Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Collective vs. Individual Bargaining Rights

We are in the midst of attacks on unions in general and public sector unions in particular. While most critics argue that this unfairly limits workers’ collective bargaining rights, it should also be seen that unions restrict the individual bargaining rights of workers. The value of unions increases with the monopsony power of employers in the hiring process and the similarities among employees. For example, generous health care benefits may not provide as much value to younger, healthier employees and employees who already have coverage through a spouse. Pension plans that reward longevity may not provide as much value to mobile employees. Salaries that are based on experience and degree fail to reward those exceptionally talented teachers. However, these teachers have no voice for their needs. They are stuck with the deal negotiated by the union.

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