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  • Morning Bell: The Union Threat to Our Economic Recovery

    It has been quite a year for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). As the Los Angeles Times documents today, despite the fact 2008 was filled with SEIU corruption, intimidation, and violence, the largest union in North America still managed to spend $85 million electing Democrats across the country and President-elect Barack Obama to the White House. One shudders to think about the influence this multi-billion dollar racket will have at the federal level in the coming year. But before we get to their coming policy priorities, lets review their performance this past year:

    This mafia like pattern of behavior by the SEIU should come as no surprise. Both the mob and organized labor have the same business model. US Court of Appeals judge for the 7th Circuit Richard Posner explains:

    The goal of unions is to redistribute wealth from the owners and managers of firms, and from workers willing to work for very low wages, to the unionized workers and the union’s officers. Unions do this by organizing (or threatening) strikes that impose costs on employers. … Unions, in other words, are worker cartels. … There is also a long history of union corruption. And some union activity is extortionate: the union and the employer tacitly agree that as long as the employer gives the workers a wage increase slightly above the union dues, the union will leave the employer alone.

    At a time when all of our businesses need to be as competitive as possible, parasitic and corrupt union influence is not what our economy needs. But that is exactly what Obama has planned for us. Referencing the SEIU’s support of his campaign for Illinois state senate, Obama wrote in his autobiography: “I owe those unions.” And so Obama is still pledging to support the SEIU’s top priority in 2009, the end of secret ballot elections in union organizing campaigns. A policy proposal that even 1972 Democratic nominee George McGovern believes is a threat to our nation.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Morning Bell: The Union Threat to Our Economic Recovery

    1. COWBOY BILL RICHMOND says:

      I would love 2 but am scared 2! If they can pull off corrupt elections and have people " REMOVED " this country's working Class has not got a chance!

      When this country started out we needed UNIONS for work saftey and resonable pay! They R no longer needed as FEDERAL LAWS now protect us as it is believed!

      When U read about how Unions enflunce VOTES then what! We R all in for HELL! JFK, whom I met, documented libary of congress, MLK, and RFK were removed by "WHOM"!

    2. Van says:

      During times when the present President of the U.S. has told all of us numerous times that the economy is "fundamentally strong", one has to wonder where he and his Republican staff have been getting this information. Take a look around, the country is in shambles because of these Free Trade policies that are NOT Frair Trade Agreements. American workers, whether Union or non-Union are put at a disadvantage. Unions will organize and change these policies.

    3. Mary, Wisconsin. USA says:

      I agree I worked where we needed a union because of unfair practices, favoritism, and unjust threats. However, the United Auto Union is what we bailed out. People can survive on $15 dollars an hour, the fair tax would take care of so many problems we have, and don't try to tell me there wouldn't be enough money for the big government to get all the money they need. The future of sharing the wealth isn't hitting the very rich because they hide their assets and money but us honest tax payers who don't have luxury homes in one state and pay taxes on the home in another state with low taxes. You just need a good accountant for a slick way of staying rich! Our law makers in our state just gave themselves a 5 percent raise!

    4. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:

      HF = "spend $85 million electing Democrats across the country and President-elect Barack Obama to the White House."

      WRONG!!!

      The Unions were WORKING TO IMPROVE WORKDERS CONDITIONS.

      That is what Unions do.

      WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!!!

    5. david richfield says:

      I'm sure there are many stories about union corruption to be told.

      There are just as many of corrupt management.

      Is the solution to decry unions, get rid of unions?

      If the unions go, wages will go down.

      The UAW, by their existence, is propping up what the scab foreign auto industries in Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina are now paying.

      The wages are, (counter to the Faux news lies about $72/hr)

      currently commensurate. (For tier one, in the $20 to 29/ hr range.)

      Tier two of the UAW is $14/hr.

      If the esteemed Congressmen from these states get their way and wreck the UAW,

      wages will plummet.

      This is exactly the wrong thing for our world economy.

      We need demand to rise.

      demand is wages.

      If you want the economy to recover, look at the years when it was growing the most.

      1937 -1980.

      taxes on top 1% – 70-91 %.

      Wage earners supported their entire families.

      Raise wages.

      Provide incentive for companies to open new factories here.

      (Tariffs)

      Raise taxes on the top 1%.

      The economy will recover.

    6. Evan from Anchorag says:

      The truth is in the middle, almost all of the time. Banning secret ballots is bull shit though. It just leads to intimidation from bullies.

    7. Jem, Virginia says:

      Yeah, the unions are working to improve the working conditions…for the Democratic officeholders and union bosses. They could care less about conditions for the "average working stiff", since they can compel those folks into "giving" whatever amount is required to keep themselves in the style to which they've become accustomed. They also are happy to put some of those riches at the disposal of the Democrats–in exchange to the ability to coerce a larger pool of workers to fund their "needs", of course.

    8. Dennis Aderholt Soci says:

      Why are the dems so in the pockets of unions???? Yet people keep wanting a union where they work. I have never seen the benefit of paying someone for the privilidge of working, that is exactly what union dues amount to.PAYMENT FOR WORKING.

      The union had a time and place, as it was the only way to get the workers the necessary things to live. That time and place has pasted. When a union gets so big that it dictates to a company what it will do and give the workers, or gets so big like teamsters union, that it can shut down a country, something is wrong. We have known all along that the union will buy political parties to get what they want. Well it certainly looks like they have bought the past election. MONEY BUYS ANYTHING I GUESS, EVEN THE USA.

    9. David Fenner, San Di says:

      I just am amazed at reading some of the pro-union comments above. How can they say how the union members, like UAW members benefit now by the union activities, support, and bargaining? The fact is, those folks who had the high wages at auto plants are now out of work, due to (at least in part) the excess wages the union coerced out of GM, F*rd and Chrysler. what good are the high wages, when it forces you to go out of business and close down. There goes your job.

    10. Wolfgang Spendel, Ci says:

      At the risk of getting completely black balled by conservatives the Unions are not the major problem. Our system needs to morph into something more compatible with the current global economics. Business as practiced is to set up to charge what the market will bear not what it costs to produce. As long as the markets could bear the cost, all parties tried to extract their pound of flesh without regard for the future. We are going through a renormalization process where manufacturing does not command as big a wage advantage as it did in the past. Value was partially determined by how many customers one reaches per unit time. Manufacturing reaches a lot of customers per unit of time. With fewer people employed in manufacturing we are now converting to an economy where the majority of the economy has a one to few transaction. Service industry does not reach a lot of customers per person per unit time. A totally different dynamic versus the one the old manufacturing economy was working under.

      So let us get real. Unions were formed due to employer excesses and disregard for the workers well being. Abuses still occur today. Unions once in power tried to extract as much as they could and worse rewrite the work rules. It was no longer important to get a job done economically and expeditiously. Rather Unions tried to employ as many people as possible and make the real deliverable time in grade. As long as the market would bear the cost, Business did not stand up to Unions. We will leave shareholder return for another time. Result a business no longer viable in the current evolved economy. To complicate matters further our social safety net, such as it currently exists is through employment and eroding fast.

      Notice the change taking place. More responsibility is being transferred to the individuals. Business is eliminating long term obligations (401 K as an example). We are moving to a pay as you go system. Once the employee has the check the employer and employee are even. Wages will be based on delivered skill and value to the enterprise. Time in grade will not contribute to wage increases. Unless unions morph into something more flexible and realistic they are doomed as the current changes unfold.

      It is also relevant to consider who is paying the long term business obligations. Defined benefit plans are being forced on to the taxpayer. Let us not just pick on the Unions. Business and government contributed to the excesses as well. We do need to rethink about how we go forward with a workable arrangement between employee, business, government, and customer.

      The economy tends to correct excesses, Unions are no exception. Bigger problem is how to reign in undue influence on government to sell out to special interests. At the present time Wall Street is just as bad as the Unions, if not worse. More depressing is the taxpayer is paying through the nose bailing out all sides of the historically bad situation.

    11. Phyllis Altrogge, Mc says:

      Dear Heritage:

      Richard Posner is perhaps our most economics-savvy appeals court judge. However, even he can misspeak. In this quote he speaks of workers "willing to work for very low wages" when he should have said "willing to work for market-based wages."

      With respect to the auto industry, I am very concerned that the card check legislation will result in unionization of the foreign auto manufacturers in our American south, which will negate the economic benefits of any requirement that the Big Three equate their wages with foreign manufacturers in the US and send those manufacturers overseas.

      Phyllis Altrogge

    12. Pingback: Morning Bell: The Union Threat to Our Economic Recovery · THE UNION LABEL

    13. Virgil Bierschwale, says:

      I am not a big fan of unions, but they are not the problem.

      Here is the problem.

      This is what is directly effecting our economy (1st link) which in turn directly effects the Worlds Econonomy (2nd link)

      http://keepamericaatwork.com/ind_qty_by_year_irs….

      http://keepamericaatwork.com/top_5_gdp.html

      Virgil
      http://www.KeepAmericaAtWork.com

    14. Doris Morgan, Oklaho says:

      I, too, am amazed at how many are aware of the

      need for Labor Unions. Here! Here! Of course, they need regulation…just like Wall Street needs regulation. Without them, look at what has happened; it's disgusting! And the outright lies that are being printed in our media.

      Every trade agreement now in effect needs redoing; and what a job that will be.

      Please, let's maintain a middle class in this precious country of ours. Grow!

    15. Clavius, CA says:

      As someone who has worked on both sides of the union fence I can see only one purpose for the unions, to protect employees who would otherwise not be capable of keeping a job in a non-union shop. The unions seem hell bent on creating an environment in which hard work is not required as long as you make an occasional appearance in the workplace and 'do the best you can' meaning you do just enough to say you weren't stealing a wage then you can keep a job and complain about how management is lining their pockets.

      What is wrong is that we are becoming a culture that feels entitled to high wages and benefits for minimal to no effort. Just as the unions (in my experience) do not represent the actual plight of the working person they simply represent a number of people whom the take money from in order to maintain their own power and pass that money on to further the political causes they see fit and in many cases do not represent the beliefs of the people the unions are 'fighting' for.

    16. Doris Morgan, Oklaho says:

      AT&T ran one successful operation here, with IBEW's help. When they bailed out and said they sold the plant to a Chinese company named Celestica (in order to cut pay, cut benefits, and get rid of the union contract), it all went to pieces. The 11 1/2 acre building has set empty since that time. Fortunately, I saw the writing on the wall and retired under the union contract; the more loyal employees, who held on have no retirement, no benefits, no jobs…..lost everything. That included managers, engineers, everybody.

    17. Mike Godfrey, Omaha says:

      The origin of this discussion was the existence of union corruption and coercion. Nobody so far in this discussion seems to be in favor or either one – a good thing, I think. Do we really want to implement a card-check procedure that does away with the secret ballot and opens the door to coercion? If this is acceptable to any of you, then what objection can you possibly cite against doing away with secret ballots altogether? With laws that protect whisltle-blowers? It's only a difference of degree, not of principle.

      And, much as we may not like the Law of Supply and Demand, like gravity, it operates anyway. Raising the price of labor to employers will inevitably reduce the demand for employees. This is borne out time and again by minimum wage hikes, which benefit those who keep their jobs, but which reduce employment opportunities for low-skilled workers, who are the intended beneficiaries.

      The U.S. railroad industry in the early 1970's used to employ over a million. Now it is no more than 300,000, and railroads still haul about 35% of the freight (ton-miles). What motivated management to agressively implement new technology to reduce employment. Pretty much high union wages and benefits, restrictive work rules, plus some featherbedding. Have you noticed that the American steel industry is a shadow of its former self? Look again at high labor costs and productivitykilling work rules, thanks to successful unions.

      Yes, management is not perfect, and government regulation is usually counterproductive, but these issues do not negate the arguments, or the principles behind card check. Increase wages and/or benefits, increase the employer's hassle in dealing with employees, make the workplace less efficient with restrictive workrules, increase government counter-productive interference with ethical and safety-conscious business management, and you have the perfect recipe for accomplishing exactly the opposite of what you want to achieve.

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