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The SEIU spent $85 million during the 2008 campaign season, largely to elect politicians favorable to its two key priorities: removing employees’ right to a secret ballot for workplace certification, and a federal take-over of health care. The latter is utterly critical to the survival of union power. Unions have lost private-sector members for decades and their strongholds lie in the government sector. Clearly, turning private-sector workplaces into public-sector workplaces would give union bosses a much needed boost, and health care (especially hospitals) is the only likely candidate.

If government were to become hospitals’ dominant source of revenue, the government could demand public-sector style pay and benefits — for non-medical workers. This is a key reason for rationing health care in Canada: Too much money is sucked out of the system by unionized non-medical workers. A 2002 survey showed that hospital jobs such as painter, cook, and payroll clerk earned one-third more than their counterparts in the private sector.

This blog post originally appeared in National Review Online’s “The Corner.”

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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