Tag: Labor Unions

Teacher Unions: A Mixed Bag

 

I’ve wanted to write a post on my experience with school unions for a while now and have finally taken a stab at it. This is a huge topic so I’m trying to touch on a few different things that have been on my mind for a while. My experience was a real mixed bag and probably specific to Chicago. I don’t work for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) anymore but somehow I still get all the email from them and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). I’ll try to divvy this into subsections but we’ll see how it goes. One day I will write a short post…

I got my first teaching union when I got a job at one of the largest public schools on the north side of Chicago. There were about 100 faculty members, including special education aides serving a student population of about 1,400-1,500 students. I paid no attention to the union at all until one day the school’s union representative, one of the counselors, burst into my room with a clipboard and said, “I found you! You haven’t signed up for the CTU yet.” I asked her if everyone was a member and she said, “Yes, well, except one person.” I found out later that the lone non-member was “a Republican,” a math teacher who was “admin’s pet” and made all the charts and tables for the principal’s presentations. I got the message and I never said anything political to anyone which made life easier.

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  I came upon this story at Ann Althouse’s blog the other day. I couldn’t quite make sense of what the story was about so I looked into it a bit and found a wee bit of tyranny enabled by our extensive and bloated administrative/regulatory state. It turns out that Ben Domenech, the publisher of […]

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Labor unions have dramatically declined as a percentage of the American workforce over the last 30 years. A new proposal from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders seeks to double union ranks, City Journal senior editor Steven Malanga reports, which would mean adding nearly 15 million new members.

Malanga joins associate editor Seth Barron to discuss Senator Sanders’s proposal, which would put new restraints on employers, limit workers’ rights to opt-out of union membership, and make other changes to U.S. labor law. The Sanders plan would also give federal workers the right to strike and force states to allow government workers to unionize.

Oren Cass joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss his new book, The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America.

The American worker is in crisis. Wages have stagnated for more than a generation, and reliance on welfare programs has surged. Life expectancy is falling as substance abuse and obesity rates climb. Work and its future has become a central topic for City Journal: in 2017, the magazine published its special issue, The Shape of Work to Come.

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In my USA Today column for Labor Day weekend, I recommend that public-sector unions drop the political activism and focus on providing their members with great service at a great price. You know, like every other organization in a competitive marketplace has to do.  Public-sector union bosses haven’t seemed to notice that by ending agency […]

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Daniel DiSalvo joins Brian Anderson to discuss public-sector unions, freedom of speech, and the upcoming Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Janus next week. If the justices rule for the plaintiffs, employees of state and local governments across the country will be able to opt out of paying union fees. Public unions are often powerful political players, and a sharp drop in funding or membership could deal a heavy blow to their influence.

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With the recent derailment in the news, and with it looking increasingly like operator error, this is as good as time as any to discuss the peculiarities of the rail labor unions.  Regardless of whether self-driving cars are ever safe enough, self-driving trains operate under more predictable constraints and limitations, which should make the implementation […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer a court decision that upholds Wisconsin’s right to work law and rejects the argument of organized labor that it has a right to part of workers’ paychecks.  They also shudder as a new study shows students of all political stripes evenly divided on whether “hate speech” should be protected speech, whether it’s OK to shout down speakers they don’t like, or even whether uncomfortable views should be allowed on campus.  And they have fun with a political ad that is a horrible parody of a famous scene from “Top Gun.”

On Labor Day, we honor the American labor movement and the contributions that workers make to the strength and well-being of the country. It’s been more than 80 years since Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) guaranteeing the right of private-sector workers to unionize and bargain collectively for better pay and working conditions.

Today, the NLRA still governs the relationship between organized labor and employers—but in 2015, less than 10 percent of American workers belonged to a union. That’s down from nearly 40 percent in the 1950s. With economic competition from overseas and technological innovation changing the value of physical labor in the United States, maybe it’s time to rethink how American model of labor relations.

In a sampling of recent news stories, Richard Epstein tackles the NLRB’s ruling allowing graduate students to unionize, a federal judge’s injunction against the Obama Administration’s transgender restroom regulations, and a move to restore voting rights for ex-cons in Virginia.

Scott Walker Talks Turkey on Labor Market Reform

 

shutterstock_280248305One of the central questions of the current Republican presidential campaign is when potential candidates will talk about important issues of political economy. That talk has thus far been in short supply because of the intellectual oxygen that is sucked out of the room every time Donald Trump walks into it. The recent remarks by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in union-dominated Las Vegas, however, have begun to change that. They represent his effort to breathe some life into his faltering campaign by harking back to his successful effort to take on public unions in Wisconsin.

High-stakes gambles like this usually lose. Indeed, to everyone’s surprise, Walker seems to have become a long-shot at this point. Nonetheless, even if his latest proposals don’t revive his candidacy, other Republicans should take up this cause. The union movement is powerful and united, but it is also vulnerable to political attack. The forces that led to the adoption of right-to-work laws in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan are good evidence that many voters, including union members, realize that powerful unions are as bad for working people as they are for employers in the long run

Walker is not a theoretical type, so his speech does not offer the intellectual justifications for curbing the union power that has pervaded American life since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The major problem with unions is that they are monopolies. Employment markets need to be competitive, with ease of entry and exit by both firms and individuals. If you keep tabs on employer efforts to monopolize through the antitrust laws and otherwise leave the process free to function, the interplay of market forces will give both workers and employers the opportunity to work together to maximize their joint welfare by figuring ways to expand the pie and then divide the proceeds.

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It seems that every time I write something for Ricochet, my thoughts are bent towards the job market, the economy, or Labor and Union issues. I’m afraid that this time is no different. I’ve written before about how my conservative principles are often at conflict with the labor market that I work in.  This is […]

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Bruce Rauner and the Winds of Change

 

This past November, Bruce Rauner was the only Republican candidate who was able to defeat a sitting Democratic governor, Pat Quinn. He did so in Illinois, a state that has long been subject to an excess of one-party rule, and one where the  electorate was obviously weary of the dismal economic performance of the state, constantly illustrated in painful detail by the state’s free-market gadfly, Illinois Policy.

One quick read of Rauner’s inaugural State of the State speech makes it clear that elections have consequences; in this instance, beneficial ones. Rauner’s election breaks the Democratic monopoly over Illinois government. In the face of a Rauner veto, the Illinois Legislature cannot continue to pile on additional laws that hamper growth and development in the state, nor can it advance new taxes and restrictive labor legislation. But stopping new legislation does not roll back the many current laws on the book that continue to drive productive businesses and workers to other states (especially Illinois’ neighbors, where job opportunities are greater and tax levels are lower). Modern federalism ensures that the exercise of these exit rights help discipline wayward state governments. Illinois is learning that lesson the hard way.

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Thanks to Conor Friedersdorf’s article “How Police Unions and Arbitrators Keep Abusive Cops on the Street,” readers of The Atlantic are suddenly outraged that union rules make it almost impossible to fire employees who egregiously overstep their authority: https://twitter.com/walterwkatz/status/539832233641512960 Preview Open

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I want to make sure I’m thinking about this correctly.  I think a $15 per hour minimum wage is not merely a bad idea, but actually a preposterous, impossible idea.  Take McDonalds for example.  They employ about 1.7 million people.  The average wage of these workers is around $9/hour.  To raise their hourly pay from […]

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Conservatives and Unions – Oil and Water?

 

union labor

In the course of my life, I’ve been exposed to the undeniable malignant effects of large scale labor unions and — whether in the form of the massive teacher’s unions, public sector unions, or countless others — they all seem to have more or less the same ultimate effect. That is to say, burdening the companies and governments with whom they “partner” with vast and unreasonable entitlements that they cannot hope to meet over the course of time.  

The influence the labor union is undeniable in today’s political landscape.  Almost every conservative campaigner has something to say about unions being an undue burden on the state and the taxpayers. This is good. Scott Walker, in particular, has some first hand experience deep in the trenches of this particular war. And he has won battle after battle in this war.