Collective Bargaining Not a God Given Right…

SEIU and Democracy for America claim the GOP “…rolled back 50 years of civil rights…” It’s appalling that they equate the PRIVILEGE of collective bargaining to the God-given rights afforded us all regardless of gender, skin color, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. This is a gross mischaracterization of the facts…and they know it.

The above quote was posted on Facebook earlier today by former Republican candidate for US Senate, Dave Westlake.

Dave, with all due respect to your faith, the rights enjoyed by citizens of the United States weren’t God given. They were earned with the blood of our patriotic forefathers who took them back from someone who thought he had the ‘divine right of kings’. They were enumerated by the founding fathers. At the time of the adoption of our Constitution they were so divisive that they weren’t even included in the final document. Ten of the twelve if these rights became the first amendments to the Constitution now revered as our Bill of Rights.

If these rights were God given, why did he wait until the twentieth century before he allowed women to vote. Why were people of color allowed to remain in bondage and be declared three fifths of a person until we once again had to fight a war? And why did it take almost another hundred years before the laws of the land truly found them equal?

And no, collective bargaining is not a specific right outlined in the Bill of Rights, nor any other amendment to the Constitution. But it too has been paid for in blood by our forefathers. And it has roots in the first amendment under freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Just because it wasn’t written in 1789, doesn’t make it any less important. And over the past three weeks we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of citizens support that right and I am proud of each and everyone of them.


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18 thoughts on “Collective Bargaining Not a God Given Right…

  1. There seems to be a wide misconception that all rights must either be natural, universal and/or constitutional. Rights can be created, amended and abrogated by statute. Someone aspiring to elected office should probably know that.

  2. Actually, I just got off the phone with God, and He claims He did give us the right of collective bargaining (can you disprove it? no?). So that means Mr. Westlake is basically calling God a liar! The blasphemous prick.

      1. I understood your point…just trying to maintain a civil level of discourse.

  3. “Paid for the by the blood of our forefathers”…I almost spit out my beverage. What a load of melodramatic crap. Since when did the forefathers “die” for the rights of Milwaukee teachers to get Viagra in their collective barganing agreement?

    ANd truly, the statement “freedom of speech and freedom of assembly” is a load of garbage as well. Why? Because unions don’t belive in either — toe the union line or get slapped down and berated. Disagree with the union and get yelled at. ANd by far, if you want to be a public school teacher–you better be in the union. Where’s the freedom in that?

    1. Well if General Motors or Koch Industries have freedom of speech, then so does AFSCME and SEIU.

      More than a few of our forefathers died for the right of collective bargaining, safe working conditions, etc. Just like the right to free speech being misused by some malcontents who disrupt the funerals of American war heroes, not every collective bargaining outcome is exactly the right thing to do. But the right needs to be protected and exercised so the rest of us have the right and can learn from the experience of others.

      1. Well if General Motors or Koch Industries have freedom of speech, then so does AFSCME and SEIU.

        Agreed. But why then does the free speech/free association rights cease to exist for employees who choose to NOT associate with a union?

        I agree wholeheartedly that free speech requires we allow things that we disagree with – the outcomes don’t outweigh the principle – the ends don’t justify the means. And yet, that’s the very same argument doesn’t apply to someone who wants to opt out? Certainly the Republicans want the right to opt out legally recognized because it will hurt the fundraising of the Democrats. And the Dems don’t want it for that very same reason. I get it – I don’t begrudge the parties wanting to act in their own interests. But that’s all outcome based – and irrelevant to the principle.

  4. Dave Westlake is a hypocrite to mention “God-given rights afforded us all regardless of gender, skin color, sexual orientation” (emphasis mine). Time and time again Westlake has publicly stated his opposition to same-sex marriage, so it’s not only curious but hypocritical that he’d mention sexual orientation, as if he really cares about the “God-given rights” of same-sex couples.

    I remember once upon a time reading a document that said something to the effect of, “all men are created equal,” but apparently Dave Westlake believes the only folks who deserve equality are those whose sexual orientations he approves of.

  5. I think most people in this country believe in the concept of unalienable rights:

    1. The traditional American philosophy teaches that Man, The Individual, is endowed at birth with rights which are unalienable because given by his Creator. God-given rights are sometimes called Natural Rights–those possessed by Man under the Laws of Nature, meaning under the laws of God’s creation and therefore by gift of God. Man has no power to alienate–to dispose of, by surrender, barter or gift–his God-given rights, according to the American philosophy.

    Several unalienable rights have been enumerated, including the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When conservatives say that collective bargaining for employees is not a “right”, I think what they really mean is that it is not a “natural right”. There are obviously many other types of rights that are granted through laws, rules, contracts, etc. For example, you may have the right to park in a specific parking spot at your work that is granted by the company. However, this is not an unalianable right. I believe the point being made is that collective bargaining falls in this latter category.

  6. I agree that none of these are “God-given” rights. But I also would hardly equate the serious struggles of equality and voting rights with the collective bargaining privileges afforded to public employees.

    After all, if they are such important rights, why does President Obama not grant them to federal employees? It’s amazing none of you can answer that question. When is the march on Washington? Really.

    1. What makes you think federal employees don’t have collective bargaining rights?

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