Mark Maynard has an interesting post looking at the impending assault on collective bargaining in the wake of victories by Tea Party-backed candidates. In Michigan, our own RySny has released somewhat dubious figures showing public sector employees are much more costly than private sector ones. It seems like a lot of state financial woes are being pinned on unions, their health care plans, and their pensions. As commenters on Mark's article point out, years of cutting taxes while maintaining services citizens depend on is more likely culpable. I've been part of two unions during my brief working life and have had generally positive experiences.
While I was teaching in Chicago, I was part of the Chicago Teachers Union. Like many institutions in Chicago, the CTU is well... a little corrupt. And while I didn't trust my union leadership any more than I trusted Arne Duncan (heck, I probably trusted Arne more), the horror stories I heard from teachers at a few non-union schools were enough to make me appreciate collective bargaining. Then again, the combination of mandatory position cuts in Chicago to make up for a budget shortfall and the Union's seniority policies meant that most of my friends from teaching are no longer employed at my old school.
Currently, I'm represented by the Graduate Employees Organization at U of M. Having talked to colleagues at schools with weaker unions, or none at all, I can say that I am very happy for this representation (especially because of the health care plan), even if they haven't given me a t-shirt yet.
Also vomit-train Atlas Shrugged is coming to theaters April 15th. Things are looking down: