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Power Breakfast: Unions And Collective Bargaining

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Among those invited is Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, who points out unions gave rise to the American middle class.

"We need to have a strong middle class in order to see our economy grow and thrive. And we need these investments in the public sector to help do that" she says.

Also speaking today, is Tom Guyer, a U.S. Army veteran and long-time union man.

"I want Congress to know, we're jeopardizing the teachers, the firemen, the policemen as well as myself, a parole officer. Public safety is a big issue of ours. That's one of the key messages we need to get across to Congress," Guyer argues.

James Sherk, is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation. According to him, "there is very little role for Congress to play."

Sherk, a conservative labor economist, is not invited to participate in the event this afternoon.

"In a democracy the rights belong to the voters and their elected representatives," he says. "As long as you have collective bargaining giving a monopoly over government labor to the unions, then the voters and elected representatives don't have final say."

Sherk says budget-strapped states need flexibility to cut costs, And that it's not up to the federal government. The "hearing" today on the Hill, says Sherk, is a partisan P-R exercise.

But parole officer Tom Guyer, the union member who also happens to be a Republican, says both parties could do better.

"I don't feel you get anything accomplished without coming to the table. Another reason I'm a believer in collective bargaining: you bring two sides to a table that might have opposite interests in hopes of meeting in the middle," Guyer says.

Now that's leading by example.

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