More Union Differences
Private sector unions push against the interests of shareholders and management; public sector unions push against the interests of taxpayers. Private sector union members know that their employers could go out of business, so they have an incentive to mitigate their demands; public sector union members work for state monopolies and have no such interest.
Private sector unions confront managers who have an incentive to push back against their demands. Public sector unions face managers who have an incentive to give into them for the sake of their own survival. Most important, public sector unions help choose those they negotiate with. Through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout, they have enormous influence over who gets elected to bargain with them, especially in state and local races.
As to that penultimate sentence, with school committees around the state littered with teachers, union members and/or their spouses as well as prominent paid union staffers sitting in the General Assembly, Rhode Island is Exhibit A of public sector unions “helping choose those they negotiate with”. The result of that “help” has been decades of short-sighted elected officials who have irresponsibly bestowed upon the state expensive government, chronically unbalanced budgets, high taxes and even higher unfunded post employment liabilities.
Returning to the difference between solidarity public and solidarity private, I would add just one more item to all of the excellent points raised by Brooks, Goldberg and Comtois: along with us non-unionized folk, private unions are on the issuing rather than the receiving end of the disbursements that fund public compensation and benefits.