Unions are a tough topic for me on President’s day. See, my general feeling is that unions, particularly public sector unions, tend to get fat, happy deals and make more money / have more benefits than just about anybody else. If this is true anywhere, it is true here in CA, where the unions have huge political power and the pension and benefits abuses tend to be huge, almost hilarious at times.
However, today does make me wonder…. why don’t we get President’s day off? I mean, its a holiday, no? Federal and all. And it is not like we are hugely overwhelmed by days off…. I work with Japan / Taiwan / China pretty often, and they have multiple week-long holidays. Compare to this, here. It can be eye-opening to see how anti-personal life our corporate culture can be. (Though, in fairness, that chart does not take PTO into account).
The main problem I have with unions is that they only care about themselves (by their very nature, much like political parties only care about being elected). This means that they can steer the government in bad directions by pushing so hard for benefits for a few. On the other hand, the contraction of benefits and general aggression on the parts of employers after the economy crunch shows that they aren’t necessarily angels themselves.
All of this is a long way of saying that I watch this Wisconsin debate with some sorry. On one hand, sure, getting rid of collective bargaining will probably make balancing the budget easier, and its arguably necessary. Also, the bill itself does not seem too unreasonable, just bringing the public sector in line with the private sector. On the other, the concept of the government telling people they can’t bargain collectively just really brings up a bad reaction in me – seems like a huge power grab, a stepping over the line that just makes sense now but could really haunt us later.