Collective Bargaining and Public Employees Essay

2697 Words 11 Pages
The efforts to undermine the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers in Wisconsin led by Republican Governor Scott Walker – and the widespread resistance of unions, workers, and supporters – represents, perhaps, the most important domestic issue in the United States at the moment. The Wisconsin protests have become the center of national media attention as tens of thousands of union workers and their employees crowd the State Capitol. The story certainly deserves the spotlight, as what happens in Wisconsin may very well spread too much of the rest of the nation. However, what is often lost in the storylines is what the protesters really are fighting for in their efforts. According to Governor Walker (R-WI) and many …show more content…
Maybe it's not about rights, maybe it's about power.
Because current and proposed government initiatives seek not just to extract concessions in wages and benefits, but to also diminish unions and collective bargaining in the public sector, we must consider the implications for public sector employees and how this could affect their employment in the public sector and the services that their provide for the public. Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to roll back public employees' pensions and benefits, while stripping most of them of their right to collective bargaining, is beginning to look like a national struggle over the future of organized labor itself.
Shakespeare was correct: What is past is prologue. In the case of current events in the Wisconsin and other states that are pushing for striping pubic employees of most of their collective bargaining right, it is worth stepping back to place these events in larger historical context. Past provides important context on the current and future state of public employees and their right to bargaining collectively. To predict future trends in public sector unionism, it is useful to understand what has happened in the past.
Almost every one of both sides of the debate in Wisconsin uses the term “collective bargaining rights”. What does it means exactly? “United we stand, divided we fall” is at the heart of collective bargaining. According to Karabel (2011) a working definition