Marvin Olasky

The results of the labor revolution of the 20th century are mixed, but maybe that's not surprising. We often equate "revolution" and "change," but if you go all the way around in a revolving door, you end up in the same place. After a century of union efforts, we still have an upper class of U.S. workers and a lower class—but government workers are in the upper class. The claim of the latter to be "public servants" is shaky when the servants, on average, make more than their masters.

The builders of unions after 1911 saw them as ways to improve working conditions and to increase wages by getting workers a larger share of the corporate profits their effort generates. Not until the 1950s and 1960s did government employee unions begin to engage in collective bargaining with their governors, who often found it easier to grant grand pension packages than to push back. Today Wisconsin teachers average $78,000 per year in salary and benefits. The Milwaukee Public Schools acknowledges that its average teacher reels in $100,000. That's far more on average than their private-sector counterparts—and we don't even have to get into questions about what's most important, the quality of the teaching.

Government union leaders are portraying Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as a new Haman: You want to hang us, we'll hang you. They'd have a stronger case if this were 1911 and their members were still on the bottom. They're not. They're on top. The leaders want to redistribute wealth from poorer citizens to richer union members. Now taxpayers are fighting back.


Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit www.worldmag.com.
 
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