I'm not reflexively anti-union, insofar as I think there's something valuable in giving workers some power to negotiate for a larger share of profits.* The key word, though, is "profits." And the thing about public sector unions is that they aren't representing workers who are working in a sector that turns a profit. They tend to be schoolteachers and transit employees, that sort of thing. Even the liberal Franklin Delano Roosevelt found the idea of public sector unions abhorrent:
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
Emphasis mine. Simply put, the idea of public employees bargaining against the state is ludicrous: their pay is determined by elected officials who unions spend dues money to elect. They're not dividing the profits derived from making a car or bringing people into a football stadium; they're splitting tax dollars extracted from the public by threat of force. It's obviously corrupt and idiotic.
All of which is a long way of saying that I appreciate Andrew Shaffer highlighting the fact that public employees are insanely overpaid while trying to defend the fact that Leslie Jones is playing a blue collar MTA employee rather than an egghead scientist in the new Ghostbusters:
"Some concern online over Leslie Jones’ Ghostbusters character being the "streetwise" one. That’s understandable from the trailer edit. but she’s also described in marketing materials as a ‘municipal historian.’ She’s more than just a 4th wheel."
And Shaffer also offered up this on Twitter:
FUN FACT: Average salary of an associate professor of physics: $55k. Average salary of an MTA employee: $80k. https://t.co/5R4Rslubq5
— Andrew Shaffer (@andrewtshaffer) March 4, 2016
I understand what Shaffer's trying to do here, I guess. But all he's really doing is highlighting the absurdity of MTA pay scales. Who needs decades of schooling in an intricate and complex science when you can join a union and get paid a ridiculous sum to drive a bus or tell tourists which subway line to take! Obviously the latter is more valuable than the former and that's why the average pay is so much higher.
*I'm not reflexively pro-union, either, since they have a real impact on productivity and can calcify workplaces.