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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Antitrust, Unions & the Wall Street Journal

I have been saying for years now that collective bargaining violates antitrust law. My theory was greeted quietly yet thoughtfully at first in 2007 at ALEC but I've stood by it.

On Friday, I created a pop culture cartoon on the anti-collective bargaining bill to explain my theory.

Now, finally, in today's Wall Street Journal a Professor of Economics at Harvard University is stating the very same thing; that collective bargaining is a violation of Antitrust.

"For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions. An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on. From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty."

I hope the logic of this thinking will quickly spread - it is about time...

Susan Lynn

NOTE: When the law is unjust we see ill effects. That is why laws get changed. Special treatment; excluding the activities of particular special interest groups from the law does not make it just. Why did they need to be excluded in the first place? What have the effects been? Others comment "what about all the good for which unions have worked?" If the law is changed unions can and always will still exist. In fact, many associations (guilds, industry groups, special interest groups, whatever you want to call them) successfully work for the passage of very good laws (and some bad ones) all the time and they don't need collective bargaining to do so.


Anonymous said...

Collective bargaining does seem to meet the definition of "an agreement to restrain trade."

But Labor Unions have had an explicit exemption from US anti-trust laws since the 1914 Clayton Act.


... said...

GREAT POINT - Makes you realize why they thought they needed it doesn't it...

It is time this ended.

Anonymous said...

Consider this - a governor decides to reduce all payroll by 10% while reducing taxes by a similar amount on corporations. The worker can quit, but then has no income, and in leaving the state leaves family, home, etc. Workers are disadvantaged in dealing with employers, government or otherwise. The only way to fight that kind of abuse is through a union. It is because of these kind of abuses that unions were legalized. You may want to read about how Harlan County miners were treated in the 70's by Duke Power until a union effort forced improvements.

... said...

I do not think that the Governor would ever propose cutting state workers' pay by 10%.

Stating that is pure rhetoric designed to cause fear.

Union efforts have brought about improvements. In fact, the main purpose of trade associations is to improve and advance the industry.

However, collective bargaining is not needed to make such improvements and to confuse the two, or try to link the two, is simply false.

The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

Public employees have plenty of civil service rules and labor laws to protect them now where years ago they did not. Collective bargaining is more of a detriment to employees than it is a plus. For instance, if the "collective" decides to adopt a contract or employee benefit that is bad for an individual union member's situation, the individual is stuck with it anyway. It takes away individual liberty. There's no longer a need for unions. Get rid of them.

how to talk dirty to a guy said...

Thanks a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily memorable chance to read this article.