ETHICS ISSUES: PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS

“UNIONS:  THE DISEASE FOR WHICH THEY PROCLAIM THE CURE”

doing what's right

Unions: It’s Time…

The current financial crisis is in large part a result of public sector unions.

Unionization initially was the major factor in the economic development of the subprofessional (blue-collar) worker who was being abused by ‘big business’ in the early 1900s.  Times have changed, but unions persist.  Most professionals consider unionization beneath them because professionalism and unionization are basically incompatible: The professional’s requirement of individual freedom and autonomy is not aligned with the concept of collective bargaining, nor is his authoritative position within his profession enhanced by allowing a union to bargain in his behalf.  (In other words, real professionals don’t join unions.)

The decline of the blue-collar worker (and concomitant rise in white-collar) in the ’50s brought on a serious decline in union membership, heralding an unacceptable (to unions) decline in union stature and commensurate decline in union power.  In order to survive, unions had to look elsewhere for membership.  Their first target was private sector (the economy) professionals and white-collar workers.  That didn’t work because real professionals don’t join unions.

The public sector (government employees at all levels–local, state and federal), became their next target.  Public pay was generally less than that of the private sector.  By promising increased pay and benefits, unions attracted many in public service, including teachers.  By offering solidarity, the power of the larger organization could be put to use in negotiations with employers, in this case government.  They succeeded.  Public sector pay (with benefits) now exceeds that of private industry.

The public sector is financed by taxes, making public sector unions able to play both sides, demanding pay raises and approving pay raises. Union dues from employees (via deduction from their paychecks) provide a steady flow of income which is spent lobbying government. Unions employ their considerable lobbying power (their raison d’être} to influence politicians, who raise the necessary funds via taxation, which provides more money to hire more public employees (and additional votes supporting union-backing politicians), thereby growing and increasing the cost of government.   The cycle persists and is a (the?) major cause of our current financial crisis.

Union gains always are made at the expense of management–in this case, government, which must raise taxes to compensate for it.  While private sector profit is a function of productivity, neither profit nor productivity is a factor in government.  With unions, spending is not related to productivity but to the power of their numbers relative to that of their employers (government).   To provide the increased benefits promised by unions, taxes must be increased.

Union organizers have tapped into the language of the civil rights movement and political correctness to present collective bargaining as another “right” (clearly bogus). This has precipitated the problems we are experiencing today: “The disease for which they proclaim the cure.”

Additionally, the general ‘dumbing down’ of our population is directly correlated with the rise of public sector unions. The quality of public school education has deteriorated steadily since the ’60s, and teachers’ unions control public education. In addition to curtailing freedom of speech, colleges now must provide remedial courses to help students learn to read, write, even think and behave, things once an accepted part of secondary, even primary, education.

In order to solve any problem, it’s first necessary to identify it.  Public sector unions place an unnecessary burden on, and are a major source of the current decline of, our society.  They exist only for themselves; they have outlived their usefulness.

 

Ethics is a multidimensional subject that’s misunderstood on several levels.  We maintain that it’s not as complicated as many would have it to be.  We believe that by distilling ethics to its simple essence—truth—it can be applied effectively on that basis alone.

Too simple?  Well, judging by current circumstances, complex approaches haven’t had too much success (has anyone actually tried to make it popular?).  Unethical practices are rampant in any profession (especially politics), and that includes philosophy itself.

Scan www.extremeethics.org to get a worthwhile slant on the subject.  It’s a developing site that presents useful information on an irregular basis; we trust it will become more popular with increased exposure, and hope that it will have a positive impact on a society sadly in need.  Note well:

“Morality is the business of (everyone); and therefore knowledge of it ought to be within the reach of all.”  (Thomas Reid)

You may or may not (that about covers the possibilities, doesn’t it?) be interested in our point of view, but we think you’ll agree that the message currently is not getting out like it should.

Ethics is ethics, after all.  It’s really not all that complicated…

 

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