Ken Miller’s column (TNT, 11-5) identified real problems we face in dealing with public sector unions, but his solutions are not realistic. All of them depend on the willingness of elected officers to stand up to the demands of the employee unions, and the system is built in a way that makes it unlikely they will do so.
There are systemic flaws in the way the system works. First, unlike the private sector, where the employer is spending his or her own money, our public officials are spending someone else’s money.
Second, public officials do not have to worry about losing out to the competition if they give the employees too much, because government has no competition.
Third, the public sector unions spend a large amount of money and provide workers to elect the very officials with whom they are negotiating.
Fourth, while we are told striking by public employees is prohibited, judges who are asked to issue injunctions when a strike occurs generally delay doing so as long as possible. This is probably because they too are elected and are subject to what union money and support during an election can do.
Finally, when teachers strike they merely delay the start of school. When the strike ends they still teach at least the 180 days mandated by law and receive their full pay. There is little, if any, financial reason not to strike.