In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 3, 2011 / 27 Adar I, 5771

Union ‘rights’ that aren't

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If Wisconsin governor Scott Walker were getting a dollar for every protester, politician, and pundit accusing him of union-busting, attacking public-sector employees, or waging a war on working people -- to say nothing of those likening him to Hosni Mubarak and Adolf Hitler -- it wouldn't be long before he could personally close his state's $137 million budget shortfall.

To angry protesters occupying the Capitol building in Madison, it may seem clear that Walker's bill restricting the scope of collective bargaining for government employees is "an assault on unions," as President Obama called it, and no doubt many of them would agree with the AFL-CIO that "nothing less than democracy, fundamental rights, and freedom are at stake" in the fight over public-sector bargaining.

But they aren't at stake. There no "fundamental right" to collective bargaining in government jobs. Indeed, labor leaders themselves used to say so.

Arnold Zander, the Wisconsin union organizer who became the first president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, wrote in 1940 that AFSCME saw "less value in the use of contracts and agreements in public service than . . . in private employment." Instead of collective bargaining, he explained, "our local unions find promotion and adoption of civil service legislation . . . the more effective way" to serve the interests of government employees. As late as the 1950s, AFSCME considered collective bargaining in the public sector desirable but not essential, and viewed strong civil service laws as the best protection for government workers.

In December 1955, in a New York Times Magazine essay on "Labor's Future," no less a union icon than AFL-CIO president George Meany wrote: "The main function of American trade unions is collective bargaining. It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government."

Obviously, Big Labor's outlook later changed. Dozens of states -- starting with Wisconsin in 1959 -- passed laws that authorized collective bargaining in the public sector, and public-sector unionism skyrocketed in the decades that followed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in January that while union membership has dwindled to just 6.9 percent of the private-sector workforce, among public employees it has grown to more than 36 percent. Today most union members work for government. With public-employee dues swelling union coffers by hundreds of millions of dollars annually, it's no surprise that organized-labor and its allies now embrace collective-bargaining in the public sector as a "fundamental right" that only a union-busting tyrant would threaten.

Yet even today, public-employee collective bargaining is far from universal. According to a General Accounting Office summary, in only about half the states are unions allowed to negotiate labor contracts for most public workers. The other states either limit bargaining rights to specific government employees, such as teachers or firefighters, or ban public-sector collective bargaining outright. Among the states that don't allow public employees to bargain collectively are North Carolina, Texas, and Indiana; at last report, "democracy, fundamental rights, and freedom" were doing just fine in all of them. They'll do just fine in Wisconsin, too, if the governor's proposed reforms are passed.

And then there are federal employees. Obama scolds Walker for trying to restrict collective bargaining by government employees to wages, yet the two million federal civilian (non-postal) workers Obama presides over can't even bargain over that much: With rare exceptions, the wages, hours, and benefits of federal employment have never been subject to union contracts. The president appears to be quite OK with that. Last November he unilaterally announced a two-year pay freeze for all federal civilian federal employees, informing them -- no negotiating -- that they were going to "make some sacrifices" adding up to $2 billion this fiscal year.

Does this mean that federal employees are oppressed and underpaid? Hardly. Average federal wages far outstrip those in the private economy. When benefits are included, federal worker compensation averages $123,000 -- more than double the private-sector average of $61,000. Federal employees don't need collective bargaining over pay and pensions to be treated well, and the lack of bargaining rights has not busted federal-employee unions.

As even labor leaders once acknowledged, it is civil-service rules, not collective bargaining rights, that safeguard public employees' interests in hiring, promotions, and discipline. Wisconsin could abolish public-sector collective-bargaining entirely, and its government workers would still be strongly protected from management abuse -- and as free as they are today to join unions able to advocate on their behalf.

Wisconsin Republicans are targeting only the public unions' overweening political clout. They pose no danger to the welfare of public employees -- let alone to "democracy, fundamental rights, and freedom."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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