The meme on the left is that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and anyone supporting him is out to destroy labor unions. As Jonah Goldberg explains, nothing could be further from the truth. Private sector unions have a proud history of standing up to abusive business practices. Although even private sector unions are susceptible to their own abusive practices (as are businesses), as Goldberg makes clear:
Private-sector unions fight with management over an equitable distribution of profits. Government unions negotiate with friendly politicians over taxpayer money, putting the public interest at odds with union interests, and, as we’ve seen in states such as California and Wisconsin, exploding the cost of government. California’s pension costs soared 2,000 percent in a decade thanks to the unions.
And, while there is some controversy over whether Franklin Delano Roosevelt outright opposed public sector unions (he seems to contradict himself in this letter), he clearly felt that there were issues with allowing government workers to bargain collectively when he wrote:
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.
So, understand that no one is trying to kill unions, but that allowing government workers whose bosses in government have no profit motive and are often less than careful about how they spend taxpayers’ money was a big mistake. It is time to resolve this problem and I applaud Gov. Walker for taking this courageous step.