Thursday, January 20, 2005

The union label

This City Journal article delves into the history of public-sector unions and describes the stranglehold they have over urban politics.

Political leaders and labor experts predicted that government-employee unions would use their monopoly power over public services to win contracts with work rules far more generous and undemanding than in the private sector, and that without the restraints on salaries and benefits that the free marketplace imposes on private firms, unions would win increasingly meaty compensation and pension packages that would be impossible to roll back once enacted.

But what critics did not anticipate was how far public-employee unions would move beyond collective bargaining and inject themselves into the electoral and legislative processes. Today, the endorsement of a public-sector union is crucial to the election of many local candidates, and public unions now often spend far more on lobbying and political advertising on local issues than any business group does.

Sound familiar, Pittsburghers?


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