Meet John Doe: Unions are an extension of your rights of free speech, freedom to assemble

By Paul Gorski

There’s much coverage in the press these days about gun rights, abortion rights and freedom of religion, but also much union bashing. Seems some people feel unions are to blame for our local and state budget crises. That is simply not true.

First and foremost, unions are an extension of your rights to free speech and freedom to assemble. You may not like unions, you may love them, or you may be indifferent to them. However, if you allow others to restrict your rights to organize, you’re giving up your fundamental rights little by little, whether you belong to a union or not. I say you must defend these rights, whether you agree 100 percent with union policies or not.

While union benefit payments are part of some government budget problems, they are not the cause. Who negotiates those pension and benefit packages? Your elected politicians and their staffs. Who spent the benefit contributions instead of depositing them into benefit fund accounts? Your elected leaders. If you want to improve the system, elect leaders who are better contract negotiators and fund managers — don’t blame the unions...

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(This article was originally published in the Rock River Times in August 2012.)