By Attorney Jonathan Emord
Author of "The Rise of Tyranny" and,
"Global Censorship of Health Information"
March 7, 2011
The Taylor Law in New York bans strikes by public employees. It is a good law. Unlike private sector employees, those in the public sector perform service that is necessary to fulfill a legal obligation (educate students in the public schools; extinguish fires; arrest criminals; collect garbage, or renew drivers’ licenses, etc.). Public employees are, thus, instrumentalities of the state who perform essential state functions mandated by law for the benefit of the public. As such, it is an appropriate condition of their employment that they relinquish the right to strike.
Unlike private sector employees whose wages reflect the value of their services to willing buyers in a free market, public sector employees feed off the taxed wages of those who generate wealth in our society. Consequently, public sector employees have a certain fiduciary duty to taxpayers that is unique. Because the payment of taxes is obligatory, not volitional, public employee service, correspondingly, must be obligatory, not volitional. It is not possible for us to withdraw from the public trough the funds we pay in taxes because we are dissatisfied with the quality of public education, the adequacy of garbage retrieval, or the efficiency of driver’s license renewal. If that were our right, many now paid for public service would be unemployed. Correspondingly, it should not be possible for public employees to shirk their duties because they think the amount of pay and benefits lawmakers provide them is inadequate.
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