In 1991, the United States Supreme Court followed up on its precendent setting Hudson and Beck decisions with a third ruling that limited the agency fees that public sector unions can extract from nonmembers to those expenses directly related to the collective bargaining process. Once again, Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., presented the argument for workers' First and Fifth Amendment rights before the Court and here presents his critique of the Justices' decision in Lenhert v. Ferris Faculty Association: The U.S. Supreme Court Hands Out Another Stone Instead of a Fish.
From the esoterica of legal arguments, we turn to the topic of privatization. Dr. E.S. Savas, a leading proponent of returning government-run services to the private sector through outright sales or contracting out, presents a compelling argument in "It's Time To Privatize" for the divestiture of such concerns by New York City. To make his case, he draws examples of successful privatizations from across the country and sees the lack of it in New York City as a primary reason behind the fundamental failure of its municipal government to provide efficient, cost effective services.
Even more dangerous is the Clinton-appointed, 10-member Commission for the Future of Worker-Management Relations that will attempt, under the guise of reviewing American labor law and collective bargaining practices, to find means of reducing labor-management conflict and to neuter those statutes opposed by organized labor. The commission, according to Dr. Leo Troy, in "The Clinton-Reich Labor Relations Program: What Is It and Will It Work?", will not serve the country well by endorsing plans to facilitate unionization. It can only foster a growth in public sector unionism that will mitigate against American business interests and the free market system that is the cornerstone of the American economy.
President Clinton's most staunch support during the 1992 presidential campaign came from organized labor. It is a debt that he began to repay immediately upon assuming office by appointing union favorite Robert Reich as secretary of labor. It is a debt he, through his administration, continues to repay by: proposing to lift the hiring ban on air traffic controllers fired in 1981 for illegal strike activity, rescinding executive orders prohibiting union-only labor agreements on federally-funded construction and requiring federal contractors to inform workers of their rights under the Beck decision, postponing implementation of the new LM-2 and LM-3 union finance reporting forms that would force an accurate accounting of how union money is spent, suspending the rules permitting the use of helpers on government building projects, backing congressional legislation that would ban the hiring of permanent striker replacements and appointing a union-biased commission to rewrite American labor law.
The realization of all these endeavors could dramatically effect labor management relations in this country. In "Permanent Striker Replacements Should Not Be Banned," former National Labor Relations Board general counsel John Irving presents a focused argument detailing how a lifting of the replacement workers ban will destroy the existing balance in union-management relations and precipitate strike activity.
Addresses the ethical, as well as pragmatic, question concerning the degree to which government employers can regulate their workers' off-duty behavior.
When the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 195 in 1970, giving teachers and other public employees collective bargaining privileges and the right to strike, David Kirkpatrick was serving as the preseident of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. In years prior to the enactment of the Public Employees Bargaining Act, he had been a teacher/unionist and a supporter of the legislation. He had knowledge and experience of the history of his profession and of the obstacles that teachers had to overcome to win public respect for their profession. Collective bargaining, at the time, seemed the best means for realizing that end.
But that was nearly twenty-five years ago. Today, the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that teacher unions now present perhaps the greatest impediment to education reform. The intellectual journey that led Dr. Kirkpatrick from the one perspective on the significance of the act to its antithesis is reflected in his article Teacher Unions and Collective Bargaining in Retrospect.
It has become apparent to him that what is needed to improve America's public schools is greater democracy, by giving the populace the decision of sending their children to private schools. That would result in a number of advantages that would ultimately "transform what teachers do from a job to a profession."