Would US be better off without public employee unions?
Gov. Mitch Daniels weighs in
- Duration 12:57
- Date Jun 10, 2012
Gov. Mitch Daniels weighs in
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And how -- again from Fox News in Washington.
We may remember this past week -- the moment when voters across the country decide ahead.
Public worker unions have too much power and benefits that are too generous.
But was that a turning point or just bump in the road for government workers.
Today we'll hear from both sides we'll talk with -- top officials of big labor in a few minutes but first from his home state of Indiana Republican governor Mitch Daniels who was fought and won against unions and governor welcome back to FOX News Sunday.
There have been several big developments this week of course the Wisconsin.
Governor Walker beat back the recall leopard.
But also in California two cities San Diego and San Jose.
In both of those cities -- is.
Passed initiatives to cut back on government worker pensions.
Governor what's the message.
I think the message is that first of all voters are seeing the fundamental unfairness of government becoming its own special interest group.
Sitting on both sides of the table and they're also noticing that sadness.
That thought when fundamental services education and health care and others.
Are -- diminished because.
So much money is being.
And devoured by a very high salaries higher than those that the taxpayers themselves -- earning more generous benefits.
Almost bulletproof job protection and huge pensions.
Is this some sort of watershed what we're seeing right now are voters across the country giving state and local officials.
A green light to go laughter or at least curtail public unions.
I hope nobody thinks of it that way but I hope that I hope it means a -- -- turning point.
In trying to redress the balance.
You know the if there's a reason that defenders of labor from Franklin Roosevelt the George -- -- many others.
Always said that unionism have no place in the in the public sector that it was a necessary freedom and it is in the private sector but that it was.
A bad idea in government I think we've seen through its accesses the -- I just mention now visible to voters almost everywhere.
It really needs to be brought under some sort of control in the interest of the people who.
Pay the taxes and who would rather see those taxes more of them dollars go to vital services well are you saying that you would like to -- know.
Public worker unions.
I think really government works better without them I really do you know.
It in our state we had a sixteen year run with so called collective bargaining.
And we did and it.
And I want to say that the although it led to the saving of large amounts of tax dollars it wasn't principally about that we had a 160 pages of shackles really on government's ability to deliver services better and seven years later we are delivering services across the board in a much more effective way of people.
We could never made all these reforms tied down by those 160 pages of thou shalt -- well give me an example -- out.
Service has improved since you've cut back on on the union's.
If you if you're deserving a tax refund comes back twice as fast as it used to our state parks are -- dramatically better shape than they were.
If you go to our bureau of motor vehicles last month.
You're out in less than ten minutes and 97% of the time when we survey them.
Our customers say they're satisfied.
Well let's look at you at what you have done as governor of Indiana and it's a long -- so let's take a look in 2005 -- you ended collective bargaining rights for state workers.
On your first day in office in 2011.
-- restricted teachers bargaining rights in 2012 this year you signed a right to work law.
That says people don't have to join a union to get a job and it sounds governor like a pretty concerted effort to break.
Public and private unions.
Don't see it that way at all -- I will say.
That on the on the government side we felt that if we were gonna do right by taxpayers and if we were gonna make government work effectively.
As of now does an Indiana there was a survey last year -- 77%.
Said they thought their state government was effective as the second highest number in the country.
If we were gonna do those things we really had to have the freedom to move resources where they were needed.
Move people where they were needed pay people on the basis of their performance not simply their seniority and we are doing that in the state now I think a very positive effect.
Right to work in the private side was a very different.
Disagreement Chris and and there was simply a matter trying to bring more jobs to this state Indiana.
Has been winning two thirds of the time when we get a shot at new jobs we have been rated as one of the best jobs climate in the country by everyone now.
But that was a very large percentage of the time maybe a third of all the opportunities we didn't even get a shot at.
Because the businesses.
For their own reasons insisted on this freedom so.
Two very separate questions as we saw them we're not going after anybody we're just going after better government.
And more jobs for -- people in our state but -- in to take.
A look at this and all the reforms as you would call like government worker is in your estate have taken -- Indiana ranks 46 in state worker.
In Indiana must pay a lot more for health care coverage than they used do I mean they have paid a price because of all of Iraq.
I disagree completely that I was particularly those who have been rated as the best performers -- at the highest.
Raises by far in recent state history in fact ever in state.
History I think we have a fair system now state workers.
I praise them all the time and I think the ones -- Encounter are rightly proud of the job they are doing and as I just mentioned their fellow citizens appreciate them here in a way that.
Maybe is not the case elsewhere.
But how -- what about this figure that I just gave you Indiana ranking 46 of the fifty states in state worker gross salary.
I don't know where they come from and I've never seen them before so I can't comment on it did I mean how -- fact.
You know -- -- we have a lot of information that in terms of gross salary and terms of the cost to the state worker.
Of health care benefits that those have gone up a lot.
Well Chris all I can tell you is that it's we have we believe and others due to the the most effective state -- America we have very low turn over lower than before among our state employees may be that says something.
We think we have the best health care plan.
Anywhere and it is one which.
Is leading -- much lower increases in costs a by the way 93%.
Of Indiana State workers at a health savings account.
They are accumulating tens of millions of dollars that they control.
In those accounts and they are renewing at a very high rate.
Satisfaction rate every year so.
You know way.
We're not really.
We've done anything but improve the lot of Indiana's public employees.
Let's take a look governor at the big picture and a sense it's almost a philosophical question don't unions.
Have a place in this country and even in the case of out of state workers public worker -- and got with -- government.
To make sure that that management in this -- government doesn't run roughshod over them.
I once again would differentiate between the two sectors absolutely there's a place in the private sector I think there are some issues here that the of their problems didn't start with Scott Walker there's.
Forty or fifty year decline in union membership the world of work has changed workers have changed.
And unions I don't think have changed sufficiently to go with them so.
As you know private sector met membership is down under 7% and Allen and that -- can't be blamed on Scott Walker frankly anyone else and public life again on the government side honest people can differ but.
There is -- I think the fundamental problem.
With government becoming its own special interest group forced -- Recycled into politics to elect them compliance and friendly politicians in an unending circle and ultimately.
There is not really -- bargaining in those situations because government sits on on both sides of the table.
Looking ahead to November is there -- a danger here for Republicans the Obama campaign is just out with a a new -- that we're gonna put up -- -- second.
That in effect says that Mitt Romney is has become the enemy of working men and women let's take a look at the -- Governor is there the danger of a backlash.
You know that add to could be read cynically as simply playing for the core constituency of the president which is government itself from the people who.
Who profit from it.
But honestly IE I've concluded over the years it's not that that it's just sadly symptomatic of incredible -- body -- he does not understand where wealth and jobs come from.
They come from -- Successful private sector or not at all.
You know we've got the biggest government we've ever had in the weakest recovery ever on record and I think honestly the president -- this week he said.
If I read that correctly into my amazement he said that -- private sector's doing just fine it's government that needs more money well.
Government you know does not create wealth or -- -- it just shuffles it around and it charges of a price that cost for that.
Service or disservice and let me interrupt for -- -- -- Because in that news conference on Friday.
The president said one way to both the recovery is for congress to pass his jobs act and specifically he asked.
For 35 billion dollars war to save or create.
Jobs for teachers and first responders I take it you don't think that's a good idea.
I don't -- in there tried that to the tune of 800 billion dollars in his so called stimulus bill which was overwhelmingly.
Not the new bridges and roads and infrastructure that some of us thought might be the idea it was overwhelmingly just more money shoveled in the government now.
This is a bit tired and discredited theory.
And but I do think the president sincerely believes it and there I guess is -- is a fundamental.
Disagreement that the American people will have to.
To settle this fall.
Finally we have less than a -- left after his victory -- -- Governor Walker of Wisconsin.
Said that he had some advice for Mitt Romney he said it is not enough for him to run simply as the anti Obama this fall -- house to run.
As a reformer anyone on the site address.
He meaning Romney have to offer a plan.
The big challenges facing the country I think he can win if he does that.
Is walker right does Romney need to offer a bold affirmative agenda.
Yes absolutely for two reasons one is that's the most.
The successful I believe campaign strategy -- the American people I think will rightly.
Demand to know something more than he's not President Obama.
But does secondly he's got the use this falls an opportunity to build a consensus.
Across I hope a broad spectrum of Americans to make the big changes we need to restore -- vibrant private.
A sector and all the good things that come with a including more dollars.
For government so that that's exactly the right advice it would be I think a huge mistake for Republicans to -- Wisconsin has some kind of great harbinger.
I don't see it all that way at all I mean there was.
Clearly a threat of and enough already vote there that that basically said that this is an abuse of the process all these recalls.
Not even clear that the -- that governor Romney will be that strong in Wisconsin so he he better have an affirmative constructive message.
And one of hope.
And -- I think that he will and that's why I think ultimately he'll be he'll prevail.
Got -- Daniels we want to thank you so much for coming in today always a pleasure to talk but is there.