I've heard it many times. Union leaders, political opponents, journalists all attempting to label Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a "union buster". President Obama himself called the law in question an "attack on unions". And Walker always acts to deflect these charges as if union-busting is a bad thing, a political taboo.
First, let me differentiate my opinions about private sector unions and public sector unions. To be clear, I don't agree with unionized labor at all. At best it is inefficient and incompetent - my own experience with union made goods will testify to that. At worst it is thuggery in the workplace. I don't think unionized labor has a place in a free market society because it's bad for competition. But if the private sector workers want to unionize then so be it. They have that right. Eventually, this is a self-defeating strategy. If a group of workers repeatedly pursue demands that raise the price of goods and services then the employer is ultimately robbed of their ability to compete effectively in the open market. Sooner or later the company dies (see GM and Chrysler) and everyone loses. At least, that's how it's supposed to work, until a deranged group of lawmakers use public money to bail out such companies, then EVERYONE truly loses, even those of us who have nothing to do with that company.
But public sector unions are different. The public workers are paid by the government, and thus the taxpayers. So when they unionize and flex their muscle to demand more pay, more benefits, more time off, etc, then it's the taxpayer that they are sticking it to. There is no market to balance things out, no competition to drive us out of business, so we have to pay more to the union thugs and we have no say in the matter. There is no end to their demands because the public checking account by way of borrowing is neverending, so they can drive up the cost of labor as high as they want without repurcussion. This is - in a word - WRONG! The idea of public workers unionizing to stick it to the taxpayers is such a repulsive thing that even FDR opposed public unions. FDR of all people.
Governor Walker is asking for several things in his bill. One is that public workers pay into their own retirement and health care funds. This goes into the "DUH" category. Anyone who opposes this is either a fool or a unionized public worker, or both.
He also wants taxpayers to have the power to vote - by referendum - on any public sector pay raise that exceeds the rate of inflation, thus shifting the negotiating power from the unions to those who actually foot the bill. Can you imagine a scenario where the public gets to decide on pay raises, and those decisions are based on the QUALITY of work that the public workers do? Can you imagine a system where public workers are actually held accountable for what they do? The unions hate that.
Another of Walker's proposals is to allow workers to choose whether or not they join the union. As it is now, public workers don't have a choice. Their dues are automatically deducted from their pay and given to the unions. The result is that public unions have become very wealthy and very powerful politically. In the 2008 election, no other single group donated more money to political campaigns than the public sector unions. All funded by our tax dollars.
So Walker would give workers the ability to choose to join in order to offset the added costs of contributing to pensions and health care funds. Naturally, this would weaken the unions because many people would opt out. That's bad for political clout and one of the reasons for such vocal opposition.
Finally, Walker would eliminate collective bargaining for public sector unions. Most union members will say this is what they oppose about the law. I say they are lying, or at least not being completely honest. They want to maintain leverage at the negotiating table, and I ask..."leverage against whom?" Do they have the right to drive up taxpayer costs by making their labor more expensive, and to do so without any voter say in the matter? Absolutely not. So this collective bargaining stuff is a bunch of garbage. You want collective bargaining, then get a private sector job and stick it to some schmuck corporate executive. What you call collective bargaining, I call extortion.
After all, why are unions necessary? Ask a unionized worker this and they'll say they must be united to protect themselves against the establishment, against corporate greed, against bosses and executives who wish to exploit their labor for capital gain. Fair enough. But, then, why must public workers be unionized? Aren't we the boss? And therefore are we, the taxpayers, the ones they seek to protect themselves against? Whatever happened to the idea that "we the people" make the rules around here and all must abide by them?
Isn't the Left that says education is a RIGHT? If it's a right then why are teachers allowed to impose their own costs on providing that right without repurcussion?
Isn't it the Left that says government can be trusted more so than the private sector? If this is true, then why are public unions even necessary? Why indeed. Obviously, Scott Walker has asked this question himself and come to the same conclusion, that public unions aren't necessary, that they serve a purpose meant to stiff the taxpayers and drive up costs for public services that WE THE PEOPLE will have to fund with no choice in the matter and no bargaining power whatsoever. That's not right and so he seeks to stop it. Union busting? I hope so. And I wish Walker would just come out and say it.