The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

On balance, government employee labor unions have a positive impact on the United States

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JBlake either declined this challenge, or never responded to it. If you are jingzhezhang, login to see your options.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Challenge Declined
Viewed: 979 times Debate No: 11530
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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As stated, most of the general literature on the resolution is written from the perspective of criticizing public employee unions. Given the current economic climate, this is not surprising.

Despite this general problem, I do think there are ways for those who support public employee unions to win that they are on-balance desirable for the United States.

First, advocates must talk about specific unions. Don't let the debate get abstract, but instead argue that specific unions do very good things. Since most of your judges are teachers, I'd start by arguing in favor of the teachers' unions. There is strong evidence, for example, that these unions have increased the amount of money spent on education, that higher pay has attracted higher quality teachers, and that unions have worked to improve educational standards in schools.

Given how important education is to the United States, you could argue that as long as you win that the net impact of unions on education is positive, you can argue that the on balance impact on the U.S. is positive.

Second, I'm sure that with a little additional research that you can find some evidence that talks about the benefits of unions in other areas – particularly police and fire unions. These workers provide safety for the public, and ensuring that governments can recruit strong workers for these jobs is critical.

Third, I'd argue that attacking public union workers, particularly firefighters, police officers, and teachers, is really a poor means to scapegoat the country's economic problems on a set of important public servants.

For example, many people complain that the cost of health care is increasing too rapidly and that the taxpayer is forced to absorb a lot of the cost for workers in public unions. Well, the core cause of this problem is not the unions, but the escalating cost of health care. It seems to make more sense to argue for health care reform than to argue that public employee unions have a net negative impact on the United States. Similarly, many criticize the investments that have been made in public employee pensions – that some have been ridiculously risky – but this makes the case for financial services reform, not for bashing public employee unions. And, taxes are going to increase for reasons independent of public employee unions (declining real estate prices, high unemployment, entitlement (Medicare & Medicaid) spending, and high defense spending). One cannot seriously argue that the fiscal situation in the US would be sound if it wasn't for those over-paid public employee labor workers.

Generally, I'd argue that all of the problems that the other side argues are caused by public employee unions are caused by other factors and that it is wrong to blame teachers, police officers, and fire fighters for these ills. After all, it is these groups of individuals that protect the public safety and educate our youth. Without them, the U.S. would not be in very good shape.

Specifically when your judge is a public school teacher who may likely belong to a union, you should really emphasize how unions have improved schools and delivered the pay and benefits to teachers that they deserve. These arguments will not only be generally persuasive to teachers, but it will force your opponents to argue against teacher unions – argue that teachers are too highly paid and undeserving of the benefits that they receive!
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Debate Round No. 1
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
You might want to issue this challenge to someone who opposes Labor Unions.
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