Collective Bargaining… What’s Best For the Taxpayer?

The good news…we, the average schmoes who produce the tax revenue that our elected officials spend, are no longer buying the “power to the people” baloney nor are we intimated by the shear brilliance or depth of their arguments. No, we’ve found time in our busy schedules to learn the principles of liberty enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and here in Maryland, two years ago, we founded We Surround Them Frederick as a way to give voice to us, the average citizen. As a result of this effort and the efforts of many other like-minded leaders in our area, we’re no longer as susceptible to the emotional rhetoric so prevalent in the progressive, statist movements and their rallies/protests. As we’ve demonstrated over the last two years, when the cause is warranted, We the People can rally and protest too.

On to Collective Bargaining.

It’s time we come to terms with the notion that Collective Bargaining by public unions is completely inequitable and I cannot stress completely enough.

In a private corporation, the tension between a union and management is at least understandable, even if not desirable. This tension usually breaks down into a few scenarios:

1. In the first scenario, if the union demands too much and necessitates a price hike of a product or service to pay for the union demands, the consumer may make a decision not to buy the product. Obviously, when the consumer stops choosing (let me emphasize this free market word, choose) to purchase the product, the company may be vulnerable to closing unless a new agreement can be reached between the union and management and the prices are lowered to lure consumers back.

2. A second scenario, and this one has been observed in the auto sector, competition will observe a company raise its prices or lower its quality to save costs to meet the demands of the union. The competitor steps in and offers a better or cheaper product/service. The company, if it does not react rapidly, may lose significant market share and make the company vulnerable to closing unless a new agreement can be reached between the union and management. Of course, there is an exception to this; should the company in distress due to collective bargaining receive a taxpayer funded bailout because they’re too big to fail, then their competitor will simply have to wait until the bailout is exhausted.

3. Scenario three, management and unions agree that the survival of the company is paramount and whatever concessions that need to be made are made.

Again, while I’m generally not a fan of the results that come from collective bargaining process, it at least makes sense in the private sector. There are natural protectors of everyone’s rights in this scenario. Management protects profits for the owners and/or shareholders and the union protects its salary and benefits packages.

Now, in the public arena, who protects the interests of the consumer (read taxpayer)? If you suggest that it’s the elected officials, then I have one simple question; how did the pay and benefit disparity between the average private sector employee and average public sector grow so large? Where were the elected officials protecting the interests of We the People who have to fund these payrolls and SUBSTANTIAL so called legacy costs? Were we even allowed to observe the collective bargaining process? Answer: NO!

The bottom line is that the three scenarios that private corporations face, (described above), are almost completely controlled by the public sector union in the collective bargaining process. We, the taxpayers that have to fund the public unions salary and benefits packages really have no say in the packages that are negotiated. Instead, we taxpayers are essentially told to just sit down, shut up and open our wallets…we’re going to pay for this until we can get a group of people elected to stop the unions. And the elected officials; well, let’s just say they’re very comfortable cozying up in bed with the unions (in most cases) as they know where their bread is buttered. This is the inglorious tick on a dog scenario or in more sophisticated language, the proverbial quid pro quo; you scratch my back (vote for me) and I’ll scratch yours (give you what you want in salary and benefits). That’s until recently where the taxpayers are finding representatives that will actually protect their interests, namely our money and freedom.

In fact, more and more of us are emerging from our couches and engaging the battle as evidenced by Scott Strzelczyk, a friend of mine who does battle daily on Facebook and various blogs. In a recent post, he really sums up a few key points related to the collective bargaining debate we’re having nationally:

“Let’s see taxpayers, who are not represented at all in the collective bargaining process, will still be paying 94.2% towards their pensions and 87.5% towards their healthcare. You have govt bureaucrats negotiating with union leadership over tax dollars that neither gives a rats behind about. (Elected officials) use tax dollars to keep the unions fat and happy, and in exchange they receive votes and political contributions.”

As this drama unfolds, it won’t be easy to restore the proper role of government. We’ll continue to be treated to an onslaught of; “it’s for the children” or “Power to the People” or my favorite, “stop waging war on the middle class!” I wish the union antagonists would stop waging war on my wallet and my children’s future!

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Mark Kreslins

Mark Kreslins is the co-host of The Forgotten Men radio show, community organizer, and co-founder of We Surround Them Frederick.
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