Friday, February 11, 2011

Ohio and Wisconsin Move on Collective Bargaining for Public Employees

Collective Bargaining (unions) for public sector employees has a long history. It has taken us to a point where the pay, benefits, and pensions of public employees is contributing to the bankrupting of states and is no longer sustainable. The Mackinac Center has published an article demonstrating this.

Our Midwest neighbors, Ohio and Wisconsin are addressing the problem. In Wisconsin, as reported yesterday by the Bloomberg website, new governor Scott Walker has proposed removing "nearly all public employee collective bargaining rights to help plug a $3.6 billion budget hole." In Ohio Wednesday, as reported by the Columbus Dispatch "Senate Republicans unveiled details of the most sweeping attempt in 27 years to limit the power of public unions to negotiate terms of employment."

In both cases, the reasons appear to be the same: the exponential growth of public sector union employees, their pay, benefits and pensions, and the financial situations in each state that will bring about insolvency if these conditions are not changed quickly.

Collective bargaining for public employees is relatively recent, really coming into prominence over the last 50 years. Read a good background here and here.

Michigan, too, is in dire financial straits. As Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio make moves to fix their financial problems, caused largely by a union movement that has burdened budgets to the breaking point, Michigan will be economically, left in the dust if action is not taken soon. Look for the Snyder administration and the legislature to make bold, if painful moves in the near future to get our financial house in order.

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