Thursday, March 1, 2012

- The Right To Bludgeon Scabs

We have a catch phrase in my house that we use to remind my daughter how to make a lot of money. “The only way” we say ”is by doing something that no one else can do, or doing something that no one else wants to do.” For those liberals who might be following along, that means that you will only get paid based upon the value you add. More often than not, that’s going to be a product of scarcity. Anyone can be a waiter, few can be a doctor; almost no one can invent Apple computer or Facebook.

Labor Unions operate on the exact opposite principle. They believe that the more of you there are, the more you should be able to force people to pay you more, whether you add more value or not. And they use force – usually political force but sometimes actual violence – to fulfill this vision of how the world works.

When a union is voted in at a company, they use the favoritism under current US labor law to exclude others workers from employment there. Those other workers are directly hurt by the union, but even the laborers who are in the union are hurt by the union too – albeit somewhat less directly. The union makes use of force to raise wages, but offers no more ‘value added’ for them.

In fact, they reduce value added by adding Byzantine work rules that favor seniority. They make it difficult for employers to fire bad workers, or to promote the workers who do the best job. In other words they eliminate merit. And with merit gone, internal union political pressure is brought into play in order to get the more ambitious workers to ‘lay back’ so as not to make the less productive workers ‘look bad’. This is an old story.

The way that hurts the union workers is that it makes the company they work for uncompetitive. In a global marketplace no company can afford that. So rather than being trounced by their competition, the companies will pull up stakes and relocate where the unions no longer have such a strong legal stranglehold on them. Then they go back to paying the best workers the most, and firing those that don’t work as hard or as well. Don’t think so? Tell it to all those plastics manufacturers in China, electronics makers in Singapore, Textile workers in Guatemala, or the American car companies with factories in Juarez Mexico.

Oh ... and those companies that can't relocate for whatever reason? Well they go out of business... and where is the union laborer then? Look at the comparative unemployment statistics in union strongholds vs non-union areas. Look at places like Detroit vs a place like Charlotte NC. Look at the rust belt vs, the sun belt. Or even closer to home look at the industrial belt of NJ. The effect of labor unions can be clearly seen with no more than a drive from Manhattan to Newark airport. See all those abandoned factories and empty warehouses? That's it.

Union organizers have argued the fantasy that they were responsible for the creation of the middle class. Since the wages of non union labor rose in tandem with union wages (even in areas that had no labor unions) that claim is dubious at best. But one way or the other, you can certain attribute the pain the middle class has felt to the unions as US businesses fled to more friendly legal jurisdictions to avoid them. At this point, the only industries where unions are still making in roads are those that can’t relocate: the service industry, and the ultimate ‘low productivity’ industry, education and government.

Since they’re determined to stay on the cutting edge of 1975 where economic thinking is concerned, the New York Times has dredged up a pair of union activists to sell the idea of a “right to unionize” being enshrined as a civil right. But this seems laughable if you think about what unions actually do. The right to use force to negotiate contracts should be a civil right? The right to reduce productivity should be a civil right? The right to make an employer uncompetitive or to force them to flee overseas should be a civil right? All of these sound ridiculous. But the claim that shows them in their truest light is that they believe that allowing an organization to exclude some people from employment, should be constitutionally enshrined.

These guys are both union activists, and in my industry we call what they’re doing “talking up your book”. They’re making public statements to increase the odds of them making money. It’s illegal in my business if you do it too specifically, but it’s OK if you do it in the broadest terms. I think this piece straddles the line between the two. They are obviously trying to promote an idea that would benefit each of them directly – that’s obvious to even the typical NY Times reader. But the concept itself is so laughable that I don’t think anyone will be convinced. And since that’s so, it’s unlikely to do any real damage. The only harm they’ll really do is to the New York Times’ already dwindling credibility.

And since no one went to court and forced them to publish this nonsense, they have that coming.


chess said...

welll said tom.. maybe ill forward this to robert the "imp" reich and let him choke on it. i always like when he starts talking bout the post ww2 era as if that has anything to do with 2011....hed take us back there if he had his way...the libtard spews his union crap from california. i keep dreaming that lex luther is real and someday he separates cal off the coast and it sinks. the imp with it

chess said...

tom.....2 more dead over koran burning.. where is mrs prez today?