Scholarly study of how public service unions - teachers, police, sanitation etc. - are bankrupting cities and states in the US with the enthusiastic support of the politicians they help to get elected. Basically, the unions bankroll the politician's election, then recoup their investment 100 times over in increased salaries and benefits for their members -- all funded by borrowing money. Detroit's bankruptcy to be followed by the bankruptcy of a city or state near you - particularly in California and New York.
The author is not anti-union per se. He makes a strong distinction between private unions and public unions. Basically, private unions don't help elect the people they bargain with - the titans of industry - the contracts they sign are reasonable compromises and the money to pay for the contracts comes from products produced not money borrowed. But public unions basically bargain with their political friends - people whose election they bankrolled.
The author also tries to quantify the increasing gap in public and private worker compensation packages, but not very convincingly.
Who to blame: greedy public unions or power hungry politicians or gullible voters? Big big money spent on elections in the US with public service unions outspending business by a wide margin.
Sort of relevant to Canada although we don't seem to be as far down the road. I don't know if cities and provinces can go bankrupt in Canada legally? Although teachers have frequent work actions, at least our public school system is still reasonably OK, ie. the kids learn to read etc. Check out the DVD "Waiting for Superman" to see just how bad it is in the US public schools. Sobering to hear that California - which is considered by the author as the basket case of US state debt - has about half the debt that Ontario carries.
Very comprehensive and fairly well-written. The author is a union member from a union family, so he is not anti-union and strives to be fair to public sector unions. In truth, I skimmed the book -- I often skim nonfiction -- but I still believe I got the gist.
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