Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Have A Dream

I would actually join my local teachers union if it did this:
Three small local affiliates of the California Teachers Association voted to remove CTA as their exclusive bargaining representative and continue life as independent associations.
In principle I'm not opposed to unionism.  I'm opposed to mandatory unionism, and to bad unions. Ditch CTA and things improve immediately.

My idea for years has been this: ditch CTA.  Cut our union dues in half.  Our local can keep what it's currently getting, and the rest would retain the best labor law attorney firm in Sacramento County.  Let these attorneys go up against the district when negotiating contracts, rather than having teachers pretend to know what they're doing!

To be honest, I don't see a downside.


maxutils said...

Non mandatory unionism is not unionism. The free rider principle guarantees its failure. You can be against unions, but being in favor of non mandatory unions is ridiculous.

Mike Thiac said...

As a cop I am a voluntary member of a union. There were two unions when I got here in the department (they have since combined into one) but the main reason is not contract negotiations or medical benefits but the five lawyers we have on staff. I have a major issue, including a shooting, I have a lawyer on call 24/7/365. In today's society, it's needed.

EdD said...

I used to be a teacher in a union security state, but now I'm an attorney who helps teachers decertify their union at all levels and to become local only associations. Teachers in those associations do not have to pay any sort of dues, but almost all of them do. Their dues are substantially lower and they have much greater control over how their dues money is spent. Further, they have much greater confidence in the benefits and services provided by organizations that work with non-union teachers.

Larry Sand said...

maxutils, that is an incredible statement. Please tell me if the union is so good for workers, why must they be forced to join? Wouldn't they do so willingly? Just what gives you and your cronies the right to force me to join your private corporation?

maxutils said...

Larry ... first, they aren't my cronies. Second, it doesn't matter how good a union is for workers. If one doesn't have to join and pay for the service, the natural tendency is to not join and not pay. Why should you? You get the same benefits whether you join or not. I know I wouldn't join ... I'd just let others pay. The problem, of course, is that there are enough people like me? The union will lose its bargaining power, and everyone will be worse off.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Everyone will be worse off? Hardly.

Union members will be worse off but union members are hardly "everyone". Well, OK, there's the politicians who happily take union funds to pass laws that empower unions but other then those two groups to the rest of the world unions mean higher prices but no greater value.

In fact, almost everyone will be better off because we won't be paying higher prices then we ought to be. The artificially high wages unions garner via their monopoly on labor would fall to market rates and almost everyone would be a trifle richer.

Gratifyingly, support for unions of any sort seems to be dropping.

The UAW is sliding towards oblivion but even the government unions, which union proponents gleefully predicted were invulnerable, are losing influence and political battles. Michigan, home of the modern NEA and of the UAW, made a significant step towards reducing union power with our somewhat flawed right to work legislation.

If a state like Michigan, wherein unions ought to be awfully powerful can do it so can other states and perhaps even the federal government.

maxutils said...

allen ... I apologize for not being specific enough. I meant everyone in the union pool. Your problem is not understanding that unions crate artificially high prices... they can't. And, if mistakenly , they do ... it doesn't last. What they do do is negotiate an equilibrium wage, and therefore an equilibrium price.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Why would you apologize for that oversight? I corrected it in my post.

And of course unions demand artificially high wages. What other reason is there for the existence of unions?

Free markets, by definition, assure "fair" wages, to the extent the word means anything in this context, due to the fact that both parties agree on a wage without coercion. Since union workers aren't expected to either do anything non-union workers do or do it better the only reason union workers get a better rate of pay is because unions allow union workers to coerce that greater pay from their employers.

You are right about those artificially high prices being untenable. You've just neglected to include a time component.

The unsupportability of the artificially high wages upon which unions are based started coming home to roost, with a vengeance. in the 1980's with the Japanese "invasion" of American car markets. But that allowed the UAW to enjoy a fifty year, or so, run. But all good things, obtained by arm-twisting, must come to an end and so it has for private sector unions.

Unions, as is typical of those who enjoy the benefits of a coercive relationship with their customers, tried to get tariffs set up. Didn't work since the history of that sort of thing proves tariffs only put off the inevitable for a short time and the cost is not worth the slight benefit. The market's forcing unions to compete and since the union stock in trade is coercion absent the option to use coercive tactics unions have nothing to offer which is why private sector unions have withered and continue to wither.

Now it appears to be the turn of the government unions. Having been in two unions all I can say is "good".

maxutils said...

You're wrong. The Japanese dominated not to the UAW, but rather to the fact that the Japanese made cars with high mileage at a time when OPEC was using their cartel power to raise oil prices dramatically. It was Detroit's inability to adapt to a more efficient car, quickly, that hurt the industry. I don't support tariffs, either. They stifle trade ... with some exceptions. China using basically unpaid prison labor would be one ... and, numerous unions (notably airline workers) have accepted lower wages, due to a legitimate need to be more competitive. I think you can make a good case for imposing limits on government workers, because there is no profit/efficiency motive ... but, then again, I support school privatization along with unionization and fairness across the board. I apologized, because I tried to be diplomatic about the fact that your response was condescending and a deliberate mis-interpretation of what I had written.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I'm not putting the full responsibility for the uncompetitive nature of the auto industry on the UAW but the contribution to the auto companies inability to compete with the Japanese is clear; those UAW workers weren't being paid their (my) ridiculously high wage because of the value they brought to their job but because they had, via the UAW and federal and state law, a monopoly on labor and they used their monopoly power to extract compensation unrelated to their value.

The auto companies certainly did get fat, lazy and unresponsive by the sixties and seventies since they had a de facto monopoly on car production and could produce cars which were more profitable without having to listen too carefully to the consumer. But the auto companies were certainly capable of listening to the consumer and responding to competition.

It should be remembered that the Japanese "invasion" of the seventies wasn't the first, foreign competitive scare. When the VW Beatle first showed up it scared the bejesus out of the car companies and the responded with competitive offerings that were in every way superior to the Beatle except for an iconoclastic quality beloved by the young who saw indulging their conceits as a proper continuation of childhood and societies fringe elements who had the same view of their conceits.

The Chevy Nova, Dodge Dart and Ford Comet all got their start as low-end responses to the VW Beatle and by any measure other then unconventionality they were better cars. Volkswagen, incapable of competing in terms of interior space, trunk space or power made their historically successful appeal based on the counterculture aesthetic they, accidentally, enjoyed.