In Wisconsin and elsewhere, government employee unions are on the ropes as a result of a public sector reform movement led by governors and fed-up taxpayers. But in Michigan, these unions are fighting back with Proposal 2, a ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution and solidify unions’ control of the state budget.
F. Vincent Vernuccio | All Articles
- Subscribe to RSS
F. Vincent Vernuccio
F. Vincent Vernuccio is the director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Republicans and employers across the country are calling foul in what is seen as a double whammy from the Obama administration this week.
While most of the nation focused on the Wisconsin government union fight in recent weeks, Michigan has been pushing major labor reforms in both the private and government sectors. The goal is to ease budget woes and make the state more economically competitive. Elected officials in Michigan face painful decisions about how to bring the state back from the brink.
The Republican victories last November dashed organized labor’s hopes of Congress passing the Employee Free Choice Ace (EFCA), especially its card check provision, which would effectively eliminate the secret ballot in union organizing elections.
President Obama’s proposal of a pay freeze for federal employees is a small step towards curbing government spending. However, a closer look shows there is less to it than meets the eye. In fact, many federal employees will still see their salaries increased.
For decades, government employees at every level have received steadily increasing compensation—including salary, pensions, and health care benefits—thanks to the political clout of public employee unions. Yet that era may be coming to a close. Years of profligacy have led to the vast majority of public pensions now being significantly underfunded. State and local governments can no longer avoid the problem. For that reason, 2010 may be remembered as a turning point for government employee compensation.