Union Special Interest and the Public Interest

The Problem: 

Public sector unions have been growing in power for the last forty years.  They have become so powerful that in many areas it is the unions of government workers, rather than the citizen taxpayers through their elected representatives, who actually control the size, cost and quality of essential public services.

Most of the power enjoyed by public sector union officials is a result of state legislation.  In many states, laws enacted at the insistence of unions give public sector union special privileges like:

·        Monopoly bargaining power – requiring all employees whether they want union representation or not to accept the representation of the union certified by the majority of employees.

·        Compulsory unionism – forcing public employees who are not union members to either join or pay a fee to the monopoly union as a condition of continued employment.

·        Strikes against government – legalized work stoppages against vital public services intended to give unions the power to hold these services hostage until their demands are met.

In addition, unions have used their political influence to pressure Congress and state legislatures for laws promoting unionism and protecting unions from competition.

Here are a few examples of such union special interest laws:

·        Prevailing wage laws:  Under these laws, government sets the wages to be paid on public works construction projects.  In theory, the wages are to reflect the wages paid in the community where the work is being done.  In reality, the wages are set at union scale whether union workers are the majority in the community or not.  Such laws cause the waste of billions of tax dollars every year while protecting unions from competition.

·        Minimum wage laws:  These laws prohibit employees from accepting work at less than the government set minimum.  In the process, they kick the least able and productive members of society off the bottom of the economic ladder and protect above market union wages from competition.

·        Legal immunities:  Few people realize it but unions have used their political power to gain exemptions from many laws.  For example, unions are exempt from anti trust laws and union violence is exempt from prosecution under the federal anti racketeering law, the Hobbs Act, if it has a “legitimate union purpose.”

Because of union political influence, all too often, local elected public officials have failed to oppose union special interest laws and  private sector management has decided that public employment labor policy was none of its business.

As a result, many state and national elected officials, who might have been expected to oppose legislation granting public sector unions special privileges and legal immunities were silent on the issue because they didn’t perceive any opposition from the public.

The Solution:

In 1973, the Public Service Research Council was established to mobilize a broad-based citizen counter force to the special privileges and legal immunities  of public sector union officials and union special interest influence on public policy.

How Is the Public Service Research Council Organized?

 The Council is a membership organization.  It is governed by a volunteer board of directors.  The day to day activities of the Council are conducted by a professional staff.

The Council does not have state or local chapters.  Its national office conducts all of its activities.

The Council is a nonprofit corporation tax exempt under Section 501(c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

What Does the Public Service Research Council Do?

 The Council conducts a wide range of activity aimed at educating the public to the dangers of public sector union power and union political influence on public policy.

It monitors union special interest in Congress and in the legislatures in all fifty states.

The Council provides information to elected officials, policy makers and opinion leaders about union special interest influence.

The Council also mobilizes public opinion against legislation granting unions additional powers and privileges and in support of legislation to roll back union special interest laws already on the books.

How is the Public Service Research Council Funded?

The Council is funded entirely by contributions from those who share its concerns about union special interest influence on public policy.  It does not seek or accept any government funding.  Because of its lobbying programs on behalf of the public interest, contributions to the Council are not tax deductible and the Council may not accept support from public or private foundations.

Annual membership dues in the Council are $20.00.  Many of its supporters, however, contribute more than that to help the Council expand its outreach programs.

If you would like more information about how you can support the Public Service Research Council, please contact us. 

Public Service Research Council
320-D Maple Avenue East
Vienna, Virginia  22180
Phone:  703-242-3575
Fax:  703-242-3579  

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