A recent report by the Cato Institute concluded “High rates of unionization in the public sector have led to very high labor costs in the form of generous collective bargaining contracts.”
This is something we are constantly seeing played out in Pennsylvania…
Take the recent SEPTA strike in Philadelphia; government mass transit employees withheld vital public services to force government offices to meet their demands. In a time of economic downturn SEPTA employees got a pay raise and better pension contribution plan.
Another example is Pennsylvania’s teacher strikes. Pennsylvania is one of only 13 states that allow public school teachers to strike; half of the teacher strikes in the nation are in PA. Teachers face no repercussions for striking; they still get paid for the full school year! Government officials fear political backlash and often give in to the demands of the unions.
Government employees have a huge advantage for leveraging when they strike, which is why the Cato Institute report recommends governments begin “repealing laws that legalize strikes against government, as well as laws that impose binding arbitration on the settlement of public-sector labor disputes.” Until we see changes like this materialize, Pennsylvania taxpayers stand to be bullied around by powerful organized unions in the public-sector.