The left is crowing about a couple of polls that they say shows that public opinion is on the side of the public sector unions in Wisconsin and here in Ohio. But unions in general have been falling in popularity for years, so what gives?
As usual, its all in how you ask the question. Especially when you ask a question about a more complicated issue like collective bargaining. Many people don’t really understand what it is. Therefore, when you ask someone a question about something they don’t really understand, the wording of the question has an even greater effect. So let’s look at the questions.
Do you favor or oppose taking away some of the collective bargaining rights of these unions?
Would you favor or oppose a law in your state taking away some collective bargaining rights of most public unions, including the state teachers union?
What is the key in both of these polls? They both refer to collective bargaining “rights”. That shows bias right off the bat. Why?
For one, collective bargaining is NOT a right. The right to free speech without government persecution is a right. The right to bear arms is a right. Collective bargaining is not a right.
Today’s collective bargaining laws are privileges granted to unions that give them an advantage, a measure of leverage, over the employers they deal with. Whether they are a good or bad thing is up to one’s own opinion. I believe that they put public sector employees in a privileged position over their private sector neighbors who must pay them.
Two, by wording the question about taking away someone’s “rights”, you evoke an immediate emotional response. Nobody agrees with taking away someone’s rights. Of course people are going to say they oppose that!
The true question is whether collective bargaining laws are rights at all.
Collective bargaining is a power and a privilege that has been given to unions by partisan votes. It isn’t a right. Rights are universal. If it was a right, everybody would have that right. But they don’t.
Most private sector employees don’t have those “rights”. Even other government employees, those who work for the federal government, don’t have these “rights”. Which is something President Obama should keep in mind, since he unilaterally froze federal workers pay without having to worry about some previous collective bargaining contract.
So here we have the left doing what they always do, framing an issue as an issue of someone’s rights. By doing this with collective bargaining, these two polls are literally push polls, framing the question to get the results that they desire. These polls are biased, plain and simple.