Collectively Bargaining with Public Unions

David J. Donovan
When elected officials on the receiving end of government employee unions' campaign contributions negotiate with those unions, the results are predictable.  Here's a suggestion for better collective bargaining with public unions: put the union's negotiated best-and-final offer on a ballot for the taxpayers to accept or reject, be it at the local, state, or federal level. Since the taxpayers collectively pay the bills, it makes sense to let taxpayers make the choice.

Even better, add one or more alternative service providers on the ballot to choose from.

Precedent exists for this approach. A government body normally requires multiple bids when contracting for products and services, as no-bid or sole-source contracts raise corruption concerns. Unions may be able to buy enough legislators, but they can't buy very many voters.

But the union can threaten the voters with disruptions of services. Union strength comes from the power to say, "Do things our way or we'll hurt you." Against voters with choices, the threats translate into valuable voter education.

And the voter can be counted on to show up and make the choice.

Paraphrasing Marx: Taxpayers unite. You have nothing to loose but your union-made chains!
When elected officials on the receiving end of government employee unions' campaign contributions negotiate with those unions, the results are predictable.  Here's a suggestion for better collective bargaining with public unions: put the union's negotiated best-and-final offer on a ballot for the taxpayers to accept or reject, be it at the local, state, or federal level. Since the taxpayers collectively pay the bills, it makes sense to let taxpayers make the choice.

Even better, add one or more alternative service providers on the ballot to choose from.

Precedent exists for this approach. A government body normally requires multiple bids when contracting for products and services, as no-bid or sole-source contracts raise corruption concerns. Unions may be able to buy enough legislators, but they can't buy very many voters.

But the union can threaten the voters with disruptions of services. Union strength comes from the power to say, "Do things our way or we'll hurt you." Against voters with choices, the threats translate into valuable voter education.

And the voter can be counted on to show up and make the choice.

Paraphrasing Marx: Taxpayers unite. You have nothing to loose but your union-made chains!