Monday, March 21, 2005

Politics: GOP anti-labor? surprise!

As if labor weren't still recovering from Reagan, apparently if you're a state employee in a state with a newly elected GOP governor, you don't deserve the right to negotiate your labor conditions en masse:

Republican governors in a few spots across the country are angering state employees by removing one of organized labor's strongest tools — the right to collective bargaining.

Governors in three states who've taken the step say it's about making government more efficient or being fair to non-union workers. Critics say it's political payback for labor's traditional support of Democrats and part of a wider shift to undermine workers in favor of big business.

Within hours or days of taking office this year, Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Matt Blunt in Missouri eliminated collective bargaining agreements for state employees, affecting about 50,000 workers. Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher did the same when he took office in 2003. In each case, the agreements had only been granted by executive order, not by law.

In Mississippi, where state employees don't have collective bargaining rights, GOP Gov. Haley Barbour supports a legislative effort to eliminate existing civil-service protections. In Oklahoma, the GOP-controlled state House approved a measure to repeal a law granting collective bargaining to municipal employees.

Blunt said the union rules of the business world should not apply to government. "Fundamentally, public employees are different than private sector employees — their employer is the people of Missouri," he said on his first day in office. "Taxpayers should not be bound by collective bargaining agreements."
So apparently if your employer is the people of Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, etc., your rights as an employee don't mean too much. Besides, it's obviously beneficial to the state to underpay their employees, as that prevents from having to sift through all those pesky job applications. And you don't have to worry about getting Christmas gifts for anybody at the office, because nobody will be staying until Christmas anyway. And we all know that the state is inefficient at doing all things, so we might as well fulfill that prophesy by turning an able workforce into a workforce of the folks that not even Wal-mart would hire.

And I especially like the absolutist nature of that final statement, as if 1 Capitolism 2:39 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, bargaining collecitvely shall not be done by my chosen people, oh great nation." I would love to see a real argument for why taxpayers should not be bound by collective bargaining agreements, other than simple anti-labor whim by the Grand Ole Party newest wave of despicables.

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