valuable. And I have never been in favor of cutting spending for the sake of cutting spending. And trust me, I get the idea that one of the bigger problems in America is the wealthiest class hoarding money instead of investing back into their business to create long-term growth (because I am a firm believer that in many cases, lousy public sector work would work better and harder in the private sector).
At the same token, I don't support paying for something that's broken and not doing anything about it. As a business guy myself, it infuriates me that good workers get rewarded in the public sector in the same way bad ones do. My beef is primarily with salary and benefits, which is a huge chunk of what taxpayers pay (I get that you guys fight for policies and standards, which I am in favor of). Every bad employee we pay for is money we waste. And when the public sector negotiates pay raises and hefty benefits well above the private sector, that's a problem too. I am for a strong middle class, but not the point of protectionism where we say it's okay for our money to be wasted on bureaucracy and benefits that we can't afford. As a taxpayer, keep in mind that I don't work in the public sector. And so when you fight for these lofty benefit and salary increases, they come at the expense of me seeing that money instead go to better roads or better schools or better police.