While workers’ unions were necessary during the days of the “robber barons” such as John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, and while workers’ unions still play a valuable role in the private sector, public employee unions are completely different, and it seems like many people do not understand the distinction between the two.
In the private sector, worker’s unions help to protect employees from wage-gouging by corporate executives and wealthy shareholders. In the public sector, public employee unions exist to protect workers from—the rest of the public. The notion that most people would like to see our police, firefighters, and teachers be paid sub-standard wages is both cynical and false. Of course most people want our police, firefighters, and teachers to be well-paid; of course most people would like to see that they get fair wages, just like workers in the private sector. However, most public employees enjoy lavish benefits compared to their counterparts in the private sector, and public employee unions are bankrupting California, Wisconsin, New York, and many other states, as well. The notion that public employee unions are necessary is cynical and just plain wrong.