Sunday, March 6, 2011

Danger to Democracy?

The Providence Journal online posted a poll question about how we feel about Gov. Walker's effort to strip unions of collective bargaining rights.  I found myself conflicted. There is no doubt in my mind that negotiations with unions have resulted in unaffordable pension benefits which threaten communities all over the country. But is the solution to strip bargaining rights from unions?

The way I see it negotiations are similar to elections. Candidates argue for their side and we voters make our decisions in an election.  If the results turn out to be disappointing we have the opportunity to do better at the next election.

If Governor Walker were in charge, his answer would simply be to do away with elections. Bad results from union negotiations are the result of bad decisions by those whom we have elected to do the best for us all.  It is these people who must challenged and brought to task for their decisions, not negotiation itself.

Instead, I recommend that public union negotiations be made public - recorded and streamed for all to see. Governor Walker's solution is a threat to the democratic process.