In Government, Labor and Management Negotiate Together Against an Empty Seat


In brief, what many of us on the right find objectionable about public-sector unionization is that it turns incentives around to put employees and management (i.e., elected officials) on the same side of the negotiating table, with taxpayers on the other side without representation.  Developments in Rhode Island since the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling reinforce that impression.  The unions are in the midst of a campaign to convince non-members to join.  For example:

For the last two weeks, the president of one of the AFSCME locals at the University of Rhode Island has been on a campaign to win over potential union members who had, at some point in their work-lives, made a decision to opt-out of their union.

His target: a relatively small cluster of state workers in a professional staff unit at the university who have been paying a “fee” instead of union dues to Council 94, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.

And yet:

The Raimondo administration has essentially gone mum since the “Janus” decision, except for the public release of a memo in which Gov. Gina Raimondo reaffirmed the state’s ban on giving out the personal contact information of state workers.

In other words, “management” is taking steps to give the labor unions total and un-countered access to employees while denying any similar access to groups that might oppose unionization.  Of course, that access might not be necessary if the administration were doing what it ought to be doing in the oppositional design of labor negotiations and assuring the public that it is taking every step possible to let employees know what their rights are, including the benefits of being free of a labor union.

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But a Democrat government in Rhode Island would never do that (and Republicans only rarely), so it falls to outside groups, like the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.  The irony is that the government-insider types accuse the Center of being a creature of out-of-state business interests, which isn’t true, but even if it were, Rhode Islanders should take note that the only people on their side in this arrangement are the “outside groups,” which is necessary because nobody on the inside of our representative democracy actually represents them.

  • Merle The Monster

    What is remarkable in the Journal article is that the reporter would include an opinion from your Center’s CEO without any mention of your organization ‘s structure or funding or political bias. Very sloppy and misleading to the reader to place your so called Center on the same level as well known and well established organizations such as the unions mentioned in the article.

  • Merle The Monster

    Not divulging personal information of state and municipal workers to extremist groups like Americans for prosperity and closely associated one like yours does not mean that those workers are not receiving the information they will need to proceed after the Janus decision.

    “The state employee unions have been talking with state officials. One issue: finding a uniform way for employees to opt out, if they choose to do so. Another: the union-joining rules for new employees.” Providence Journal

    It sounds to me as though that’s a reasonable way to approach essentially an HR situation. If you and your Center wish to spread your propaganda you can use your dark money to purchase ads