Hostage to the Unions

Beware of Greeks losing gifts:

Greek government workers shut down schools and hospitals and disrupted flights as demonstrators occupied the Acropolis in an escalation of protests against 30 billion euros ($40 billion) of additional wage cuts and tax increases unveiled this week.

The ADEDY union federation, which represents more than 500,000 civil servants having their pensions and pay slashed under measures announced May 2 by Prime Minister George Papandreou, will hold a rally at midday joined by striking teachers. A general strike, the third this year, is planned for tomorrow, with private-sector workers due to participate.

“Protests will increase,” said Spyros Papaspyros, the head of ADEDY. “Opting for the easy path of cutting wages and pensions can’t be accepted.”

Public-sector employees should never, never be able to walk off their jobs without keeping on walking.  It is one thing for a private-sector union to strike against a company, which is all part of the balance between Labor and Capital.  But what “profit” is there for a private-sector union to get a greater share of?  The taxes that citizens are compelled to pay.

If there’s a strike against Ford, I can buy a Honda instead.  If police or teachers go out on strike, what alternatives do people have?  I would want public-sector employees to be able to find relief for grievances but they should never be able to withhold their labors without losing their jobs as well.  The ever-underrated Calvin Coolidge was wise to say during the Boston police strike, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time.”

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