"I can't think of a single situation where workers were permanently replaced on the public sector," said Gordon Pavy, national collective-bargaining director for the AFL-CIO in Washington.(from philly.com)
There is a notable exception, and it made labor history. In 1981, when members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization walked out, President Ronald Reagan replaced nearly all of them, breaking the union.
"I think a public employer would be hard-pressed to do that," Pavy said. "We like to think of our government agencies and quasi-government agencies as being more fair-minded than private employers who are out for a profit."
That gives public-sector unions an unfair advantage, said Chris Edwards, an economist for the conservative Cato Institute in Washington. "There is no downside for public-sector unions to push too far because they always have their jobs," he said. "With private-sector unionism, there is a tug and pull between employer and employee," Edwards said. "There is an economic struggle. Public-sector unions have government officials in a tight spot. It's not their money they are playing with."
In 2008, 12 percent of all employees were members of unions. In the private sector, the percentage was 8, but in the public sector, more than a third of employees, 37 percent, were in unions.
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