The Real Insider Issue


With union membership running at 18% nationally – and just 13% in the private sector – one wonders why an entire political party like the ALP is essentially a lobbying group for such a minority. And why, when 43% of public sector employees are union members, that a union-based party doesn’t absent itself from public sector management because of an irredeemable conflict of interest.

Certainly leftist hero Franklin Delano Roosevelt – less heroic according to many an economic historian –  had a very strong view on public sector unionism (see below).

What, not making any noise?

Given the recent proven exploitation of the poorest workers, the “obscene” salaries of many union officials (thanks Mr Williamson), the quasi-dynastic nature of union officialdom, the union movement’s focus on high level corporatism  and connections, the relations with organised crime… the real question is, when will the champions of the poor start an Occupy Trades Hall movement ?

Perhaps at the release of the upcoming Royal Commission’s final report? If Thomson and former ALP National President Williamson and CFMEU aren’t enough, I wonder if any formal report will be.

Oh well. Until then those of us outside the corporatist system will have to content ourselves with being part of the 82%.

FDR Decries Union Power in Public Sector

Quite remarkable really that no-one is concerned that ALP governments manage their own bosses. As if an ALP government could govern responsibly when public servants are one of the strongest lobby groups to whom they are beholden, and for whom they lobby. Even FDR saw the problem:

Emphasis mine:

…Organization on their [public sector employees’] part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.

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.

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.

OK, FDR was probably more motivated by avoiding limitations on his own power than any real principle of good government. But it is a view the Left studiously ignores. And in its decline it has to – soon unions will be little except public sector representatives. They certainly won’t be pounding the pavement to look after exploited hospitality and retail workers – no connections, no money, and no cushy advancement in that.

Inside Trades Hall and government administration buildings you’ve got just as many conflicted insiders as on Wall Street. Especially when you have a Labor government. Indeed, they have had a more direct negative effect on the financial well-being of ordinary people than their Armani-clad enemies ever could. Detroit? California? Northern England?

But hey, they identify as of the Left, and the core Left principle of differential toleration means they can get away with anything. No protest and radical restructuring for the Union movement. No taking over (in NSW) Sussex Street or Goulburn Street.

It’s never really about the poor.


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