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View Diary: A Wagner Act for the Public Sector (37 comments)

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    radarlady

    1. Outsourcing doesn't actually lead to better for cheaper in general, so you shouldn't be assuming that, but public employee unions can be brought on board with efficiency measures in general if they have some ownership over the process so that they can use things like attrition and early retirement over massive layoffs.

    If you don't want more or better services, you can push for that democratically, and public employees can push against it democratically, and the majority can decide. I think public employees should at the very least have some sort of due process and equal protection claims so that there's some kind of determination of just cause for firing them - because I think there should be just cause for all workers.  

    2. Unions absolutely have a long-term interest in quality, because it's a long-term interest in job security, which means getting paid. There are incentives not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, and there's plenty of historical examples of unions sticking their neck out for the public - the UAW's call for higher wages without prices in its 1948 contract, the UE's efforts to keep electrical prices affordable for working families, the writing of plant openings into contracts, etc.

    "Last time I checked, I don't give Merry Maids my cleaning service a vote in how I manage my household budget." Yes, actually you do - because if you put too little on cleaning services, they won't work for you. Relations between employers and employees are always a negotiation, however subtly, because the labor of employees is of value. "Public employees exist at the convenience and for the benefit of taxpayers." gets to my point - taxpayers don't employee public workers out of charity, but because public workers provide them with valuable goods and services. This creates a two-way street. You can't abuse the people who provide you with benefits because you won't get those services otherwise, so at some point you're going to be negotiating with them, so you might as well do it in an organized fashion.

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