I am not a personal fan of labor unions. I understand the need for them, but with today’s regulations, are they truly needed to ensure fair pay and working conditions? What are fair working conditions for teachers? A class room. I can see a need to ensure that there are no weapons brought into the classroom, but if the unions are the ones that are insisting on this instead of the parents, we have a whole new set of problems. As for pay, the average teacher in Wisconsin makes $48,000 a year. Considering how an average a teacher will not work more that 200 days a year according to their contract, this comes out to $30 an hour. If this is considered unfair pay, then I want unfair pay too. I could use the raise.
I think that the way that the Republicans are going about this is not right, but I do think that union and government employees are a little out of touch with the way the global economy works. Businesses are in place to make money for the owners. If it doesn’t make money, then why operate a business. Governments should not make money but they should not be in debt either. If revenue can not cover the operating expenses, operating expenses must be lowered. This means that wages and benefits might be frozen or decreased in order to ensure the continued operation of the entity. Those of us in the private sector understand this all to well. If you do not agree with not getting a raise, you look for employment elsewhere.
Car manufactures are a great example of why union wages are not practical. Detroit is almost in ruin due to the unemployment rate from when the Big 3 ran into problems. Those companies are functioning again and making money, but the majority of their operations are now in right to work states. The wages are lower there and the companies can better compete with foreign manufactures that use cheaper labor. It is sad to see so many people lose their jobs, but when starting janitors were making $19 + an hour, you can easily how the pay levels demanded by unions were out of touch with the global economy.
If you think this is unfair, let me ask you to look at your own spending habits. Do you buy the most expensive items at the store? When you go to buy a car, do you pay the list price or do you negotiate for a lower price? Would you spend an extra $20,000 for a house when the same house is for sale right next to it at a lower price?
Jobs are flooding out of this country to places where labor costs are cheaper. Now to offset this, the government should give tax breaks to those companies that employee domestic workers instead of taking jobs overseas. Offset the opportunity cost that a business takes by hiring locally. At the same time, businesses should be treating employees fairly. Fair wages and benefits should be offered. If they are not, the employees should leave the company and it will eventually fail due to its own greed.
The spectacle in Wisconsin is a sad sight and the real issues are being buried under political rhetoric and hurt feelings.