Posts tagged James Madison

    Opinion: Collective Manipulation; Whether in courts or in legislatures, public employee unions need to be reined in.

    February 22, 2023 // The book contains countless examples of collective bargaining agreements effectively allowing employees to get away with gross misconduct and preventing managers from sanctioning them for lackluster work. An EPA employee was caught surfing porn in his cubicle at work and was paid for nearly two years before agreeing to retire. An IRS agent systematically denied benefits to African immigrants, repeatedly made discriminatory remarks in the office, and tried to run another employee off the road. His union lawyers got him a deal that left him with a clean personnel record when he left the agency, allowing him to get a job with the Forestry Service. “As a practical matter,” Howard writes, “almost no public employee can be dismissed without a massive managerial commitment,” and even that commitment does not guarantee success. California has 300,000 teachers and only about two or three a year lose their jobs because of poor performance. At the federal level, more employees die at work than face termination for poor performance. Public sector unions provide more than direct financial contributions to political campaigns. Howard recounts how they recruit and train candidates, manage phone banks, lead door-to-door canvassing drives, staff campaigns, and run ads. Such union political activity makes them larger and more influential than other political interest groups. The protracted legal battles former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker faced after he proposed reining in public-union power supports Howard’s thesis that union power is formidable. Walker beat a union-led recall effort against him, but union opposition to modest changes led to electoral annihilation in New Jersey in the 1990s.