Eric Fink speaks on privatization with state employees
Elon Law professor Eric Fink delivered a presentation on privatization, Nov. 15, at a forum of the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC).
Prior to becoming a law professor, Fink practiced labor and employment law. His current research includes examination of the privatization of municipal public services.
In his presentation before SEANC, Fink described the concept of privatization and its standard justifications.
“Advocates for privatization frequently contend that government-run services are over-staffed by over-paid employees who don’t work very hard and care little if at all about the quality of services being delivered: the popular stereotype of ‘lazy, incompetent, hostile government employees’ enjoying ‘bloated salaries, cushy benefits, and gold-plated pensions,'” Fink said. “The usual villains in this story are public-sector labor unions, which allegedly buy-off politicians with campaign contributions and votes, and protect workers from discipline or discharge through ‘cumbersome’ grievance and arbitration procedures under their collective bargaining agreements.”
Fink countered that line of argument with analysis of the impacts of privatization.
“Indeed, empirical studies indicate that privatization has not delivered on its promises of greater efficiency and improved service,” Fink said. “On the contrary, privatized services do not appear systematically to outperform government-run services in either cost or quality. Rather, the main beneficiaries of privatization are the private contractors, who reap substantial profit from the arrangements.”
Fink’s presentation included discussion of proposed and recently enacted laws in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey that he described as part of a “rhetorical and legislative attack on government services and public workers.”
Click here to learn more about Elon Law professor Eric Fink.