Archive for June, 2010

They’re “hardworking,” you’re not

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Sometimes, advocacy groups inadvertently reveal more than they mean to. Let us consider, for instance, a pair of press releases sent to me this week by the North Carolina Justice Center, which wants lawmakers to grant collective bargaining rights to public employees.

As the releases note, North Carolina is one of only two states (Virginia being the other) which don’t allow public employees to bargain collectively. We Tar Heels may have the minority view in this matter, but there seems to me to be a sensible reason for that policy: Politicians are notoriously prone to buying affection — which is to say, if they can lock in votes by lavishing certain groups with money, they’ll do it every time. They’re also spending other people’s money (namely, yours and mine) as they do so. Collective bargaining by public employees would only fuel both those bad impulses. Down that road lies California.

But I dutifully scanned the press releases anyway, because it’s wise to consider the contrary judgments of others. That’s when I came across this passage in the first:

Public employees make North Carolina run. But without collective bargaining rights, we do a disservice to hardworking people and justice in our state.

Hmmm. Public employees are “hardworking people.” The rest of us, presumably, are not — or at least not as hardworking as they are, so we therefore need to pile more money on the table for them. After all, who bargains collectively with the aim of getting less money?

Why, that’s exactly what public employees would do, according to this astonishing quote found in the second release:

“Collective bargaining gives employees a way to propose changes that increase efficiency and decrease costs,” said Larsene Taylor, of the N.C. Public Service Workers Union-UE Local 150. “We should use public employees’ unique insights instead of balancing the budget on their backs.”

I’ll cop to being lazy. But it stings to be considered stupid.