Politics: Should public-sector unions have collective bargaining rights?

At the moment, the Wisconsin public sector unions do but its Republican Governor and Republican members of the legislature want to remove that right.

Question: Do Federal workers have the right to collectively bargain?

Going to google ... many of the top website hits are people arguing with each other in blog discussion sites ...

Of sites that might be less heated and try to stick to the facts ...

It appears at the Federal level they do have some rights but national security workers appear to have limited rights according to this PolitiFact item. Excerpt:
Under the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act, all federal employees have the right to bargain collectively, but the president has the power to restrict those rights for employees working in the intelligence or national security fields.

At the state level, it appears to be the opposite in that this item posted in 2007 from the Heritage think tank seems to say that collective bargaining rights is widely available to public safety employees (i.e. police, fire, etc). Excerpt:
Thirty-four states already have collective bargaining for both police and firefighters. Four states extend collective bargaining privileges to firefighters but not police officers. In states without laws mandating collective bargaining, some local governments nonetheless do so. Other states authorize public employers to voluntarily recognize collective bargaining agreements, but do not require it.

In this Newshour item, David Brooks points out two difference between public sector and private sector unions which I've marked in bold. Excerpt:

I think, when a private sector union negotiates, they know their company can go out of business if they ask too much. That's not the state with a state monopoly. When the private sector negotiates, a private sector union, the management has an incentive to say no.

Here, the management has much less incentive. Most importantly, the public sector unions have a chance to help select the people they're negotiating with through their campaign donations.

And, so, they get to ask what they want. I perfectly understand that. But when it's slightly off-balance, then you get what you have got in 30 or 40 states, fiscally unsustainable situations. So, I think I'm not totally in agreement with what Scott Walker is trying to do, which I think is way too polarizing, but I do think the balance has to shift a little.


The multi-billion dollar question is how does one shift it back? The pension and benefit liabilities the states have to their employees are busting their budgets. Can it be done while leaving collective bargaining in place?

On a related note, Dennis Prager wonders how the media would cover the story if Tea Party people started camping out in a statehouse like the way the unions and their allies are doing in Wisconsin?

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