Re "Labor's place in the race," Editorial, April 24
The Times assures us that there isn't "anything inherently destructive about public-sector unions." The editorial then explains exactly why public unions are inherently destructive: They "raise enough money or mobilize enough people to make a difference in local elections, so they win leverage over officeholders and, at contract time, in effect have a place on both sides of the table and can dictate terms that are not in the city's best long-term interest."
Public unions buy politicians, and because the government is a monopoly, the voters cannot take their business elsewhere despite the resulting corruption.
Later, the editorial blames this mess on elected officials "who lack the guts to hold firm at the bargaining table." If these officials did hold firm against union demands and protected taxpayers, they would be ex-officials very soon.
And yet there is nothing inherently destructive about public unions. Really.
The Times writes that "city employees for the most part do good work and, in so doing, provide the services that guarantee a decent quality of life for most residents." Fair enough.
However, for the many residents who have seen Department of Water and Power crews standing around chatting, noticed workers setting up on inbound lanes during morning rush hour or on outbound ones in the afternoon, or read The Times' article this week reporting that the city awarded $4.2 million to two women mistakenly shot at by police, union support may not be so persuasive.
I believe in unions and belong to two, but the endorsement of union hierarchy should not be the determining factor in how a person votes. Participatory democracy requires thinking, not following.
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