To the editor:
Pat Stuart’s column “Government efficiency an elusive goal” fails to address one fundamental component that dramatically impedes governmental efficiency: Public sector unions.
While Stuart very aptly observes that public sector managers engage in “empire building,” she falls short for not advancing the thought that empire building expands public employee unions which, by their very nature, promote inefficiency.
Public employee unions fight against school choice, privitazation, reductions in duplicative services and many other policies that could increase government efficiency. Similar to other private groups, these unions have free speech rights to express their opinions about public policy. However this involves an inherent conflict because every policy position impacts the membership.
FDR adamantly opposed public employee unionization. In 1937 he observed: “The very nature and purposes of government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with government employee organizations.” This perception exposes the inefficient nature of public employee unions.
With union protection, a public employee has no incentive to work in an orderly and systematic manner. Indeed this principle stimulates wasteful and ineffective practices. Courts across the nation have also generally held that collective bargaining by government workers should be forbidden on the legal grounds of sovereign immunity and the unconstitutional delegation of government authority.
So what’s the alternative? Public employees are already protected from capricious government labor policies by the matrix of civil service statutes. There are already substantial protections against these concerns under most state laws.
Reform movements beginning in the 19th century endorsed a civil service model for government hiring and promotion. Additionally, in the last century, the Supreme Court sharply curtailed the ability of state governments to fire people for their opinions.
Government efficiency could benefit exponentially by downsizing public employee unions.
(s) jay frank