The Adversarial Collective Bargaining Myth
Politicians, let’s face it mainly those of a Republican bent, have started floating a solution for the union troubles in Wisconsin. It goes something like this; let the unions have their collective bargaining rights so they can negotiate their contracts with government entities. In exchange the unions have to agree not to contribute to the political campaigns or lobby the people they negotiate with.
Chris Christie calls this “adversarial collective bargaining”. This morning the talking heads on Morning Joe referred to it as “leveling the playing field”. It all sounds reasonable right? And it would be if Republicans were asking that all groups that negotiate with Federal, State and local governments be prohibited from donating to political campaigns and lobbying.
I’m sure these well intentioned Republicans are just forgetting that businesses and the people that own and run businesses like Boeing, Lockheed Martian, and Koch Industries routinely contribute many, many millions of dollars to political campaigns and lobbying.
Maybe Republicans don’t realize these businesses and their leaders contribute millions all while negotiating multi-billion dollar contracts with Federal, State and local governments. Maybe they don’t realize this is the same horrible thing Republicans like Governor Walker of Wisconsin are trying to stop the unions from doing?
I would like to believe that if they thought about it, these Republicans would agree that if it is reasonable to be concerned about unions contributing to political campaigns or lobbying while negotiating contracts with the government they should be just as concerned about businesses and business owners doing the same thing. The concern about campaign contributions and lobbying should hold whether it is a contract for a new refueling tanker or if it is a labor contract with the teacher’s union.
It is difficult to believe that Governor Christie and other Republicans have not thought about this. My suspicion is that they have and are hoping the American people do not. Governor Christie and other Republicans would like nothing better than for the American people to not realize their calls for “adversarial collective bargaining” and “leveling the playing field” are fundamentally unfair.Continued on the next page