Freedom Foundation

Unions Seek Service Cuts for Raises

Legislation (House Bill 1348) I opposed last year came back again with a vengeance in the 2014 legislative session.

It would have given union officials the power to negotiate wages for community college employees which were higher than salary allocated by the state legislature.

Committing to pay wages which are higher than the funds allocated for wages is absurd, as I explained in a brief video last year.

This dynamic—letting union bosses drive the wages up—is at the heart of much of what is wrong with government today. The only way a community or technical college could cover these eternally escalating obligations is to cannibalize operations. They would have to reduce services, cut programs, eliminate support staff, increase class sizes or take other actions which harm the citizens this system is supposed to serve.

Unfortunately, most legislators in the state House voted to pass the bill.

This year I testified against the measure again, and I am pleased to report that the measure stalled.

This legislation provides a very clear example of how unions—which are a private, special interest group—work against the interests of the poor who receive services from public agencies. They also work to make sure that taxpayers pay more and get less from public agencies.

(In K-12 education, this is why levy funds seem to pay for fewer and fewer services. In fact, local levy funds are increasingly used to augment the salary of state-paid employees. I have written about this here, here, and here.)