Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wisconsin's Governor Finds a Powerful Ally

Opposed Collective Bargaining by Government Employees

Supports Limited Collective Bargaining by Government Employees

Odd Man Out/To the Left of FDR and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

In a superb Op-Ed, Patrick McIlhern of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers some historical perspective on the dispute between Wisconsin's public employee unions and the Governor elected by those who pay their salaries. In particular, McIlhern shows that opposition to collective bargaining by government employees has a venerable source -- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, pictured above. According to McIlhern, FDR expressed his opposition to such collective bargaining by state employees in a letter to the National Federation of Federal Employees. To quote McIlhern, quoting FDR:

“The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into public service,” Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But he wrote, “I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place” in the public sector. “A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government.”

It's ironic that, unlike FDR, who opposed such collective bargaining altogether, Governor Walker of Wisconsin (picture between FDR and President Obama, above) supports such bargaining over wages and salaries, but merely opposes it for benefits and working conditions. Thus, under Walker's proposal, public employees would have GREATER bargaining rights than the 90 percent of America's private sector workers who are not members of unions and thus cannot bargain collectively over ANY terms of their employment.

Meanwhile, President Obama has staked out a position far to the left of FDR......

Hat tip to Ann Althouse, who flagged McIlhern's op-ed here.