Who knew Wisconsin would be the sight of the latest showdown between necessary budget cuts and totally unrealistic, head-in-the-sand unions? Indeed, why do we have public sector unions? Why do we tolerate strikes by teachers, who work for the public, and thus the public good should be foremost in discussions of overall education budgets, salaries, and benefits? And why are unions allowed in other realms like police and firefighters? The public and the government should abide by its contracts, but, as in the private sector, money does not grow on trees. Budgets must be balanced. And public sector wages and benefits have outpaced those of the private sector in this time of austerity and uncertainty. Indeed, their generous pay and retirement benefits have much to do with this time of austerity and uncertainty.
Unions make no sense in the public sector realm; they amount to the pursuit of a narrow, private interest at the expense of the general public. When businesses do this it’s called an unlawful antitrust conspiracy. But somehow in both the public and private sector, conspiracies to prop up wages are hailed as sacred rights.
A friend notes that for all these teachers taking the day off to protest in Wisconsin, there are 20 or 30 women working 10 hour shifts for $30K a year struggling to find babysitters who are not terribly sympathetic with the 9 month workers complaints about making a mere $50K a year.