Free Markets, Free People

right-to-work


How does one oppose a “right to work?”

Well, if you’re wondering, just take a gander at what is happening in Michigan.

The Democrats will be the first to tell you “elections have consequences”, usually followed by ” … and Obama won”.  Well the same can be said of state level elections and in the case of MI, the GOP won.  In fact, they won everything at the state level, enough to pass “right to work” legislation which essentially says one doesn’t have to join a union to work.

The unions, of course, pitched a tantrum.

And, now that he’s solved all the nation’s problems, balanced the budget, reduced the deficit and has long-term debt on a downward trend, President Obama has weighed in on this situation:

“President Obama has long opposed so-called ‘right to work’ laws and he continues to oppose them now,” said White House spokesman Matt Lehrich. “The president believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights. Michigan — and its workers’ role in the revival of the US automobile industry -– is a prime example of how unions have helped build a strong middle class and a strong American economy.”

The union’s “role in the revival of the US automobile industry”?!

Is he kidding?  It is the unions which essentially helped make two of the big three financially unsustainable.  Remember, GM and Chrysler went bankrupt and had to be bailed out.  And the federal government screwed with the bankruptcy proceedings and handed  a large portion of GM to the union while stiffing bond holders.

That’s the “prime example” in reality.

And the president’s “belief” that our “economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits” doesn’t mean those things only happen with unions.  Apparently, in right-to-work states, unions continue to lose out when they try to organize because workers are getting both good wage and benefits and seem happy with their situation.  What they don’t see is a benefit to unionizing – i.e. paying dues to a union which will be unlikely to do any better.

Finally, how is allowing someone to choose whether or not to join a union “rolling back rights?”

I knew Obama wouldn’t be able to stay out of state level politics, given his base and their demands.  The Democrats have become the party of unions.  Private unions are dying off and they’re getting pretty desperate.  First WI and now MI?  My goodness, can NY and IL be far behind?  How dare the GOP give workers the right to chose not to join a union as a prerequisite to working.  For a party that brags about being the party of choice, other than one particular choice they champion, the Democrats are pretty much opposed to all others.

Unions are the buggy whip of the latest evolution in labor.  Improved communications, a global economy and the realization that businesses have options as well have made unions an anachronism.  Reality and economics say labor is a commodity – a factor of production.  What labor is increasingly realizing is that the jobs they have can be exported or, given today’s technology, mechanized when costs exceed their worth.   Wages are leveling out and in today’s economy, the demands that were once commonly made by unions are no longer economically feasible.    But additionally, bad companies can no longer exist in the dark of a communications vacuum and pay and treat their workers poorly without there being repercussions.  Competition drives wages and benefits as well or better than unions ever did.

It’s a different world.  Unions are 19th century holdovers.

Time they shuffled off into Obsolete-land where they belong.

~McQ


Right-to-work states most productive

You remember our Chicago lawyer whose sole argument against moving some of the Boeing Dreamliner production to a non-union plant in SC (a right to work state) was that Southerners in general were less skilled and less literate?

Apparently he pulled that out of the part of the anatomy that doesn’t get much sunshine.  In his case that might have been his head, considering where it had to be residing at the time to come up with that sort of an argument.

Nevertheless, the Washington Examiner, in an editorial, examines a CNBC survey on exactly that topic and finds the lawyer’s argument to be specious:

The strongest remaining argument that labor unions are relevant or desirable is that they provide business with a better-trained and more knowledgeable work force. But as quaint as it is to think of organized labor as the guardian of know-how and quality, it just isn’t so, according to a new CNBC ranking of "America’s top states for business." The survey, which considered the work forces of all 50 states, found that the downsides of unionism far outweigh any advantages when it comes to work force quality.

And those downsides are demonstrated by the results of the survey:

Incredibly, 17 of the top 18 states ranked by CNBC in terms of "work force" are "right-to-work" states, where unions are significantly less powerful. In states with right-to-work laws, workers cannot be compelled to pay union dues, and workers are far less likely to let unions represent them if they are actually given the choice. In CNBC’s survey, all 22 of the nation’s right-to-work states (mostly states in the South and West) made the top 25 in terms of quality of work force. In the separate category of business friendliness, which gauged states’ regulatory and legal environments, 10 of the top 15 states were right-to-work states as well. Needless to say, the combination of good workers and congenial business climates make these states highly attractive to business.

You’d think it would be “needless to say” such a thing, but then our Chicago labor union lawyer points out why, in fact, it is necessary to say these things.   Primarily because it is a myth that union states provide a more highly skilled and productive workforce and it is also a myth that unions are necessary in today’s business climate.  Those are two myths which are obviously hard to kill, but the survey makes the point that potential employers have already discovered and have been taking advantage of for years – something of which our Chicago lawyer was obviously completely unaware.  Workers in right-to-work states are highly skilled and productive and willing to work at a good wage that still gives their employer the ability to compete.

But on the other side of this there’s a method, or at least a policy, that is so obvious it is getting to be hard to deny, and the Examiner hits it:

Obama has made the survival of unions a much higher priority for his administration than sustainable job growth, beginning with the bailout of the automakers and continuing most recently with his National Labor Relations Board’s persecution of Boeing for expanding its manufacturing operations in the right-to-work state of South Carolina. It is sad, although perhaps not surprising, that Obama would subordinate the interests of 93 percent of American workers to those of one politically favored group, but this is precisely what he is doing. The 93 percent would do well to take notice in the coming elections.

I’m not sure all of the 93% will all notice, but those who are and have been effected by this administration’s obvious bias should – like those Boeing workers in SC, or the screwed-over stakeholders in GM and Chrysler, etc.  This is an administration, along with the party it is a part of, which have cast their lot with unions almost to the exclusion of the rest of the working public.  Their NLRB action against Boeing in SC makes that point loud and clear.

And that’s not a myth – that’s reality.  It is a narrative which needs to be used in 2012 when it will again become obvious who it is the Democrats and the Obama administration will turn for funding and activists.   We’ve seen the union rent-a-mobs working before.  They’ll be in action again.   That relationship needs to be highlighted and relentlessly exposed, especially in this era of high unemployment.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO