Friday, February 13, 2009

Are We Doomed to Self(ish) Service?

You're either with us or against us is the philosophy that has gotten us where we are and it's a lousy place to be.

But the evidence abounds that this "either/or" mentality rules and when it comes to union issues it seems most visible.

When members of a private sector union are asked to sacrifice benefits for a company, they know that those sacrifices will benefit stock holders, executives, the company bottom line and their lenders - not necessarily bad things, but not something that will appeal to a worker's altruism and better nature.

When a municipal union member is asked to sacrifice benefits, is it because the stockholders want more profits, the executives need more compensation than their already obscene pay, or the city isn't wealthy enough?

Of course not. It's because the city, with the available revenue, is having trouble providing the services expected by everyone. If it's not possible to reduce costs then reduced services will surely follow.

If we don't see a difference, then our unions are in danger of becoming no better than their original foes - the selfish business owners who didn't want to give an inch to their employees. Only now it's the unions who won't give an inch to their employers, the property tax payers. We have to do better.

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