Union Myths

I stumbled across this article yesterday and just had to share. It seems appropriate with the news that the Wisconsin legislature has passed a bill to prohibit collective bargaining for public service employees.  The legislature stripped that portion out of the funding bill and passed it separately.  A quorum is only required for funding bills. Non-funding bills can be passed by a simple majority.  If the dems had been present, the bill still would have passed with a majority vote of 18 for to 15 against.

Thomas Sowell

Union Myths

The biggest myth about labor unions is that unions are for the workers. Unions are for unions, just as corporations are for corporations and politicians are for politicians.
Nothing shows the utter cynicism of the unions and the politicians who do their bidding like the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” that the Obama administration tried to push through Congress. Employees’ free choice as to whether or not to join a union is precisely what that legislation would destroy.
Workers already have a free choice in secret-ballot elections conducted under existing laws. As more and more workers in the private sector have voted to reject having a union represent them, the unions’ answer has been to take away secret-ballot elections.
Under the “Employee Free Choice Act,” unions would not have to win in secret-ballot elections in order to represent the workers. Instead, union representatives could simply collect signatures from the workers until they had a majority.
Why do we have secret ballots in the first place, whether in elections for unions or elections for government officials? To prevent intimidation and allow people to vote how they want to, without fear of retaliation.
This is a crucial right that unions want to take away from workers. The actions of union mobs in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere give us a free home demonstration of how little they respect the rights of those who disagree with them and how much they rely on harassment and threats to get what they want.
It takes world-class chutzpah to call circumventing secret ballots the “Employee Free Choice Act.” To unions, workers are just the raw material used to create union power, just as iron ore is the raw material used by U.S. Steel and bauxite is the raw material used by the Aluminum Company of America.
The most fundamental fact about labor unions is that they do not create any wealth. They are one of a growing number of institutions which specialize in siphoning off wealth created by others, whether those others are businesses or the taxpayers.
There are limits to how long unions can siphon off money from businesses, without facing serious economic repercussions.
The most famous labor union leader, the legendary John L. Lewis, head of the United Mine Workers from 1920 to 1960, secured rising wages and job benefits for the coal miners, far beyond what they could have gotten out of a free market based on supply and demand.
But there is no free lunch.
An economist at the University of Chicago called John L. Lewis “the world’s greatest oil salesman.”
His strikes that interrupted the supply of coal, as well as the resulting wage increases that raised its price, caused many individuals and businesses to switch from using coal to using oil, leading to reduced employment of coal miners. The higher wage rates also led coal companies to replace many miners with machines.
The net result was a huge decline in employment in the coal mining industry, leaving many mining towns virtually ghost towns by the 1960s. There is no free lunch.

The entire article can be read here.  
My father and grandfather were coal miners and belonged to the UMWA.  I remember, when I was young, mine after mine closing.Two small mining towns near The Farm, Freeman Spur and Orient virtually disappeared in a couple of years.  Orient, the larger of the two had elementary and high schools.  My country grade school played against Orient until 1958.  That year, both Orient schools, along with others in Zeigler, another mining town, closed.  The students were bused to larger towns in the county.

When I was born, there were two “major” towns in the county and a dozen or more smaller mining towns.  When I started high school in 1960, the two larger towns had lost half their population. The number of smaller mining towns had been reduced four, if I remember correctly. Many of those small towns dis-incorporated.  A few families remained but most of those small mining towns declined to just wide-spots and clusters of houses along the road.
The union excuse was that the coal had been exhausted.  The mine owners said they were no longer economically feasible to operate.  It’s interesting to note that a decade later a non-union group reopened some of those closed mines.  It was feasible for them to operate—but not with union labor.  These mines met all the state and federal safety standards, contrary to union claims, as did the union operated mines.  Now in my old home town in Illinois, only the non-union mine remains in operation.

1 thought on “Union Myths

  1. And now the death threats, recall threats and assorted threats have begun… But ONLY against the Republicans! Where is the administration decrying this behavior???

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