Saturday, November 07, 2009

Public-Employee Union Troubles in Detroit

On Tuesday, voters in Detroit trudged to the polls and re-elected 65-year-old Mayor Dave Bing, giving him five new city council members to accomplish a mission impossible: bring Michigan's biggest city back from near death. There's no clear prescription that will work, and Detroit's recalcitrant public-employee unions will resist the fiscal therapy that will necessarily be a part of any recovery.

Short term, Detroit's best hope may be to go bankrupt. However, given Michigan law, which has never been tested because no city has ever filed for bankruptcy, it's unclear if even bankruptcy will fully release Detroit from the clutches of its unions and allow it to start over. The only thing certain is that fate is not kind to a city that allows unions to run amok.

Shikha Dalmia, senior analyst at Reason Foundation, in today's Wall Street Journal

17 Comments:

At 11/07/2009 11:14 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Public unions are a burden on tax payers and prevent government from having the flexibility to function effectively. Plus the unions often partner up with a political party. Public employees should work for the public, not politicians. I'd vote to amend Ohio's constitution to bar public unions.

 
At 11/07/2009 11:38 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Plus the unions often partner up with a political party"...

Seemingly it pays off if this bit from Canada Free Press is factual: Still No Prosecution Months After SEIU Thugs Assaulted Kenneth Gladney

 
At 11/07/2009 12:25 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Isn't Canada Free Press an oxymoron. I thought Canada had unionized government censors.

 
At 11/07/2009 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What has happened in California is that some city councils have refused to increase taxes or cut other services; consequently, unfunded pension liabilities increase, whereas if they would just rationally balance the budget through a mix of activities (taxes and budget cuts) they would avoid a more perilous future.

Would not want to be a bondholder or government retiree, or a family with kids in school.

 
At 11/07/2009 3:41 PM, Blogger Orlin said...

In my opinion, unions are the death of any industry / business they infect. There usefulness to protect employees from "evil" management / companies is long past.

 
At 11/07/2009 4:31 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"In my opinion, unions are the death of any industry / business they infect"...

Hmmm, Orlin you mean its never the fault of management?

I mean you may be correct but considering some of the folks I've seen in management well an argument could be made that some of them actually fell off the bell curve ...

 
At 11/07/2009 4:32 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Isn't Canada Free Press an oxymoron. I thought Canada had unionized government censors"...

You tell Michael, you went to the site, right?

 
At 11/07/2009 5:33 PM, Blogger Michael said...

No. I hear Canadians bitch about having to print American porn but can't read it.

 
At 11/07/2009 10:02 PM, Blogger moneybagzz said...

Perceiving the tax payer as a infinite resource (they are not) unions ratchet up demands at breakneck speed in a way they cannot in the non-governmental market.

Companies have the flexibility to fire people when demand declines (which is why unions hate them so much) but public employers have the ability to promise goodies that get foisted onto the backs of the tax payers.

Companies that mistreat their employees suffer from low morale, low productivity and high turnover costs. They eventually become industry laggards.

 
At 11/07/2009 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its the spineless politicians not the unions that are at fault. The unions are doing exactly what they are supposed to do for their stakeholders, get them the best deal possible. (In like fashion to the management of companies looking out only for the interest of shareholders). The politicians looking out only for the next election are the problem here. They are unwilling to look long term because they won't be in office then.
When people bash unions they forget the unions sole stakeholder, the workers they represent, they are not responsible to the public at all. (Unless you say that companies are responsible to more than the shareholders if so then more may be held for unions). The politicians make the laws and can unmake them if they want, but are more interested in re-election thus the short term orientation, than in the long term future.

 
At 11/08/2009 4:00 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"No. I hear Canadians bitch about having to print American porn but can't read it"...

Got to be an Obama voter...

 
At 11/08/2009 5:09 AM, Anonymous Titus Pullo said...

Since the annual budget of Detroit is $3 billion and 23 banks and securities firms are on track to pay their employees bonuses of $140 billion, why not get the $3 billion from the latter to pay the Motor City bills? I guess these indispensable people who have severely damaged the world's economy can't get by on $137 billion.

 
At 11/08/2009 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the annual budget of Detroit is $3 billion and the problems are the result of the same leftist policies that have destroyed nearly every inner city why not levy a special tax on Obamunists.

I guess these indispensable people who have severely damaged the nations economy with their utopian welfare schemes and are in the process of bankrupting future generations can get by on less. Let's start with a tax on tofu, pot and Volvo's.

 
At 11/08/2009 12:37 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I guess these indispensable people who have severely damaged the nations economy with their utopian welfare schemes and are in the process of bankrupting future generations can get by on less"...

Hmmm, Robert Samuelson tries to make that point with a two part commentary in Newsweek...

Up Against a Wall of Debt
How much can governments borrow?

Up Against a Wall of Debt, Part II
Are the United States, Japan, Great Britain, and other first-world nations in danger of defaulting on their debt?

 
At 11/08/2009 4:39 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Companies have the flexibility to fire people when demand declines (which is why unions hate them so much) but public employers have the ability to promise goodies that get foisted onto the backs of the tax payers.

Companies that mistreat their employees suffer from low morale, low productivity and high turnover costs. They eventually become industry laggards.

Or they figure out how to whitewash their public image. When you remove unions without solving the original problem in the first place, the problem will reappear.


Public unions are a burden on tax payers and prevent government from having the flexibility to function effectively. Plus the unions often partner up with a political party. Public employees should work for the public, not politicians. I'd vote to amend Ohio's constitution to bar public unions.

How is that any different from their enemies who partner up with the GOP?

How about we bar their hired gun law firm "labor relations" opponents too, by whatever name and practice they go by? It'd be nice to see Jackson Lewis, The Burke Group and friends doing the perp walk if they tried to evade.

 
At 11/09/2009 1:13 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Kenneth Gladney has a story to tell about the SEIU...

 
At 11/09/2009 6:54 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Kenneth Gladney has a story to tell about the SEIU...

11/09/2009 1:13 PM

Now if the SEIU wants to go off on a tangent, they're not being helpful as a union. They're being very harmful at the very least; it would be no better than any of labor's enemies (yesterday's, today's, or tomorrow's).

It is not a simple matter of "crush labor unions" with the usual suspects in labor relations, however. If it makes you feel better for your hate, go ahead.

While I wouldn't join if I had the choice, I also know that blindly hunting them down isn't the answer.

 

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