Public-sector unions vs. everyone else

Patrick Gibbons

*The state legislature should ban collective bargaining for public-sector unions before we’re all squeezed.

Union membership now makes up less than 10 percent of the private-sector workforce, but union membership of government workers – where they are free from the “burden” of having to compete to keep “customers” happy – remains at an all-time high. In fact, government workers now make up more than half of all union memberships nationwide. Nevada ranks 23rd with 37 percent of the government workforce unionized.

The Cato Institute states that “collective bargaining is a misguided labor policy because it violates civil liberties and gives unions excessive power to block needed reforms.” In Nevada, we’ve seen, during these troubled times, firefighters stubbornly refuse to pay-cut consessions – even though the average firefighter in Las Vegas makes more than a Colonel in the U.S. military.

Unwilling to make meaningful concessions or allow reforms that would use resources more effectively; unions have forced state and local governments to cut back services. Thus, unions position themselves above the very people government workers are supposed to serve – including the elderly, children, and people in need of welfare assistance. The government unions are self-serving special-interest groups, and collective bargaing grants them more power at the expense of the overall health of the state and its people.

The Cato Institute recommends following the lead of Virginia and banning collective bargaining in the public sector.