The public turns against unions

Former Record reporter Dave Siders has it in the SacBee: 45 percent of registered voters now think unions do more harm than good, compared to 40 percent who say they do more good.

The public’s opinion on public employee unions: 44 percent to 39 percent, public employee unions do more harm than good.

It’s a good thing this poll was not confined to Stockton. Here the unions became over-entitled and used to running city fiscal policy, which they helped run into the ground.

When, before any talk of bankruptcy, strong measures could have averted insolvency, the unions opposed them; when necessary reforms to the Fire Department were put on the ballot, firefighters spent six figures fighting them; when the situation degenerated so badly the city had to declare its first fiscal emergency, the unions sued to assert that there was no emergency; when the city declared the second fiscal emergency, the unions fought that in court, too; when the city terminated the preposterous free lifetime medical benefit for retirees and their spouses, union retirees sued to keep their benefit; and in between they pulled intimidation tactics such as buying the house next door to the city manager, whom they demonized.

Sacramento’s police union is fighting rightsizing. L.A. unions are fighting rightsizing. the teacher’s union even fought a bill to swiftly fire child molesters.

Yes, in an item below, I agree that many union workers served the city well — when they were doing their job. But I don’t buy the argument that they are all little guys. They come to the table as a powerful special interest, one that puts it interests before the public, and does so behind closed doors.

Ask you self this: in what other business model do employees make cash contributions to the bosses who will determine their compensation? Public resentment is not caused merely by the hard times of the recession as someone suggests in the Bee story. The public employee model is burning the public.

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  • Blog Author

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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