Dave G
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Why would you choose to be part of a union that has no collective bargaining rights on your behalf? For most union members I would think that's the primary benefit of membership. I'm not sure I'd see this as a sign that union members don't like unions as much as a sign that no one wants to be part of a union that can't do anything.

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Dave G
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bjlillo wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Why would you choose to be part of a union that has no collective bargaining rights on your behalf? For most union members I would think that's the primary benefit of membership. I'm not sure I'd see this as a sign that union members don't like unions as much as a sign that no one wants to be part of a union that can't do anything.


No union has collective bargaining "rights" since they are actually privileges. The unions can still negotiate on their behalf for salary and can still handle grievances. Most importantly, the unions are leading the astro-turfing battle to overthrow Scott Walker in the recall election to restore their privileges. If people aren't sticking with the union now when the union is struggling to survive and their solidarity should be peaking, why have them?


It's your free market at work--the people sticking with the unions are those who think that salary negotiation and grievances are worth the price of dues. The ones who were willing to pay for a more functional union but not the current union are leaving. That was the point of Walker's reforms, no?

If they took out the pool, basketball courts, and all the elliptical machines at my gym, I would probably reconsider whether it was worth the price of membership. That doesn't mean I didn't like the gym in the first place.

Also, it's entirely possible that many of those union members feel (as I do) that the Walker recall is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set and that the democrats are going to be sorry they opened this can of worms the next time they're in power and pass some unpopular legislation. It's the absolute worst kind of partisan politics, a waste of state resources, and it makes a mockery of our electoral system. Walker may be a sleazy asshole, but he's a duly-elected sleazy asshole.
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Chad Ellis
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Whatever else is going on, there's a pretty obvious "free rider" effect in play.

Assuming that wages for union and non-union employees working the same job aren't going to be different (which I suspect would be politically difficult), then every individual union member has a huge incentive not to pay their dues.

Imagine a large group of people creating a new country. They're conservative, so they decide that all public services should be paid by a mandatory 10% flat tax on income and a mandatory 20% sales tax. Each person in the new nation likes this system and each person would prefer to pay the two taxes and get the agreed-upon basic services rather than not pay them and not get them.

But now imagine that the taxes are optional -- and the services will be provided regardless. What would you expect to happen?

It may well be that union members are very unhappy with the union. I just don't think we should draw any strong conclusions from a situation where any economist would tell you to expect pretty high defections even if every single person would rather there were zero defections.
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