The justification for labor unions is that they provide a power base to force industrial firms to give workers more of the profits they help create. Government workers don't generate profits. They merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers. F.D.R. considered this "unthinkable and intolerable."
Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO from its inception in 1955 to 1979, maintained that the interests of organized labor were not served by big government or the nationalization of industry and that it was "impossible" to bargain collectively with the government.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The main function of American trade unions is collective bargaining. It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government. Unions, as well as employers, would vastly prefer to have even Government regulation of labor-management relations reduced to a minimum.
Now even California seems to be getting the message. Voters in San Diego (the nation's 8th-largest city) and San Jose (the 10th-largest) overwhelmingly approved big cuts to city workers' retirement benefits.