I’m always on the fence about unions – half the time, I think they serve a noble purpose, the other half I find them to be just as bad as the employers they claim to protect workers from.
However, this essay has a solid point about the value of Public Sector Unions that I hadn’t considered before.
“The thing that pundits like Andrew Sullivan, Megan McArdle and David Brooks don’t seem to grasp is that public sector unions shield public servants from political pressures. We have to interact with politically connected, powerful, influential people every day, from the building inspector who decides if a new development is up to code to auditors and so forth. We are answerable to our managers, who are not members of the bargaining unit, and they to their directors, who are also not members of the union and are either political appointees or serve at the pleasure of political appointees. Managers in public service walk a very fine line between the enormous pressures they get from legislators and executives above and from their service constituencies below. Unionization allows workers to perform their duties to the taxpayer without fear for their livelihood. It is a powerful shield from the vicissitudes of political life.”