Volume 5

Teacher Unions, Educational Quality, and a Free Market Remedy Baird, Charles W.

Dr. Baird looks at the process of educational decline and proposes a free market system with tax vouchers for parents who choose to enroll their children in private schools as the best means of remedying the situation. It is the author's opinion that the lion's share of the responsibility for the deteriorating quality must rest with the teacher unions, which he further perceives as being the major impediments to reform, particularly the National Education Association (NEA).  

A Symposium: The Impact of Teacher Unions on Education Applegate, et al.

Education reform is unlikely, if not impossible, because of collective bargaining, participants at a symposium, "The Impact of Teacher Unions on Education," were told in Washington. The two day symposium was conducted January 12-13, 1984, by the Public Service Research Foundation (PSRF) and attracted 50 school superintendents, school negotiators, faculty union representatives, education faculty members, Congressional staff members and officials from the U.S. Department of Education. This edition of theReview takes a look at when collective bargaining first came to education, the impact of collective bargaining, and finishes with an evaluation of the impact.

Privatizing the United States Postal Service By Crutcher, John,

he United States Postal Service is the largest single employer of federal workers outside of the armed forces. Its management has enjoyed a monopolistic advantage which has generally inhibited any incentive to concern itself with the cost effectiveness of its operations. That oversight is one which has been fully exploited by the postal unions. Today a postal employee earns an average wage and benefit package of about $25,000, or 33.1 percent more than his comparably skilled private industry counterpart. Since the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act, postal costs have risen from $8 billion in 1970 to $23 billion in 1982. A staggering 84 percent of those operating costs go towards wages, which grew 123 percent over that period.

In "Privatizing the United States Postal Service," Postal Rate Commissioner John Crutcher exposes the reasons behind such a rapid rise in postal costs and looks at how private businesses have begun to compete with the Postal Service. Commissioner Crutcher offers some compelling arguments for scaling postal costs by contracting out certain mail services, and he argues that postal costs could be brought under control if the Postal Board of Governors discards its rubber stamp approach to governance.

Symposium: Exclusivity of Union Representation in the Public Sector.

What role did the 1930's Wagner Act have in bringing about majority rule unionism in the United States? What are the implications of compulsory unionism on the First Amendment? How do unions exercise monopoly power through the legislative privilege of exclusive representation? To what degree have union security agreements precipitated the growth of public sector unionism?

Those are some of the questions that were addressed at a Symposium on the "Exclusivity of Union Representation in the Public Sector." Cosponsored by George Mason University's Journal of Labor Researchand the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, the Symposium was held February 10, 1984, in Rosslyn, Virginia. The Public Service Research Foundation was pleased to share in the publication costs of the proceedings and to help disseminate this information through the medium of the Government Union Review.

The issue of government ceding unions the right to act as exclusive bargaining agents touches the essence of the relationship between labor and management. In the public sector arena, exclusivity raises some serious ethical and philosophical problems. The papers presented by the participants of the Symposium discuss the repercussions of exclusivity from a variety of perspectives, among them the historical, legal, and that of public choice. Together the authors have produced an enlightening purview of this vital and fascinating subject.

The Convergence of Public and Private Industrial Relations Systems in the United States.

At the turn of the century, when public sector unions were beginning to organize, it was inherently understood that there was a profound difference between them and private sector unions. However, since that fast receding past, the entire spectrum of labor relationships has altered. In "The Convergence of Private and Public Sector Industrial Relations Systems in the United States," Dr. Troy discusses that process of change and its ramifications. He contends that the expanding role of collective bargaining may essentially replace representative government as the prime arbitrator of how many of our resources are allocated. Much of the blame can be attached to a trend towards convergence inchoated by the government's 1960's shift in domestic policy and attitude about public sector unions.

The Flow and Ebb of U.S. Public Sector Unionism By Troy, Leo and Sheflin, Neil

For years there has been an imprecise knowledge about the strength of public sector unions, both in membership size and finances. Therefore, the Public Service Research Foundation more than two years ago agreed to fund an extensive research project by Dr. Leo Troy, Professor of Economics, and Dr. Neil Sheflin, Associate Professor of Business, both at Rutgers University.

The study presents the first measure of the true size and power of public sector unions in the United States. These are the first figures of the annual average dues-paying membership of every known public sector labor organization in the country between 1897 and 1982. With the termination of the Department of Labor's Biennial Membership Survey in 1978, this data is the only current source of public sector memberships in existence. This data base is unique in both its span and depth of coverage.

The study develops considerable new statistical information on the flow and ebb of public sector unions, and offers new insights on their development over the past two decades. It is pointed out that the dominant public sector labor organization, the National Education Association, just 20 years did not claim to be a labor union.

The authors advance the argument that the distinctions which have theoretically and historically separated public and private unions are vanishing. Their argument for convergence applied to the structural forms of labor organization, collective bargaining, strike, public policy, and the tendency to diminish if not to shed the traditional role of civil service in public employment.

The extensive charts, tables, and financial details of each public sector union are very enlightening for the student of government unions. Even the compensation provides insight: It is so advantageous to rise to the presidency of a government union that, in most instances, salaries exceed that of members of the United States Cabinet and Congress.

For those who have either a professional or academic interest in public sector unions, this is the first-and perhaps last-such study. It provides a wealth of valuable information.