George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

2010–Sep⁠t⁠5 Pr⁠i⁠n⁠t⁠ Med⁠i⁠a: Ocala S⁠t⁠ar Banner–Sanchez on Publ⁠i⁠c Employee Un⁠i⁠ons

By: The James Madison Institute / 2010

JMI Policy Director Bob Sanchez quoted in Ocala Star Banner article  “In Marion, Union Label Source of Fierce Division” regarding public employee unions.Excerpt:
. . . Then there’s Bob Sanchez, director of public policy at the James Madison Institute, a Tallahassee-based free market think tank, commenting on unions’ popularity in the public sector.”In some places, the government seems to exist for the benefit of the governing,” he observed. “But the privileged class might cause some backlash once there’s a realization of what’s happening.” . . . Sanchez, from the James Madison Institute, identified several reasons why Florida is less union-friendly than other parts of the country – and which help explain why private-sector unions are smaller and wield less clout than their government counterparts.Florida’s tourist- and agricultural-based economy has always differed from the “Rust Belt industrial” model that compelled workers in northern states to unionize, Sanchez said.And even what industry the state had is generally evaporating as the nation transitions from a manufacturing economy to a service one, he added.Florida, like many Sun Belt states, is a right-to-work state, which grants employees greater latitude to reject union overtures, said Sanchez.And Sanchez believes the unions’ advocacy for workplace reforms – safety regulations, minimum- and living-wage laws, federal requirements regarding the hiring of contractors – have undermined the purpose for joining organized labor.”Unions have been a victim of their own success,” Sanchez said.”Workers no longer see an advantage in giving up part of their paychecks for union dues.”Public unions, on the other hand, have proven more effective at luring employees, Sanchez said. In some instances, police officers and teachers see a value of having union representation to defend them against allegations of misconduct.Organized labor, Sanchez said, has also prospered in parts of Florida where there is little public scrutiny of budget debates, or where union activists can easily bully elected officials.In these areas, much like parts of California, taxpayers are on the hook to cover fat pension and retirement plans won through collective bargaining sessions, Sanchez said. . .