Public employee unions: Have they become too powerful?

As Nevada governments struggle to cope with declining revenues, the question that increasingly must be discussed is this: Have public empoyee unions become too powerful? Do government workers for all intents and purposes control the elected bodies that oversee wages and work rules, resulting in governments run not for the efficient performance of public services, but for the workers who are supposed to deliver those services?

If, as some say, the public employee unions are too powerful, then the big loser ends up being taxpayers who must pay more for government to deliver less.

I'm not necessarily saying everying in this link is dead-on, but I think this is an important question that all Nevadans should contemplate. Union leaders and every elected officials in Nevada -- from Gov. Gibbons on down -- ought to read this editorial, which begins:

"As we quite rightfully expose and attempt to rid our society of corruption in the corporate and financial sectors, and as we support legislation to root out the excessive influence they have exercised in politics, it is a mistake to allow such efforts to blind us to the reality of corruption in other areas. Over the past 25 years, and especially in the last 10 years, the public sector of the United States has been increasingly controlled by labor unions. At the local and state level, in many cases the power of public employee unions has become near absolute, as they use often mandatory dues from their members to decisively influence political campaigns.

"The idea that workers in the public sector should control the public sector, and make or break the careers of politicians who are determining their compensation, is something most people would agree is a conflict of interests. But that is exactly what has happened. The result is government workers receiving pay and benefits far greater than what they ever made historically. In turn this is leading to severe government budget deficits across the United States, resulting in calls for more taxes at a time when small businesses are already struggling."

You can read the full piece here. (