Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

Labor Unions Archive



July 2013



DC Council to the Poor: Screw You!

Written by , Posted in Big Government, Economics & the Economy, Government Meddling, Labor Unions

The unemployment rate in Washington DC is 8.5%, a point higher than the national average. Compared to the rest of the nation, the District is poverty and crime-ridden. Given these facts, you’d think the DC Council would welcome the nation’s largest employer to the area. But that’s failing to take into account the fact that DC politicians are reactionary economic illiterates.

D.C. lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a bill requiring some large retailers to pay their employees a 50 percent premium over the city’s minimum wage, a day after Wal-Mart warned that the law would jeopardize its plans in the city.

The retail giant had linked the future of at least three planned stores in the District to the proposal. But its ultimatum did not change any legislators’ minds. The 8 to 5 roll call matched the outcome of an earlier vote on the matter, taken before Wal-Mart’s warning.

The law, which unconstitutionally targets specific businesses with different rules (in a handout to Big Labor, it exempts unionized shops that would otherwise fit the criteria), amounts to a big middle finger aimed at the District’s poor.

Not only are politicians making it harder for them to find work, but in doing their best to keep Wal-Mart out they are reducing access to lower priced goods that could raise their standard of living. Even left-wing economist Jason Furman, appointed by Obama to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, understands the tremendous impact Wal-Mart has had in helping America’s poor:

Wal-Mart’s low prices help to increase real wages for the 120 million Americans employed in other sectors of the economy. And the company itself does not appear to pay lower wages or benefits than similar companies, or to cause substantially lower wages in the retail sector…

[T]o the degree the anti-Wal-Mart campaign slows or halts the spread of Wal-Mart to new areas, it will lead to higher prices that disproportionately harm lower-income families…

By acting in the interests of its shareholders, Wal-Mart has innovated and expanded competition, resulting in huge benefits for the American middle class and even proportionately larger benefits for moderate-income Americans.



December 2012



Reuters Doesn’t Understand What a Right Is

Written by , Posted in Labor Unions

For the title of dishonest headline of the day I submit this gem from Reuters: “Michigan votes to restrict union rights.”

And how did Michigan “restrict union rights”? By telling people they don’t have to join a union if they don’t want to?

In reality, what Michigan’s new Right to Work law does is enhance individual rights – in particular the rights to earn a living and free association, which both protects our right to associate with others and our right not to associate with others however we may see fit. The law ends the long-standing political handout to unions of forced membership by protecting true individual rights.

Unions should be allowed to exist in a free society just like any other voluntary group, but they should have to earn their membership by providing a worthwhile service, not through forced conscription. The legal system should not weight the system in their favor as it has done, and correcting that distortion is not a “restriction” on union rights, as the Reuters spinmeisters would have us believe.

Now that unions will have to actually work to get new members and keep their existing ones, they might be more accountable and actually spend more than just a tiny share of their dues on representing their members – the supposed reason unions exist – rather than primarily on cushy union salaries and lining the pockets of politicians.



February 2012



Indiana Joins Ranks of Free States

Written by , Posted in Free Markets, Labor Unions

It’s rather remarkable that the US still has states, more than half even, where people are forced into association with others against their will – and even required to fork over money for the privilege, money which is then used to support politicians peddling big government policies. Yet that is precisely what happens under forced unionization regimes. Indiana is now joining the ranks of the enlightened and has become a right-to-work state, putting an end to this corrupt racket.

Freedom to associate, or not associate, at one’s pleasure is an important end in itself, but it also comes with economic benefit. States with right-to-work laws are much better off than states without. Right-to-work states have lower unemployment, for instance. But most importantly, they have more freedom.

Still, an astonishing 27 states continue to support indentured servitude through forced unionization.

The fight continues.



February 2012



Another Reason to Support Walker

Written by , Posted in Education, Labor Unions

Gov. Scott Walker’s reforms in Wisconsin aren’t just important for their fiscal impact. Keeping teacher’s unions from getting too strong also prevents nonsense like this:

They’ve slapped around students, ripped off taxpayers and boozed it up in the classroom — and they’re all still employed as city public-school teachers.

A review of nearly 100 disciplinary hearings from 2011, obtained by a Post Freedom of Information Law request, shows the city had to fight tooth and nail to remove lawbreaking, abusive teachers — terminating a paltry 31 percent of the 70 charged with misconduct.

And the city could dismiss only 12 of 26 teachers who were brought up on charges of incompetence — which is driving a push by Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg for new teacher evaluations.

Or how about this guy:

Alan Rosenfeld — a 66-year-old disgraced typing teacher — hasn’t taught since he was accused of making  inappropriate comments and leering at 8th grade girls in 2001, but still collects $100,049 a year from the city, the New York Post reports.

This is what teacher’s unions are really fighting for: the power to be unaccountable. They are never, as they claim, in it for the children.



December 2011



NLRB Drops Boeing Complaint, Damage Done

Written by , Posted in Labor Unions

The National Labor Relations Board, which once targeted a dead CEO for union infractions, has dropped its frivolous challenge against Boeing’s plan to open a plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. All’s well that ends well, right? Unfortunately, no. Despite the withdrawn complaint, the damage has been done.

The NLRB only dropped its case after Boeing reached an agreement with the union, which ought to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth who believes in free enterprise and honest government. Essentially, the NLRB used their frivolous case as leverage on behalf of the union, which meant that their demands carried with them a thuggish threat of abusive government power should Boeing not cave.

U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President Randy Johnson describes just how perverse was the whole arrangement to Bloomberg:

“The union brings a complaint, the NLRB brings the charge, and once the union works things out, like a good foot soldier, the NLRB withdraws its complaint,” said Randy Johnson, who handles labor policy at the Washington-based Chamber. The possibility of similar action by the NLRB leaves “a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the business community.”

The precedent here is simply chilling, and the message to businesses is clear: you will surrender to union demands without resistance, or face the full force of a US government that has been captured and corrupted by unions. Thankfully, Rep. Issa is continuing his inquiry into this rogue agency and its out of control actions on behalf of narrow, special, labor-union interests at the expense of the US economy.



July 2011



NLRB Writes Script for Weekend at Bernie's III

Written by , Posted in General/Misc., Labor Unions

This is one of those stories that you can’t make up. And even with as low a view of the union racket as I have, I still found this difficult to believe. The National Labor Relations Board has declared a dead man in violation of labor law, and ordered him, a dead man, to comply. The NLRB issued a summary judgment against a dead man for failing to reply to a complaint filed by a union that was certified after he died, which complained that the zombie CEO was in violation of the law by failing to negotiate with the union on demand.

I. Kid. You. Not. Labor Union Report has the details.

Remind me again why we want these people in charge of our healthcare.



March 2011



UAW Rattles Saber While Government Motors Flounders

Written by , Posted in Labor Unions

The United Auto Workers, which benefited tremendously from the government takeover of GM despite being the principal cause of its insolvency, are rattling the sabers and demanding the return of all their lavish benefits in the next collective bargaining deal.

UAW Local 900 Plant Chairman, Bill Johnson, states, “If they don’t restore everything (union workers) gave up, the membership is going to knock it down. The bonuses that were just announced are just ridiculous.” While Johnson’s comments may be aimed at Ford, the UAW is signaling it will take a hard line stance in negotiations at GM as well. Union leaders are meeting this week to prepare for this summer’s negotiations on contracts that expire Sept. 14th.

It is debatable that the UAW sacrificed so much in the GM bankruptcy proceeding, particularly compared to GM bondholders who unwillingly subordinated their legal standing as creditors to the UAW, courtesy of the Obama Administration. One of the perceived sacrifices for the UAW was that laid off workers would not be paid while not working. That would seem reasonable to most, but recently laid off workers in Buffalo, NY are still receiving 75% of their pay. Also, GM continues to contribute billions of dollars to the UAW benefits fund. And while Johnson may believe that a $4,500 bonus for each GM factory worker is ridiculously low, many taxpayers feel that it is ridiculous that bailed out GM is giving bonuses out at all!

What’s a government run enterprise to do? Pissing off the UAW, which owns the Democratic Party, will bring down the wrath of Super-CEO Barack Obama, but caving to their demands will mean a quick circling of the drain. Oh, if only we had some sort of economic system that didn’t involve government in every aspect of business decisions. What a crazy dream that would be…



October 2010



China Calls Out Obama's Subsidy Hypocrisy

Written by , Posted in Energy and the Environment, Labor Unions

When Barack Obama promises green subsidies, it’s an energy plan that will create “green jobs” (it isn’t and it won’t, but that’s another story). When China does it, it’s time for an investigation!

China’s top energy official said the U.S. was playing electoral politics with an announcement that it will investigate a union complaint that the Chinese government gives unfair subsidies to its alternative energy industry.

“Does America want to get fair trade or a genuine dialogue, or get transparent information?” National Energy Administration Director Zhang Guobao asked at a Beijing press conference last night. “I think not — it seems America’s main reason is to get votes.”

The U.S. acted on a complaint from the United Steelworkers union that China’s aid to its clean-energy producers violates global trade rules. Accepting the petition may lead the U.S. to file a protest at the World Trade Organization. The complaint, called a Section 301 filing, is the first filed and accepted by President Barack Obama’s administration after his predecessor, George W. Bush, turned down trade complaints against China.

Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress are under increasing pressure ahead of the Nov. 2 congressional elections to take measures to reduce China’s trade surplus. The trade gap widened to a record $28 billion in August, bolstering claims that a weak Chinese currency is hurting American jobs. Last week Montana Democrat Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said a bill targeting China’s yuan may pass the Senate later this year and be sent to Obama for his signature.

And here we go with the trade deficit nonsense again. The “trade gap” is just a fancy way of saying that we get more stuff from China than we have to give them in return. I run a similar deficit with BestBuy, and it’s certainly not a bad thing for me.

But the real point here is the absurdity of an administration that promotes subsidies and protectionism to shield unions from competition – which incidentally raises prices for consumers and reduces overall prosperity – even considering complaining to the WTO when other countries do the same. Obama’s consistent disgust at practicing free trade gives him zero moral authority on the matter.



August 2010



Teachers Union Threatens LAT Boycott Over Teacher Effectiveness Analysis

Written by , Posted in Education, Free Markets, Labor Unions

It’s hard to imagine a teacher’s union making themselves even more despicable and obstructionist, but they’ve found a way.  First, the Los Angeles Times published an analysis on teacher performance:

With Miguel Aguilar, students consistently have made striking gains on state standardized tests, many of them vaulting from the bottom third of students in Los Angeles schools to well above average, according to a Times analysis. John Smith’s pupils next door have started out slightly ahead of Aguilar’s but by the end of the year have been far behind.

In Los Angeles and across the country, education officials have long known of the often huge disparities among teachers. They’ve seen the indelible effects, for good and ill, on children. But rather than analyze and address these disparities, they have opted mostly to ignore them.

Most districts act as though one teacher is about as good as another. As a result, the most effective teachers often go unrecognized, the keys to their success rarely studied. Ineffective teachers often face no consequences and get no extra help.

…Though the government spends billions of dollars every year on education, relatively little of the money has gone to figuring out which teachers are effective and why.

This is exactly what one would expect from an industry shielded from the competitive pressures of the market, and instead dominated by the influence of powerful unions.  In a free market, understanding what makes one teacher successful over others would be a top priority as schools seek to attract students by providing the highest quality education possible. But our public education system is more like a jobs program for union members, and it’s too much of a bother for them to worry about the little things like whether or not students are learning and why.

Rather than attempt to improve upon their performance and learn from this analysis, the LA Times reports that union leaders are threatening to boycott the paper.

The Los Angeles teachers union president said Sunday he was organizing a “massive boycott” of The Times after the newspaper began publishing a series of articles that uses student test scores to estimate the effectiveness of district teachers.

“You’re leading people in a dangerous direction, making it seem like you can judge the quality of a teacher by … a test,” said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, which has more than 40,000 members.

Duffy said he would urge other labor groups to ask their members to cancel their subscriptions.

Measuring teacher quality based on student performance, how outrageous!



April 2010



Unions March In Illinois, Demand More Taxpayer Money

Written by , Posted in Economics & the Economy, Labor Unions, Taxes

While Illinois, like so many state governments, is already struggling to pay for overly generous public pension plans, 15,000 union members marched on the state capital demanding yet more money in the form of higher taxes.

According to ALEC’s Rich States, Poor States, Illinois is ranked 47 out of 50 for its economic outlook.  It also already has the 10th highest worker compensation costs among the states.  Raising taxes to pay public workers yet more would be a disastrous move for the state, and likely foster continued migration of the wealthy out of the state in search of lower tax jurisdictions.