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Herman Cain didn’t flub collective bargaining answer

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Herman Cain (photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is getting pilloried for his stumbling answer on Libya yesterday, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel overreached when it said Cain “also appeared to be unclear on the issue of collective bargaining as it involves federal employees.” Here’s the full exchange on federal collective bargaining between Cain and the Journal Sentinel editorial board (and the video is embedded below):

Q: Would you favor collective bargaining for federal employees?

Cain: They already have it, don’t they? Yeah. They already have collect–…

Q: No, they don’t.

Cain: They have unions.

Q: They have unions.

Cain: They have unions, OK?

Q: But they don’t have the same bargaining…

Cain: They don’t have the same bargaining powers. Here again, collective bargaining, I support as long as it doesn’t create an undue burden on the state, the government, the taxpayer, this whole thing. That’s the issue. The principle is one thing, the execution is something totally different.

The Journal Sentinel’s editor was incorrect to state that federal employees don’t have collective bargaining rights. The article posted online yesterday correctly noted that the vast majority of federal employees don’t collectively bargain over pay and benefits, but hundreds of thousands do collectively bargain over workplace conditions. (For example, earlier this year there was a debate among lawmakers over whether Transportation Security Administration screeners should be able to bargain over workplace conditions.)

But it seems somewhat odd for the Journal Sentinel to muddy the waters on a fine point of federal labor law, and then call Cain’s response unclear — especially since nothing Cain said was factually incorrect.



  1. Jim Says:
    November 16th, 2011 at 7:10 am

    The poor guy is yesterdays news. The chances of him becoming president are a tad lower than Rick Perry’s… nearly non-existant. Not everyone can know every answer to every question.

  2. punjab food recipes Says:
    November 20th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    “Herman Cain was unaware that China is a nuclear power. And I said to myself, ‘Hey, Herman, how about making an unwanted advance on a history book?’” –David Letterman