FDR never wanted to see public sector unions. FDR wrote:
“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.”
[Well, that hasn’t really come to pass now, has it? FDR continues]:
“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that ‘under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.’”
Why did FDR say that?
Read this article from The Wall Street Journal and understand the inherent threat of public unions. And then open your eyes:
It’s now official: In 2009 the number of unionized workers who work for the government surpassed those in the private economy for the first time. This milestone explains a lot about modern American politics, in particular the paradox that union clout with Democrats has increased even as fewer workers belong to unions overall.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that 51.4% of America’s 15.4 million union members, or about 7.91 million workers, were employed by the government in 2009. As recently as 1980, there were more than twice as many private as public union members. But private union membership has continued to decline, even as unions have organized more public employees. The nearby chart shows the historical trend.
Overall unionism keeps declining, however, with the loss of 771,000 union jobs amid last year’s recession. Only one in eight workers (12.3%) now belongs to a union, with private union employment hitting a record low of 7.2% of all jobs, down from 7.6% in 2008. Only one in 13 U.S. workers in the private economy pays union dues. In government, by contrast, the union employee share rose to 37.4% from 36.8% the year before.
In private industries, union workers are subject to the vagaries of the marketplace and economic growth. Thus in 2009 10.1% of private union jobs were eliminated, which was more than twice the 4.4% rate of overall private job losses. On the other hand, government unions offer what is close to lifetime job security and benefits, subject only to gross dereliction of duty. Once a city or state’s workers are organized by a union, the jobs almost never go away.
This means government is the main playing field of modern unionism, which explains why the AFL-CIO and SEIU have become advocates for higher taxes and government expansion in cities, states and Washington. Unions once saw their main task as negotiating a bigger share of an individual firm’s profits. Now the movement’s main goal is securing a larger share of the overall private economy’s wealth, which means pitting government employees against middle-class taxpayers.
And as union membership has grown in government, so has union clout in pushing politicians (especially but not solely Democrats) for higher wages and benefits. This is why labor chiefs Andy Stern (SEIU) and Rich Trumka (AFL-CIO) could order Democrats to exempt unions from ObamaCare’s tax increase on high-cost health insurance plans. To the extent Democrats have become the party of government, they have become ever more beholden to public unions.
The problem for democracy is that this creates a self-reinforcing cycle of higher spending and taxes. The unions help elect politicians, who repay the unions with more pay and benefits and dues-paying members, who in turn help to re-elect those politicians.
The political scientists Fred Siegel and Dan DiSalvo recently wrote in the Weekly Standard about the 2006 example of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine shouting to a rally of 10,000 public workers that “We will fight for a fair contract.” Mr. Corzine was supposed to be on the other side of the bargaining table representing taxpayers, not labor.
From time to time, usually requiring a fiscal crisis, middle-class taxpayers in the private economy will revolt enough to check this vicious political cycle. (See Scott Brown.) But sooner or later, the unions regain their political advantage because taxpayers have other concerns while unions have the most to gain or lose.
This is why most Democrats once opposed public-sector unionism. Such 20th-century liberal heroes as New York Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia and Franklin Roosevelt believed fervently in industrial unions. But they believed public employees had a special social obligation and could too easily exploit their monopoly position. How right they were.
As we can see from the desperate economic and fiscal woes of California, New Jersey, New York and other states with dominant public unions, this has become a major problem for the U.S. economy and small-d democratic governance. It may be the single biggest problem. The agenda for American political reform needs to include the breaking of public unionism’s power to capture an ever-larger share of private income.
The public sector unions and their power over the people was recognized to be an un-American and an inherent danger even by advocates of unions such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We have only to look at Wisconsin and at what fascistic Democrats such as Community Organizer in Chief Barack Obama are doing in that state and others to see how right past Democrats like FDR were.
The things about economics and the economy that FDR believed in were wrong. They were proven wrong in history. That’s why the industrial unions that he adored have nearly vanished; they simply create too many impediments to a strong economy – particularly in today’s competition with countries like China that do not have “a union problem.” And so Americans in our free market system decided long ago that it was better to have an actual job than it was to belong to a union and wonder why they had no jobs.
Modern Democrats, in desperation, turned to the very thing that they saw as an inherent un-American threat in the past. They have to be hypocrites and liars because they have abandoned the very nature of their previous beliefs about the nature of the economy in a democracy. Now public unions – once rightly an anathema – have become the foundation of their strength. Big Union money constitutes more than TEN TIMES any Republican special interest money; and it obviously comes overwhelmingly from the public sector unions that FDR warned us about.
And in doing so, the Democrat Party has become an un-American and inherent threat themselves.
Jesus’ words in Luke 22:25 sum up Democrats and unions so well today: “Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.’” Because liberals and unions literally take our money from our children and then tell us they’re doing it for our own good. And the Democrats who take and take and take from us while calling themselves our “benefactors” today is hardly anything new. And hardly anything Jesus approved of.