Actually, Americans Do Support Government Union Reform

Explaining why Wisconsin voters likely won't recall their governor

(Page 3 of 3)

There is also concern over labor union power. A clear plurality of Americans, 43 percent, believe labor unions “have too much power” about half of that believe they don’t have enough and 28 percent think they have an adequate amount. A plurality of Americans (36 percent) also says “labor unions have too much influence on American life and politics today.”

A combination of declining union membership, declining union favorability, belief of unions’ negative economic impact, and perception of stark compensation inequality between public and private sectors, have likely created an environment ripe for reform.

Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.

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  • ||

    "Americans believe workers have a right to unionize, even public employees."

    And because the Constitution (or certain parts of it, varying from time to time) doesn't mean shit unless enough people care (Oh Glory, Democracy!), things like this will remain a gigantic issue. Thanks a lot, fellow Americans.

  • ||

    To be fair, it never really occurred to me to question the difference between public and private sector unions. Until I started reading Reason like a year ago. It's something that should be obvious but really isn't.

    And I was never a big fan of unions, having been forced to be an AFL/CIO member when I worked at UPS in CA.

  • anon||

    Well, come on RPA. I can support someone's right to unionize while still allowing the employer the discretion to fire every one of their asses. Unfortunately, somehow forming a union means that nobody can be fired, which I think is stupid.

  • anon||

    I'd also like to throw in that I do not support unionization of any type; just noting that one's support does not necessarily indicate they are a parasite.

  • ||

    I was referring solely to public unions.

  • sloopyinca||

    I was referring solely to public unions.

    I believe tax leeches is the preferred nomenclature.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Americans believe workers have a right to unionize, even public employees.

    A cartel of labor serves only to manipulate the market value of labor, like a cartel of sugar exists only to manipulate the price of sugar.

  • anon||

    There's nothing inherently wrong with people trying to get more money for their labor, especially if there's nobody else willing to perform the labor.

    That said, Unions today are nothing more than groups of government educated fools trying to squeeze every last penny from their employer.

  • BarryD||

    They tend to do a good job of squeezing money from their members, too. Do union bosses and their staffs tend to make less than members do?

  • anon||

    I don't know. What I've seen of unions in my past experience indicates they're just there to help incompetent people keep their jobs, helping even more incompetent people keep their powerful union positions.

    I will never again live in New York.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    I do know firsthand that OEA bosses drove cars that were leased for $700/mo. back in the early 1990s. Who knows what they're driving now. OEA is the Ohio Education Association, protector of the poor, downtrodden teachers.

  • fried wylie||

    LIKE A BAWSS!

  • Sharon Stone||

    Why do you hate teachers, Concerned Citizen?

    -OEA

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Why do you hate teachers, Concerned Citizen?

    Teachers killed my father and raped my mother. Or was it the other way around? Did I accidentally send my father a mother's day card? Did I forget father's day? Either way, you guys suck.

  • fried wylie||

    if there's nobody else willing to perform the labor

    There's always somebody. Until the Final Solution of killing everyone besides God Fearing American Citizens comes to pass. Which wont matter as that will be followed by the Final-Final solution of finishing off non-ruling-class citizenry. I can die happy at that point knowing that the robots intended to replace us will kill the few remaining humans soon after.

  • anon||

    There's always somebody.

    I suppose I should've said "Willing and able," which there is definitely *not* always somebody.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    A cartel of labor serves only to manipulate the market value of labor

    Yes, if by cartel, you are referring to, perhaps "drug cartel". Like drug cartels, military juntas, and the mafia, labor groups attempt to control by force.

  • Zeb||

    Well, they have a right to try to unionize. That doesn't mean that employers are obliged to cooperate.

  • ||

    ^^This

  • mr simple||

    Has everyone seen this leftist obfuscation?

    Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin' s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

    This article is a year old, and reason handled it at the time, but I've seen people pushing it in message boards recently like its new. You only have to give these people one soundbite and they think they have the whole argument figured out.

  • Zeb||

    Well, I guess he is technically correct in a way, but misses the point entirely. 100% of every dollar is also given them by taxpayers.

    I wonder if this guy also thinks that it is unfair to include pension and benefits when comparing public sector and private sector salaries?

  • Paul.||

    OT: Gas prices in Seattle have finally begun to decline downward...

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    decline downward...

    As opposed to declining upward??

    ;-]

  • anon||

    As opposed to declining upward??

    I'm sure this will be some kind of campaign ad for Obama in the near future.

  • Paul.||

    Yes. Previously, gas prices on the west coast were declining upward. We were treated to story.. after story... after story about how low gas prices were getting all over the country.

    Every day, it was like having a Crazy Eddie commercial shoved down your throat. "Gas prices so low, they're in-saaaane!"

    So it became a running joke about how the gas prices had declined up another 5 cents.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    ...on the west coast...

    Say no more fine sir, these four words say it all. I guess it could have been 'new math' as well.

  • ||

    Decline? I filled up yesterday and noticed that regular was $4.50/gallon (this was in Queen Anne). That's declining? I love it when one trip to the gas station is over $70. Really, I do.

  • Paul.||

    I'm going by SeattleGasPrices chart which, overall is pretty accurate. If you check the chart, the suggestion is they're juuuuust beginning to tip.

  • Randian||

    $4.50?! Holy Diver.

    I am filling up today for $3.40.

  • ||

    Believe me, I was shocked myself. Last time I filled up (about two weeks ago) it was something like $4.15.

  • Paul.||

    Yeah, I filled up in Federal way the other day, was something like $72.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    I filled up over the weekend, $135. But that is normal for me.

  • Invisible Finger||

    My mom used to go to the gas station and tell the attendant to put in two dollars worth.

    OK, to be fair that was about 100 miles worth of gas. Today I can get about 100 miles worth for about 7 dollars.

    I have no point to make.

  • ||

    See? The Chairman's energy policy is working.

  • anon||

    OT: Gas prices in Seattle have finally begun to decline

    I'm sure that has absolutely nothing to do with people fleeing the euro for the USD nor decreased demand due to shitty economic conditions... :p

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Unions make us strong." Just who does the "us" apply to?

  • anon||

    Thugs that would take by force what they cannot earn by merit.

  • ||

    Can't spell unions without us.

  • R C Dean||

    You also can't spell it without "I".

  • Pro Libertate||

    Or "onus."

  • Zeb||

    Or "sin", "sun" or "nouns" for that matter.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Unions do seem to boggle the mind.

  • John Galt||

    Or "anus." Or maybe not..

  • R C Dean||

    "nuns", too.

    These would be some great culture-jamming signs to take to one of the union protests. The goons are waving signs that say "You can't spell unions without us", and someone is standing next to them waving signs that say "You can't spell unions without onus" and "You can't spell unions without nuns".

  • SugarFree||

    Onus The Screaming Anus

    OOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    This is how I know...
    This is how I know...
    This: OOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    The rosebud of mystery
    Pulse! Pulse! Gape! Gape!
    The whole world boiled down
    bloody syrup
    sticky with dead hope, dead hope
    OOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • ||

    Now I'm hungry. Thanks, NutraSweet.

  • anon||

    I had a dream about you Epi. Somehow I knew you in real life. Your name was Ed something, and I was like "Oh that's Epi!"

    Holy shit my dreams suck.

  • ||

    Your dreams are not accurate. I will not be employing you as my psychic. However, I do have a position open for a monkey butler if you're interested. I offered this position to Warty but he refuses to work for bananas.

  • ||

    You think that's all I'm worth? I demand plantains, at least, you fucking skinflint.

  • ||

    You want plantains, go work for Harry Belafonte!

  • ||

    'Cause you see, I feel that life's a game
    You sometimes win or lose;
    And though I may be down right now
    At least I don't work for Jews.

  • Randian||

    There's a quasi-racist plantation joke in there somewhere.

    As a matter of fact:

    1. Monkeys? Check
    2. Harry Belafonte? Check
    3. Banana Plantations? Sort of Check.

    I declare this whole thread racist.

  • Spoonman.||

    Oddly I have had a dream where I stayed in Epi's bizarrely over-kitchened condo.

  • Killazontherun||

    I had a dream where I was walking around in Hell the other night. Way overrated. Too clean. Been in worse bars.

  • Killazontherun||

    Oh, just remembered this bit, Neil Young was the entertainment. I could never actually see him, though patrons kept pointing in the direction of the stage, and I kept looking. However, he was stuck on that one note from Cinnamon Girl. I honestly wanted to kill him to make it stop.

  • Brandybuck||

    Rosebud of mystery? I wonder if undiluted Clorox will get that image out of my mind...

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    "Unions make us strong." Just who does the "us" apply to?

    The fuckstain holding the sign of course.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Ah, the royal "us."

  • Zeb||

    I think it includes the other fuckstains standing next to him too.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Either way, not me.

  • fried wylie||

    That's your own retard fault for not-joining the thugocracy.

    Personally, I'm gonna stop complaining and start lobby washington for a mandate that everyone buy a personal website, with multiple datacenter hosting, every expensive microsoft web product in existence (and a few imaginary ones too), as well as a guarantee of thousands of hours for modification/support every month.

  • JW||

  • sloopyinca||

    I have no problem with private sector unions. All I have a problem with is the DOL interjecting themselves into employer/employee negotiations.

    As far as public sector unions, the only way I could support them is if they fully funded their own pensions and they had to negotiate their contracts with random folk off the street, preferably people who are under- or unemployed. And I wish all police unions had to negotiate their contracts with a panel of victims and family of victims of police abuse.

  • TheAtomicOption||

    That would be nice.

    People think that the public are the customers of the police. This is not the case. The government and specifically the prosecutor's office is the only customer of the police police. The public is the product that the police are selling.

  • Espantapajaros||

    One thing I've noticed largely absent from Reason's coverage of the WI recall effort is the criminal investigation against him. I'm saying this as one more or less opposed to recalling the squirrelly little Kochsucker, but he's the only governor in the nation with a criminal defense fund. We may perceive this externally as a one-issue recall, but Walker's opposition has been tireless about painting Walker as a criminal -- which he may in fact be.

  • R C Dean||

    Details, please. What is he being investigated for? Who is doing the investigating? Is this investigation a partisan hit job, or is it legit?

  • sloopyinca||

    Google search results for "Scott Walker Defense Fund". It's full of the usual suspects: Kos, HuffPo, MotherJones, ThinkProgress, etc.

    Here is the first story that pops up from a news agency. There are no details what it could possibly be, but it does say 4 of Walker's former aides have been charged with...something. It doesn't say whether or not they are related to the Governor or his office, however.

    Question: has Obama bundler (read: aide) Jim Corzine set up a legal defense fund?

  • Espantapajaros||

    There's a state and federal investigation. Three former aides and a donor have been charged; thirteen more (including his spokesman) have been granted immunity. Less is known about the federal investigation.

    It seems legit, but obviously there's the question of how much he was actually involved vs. how much the recall crowd wants the voters to believe he was involved. Personally, when it comes to politicians, I presume guilt until innocence is proven.

    There's a link going around the FB pages of some Wisconsin friends. The lefty bias is palpable, but it does include actual facts:

    http://www.thedailypage.com/da.....icle=36926

  • sloopyinca||

    Try my link. It's not dripping with partisan operators, innuendo and baseless accusations.

    From yours: With the recall election less than two days away, federal prosecutors are closing in on Governor Scott Walker, according to veteran political reporter David Shuster, former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, and former district attorney Bob Jambois.

    In a conference call organized by state Democrats on Saturday evening, June 2, Shuster, Lautenschlager, and Jambois laid out evidence that Walker is a target of a federal investigation.

    "I stand by my reporting 100 percent," Shuster said in the conference call. "It's clear to me that he is, in fact, a target in a federal investigation."

    And this guy wants to be taken seriously as a journalist?

  • R C Dean||

    As near as I can tell, Walker hasn't been charged or named as a target.

    It seems to have been brought by the Milwaukee County DA (hardly immune from suspicions of partisanship), and piggybacked by Holder's DOJ (ditto).

    Strikes me as a wait and see. I would be surprised if there was anything very damning of Walker, yet, or it would have been leaked.

  • sloopyinca||

    WI recall effort

    I broke into a sweat upon first reading that. I was afraid a grassroots movement had started to invite Godesky back.

  • fried wylie||

    to invite Godesky back.

    That's not it at all. We spend a day in remembrance of WI, and conclude the ceremony with a celebration of registration.

  • sloopyinca||

    [wipes sweat from brow]

  • fried wylie||

    I wish everyone would settle on a date, so I know how long I have to complete these feathered headdresses.

  • sloopyinca||

    Get Lizzie Warren to help you. I'm sure she has plenty of training from her summers with grandpa on the reservation.

  • Sevo||

    "a grassroots movement had started to invite Godesky back."

    Uh, that would be 'grassroot'; can't be more than one.

  • Randian||

    And the alleged charges are...?

  • anon||

    Charges?

    Where we're going, we don't need ... charges...

    /pathetic play on back to the future.

  • Espantapajaros||

    Mostly having to do with illegal campaigning from the county exec office. If true it's possible he had nothing at all to do with it, but in terms of the recall the relevant question is whether Wisconsinites think he did.

  • sloopyinca||

    It may effect a reelection bid, but the recall election is a Walker slam dunk. Team Blue would do well to distance themselves from that state, lest the rest of Blue-run America find out how that state is doing after Walker kicked most of the unions in the balls.

  • Sevo||

    "but in terms of the recall the relevant question is whether Wisconsinites think he did."
    So you're hoping a good dose of innuendo will do the job for you?

  • TheAtomicOption||

    What shocks me is not that 57% of people think that an employer shouldn't be required to buy things from a union created insurance company, but that 43% think it *should* be required to. That people so freely approve of using force to make others purchase things they don't want is a testament to the total failure of ethical thinking this country is now facing.

  • anon||

    Once again, more evidence that my choice to never have children is the correct one.

  • Brandybuck||

    ... that and a willing partner ...

  • anon||

    I will my own partners.

  • lunettes de soleil pas cher||

    favor allowing states and municipalities greater flexibility to re-negotiate union contracts. According to the same poll, upwards of 60 percent of Wisconsin voters oppose initiating disbursement of lifetime retirement benefits before early-retired government workers are about 65 years old. This also suggests these voters would oppose “double-dipping,” in which retired government workers collecting lifetime retirement benefits in their 40s and 50s go back to work and receive a paycheck in addition to the retirement benefits.

  • maillot de bain magasin||

    tt Walker’s controversial budget reform bill to curb public employee union collective bargaining and balance the budget. National media had shown tens of thousands of protesting public workers outside

  • Chaussures nike shox||

    Although Americans think workers should be allowed to unionize, this does not mean they favor union monopoly power over workers; nearly half think workers should have more than one union to choose from. Nevertheless, they think workers should have the opportunity to sit down and talk with their employers about health care benefits (69 percent), salary and wages (69 percent), and pensions and retirement benefits (68 percent). One should not conclude, though, that Americans think unions should get whatever they want. In fact, Americans often oppose what unions want.

  • pet winkel||

    This openness is likely driven by declining union membership and favorability toward unions, perception of unions’ negative economic impact, and compensation inequality between public and private sector workers.

  • ralphs||

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