“Friedman Friday” FREE TO CHOOSE “Who protects the worker?” Video and Transcript Part 2 of 7 “Why does it take almost 2 years to fire a government employee?”

FREE TO CHOOSE “Who protects the worker?” Video and Transcript Part 2 of 7

In 1980 I read the book FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman and it really enlightened me a tremendous amount.  I suggest checking out these episodes and transcripts of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “What is wrong with our schools?”  and “Created Equal”  and  From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market. Milton Friedman shows in this episode how the worker is best protected and it is not by the government!!!!!!!

Milton Friedman shows in this episode that instead of allowing a boss at a government job to fire a worker for being late every day, the boss had to spend almost 2 years going through red tape before being able to fire  the employee. This is too much protection for the worker!!!!

Pt 2

One day in 1978, workers at a coal loading dock on the Ohio River in southern Indiana continued to work after the Mineworker’s Union had called a strike. That night, a crowd of armed union men invaded the site.

John Persinger: And then they fired a little building sitting here after they fired Mr. Tegain’s car here. And threw another fire bomb into the trailer, others had ran on back and were firing trucks and shooting holes through tires with hand guns. I’d gone back beyond the loading dock here. Standing back in there. I could hear them shooting and the air escaping from truck tires. Course there’s so many people moving around and doing so much damage and setting so many things on fire, there were a lot of things going on at one time. We should have been heavily armed and shot these people did something to stop such destruction. I wouldn’t have believed that a rabble rouser could have gathered together that many irresponsible people to come on to a person’s property and do this kind of destruction until I’d finally seen it done.

Friedman: These workers are on the other side of the union fence. They’re building two social security offices in Baltimore. On this government project everyone’s a union worker. They rely on their union to protect them against competition from non-union labor. But some local contractors see a very different side to a closed shop.

Harry Leef: We don’t feel that anyone should be denied a choice and we feel every man should have a choice if he wants to be unionized or not. Not legislated not saying he must belong to a union. If you feel when you tell a man he must belong to a union or he must do this or that, you are taking freedoms away from this man. The freedom of choice of this businessman here to choice me to do business with me. All businesses needs its right to choice to do business with each other. By the same token, our employees have the right to choose whether they want unionization or not.

Friedman: On this government site, authorized personnel only really means unionized personnel only. Unions have long recognized that the surest and most effective way for them to get power without violence is to have the federal government on their side. That’s why so many strong unions have made it a point to locate their headquarters close to the source of power.

The heads of the trade unions that cluster near Capital Hill know this place very well. It is the room assigned to the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives and it is where much of our labor legislation is discussed and shaped before presentation to Congress. I know rooms like this myself very well. Because I’ve often testified before Congressional Committees and they all meet in rooms like this, up there on the podium is where the members of the House or of the Senate sit. Of course, behind them there will be clustered a bunch of aides. As you know, there are something like 30_40 aides for every single member of the House and the Senate. And very often in one of these committee rooms there will be almost nothing but aides around. When I’ve sat in the bear pit over here, where the witnesses sit to testify, I’ve sometimes thought that maybe the whole thing was a show being conducted by and for the aides with an occasional member of the House or Senator dropping by to see what the show is all about.

This is a room in which hearings were held on the most recent increase in the minimum wage for example. Who do you suppose testified here in favor of a higher minimum wage right? Do you suppose it was representatives of the poor people who are supposedly being helped by the bill? Not a bit of it. The major people testifying for it were representatives of the American Federation of Labor. The AFL-CIO. The major organization of trade unions in this country. There’s hardly a member of one of their trade unions who works for a wage anywhere close to the minimum wage. Despite all the rhetoric about helping the poor, they were in favor of a higher minimum wage for a very different reason. Because it would protect the members of their unions from competition from the lower and lesser skilled people. To see the effects of minimum wage laws in action, go to a place like this where they sell quick and inexpensive food. You don’t need much training to start work on this job. It used to be a traditional training ground for the unskilled. Not any longer thanks to the minimum wage laws.

Lee Roberts: From the workers point of view, the people that it was supposed to help are the people in some cases it’s hurting the most. Such as minorities, unskilled labor and young people. A businessmen, especially a small businessman cannot afford to bring in these people at the higher wage. They are willing however, to take apprentices and to train them. It’s very difficult to do now under minimum wage laws.

Friedman: To people who are discriminated against most by high minimum wage, right, are the people with low skills which includes a disappropriate number of Negroes. Indeed I have long believed that the minimum wage rate was the most anti-Negro piece of legislation on our statute books. Not by intention, but through its results.

The more they get paid, the better people can live. Whether they are paid in cash or in kind. The staff restaurant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., these people are eating subsidized food. Like all civil servants federal workers get extremely generous fringe benefits. They have also had an incredible degree of security. It has been almost impossible to fire a civil servant. In January, 1975, a typist in the Environmental Protection Agency was so consistently late for work that her supervisors demanded she be fired. It took 19 months to do it and this incredible 21 foot long chart lists the steps that had to be gone through to satisfy all the rules and all the management and union agreements.

Unnamed Individual: This is really a typical horror story is what it amounts to. It shows the number of steps you have to go through.

Friedman: The process involved the girl’s supervisor, his deputy director, his director, his director of personnel operations, the agency’s branch chief, an employee relations specialist, a second employee relations specialist, a special office of investigations and the director of the office of investigations. This veritable telephone directory, need I add, was paid with taxpayers money. Who could invent a better protected job than this one before it came to it’s end?

Worker: We now have a time certain at which the decision has to be made with the agency.

Friedman: Half an hour’s drive out of Washington, you come to Montgomery County where many very senior civil servants live. It has the highest average family income of any county in the United States. Of the people who live here who are employed, one out of every four works for the federal government. Like all civil servants, they have job security, salaries linked to the cost of living, a fine retirement plan also linked to the cost of living, and many manage to qualify for Social Security as well, becoming double-dippers.

Many of their neighbors are also here because of the federal government. Congressmen, lobbyists, top executives of corporations with government contracts.

As government expands, so does this neighborhood.

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