A number of media outlets in the past few weeks have been assailing teachers’ and government workers’ unions for their implacable greed. It is important to draw the distinction between unions and their original purpose and unions in their current manifestation as politicized goliaths. When unions began forming, their grievances were well-founded . Hours and wages were intolerable and conditions harsh. Rules were put in place to protect the workers. Now, however, we are witnessing the transformation of unions into a grotesque political entity with an insatiable thirst for exorbitant salaries and benefits at the expense of taxpayers.
The most prominent ongoing battle between unions and local government is happening in New Jersey. Two articles, one in the Philadelphia Inquirer and another in the New York Times, outline the faltering influence of workers’ unions over the state legislature. The most refreshing aspect of these two article is the common bond of growing public resentment towards these bloated organizations. The public has, rightfully, had enough of their tax dollars being wasted to placate the greed of government employees and obscure bureaucrats with ridiculous demands.
A superb expose in the most recent edition of City Journal illustrates the dire implications of the unchecked power of assorted unions in California. The continued appeasement of unions by state and local government has resulted in a pattern of institutional and electoral blackmail, economic chaos, and sordid backroom politics. It is imperative that we diminish the political clout of these leviathans before the rest of the nation follows suit.
On a parting note, here are two video clips relating to the absurd abuse of power by the public sector. The first, from Saturday Night Live, is obviously parodic, whereas the second, from an SEIU rally in Illinois, is all too real and morbidly funny.