Greater Union Density = Bigger Government

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The huge cost of public unions

Recently completed research by a California economist finds a "solid empirical relationship between public sector unions' concentration and the size and cost of state government . . . ." (Cartoon by Bob Englehart/Hartford Courant)

 

In an op-ed published a few days ago in the New York Daily News, California Polytechnic State University economics professor Michael Marlow reports on research he recently completed that found “a solid empirical relationship between public sector unions’ concentration and the size and cost of government . . . .” (See the link above.)

Over the period of 2003 to 2010, Marlow “found that a 10% increase in public union membership expands government by as much as 4.25%.”

Of course, most government employees who join a union are forced by state law to accept that union as their “exclusive” bargaining agent on matters concerning their pay, benefits, and working conditions, whether they join or not. Government union monopoly bargaining, authorized in roughly three-quarters of the 50 states, and forced government union dues and fees, authorized in nearly half of them, are the principal sources of the fiscal problems Marlow identifies.

In addition to documenting the link between public-sector unionism and bigger government, Marlow concluded:

“[E]xpanding [coercively] government union membership worsens business climates.”

The National Institute for Labor Relations Research will furnish more details on Marlow’s research when the study itself becomes available.