Government or Unions?

The struggle between the US government and unions seems to be eternal. The government tries to achieve good results and the common good at the expense of taxpayers, i.e. private sector workers, whereas, unions have often opposed any government’s incentives. Admittedly, some people say that the governmental incentives should be carried out since they will lead the country to prosperity.

Others argue that there can be no prosperity at the expense of taxpayers, people who work and create the necessary background for the prosperity. Interestingly, nowadays a new trend is emerging: unions tend to intervene in law making process or accept government’s incentives.

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In both cases the less winning party is that of taxpayers whose rights are often violated and whose needs are not taken into account. Such situation is unacceptable. The two powers should control each other to secure workers’ rights and improve economical situation in the country. There can be no right or wrong party, they should cooperate.

Historically, unions were founded to become “a vehicle to get workers more of the profits they help create” (Sherk). Admittedly, democratic society should be characterized by the existence of such forces which restrain those who possess a lot of power. Thus, if the government intended to take too much from workers, the unions started various battles to secure workers’ rights.

Interests of workers were taken into account and the government had to work harder to make out policies which could be the golden mean: economical benefits for the whole country and the workers as well. However, things have changed since then. For instance, nowadays unions spend their money not only “to run their daily operations but to wage political campaigns (Malanga).

Apparently, these policy making processes do not often lead to improvements of workers’ lives and their wellbeing. For example, it is reported that public sector unions transformed into “the nation’s most aggressive advocates for higher taxes and spending” (Malanga).

It is possible to illustrate the situation by activities of unions in Oregon which supported campaign (donated 75% of the total cost of the campaign) to increase taxes (Malanga). Of course, such campaigns do not fit the union’s image of fighters in the name of workers. Thus, it is essential that union leaders should rethink their position and think of the benefits of the workers in the first place.

Interestingly, in the middle of the twentieth century American society faced the first government unions. The distant 1959 was marked by the creation of the first government unions (Sherk). No matter how undemocratic and illogic it may seem, nowadays the government unions are widespread in the United States.

Thus, the new unions can also influence policy making process. More so, they do influence. It goes without saying that government unions support governmental incentives, often striking “against taxpayers” (Sherk). At this point it is necessary to note that government workers “do not generate profits”, so it is really illogical that they have unions which are, basically, aimed at securing that these workers benefit from the profit they “create” (Sherk).

In addition to that, it is really doubtful that government workers need such care. In the first place, there are lasting disputes that government workers are overpaid (Biggs & Richwine). Different surveys reveal different data: some state that government workers are really overpaid, some claim that these workers have the same wages as the rest. However, it is not about money. Government workers have many other benefits which are much better than a few dollars.

Thus, they get pensions and health care benefits, and what is even more important they get government job security which is “equivalent to about a 15% increase in compensation” (Leonhardt). Of course, these benefits are not the source of all economical difficulties of the country.

However, the existence of government unions is apparently groundless or even unfair and unlawful. Instead of securing rights of workers who do create “profits” such unions struggle against taxpayers (supporting government policies) and waste taxpayers’ money. Apart from spending taxpayers’ money on government workers’ pensions and health care services, government unions fund governmental campaigns (Leonhardt).

These unions do not achieve their primary aim – to support taxpayers, but become a burden for taxpayers. Thus, it is necessary to rethink the possibility of such unions’ existence. It is essential to go back to the old checked scheme that unions are preoccupied with matters of taxpayers, not somebody else’s interests.

Admittedly, there can be no right or wrong party in the struggle between unions and the government. Moreover, there should be no struggle, but this should be cooperation of two powers which represent two sides of the coin: the state and the nation. The US government should think of possible solutions to overcome economical difficulties on the entire nation scale. In their turn unions should be preoccupied with the workers’ rights and benefits.

Every union should work hard in order to secure the rights of the members. Of course, there are not so many easy solutions. On the contrary, it is really hard to make everyone happy. Nevertheless, it is possible to find the way if the government and unions just discuss everything properly.

There is no use in demonstrations, manifestations or ultimatums. It can be much more effective if the government would think of possible consequence of this or that law or policy. It is possible to assume that certain laws will be definitely opposed by the unions. Thus, the government should be open to discussion. They should notify respective unions about their intentions and arrange fruitful conversation.

It goes without saying that governments’ laws often lead to demonstrations which in their turn cause law abrogation or some changes in laws. In addition, union’s actions lead to huge money losses. Admittedly, the most advantageous for both parties is to cooperate and discuss incentives of each other. Moreover, unions can also address the government with certain suggestions. Such close cooperation will lead to positive changes in both economical situation in the country and workers’ wellbeing.

On balance, the lasting struggle between the US government and unions should end. It is also inadmissible for American society to have government unions since the existence of such institutions is illogical and inappropriate. Admittedly, it is unacceptable that some unions support governmental incentives which violate workers’ rights and reduce their benefits.

The government and unions can and should cooperate defending the benefits of the entire state and workers. The two parties will be the necessary restraining forces for each other. It goes without saying that balance and peace between the government and unions will be one of the important factors which would positively influence economical situation in the country.

Works Cited

Biggs, Andrew and Jason Richwine. “The Public Worker Gravy Train.” The Wall Street Journal, 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 9 March 2011.

Leonhardt, David. “Union Contracts, Not Pay, Are States’ Problem.” The New York Times, 1 Mar. 2011. Web. 9 March 2011.

Malanga, Mark. “The Showdown Over Public Union Power.” The Wall Street Journal, 22 Feb. 2011. Web. 9 March 2011.

Sherk, James. “Wisconsin’s Blow to Union Power.” The New York Times, 19 Feb. 2011. Web. 9 March 2011.


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