The public sector
We’ve talked about the Wisconsin budget crisis, but Tennessee will have one if we don’t keep our public sector unions-especially the Tennessee Education Association-under control.
Tennessee now must grapple with its chance to deal with the scourge of public sector unions as the General Assembly has signaled itself ready to take on the Tennessee Education Association and its ability to hold local school boards hostage, and stop forced withdrawals from teachers’ paychecks to support a union dominated by the Democratic Party. Unchecked union power has brought governments down in Europe that refused to bring union leaders into subjection. Refusal by then-British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath to “bust” the trade unions (Heath did introduce an Industrial Relations Act, but failed to take on the unions in the direct way that Thatcher did) led to a situation that many believed was the beginning of a national collapse in that country. It was only when Margaret Thatcher began to get tough with the unions and make the unpopular choices to chip away at an exploding public sector that Britain began to turn around economically.
Union-dominated States like Wisconsin and Ohio are now moving to control the power of public sector unions in order to bring about fiscal discipline. Tennessee is required to keep its budget in balance, so shouldn’t it move to do the same?