I nearly choked on my morning coffee when I read this quote from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York Times op-ed on public sector unions:
But unions also play a vital role in protecting against abuses in the workplace, and in my experience they are integral to training, deploying and managing a professional work force.
Bloomberg made his billions with Bloomberg LP, his financial data and analysis firm. Are the programmers and financial analysts there unionized? I bet not. Historically, unions protected minimally skilled workers; outside of the public sector, they've had little to do with protecting and developing professional workers. Now that public-sector unions have enormous leverage over state and local governments, however, they're not going to roll over and take a back seat because Democratic politicians ask nicely.
The rhetoric from some progressive politicians and policy wonks on public-sector unions is verging on the absurd. The message seems to be "we need strong unions, but let's get rid of all the costly practices they fight for." Good luck with that, Mayor Mike.