Since Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s push to limit the scope of collective bargaining, public-sector unions have been increasingly in the spotlight—or perhaps in the crosshairs. New Jersey governor Chris Christie attacked teachers’ unions in popular YouTube videos, and Indiana recently became the 23rd “right to work” state. In Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind, Mallory and Elizabeth Factor highlight the political power of public-sector unions. The authors argue that public-sector unions use underhanded and often illegal tactics to increase the support for liberal politicians. The authors also argue that public-sector unions are fighting to unionize as many people as they can—including anyone who accepts any form of state subsidy—and thus to wield more power over our government and our lives. In response, union supporters contend that public-sector unions help secure important rights for government employees who would otherwise lack the power to bargain effectively over the conditions of their employment. So do public-sector unions serve legitimate public interests or are they another interest group seeking more from the government? Join us to hear the comments from author as well as the perspective a union representative with intimate knowledge of unions’ political activities.
Featuring Benjamin H. Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies, Cato Institute; Spencer Ackerman, Senior Writer, WIRED Magazine; and Julian Sanchez, Research Fellow, Cato Institute; moderated by Laura Odato, Director of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.
Featured PublicationWe are grateful to the Harry and Lynde Bradley Foundation and the Carthage Foundation whose support of the October 2012 Cato Conference “Europe’s Crisis and the Welfare State: Lessons for the United States” made possible this special issue of the Cato Journal.
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