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Even FDR Opposed Public Sector Unions

From the website of the American Presidency Project:

Letter on the Resolution of Federation of Federal Employees Against Strikes in Federal Service

August 16, 1937

Mr. Luther C. Steward
President, National Federation of Federal Employees
10 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.

My dear Mr. Steward:

As I am unable to accept your kind invitation to be present on the occasion of the Twentieth Jubilee Convention of the National Federation of Federal Employees, I am taking this method of sending greetings and a message.

Reading your letter of July 14, 1937, I was especially interested in the timeliness of your remark that the manner in which the activities of your organization have been carried on during the past two decades "has been in complete consonance with the best traditions of public employee relationships." Organizations of Government employees have a logical place in Government affairs.

The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that "under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government."

I congratulate the National Federation of Federal Employees the twentieth anniversary of its founding and trust that the convention will, in every way, be successful.

Very sincerely yours,

[Franklin Roosevelt
President, United States]

Even the dyed in the wool socialist FDR thought public sector unions were unworkable.

And, of course, he was absolutely correct. As the events in Wisconsin and elsewhere around the country are proving every day.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Even FDR Opposed Public Sector Unions”

  1. BannedbytheTaliban

    Public sector unions are nothing more than money laundering schemes to funnel taxpayer dollars into the coffers of Democratic politicians. They are criminal and should be abolished everywhere.

    • There are three legal bases for impeaching Obama, his toadies, and the ‘progressives’ in both parties:

      1) Reckless Endangerment. Their policies are clearly inept and incompetent beyond reason.
      2) Implied Malice. Extreme recklessness indicates malice aforethought.
      3) Depraved Indifference. They DO NOT CARE that they’re wrecking OUR country.

      There are many people in prison – serving long sentences – for behavior that’s not as criminal as these people are guilty of.

  2. wardmama4

    We are their boss – I vote for fire them all.

  3. Rusty Shackleford

    FDR also knew that if the public sector had unions, they could organize against their socialist masters. Note: The USSR and other communist countries own the workers so that…”they pretend to work and the government pretends to pay them”.

    Here in the good ol’ U S of A, it has proved to be a profound failure and all the arguments against public sector unions have been proven correct. By holding the government hostage, they have held the people hostage and stymied the ability of government to operate properly. But they care not. They want their money. They want their “rights”. I was really hoping to avoid all of this in the second half of my life but ….here it is. Once again, thanks to the manipulations of the hippies and that oh-so-special generation, I and my generation have to suffer. That also speaks volumes about their selfishness.

    We have one such generational fallout product where I work. The rest of the people his age there are normal. He is always 180 degrees away from what logic and good sense would teach. In short, he’s an ass.

  4. wardmama4

    Of course FDR is right – it is why the Armed Forces cannot strike – and should be as to why police, fire should not be able to strike – Teachers should not be ‘public’ employees at all – maybe state employees and surely not Unionized nor able to strike.

    The pay used to be crap because mostly women were teachers – as that changed the salaries went up – when stupid Nixon set up the Dept of Ed – letting the gov in the door – bam, Unions, high salaries, healthcare paid for and retirement forever. And the standards in America and test scores plummeted.

    I am shocked that even FDR saw the fallacy of this idea – because mostly – if the majority of workers – most especially those whom everyone depends upon are Unionized – there will eventually be exactly what is happening today –

    The leeches are out demanding that those who make less money than they do continue to fund their lives forever – imagine if welfare queens struck – of course they are at least smart enough to know the danger of that stupid move.

    Obviously the teachers believe that they have ‘protection’ – Imagine their surprise when the inevitable happens – They are fired or the system collapses and they lose their job and goodies forever.

    If it were me – I’d keep the job and start investing as much as I could for my future.

    btw, Virginia outlaws public workers from Unionizing – and they have such a budget surplus – they are cutting taxes – makes one think twice doesn’t.

  5. Public Sector Unions to the American Taxpayers:

    Sorry you have to pay out of your own wages that you earn for your “own” retirement (401k) but brother, could you dig a little deeper in your wallet and keep funding my pension also. I have a second home that needs some work done on it before I retire at 55 years of age! “Taxpayers, keep up the good fight and I will be there for you………until age 55 anyhow”!


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