Public sector versus private sector unions

Amelia

Former Staff
Jun 2014
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Wisconsin
#2
Bump 'coz of the discussion about how Republicans have changed since the 50's including their attitude toward unions. Republicans have changed. Unions have changed also though. From the link in the OP:

.... In an oft-quoted 1937 letter, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt explained to an angry Luther Steward, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, that, while it was acceptable for federal workers to organize into associations or trade groups to represent their interests, “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

By the late 1950s, however, AFL-CIO boss George Meany and some other prominent labor leaders had reversed course. Giving government workers the right to bargain collectively, they now contended, would strengthen labor’s clout. Labor promoted—and swiftly achieved—collective bargaining for government workers in states and municipalities across the country. But that success soon proved a double-edged sword. Meany had worked hard to convince the American public that organized labor had no interest in big government, since an expanded state wouldn’t help unionized workers, who had traditionally worked in the private sector. Now he had a faction within the labor movement that did benefit from big government—and that lobbied continuously for it. ....
 
Jul 2013
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On a happy trail
#3
Interesting piece on the rise of public sector unions, how they changed the ideological orientation of labor, and how the interests of public and private unions eventually seemed to converge but how they're diverging again.

State of Disunion by Steven Malanga, City Journal Winter 2015
Some feel government should be run like a for profit corporation, so why shouldn't unions be run similar to those in the private sector?
 
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Rasselas

Former Staff
Feb 2010
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valid location
#4
Bump 'coz of the discussion about how Republicans have changed since the 50's including their attitude toward unions. Republicans have changed. Unions have changed also though. From the link in the OP:
Republicans have always opposed unions...at least since Taft.
 
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Amelia

Former Staff
Jun 2014
45,963
27,852
Wisconsin
#6
Some feel government should be run like a for profit corporation, so why shouldn't unions be run similar to those in the private sector?
I'm not sure what you mean by that. Not that I'll necessarily have an opinion about it, but I'd like to understand the question.
 

Rasselas

Former Staff
Feb 2010
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valid location
#7
That's a nice poster, but Republicans and Democrats have been on opposite sides of actual legislation regarding unions for a long time. Republicans opposed the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, and they passed a limitation on that act, the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, over President Truman's veto. While Dems were trying to get Taft-Hartley repealed in 1956, the Republican platform is evasive on this point.

Revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker, and the public. The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the Eisenhower Administration. In 1954, 1955 and again in 1956, President Eisenhower recommended constructive amendments to this Act. The Democrats in Congress have consistently blocked these needed changes by parliamentary maneuvers. The Republican Party pledges itself to overhaul and improve the Taft-Hartley Act along the lines of these recommendations.
Republican Party Platforms: Republican Party Platform of 1956

I'd call that statement vague, because they don't specify what changes they'd make, and Dems were clearly interested in repealing the whole thing. About those recommended changes, I found this:
In January 1953 every American's World War II hero, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, became President. "Ike" brought a quick end to the Korean conflict and embarked domestically on a middle-of-the-road course that sought to preserve past social programs while holding the line against expansion of government. To carry out his mandate for moderation he appointed a Cabinet composed largely of pragmatic businessmen. A notable exception was his Secretary of Labor, Martin P. Durkin, a Democrat and president of the plumbers and steamfitters union. This Cabinet became known as "nine millionaires and a plumber."
In the presidential campaign of 1952 Democrats had called for repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, and even after the Republican victory unionists continued to seek action on this. When Durkin was appointed unions took this as a sign that the new Administration was open to change in, if not repeal of, the controversial law. Several months passed and nothing happened. Finally Durkin drew up some 19 proposed amendments which he believed the President supported and prepared to submit them to Congress. Eisenhower, however, denied that he had approved them. Durkin believed he had been misled and resigned in September 1953, marking the shortest tenure of any Secretary of Labor.
http://www.dol.gov/dol/aboutdol/history/dolchp05.htm

Odd, no? I mean for a party so clearly favorable to labor.... <shrug>
 
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Amelia

Former Staff
Jun 2014
45,963
27,852
Wisconsin
#8
Interesting. Questioning Republican support of unions in the 50's messes with arguments being made in multiple active threads on this site. :D
 

Amelia

Former Staff
Jun 2014
45,963
27,852
Wisconsin
#9
I still support private sector unions in spite of some frustration with how they've responded to economic realities. And I still think that public sector unions are a conflict of interest, but feel that the needs of first responders are great enough that they should have union representation in spite of conflict of interest concerns.
 

Amelia

Former Staff
Jun 2014
45,963
27,852
Wisconsin
#10
With governors like Walker claiming they're not a threat to private sector unions and aren't interested in right-to-work and then turning around and saying, "sure, let's have that right-to-work law afterall", and with Republican opposition to minimum wage increases, I know that private sector unions won't be rushing into the arms of Republicans. But they might start making things interesting for Democrats who oppose projects which would provide unions jobs.