by Anna von Reitz
The Public Employee Union Problem – 31 October 2019
I have, admittedly, mixed feelings about Labor Unions. On one hand, they have been instrumental in improving the lives of workers worldwide, and they have been the means to establish reasonable wage parity, and they have stood in the way of the Robber Barons — venal corporate predators. They have also led the way forward on benefits for working people — medical care, pensions, and other measures that decency and social stability reasonably require.
I am speaking here more of the historical and ongoing role of Blue Collar Labor Unions.
A lesser-known though larger sector of the labor union movement is represented by the White Collar Labor Unions — and in this country, largely, to AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and the National Teacher’s Union. There are, of course, many other varieties of Public Employee Unions— for example, the Air Traffic Controller’s Union that Reagan busted.
I used to work for AFSCME many years ago, during my misguided youth. It was bad then. It’s far worse now. The problems involved are not simple to resolve, but as a consumer, I have bones to pick with public employee unions on various issues that are becoming more and more critical as time goes by.
Unions tend to consolidate power and then play the Bully Boy position, just as their Robber Baron counterparts in heavy industry used to do against the workers. When the pendulum swings too far in the direction of worker pay and benefits, the economy suffers and in the end, the workers lose jobs because they help put their employers out of business. It’s a fine line to walk, and if you lose your perspective or botch your national trade policies (our primary problem) you wind up with a horror story like Detroit.
I am not suggesting that trying to compete with slave labor in other countries is a viable answer — rather, the answer is to help workers in other countries and other governments to raise the living standards of their own workers via more adept trade practices and negotiations designed to wipe out the problem of child and slave labor worldwide.
For us, its a problem of unfair competition. For them, it’s a problem of entrenched misery and poverty.
We could, with more enlightened labor and trade policies wipe out both problems —- but the Democrats in Congress — who are supposed (at least verbally) to be the friends of working people, have neglected these opportunities for decades and are now more concerned about trying to cover up their own dirty dealing, including Hillary’s Uranium One deal and Benghazi debacle, and Joe Biden’s influence peddling to the tune of over a billion dollars—-ironically enough, by accusing Donald Trump of doing what they have already done themselves.
Meanwhile, as our Blue Collar Unions— and more to the point, American Blue Collar Workers and the companies that employ them— have struggled to walk that Unfair Competition line with no help from Washington, DC, the White Collar Labor Unions, especially AFSCME, which has grown to be the largest labor union in the world and to have its fingers in many other countries besides the USA, and the National Teacher’s Union, refuse to honor common sense.
What is an American Public Employee’s Labor Union — AFSCME — doing organizing public employees in Singapore? Or Portugal? And what kind of conflicts of interests and improper power-base building does that imply for our government organizations—- whether corporate or incorporated?
Quite beyond the question of whether public employee unions should be legal at all — which is a question that should be asked, and the pros and cons in terms of the Public Good assessed — should it be legal for public employee unions to form foreign franchises and act as transnational corporations in control of government functions on a worldwide basis?
I think the answer to the first question — should public employee unions be allowed — is a guarded “yes”. And the answer to the second question — should public employee unions be allowed to spread offshore from country to country — is a definite “no”.
The reasoning in favor of allowing public employee unions is simple. The corporations that are presently operating “as” our government are rapacious, largely criminal enterprises that have illegally commandeered our lawful government and there is no plausible excuse for leaving our public employees at their mercy. That would only reduce public employment to the level of slave labor and guarantee that nobody with an IQ above 50 would be employed in public jobs.
The reasoning behind prohibiting transnational labor unions is equally stark: the situation is bad enough with transnational for-profit “governmental services corporations” operating illegally as national governments, and colluding together in umbrella organizations like “the” UN to create and enforce de facto worldwide government structures “for” us. We don’t need transnational public employee labor unions adding another dimension to that problem.
We already need to bust the government services corporations situation, without also having to bust transnational public employee unions.
You see how this works?
1. The private for-profit corporations in the business of providing governmental services hire public employees “for” us.
2. The corporations expand under Color of Law and via improper exercise of government powers, they become corrupt.
3. The labor unions follow in their footsteps and organize the public employees (who are, nonetheless, privately employed as subcontractors) — and the result is that the entire world becomes subservient to both the “governmental services corporations” and the public employee unions.
By allowing public employee unions to function as transnational corporations, the national governments of every country are creating a double problem for themselves — not only the subcontracting service corporations that all have their paws in our pockets illegally — but the labor unions, too, get into position to tell their actual employers how high to jump.
The purported Friends of Labor in Congress, have been far too busy to consider any aspects of the Public Good for many years, but it is clear that someone has to start.