Worth recalling: FDR was no fan of public employee unions

The new issue of National Affairs is out, which means it’s time to read CCNY professor Daniel DiSalvo’s piece on public sector unionism. DiSalvo explains the history of public sector unions, and the damage they’ve done to state finances. My favorite part:

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to 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.”

Sometimes I wonder how FDR would react to today’s liberalism. I think there would be a lot he’d dislike.

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