See, at the end, Is The Wisconsin Governor Justified In Busting The Union?

Principles - Summary:

Ethics first - and win/win compromise
A right to representation
To have individual rights, without being forced to join, pay, or to lose rights to work.
Avoid unfair balance of power, whether in corporations, government, or unions

Should unions be restricted?  No, they have the right to bargain.  However, if the public safety and/or the economy were to be severely jeopardized the government should have the power to intervene a strike and force the situation to be arbitrated by objective judges. 

Should unions be required by states for state workers?  While unions have a right to exist, there is no reason to require them for state workers.  That would be mixing private endeavors with government.  Any time unions can require individuals to join there is an invasion of rights.  

Should secret ballots be eliminated?  Of course not, as that would allow for coercion.  Such a proposal to eliminate secret ballots has no basis in rationality; accordingly, it would be from mixing undue influence over the government to attain a special interest group's benefit.

Ethics is the primary principle here:  Doing what is right for the greater good in total for all those involve.

The idea of win-win and compromise.

Fair bargaining and relatively fair power balance, but not by force.  A fail safe strategy allowing the government to step in when there is significant harm likely to occur is what should be required, forcing the parties to arbitration just as if there were a lawsuit between the parties. 

Members of unions may opt out of any political donations by the unions, so they are not forced to provide the moneys for something they do not believe in.  Understandably there could be peer pressure and union pressure here.  Accordingly, union dues would be split between regular dues and a political fund, which they can opt out of and it is the responsibility of the union to keep that confidential and to not use that information for pressuring in any way. 

Individuals also cannot be required to join a union; it is up to the union to do the marketing of the benefits but it cannot apply force to do so. 

An arbitration board will determine any violations and provide sanctions against the union.   Any individuals working for the union who apply force shall be fined up to $5,000 with a matching fine to the union.  If there are several violations, the head of the union and any other officers shown to be involved in any such campaign shall be fined a minimum of $5,000.


The issue is, as with any size organization, that of abuse of power, such that it harms others.  Where one draws the line is simply due to an assessment, a judgment if you will, of where power is balanced and fair.  People will disagree, but the range of reasonable balances is very limited.  If one accepts that, then fight ferociously to change things within a reasonable judgment range would be inappropriate.  If it was too far out of whack, then, of course, strong assertiveness to a better solution makes sense.


Large unions have the ability to use "force" to get what they want.  Of course, that force should be limited to the power to negotiate, accompanied by the ability to not accept what is offered - just as is the right of the other side.

Certainly teachers and many other government employees have the right to strike - but only to the extent of not harming others "too much".  As such, the employer should also have the right to fire striking workers, as Ronald Reagan did in the air controller strike.  However, in that case, there was a danger to the public because of the lack of control of planes and/or the excessive impact on the public's ability to travel. 

As an example, if the government has a monopoly there is the potential for misuse of power.  Therefore, it would be too extreme to allow the firing of individuals on the basis of their union position or on whether they participated in the strike.  However, it should have the right to fairly replace those workers with other workers who may choose not to be in the union. 

Thus unions can be organized for government workers but no worker is required to join, even if that worker benefits from the union's activities.


A worker must have the freedom to vote on political spending and the right to opt out if that is not something that the worker can support - accordingly their dues would be proportionately reduced.

"The poll found that 60 percent of union members oppose their union bosses’ political spending in the 2010 midterm elections, viewing it a wasteful use of union dues and treasuries to protect incumbent Democrat politicians in Washington, D.C."  Luntz poll 

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which is pumping almost $88 million into the 2010 elections.
National Education Association and the Service Employees International Union, respectively the nation’s largest and fastest-growing unions. Together, the three government-employee unions will have spent nearly $172 million campaigning for Democrats in the course of this election cycle. That outstrips by more than $30 million what the Chamber of Commerce and the Rove network combined are pouring into the 2010 campaign.

Top groups in 2010 political contributions: Source table.  Also, OpenSecrets.org

199 M Democratic
267.9 M  Republican 

The imbalance in favor of the Republicans has been grossly exaggerated.

Non-party groups, such as the nonprofit U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the labor union American Federation of State and Municipal Employees, have spent roughly $205 million through Oct. 22,  ABC  News

Allegation that foreign donations are being spent by the Chamber of Commerce to influence the unions: "Still lacking, though, is any proof that the money is being used in the chamber’s ad campaign."  ThinkProgress, a Democratic learning organization which made the initial allegation, in a followup identified only a total of $885,000 in dues to the chamber from foreign companies, suggesting that the following allegation is dramatically exaggerated:  "MoveOn.org website: Foreign corporations are funding some of the $75 million the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending to defeat Democrats this election cycle. Ask the Justice Department to investigate."  Factcheck.org


There are taxpayer rights and there are union rights.  They can be in opposition, since unions do create higher wages - and thus higher costs.  They even benefit wages in a region for non-union workers, as the overall "fairness" of wages is increased.

The Wisconsin governor is asserting that the union rights must be curtailed for the benefit of the taxpayers.  The unions, he asserts (and has experienced when he was with a county), can inhibit the ability for counties and cities to manage their organizations efficiently and to bargain fairly. 

His proposed law, it is asserted, is not to just solve short term deficits for the state but to allow the state to be able to reduce long term deficits for the state.  It also will save $1.5 billion for the counties and cities, and thus save jobs there also.

Removing the forced union dues will allow workers to decide whether or not to join the unions and will also free up $700 to $1000 per person to help them with paying other bills and the increased contributions to their pensions and health care. 

There appears to be a benefit to the state.  It is supposition that the governor (and/or the Republicans) are just trying to take away worker's rights, though it seems logical that they are, at the very least, trying to reduce the excess monopolistic power of the unions. 

The limitation of the amount that workers' wages can go up (to the consumer price index increase), while economical for the state, seems overreaching, especially since there are no other rights allowed. 

The state and the municipalities will run better and a significant amount of money will be saved, so the taxpayers are served.  The unions should seek the restoration of their other rights to bargain when the budget crisis is handled, winning a democratic majority to vote for that.  However, having a "right to work" state, where people aren't forced to join the union and only do so by choice, is, I think, important, so that business will not be driven to other right to work states. 

Politically, but not by force, the unions have to seek a return of those rights while the other side will argue for the ability to manage the affairs of the state and municipalities so that it will be more efficient.   The latter is basically true as a benefit, as union restrictions have often not been conducive to good management, though there are a small number of issues that need to be bargained for to assure proper working conditions and to meet the concerns of the teachers when it involves the welfare of their students. 

However, the right to vote and have representatives to represent the majority of the voters' interests should remain intact, as a basic tenet of our constitution.