Letters to the Editor

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UNIONS: Public sector workers never hurt by strike

Letter by L. H. Smith, University Place on Feb. 20, 2013 at 11:19 am with No Comments »
February 20, 2013 2:36 pm

Recently, the company that made Twinkies decided to end the business when union bakers’ demands exceeded the company’s ability to pay. Management and owners had simply had enough of dealing with unions and closed the business.

In the private sector, striking has the potential consequence of loss of employment for the strikers. But this is not the case in the public sector. With the exception of the air traffic controllers’ strike back in the 1980s, I cannot think of a single instance when public employees lost their jobs due to striking against their employers (the taxpayers).

All negotiations in the collective bargaining process involve the public employee unions and public managers, who are also public employees. Nowhere in the process in the taxpayer directly represented.

If public employee unions want collective bargaining rights and the right to withhold their labor through strikes, shouldn’t they also be subject to the loss of their employment just as private sector employees are? Even the patron saint of the 20th-century progressive movement, Franklin Roosevelt, did not believe public unions should have the right to strike or collectively bargain. This is one area on which I can agree with President Roosevelt.

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