Stanford Professor Terry Moe Finds Monopoly Bargaining Harmful to Students Part 2

Terry Moe, Chairman of the Political Science Department at Stanford University, on the perils of collective bargaining for students.

These two realms of union activity are symbiotically connected: collective bargaining is the source of the members, money, and organization that translate into political power, but a prime use of that power is to protect and enhance their collective bargaining rights, and to elect sympathetic officials who will help them achieve their contract objectives. Collective bargaining promotes political power. Political power promotes collective bargaining.

The analysis of this article is not definitive, of course, but it moves the ball downfield. First, it suggests that teachers unions do matter for school performance. In particular, it supports (with qualification) the core expectation that, because union and teacher interests are not aligned with the educational interests of children, the restrictions built into labor contracts should on balance tend to have negative consequences for academic achievement. Second, in exploring whether the effects of collective bargaining may depend on the conditions in which it operates, the analysis offers amore finely grained understanding of the connection between collective bargaining and the schools.