The Instigator
jingzhezhang
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
lindseyloo92
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points

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

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
lindseyloo92
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,529 times Debate No: 11533
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

jingzhezhang

Con

Resolved: On balance, government employee labor unions have a positive impact on the United States.
The April Public Forum topic deals with the topic of whether or not unions of government employee laborers have a net positive impact on the United States.

Before examining both sides of the resolution, let's break down some basic terms.
In this context, a "union" is generally understood to be "an organization of employees formed to bargain with the employer; "you have to join the union in order to get a job". When employees are part of unions, the union negotiates on behalf of the collective group of employees/union members and to negotiate salaries/overtime and benefits (health care, vacation time, pensions, etc). A "pension" is essentially a salary that an employee draws for the rest of his or her life once he or she retires. The resolution specifically refers to pubic employee labor unions. This specific reference is important because there is a large conceptual difference between a union of public employees (employees that work for a level of government, federal, state, or local) and a union of employees that work for a private company. The difference is that employees of a private company know that they can only ask for so much in wages/benefits or those will start to threaten the viability of the company. Government employees, however, can ask for almost anything that they can get, knowing that the bill will simply have to be paid by the tax payers. The issue of public employee union wages and benefits being payed by taxpayers is what gives rise to this resolution. A declining economy/tax base is giving rise to growing government deficits that are being compounded by large obligations on the part of governments to pay (high) government employee union wages/benefits. This growing fiscal gap is increasing animosity toward public employee unions, and it is what likely gave rise to this topic and makes it timely. The final important concept/phrase in the resolution is "on the United States." This is important to highlight because it keeps the question macro/large what is the net impact of these unions on the country as a whole, not necessarily on individual states or counties (though these collective smaller impacts are what determine the "on balance" impact "on the United States."
My partner and I stand in firm negation to the resolution.
lindseyloo92

Pro

I would first like to thank my opponent for posting this debate. The April public forum topic is timely because the number of public sector workers in unions are outnumbering those in the private sector for the first time in history.

I stand in firm affirmation of the resolution, Resolved: On balance, government employee labor unions have a positive impact on the United States. I affirm this resolution for three key reasons:

1. Government employee unions have positive impacts on the U.S. economy.
2. Teacher unions have positive impacts on U.S. education.
3. Government employee unions are crucial to ensure that government employees receive the wages and benefits they both need and deserve.

First, public sector unions have positive impacts on the U.S. economy. The reasoning behind this statement is twofold. First, we must look at the impact of public sector unions on the private sector. According to a journal release from the CATO institute, public sector union workers earn an average of $7 more per hour than their private sector counterparts. While my opponent may argue that this is not beneficial, we must see that increased wages for workers in the public sector also create wage and benefit increases for those in the private sector. Dr. David Madland and Karla Walker, both of the American Worker Project at American Progress, write that, "...non-union workers...receive financial benefits from employers who increase wages to match what unions would win in order to avoid unionization". Similarly, Harley Shaiken of the Economic Policy Institute contends that union gains flow to nonunion workers. When private sector employers realize that their employees may be drawn to higher paying public sector jobs, they inherently desire to quickly resolve the situation. A prime example of this is shown in a 2000 study by the National Center for Education, which reported that public school teachers made an average of $7,000 more than private school teachers. Yet just eight years later, salaries increased enough so that an average private school teacher made only $4,000 less than a public school teacher. This is due to the private sector increasing wages so that their workers are less inclined to leave and claim union jobs with higher pay. So wages are increased for all workers. This is key because overall, it increases purchasing power for the middle-class. Incontestably, we know that as the majority of American workers obtain increased wages and/or benefits, they will be able to buy more. This inherently increases a demand for goods, increasing the demand for supply, thereby increasing revenue into the economy. Public sector unions have a clear positive impact on the economy.

Secondly, teacher unions have several positive impacts on the education of the United States. Evidence shows that states with strong teacher unions consistently outperform non-union states. Let's look at some basic statistics that support this. Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Connecticut are all known to have excellent public school systems. Oregon and Washington are percent unionized, and Wisconsin and Connecticut are both 98 percent unionized. These may be written off as mere coincidences, with a variety of other factors besides unions affecting the success of public school education in these four states out of fifty. However, according to Education Week, states with teacher unions set the highest standards. The U.S. News and World Report reported that six out of ten of the most successful public schools come from states with strong teacher unions. Reg Weaver, the President of the National Education Association, writes that, "...an analysis of results in all 50 states shows a positive correlation between teacher collective bargaining and improved learning". In contrast, states with low unionization, such as Mississippi and Alabama, have some of the worst public education in the nation. These claims are backed with test score data, as highly unionized states consistently score higher than those with lower unionization (NCES NAEP).

Lastly, government employee labor unions are crucial to ensure that government employees receive the wages and benefits they both need and deserve. Public sector unions have a long, proud history of fighting for the American worker. The American Federation of Government Employees, one of the U.S's largest public worker unions, pioneered legislation for not only government worker, but also private safety throughout out nation's history. For example, from 1830 to 1835, strikes and demonstrations from unionized government workers actually led to the adoption of 10-hour days for all private workers. In the 1860s, as a result of demonstrations, the federal government for the first time established wages comparable to private wages in similar fields. Finally, in 1935, the Wagner Act provided a means for secret ballots and fair labor practices for all government workers. All this was a result of public workers being able to unionize, which just goes to show how government employee unions have had a positive impact on our workers throughout this great nation of ours. Now it is important to notice that these public sector unions have not only had positive impacts on the American worker throughout history, but also ensure that these workers are still treated fairly today. Government workers are not just secretaries sitting behind a desk. They are cops, firefighters, prison guards, doctors, nurses, teachers, and CIA agents. The nation cannot function without them, and unions are necessary to ensure that their wages and benefits are not cut in times of economic recession. In like manner, we see that public sector unions are often responsible for ensuring that government employees receive the training they need. Many of our public sector workers are employed in dangerous or highly-skilled occupations. Prime examples would be police officers and firemen. This is more efficient and cost-effective than training directly from the government, and helps increase productivity of public sector workers. Government employee labor unions have positive impacts on the United States because they help protect and train the American worker.

In conclusion, government employee labor unions are an absolute necessity to the proper function of the United States. Since they benefit and stabilize our economy, are greatly beneficial to education, and help protect the wages and benefits of government workers, their positive impacts must clearly outweigh any negative impacts they may have. For those reasons, I urge a vote in firm affirmation of this resolution.

Sources:
http://www.americanprogressaction.org...
http://www.sharedprosperity.org...
http://www.counterpunch.org...
http://intelligencesquaredus.org...
http://nces.ed.gov...
http://www.cbsnews.com...
Debate Round No. 1
jingzhezhang

Con

jingzhezhang forfeited this round.
lindseyloo92

Pro

Seeing as how my opponent has forfeited this round, I must again urge a strong vote in affirmation of the resolution. Please keep in mind the following as you vote:

"Even if you don't have time to leave a full response, DO NOT forfeit a round. Forfeiting a round destroys your credibility and makes it less likely that voters will vote for you. If you can't post a full response, write as much as you can, and leave a simple sentence stating that you are unable to post a full argument and will return for the next round. This lets your opponent know that you still wish to participate in the debate and allows them to elaborate their argument."
-Debate.org's "Tips for a Better Debate" by Nate Simmons

Since there is nothing for me to refute, nor any new arguments against my own contentions to address, I shall leave my own Round 2 submission at this. I will be happy to continue the debate if my opponent posts his rebuttal in Round 3.
Debate Round No. 2
jingzhezhang

Con

jingzhezhang forfeited this round.
lindseyloo92

Pro

My opponent has failed to both introduce his arguments and address mine. While I understand that things come up, I must still urge a vote in firm affirmation for this debate. Since my points were not addressed, we must assume that they are true for this debate. Vote pro!
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by lindseyloo92 7 years ago
lindseyloo92
Haha, I totally understand. I just came close to forfeiting the first round of my other debate because I had prom and hockey play-offs this week. So your excuse is a lot better.
Posted by jingzhezhang 7 years ago
jingzhezhang
I sorry, I had a debate tornement.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
"Government employees, however, can ask for almost anything that they can get, knowing that the bill will simply have to be paid by the tax payers."

Not necessarily true. When the mass transit workers in NY bargained for a raise a few years ago, they didn't charge the tax payers - they charged riders (the people who used their services) by increasing bus and subway fares.
Posted by Zetsubou 7 years ago
Zetsubou
You won't believe it's not LD!!!
Posted by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
Sadly, you can not accept more than one debate from the same person at a time.
Posted by Marauder 7 years ago
Marauder
mabey he is hopeing to debate it with three deferent people at the same time, and hoping the same troll doesnt take them all up.

if the same person takes them all up it would provide an opportunity to try 3 different styels of arguments. you could do one loaded with outrageous ad hominins, anotherone you try to convince the audience he is debating something else, and one to take very serously.
Posted by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
Why do you have 3 of these?
Posted by debaterbayne1 7 years ago
debaterbayne1
wow
Posted by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
POOOOOOoP!!!
Posted by jingzhezhang 7 years ago
jingzhezhang
I going to keep on trying until you get bored and accept it, or you can just give up your account.
HAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!!!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Steelerman6794 7 years ago
Steelerman6794
jingzhezhanglindseyloo92Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by lindseyloo92 7 years ago
lindseyloo92
jingzhezhanglindseyloo92Tied
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Total points awarded:07