Among all the things that bother me about all these protest going on right now, starting in Wisconsin, is the term “collective bargaining rights”. I just don’t see the ability to bargain as a right. Free speech, a free press, no discrimination in voting, and others outlined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are what I’d call rights.
I think a better term would be “collective bargaining privileges”. When you boil it down, that is what it is, a privilege, granted by the taxpayer and government. There is nothing in the US Constitution that grants you the right to a job or to collective bargain. It is true there are laws on the books that protect folks and organizations that are unionized, but these laws do not grant rights.
At the state, and to a lesser extent, and federal level this privilege has been abused. Whenever a group can hold a government hostage in an attempt to get more of the taxpayer’s money that would qualify as abuse in my book. FDR had it right when he said, “The very nature and purposes of government make it impossible for…officials…to bind the employer…The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives…” In other words, you work for the taxpayer, not General Motors or US Steel.