The Wall Street Journal has an important look at the ways public sector unions use politics to extort settlements from politicians who don’t put taxpayers first:
New York City’s police union has stood outside Mayor Bill de Blasio’s gym demanding higher pay for officers, launched a seven-figure advertising push to criticize the mayor, and flirted with backing his opponent in his re-election campaign.
Then, on Monday, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association got a phone call: Mr. de Blasio was finally ready to make a deal on the long-sought contract, according to union officials and people close to the deal.
The offer was generous, with a higher pay raise than other city unions, and a 2.25% bonus the mayor said was tied to “neighborhood policing.” One senior PBA official said the bonus hadn’t been on the table as late as last week.
Public sector unions are often among the most savvy and well-heeled interest groups lobbying state and local governments. One reason that blue states have significantly larger pension debts than red states is that they tend to have policies that are more favorable to collective bargaining for public employees.
Overly-powerful unions help protect both police brutality and bad teachers while chipping away at the fundamentals of municipal finance in America’s cities. The dysfunctional partnership between public sector unions and blue politicians is one of the major bottlenecks preventing a new era of American progress and prosperity.