The invincible ignorance of really bad management, now on display in the state house
When conservatives say government should be run like a business, this is the kind of thing they mean:
Unlike most Reason writers, I have had the occasion to negotiate union contracts, always on the side of management, and as I must--persistently and insistently--remind my colleagues, some of whom were also on the goddamned negotiating team, we agreed to the terms and conditions that we love to bitch about.
Management in any case has all the real advantages in a negotiation if management is willing to use them. But most of the time, managers are lazy negotiators and fail to do their work in advance. An unconquerable belief that unions are irrational combined with a childlike wonderment in the face of a bargaining unit that does not acquiesce to management demands with the supine, college-educated spinelessness of the at-will staff in the upstairs offices, leads managers to enter negotiations with functionally final proposals. A few union officials willing to start off asking for the sun, moon, and stars then move toward a more agreeable (for them) middle, which is still far from what management wants. But management just sat dumbly reiterating the points that it thought every rational person would naturally agree to. And in the end, managers are pissed that they got what they consider a bad deal, because it was not the shining deal they wanted, and they act like they had nothing to do with it, even though they were at the table the whole time.
You could of course try to do a better job negotiating next time, or you could try to make unions illegal as punishment for your or your predecessors' terrible tactics, absent strategy, and lack of acumen at the bargaining table. This is the lens through which you have to view various state efforts to make collective bargaining illegal and to decertify labor unions: management is trying to punish labor for management's own failures.
Like that's a bad thing?
NOTE Because if pro-business politicians were really any good at business that's what they would be doing, and not politics. I mean, aside from their own small and very personal businesses as service providers for whoever's got the money.