Friday, November 13, 2015

Public Employee Unions and Higher Taxes

MP Can VA fire its way out of problems  This piece and the resulting comments raise some interesting points. Paul and I are disagreeing as often is the case, here are my views:
"I agree that there are many factors impacting the cost and quality of health care in America. One of them being Union collective bargaining and bureaucracy which drives up compensation (ie cost), sets work rules, often limits pay for performance, etc. I am not sure how anyone who says that Unions help employees get more compensation and job security can deny that they also increase costs to the tax payer or consumer?" G2A

"Now as for Unions increasing costs, of course they do or they would not be doing their job. (ie more money and security for all their workers)  
However you are correct that there are many other reasons why costs are high in America. (ie High Direct and Indirect Tort Cost, High End of Life Costs (ie try to save everyone), No Easy Low Cost Physician Assisted Suicide, Americans are Unhealthy (little exercise, bad diet, high obesity, etc), Highly government regulated system, Arduous Licensing and Training Requirements, etc)" G2A
Per Sean's recommendation, I have added "Excessive medical licensing requirements" to the list.
G2A American Healthcare Drivers


Laurie said...

I think public employee unions decrease the liklihood that public employees will be underpaid. Unions in most cases result in workers being paid fairly. With lower pay there would be much more turnonver and difficulty in filling posistions that affects the effectivness or the organization. Just to review, at my nonunion charter school out of 24 licensed teachers I am 2nd in seniority and I have been there 5 years. Many positions have seen the staff turn over multiple times and we are now into the 2nd quarter with 3 unfilled teaching positions due to lack of applicants.

John said...

I am sure that staffing a school with the demographics yours has is challenging usually. Now imagine if the union and their Democrat politicians let your schools have equitable funding to Mpls...

It is the Union that is limiting the funding to your school in order maintain their "near monopoly", power and those higher poorly distributed wages.

Laurie said...

I am pretty sure it is the legislature and not the union that sets the level of funding for charter schools. It seems likely to me that it would be GOP representatives most opposed to increasing the level of funding for charter schools. Did you know that in the most recent education bill charters only get 1/3 of the funding that traditional districts get to use towards extended school year. The kids at my school need summer school more than anybody, with our 15% MCA pass rate :(

John said...

Oh come now, who do you think is twisting the arms of the DFL politicians to not fund those non-union charter schools? (a group with 70,000+ voters and their spouses) It certainly isn't the GOP driving the funding disparity, they support school choice and want to break up the public school near monopoly.

Funding Disparity

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, you raise a very interesting truth, but I think it argues backwards from your intention. You say public employee unions prevent workers from being underpaid, which would result in high turnover. The problem is that unions result in HIGHER pay, and, in the presence of competition, fewer jobs. Government work is, however, more secure so it should pay LESS. As for turnover, in the private enterprise management seeks to balance the costs of turnover-- training and severance costs-- with salary and minimize the combination. Too much turnover means wages are too low. Unfortunately, unions and especially public worker unions, tend to make every employee an equal cog in the wheel, as if the training cost of a replacement is zero, thereby keeping wages down. It's all artificial, not market-driven.

John said...

Related comments from the MP site
"Totally different conversation: We are 100% non-union, folks still want more job security, more money more benefits. Some folks want rigid operations, they feel better, more secure, when things don't change, (ironically the definition, of conservative) With over 50 years of working in big (Multi $Bil) industry, private sector, military, and 2 start ups. The point most folks miss is: Perhaps our job as a manager/director/leader is to grow those mediocre folks instead of casting them aside? Almost biblical don't you think?? Dennis

"2 of my favorite management books are "First Break All the Rules" and "12 The Elements of Great Managing" and they support that view.

On the other hand after my time as a Supervisor, there are many employees who simply are not interested in self improvement / change. Being the tireless over achiever I would sit down with each of them and ask what they would like to learn or improve each year. Maybe 40% would have some ideas based on their past reviews and their future goals, however the majority just wanted to do their job and get their higher than cost of living raise... :-)

My point is that sometimes it is necessary to terminate employees who are not in synch with the organization / team. They are not necessarily bad, evil or lazy people, they just may not be aligned or a good fit. I got booted from my last job about 3 years ago because my beliefs and methods were not aligned to those of a Sr Manager. Probably better for the both of us and the organization. There has to be a reason why professional sports teams are often trading and changing staff.

It is hard to believe that one can have a winning organization when it has to keep all of those cogs that don't quite fit. So which is more important? Keeping all those cogs in the system or maximizing the effectiveness of the system for the good of the veteran, unlucky kid, customer, tax payer, etc?
" G2A

Anonymous said...

"...there are many employees who simply are not interested in self improvement / change..."

I wonder if it ever occurs to over-achievers (that's not necessarily a good thing) that some people thrive when they have stability and a well-defined role that they fit in. This incessant need to look for the "next big opportunity" doesn't fit some people at all.

And why wouldn't a company want an employee who does their job, does it well, and isn't always on the lookout for the "next big opportunity?"