Union Logic Challenged

NYT Columnist, Nick Kristof, last week penned an Op-Ed piece “The Cost of Decline in Unions” and he makes many of the same pro-union claims attributing various benefits. The 40 hour work week, productivity improvements and the causal force behind the both,  the creating and maintaining of the middle-class or, conversely, the loss of the middle-class (increase in the wealth-gap) due to losses in union rolls.

I find these arguments quite weak in the presence of facts as none of these either occurred because of Unions or due to their diminishing influence. Much of this argument, as with many others which feign the need for more government intervention are weak on substance or simply a lure in search of greater political influence.

There should be no doubt that I am a staunch defender of the individual and their sovereign right to express and obtain the full breadth of compensation in exchange for their resources and to have these rights preserved as sovereign. However, to suggest that the bounty of labor’s successes are a function of Union hutzpah relies on far too many assumptions, the key being that economic success and labor rights find their origins in the add-on of organized labor; clearly this is not the case.

If Unions are the key architect of labor rights and the single-source champion of Middle-Class America then where were the Unions when the WTO/GATT, NAFTA and CAFTA were signed? Where were the Unions when major industries were divesting themselves of domestic manufacturing capacity? Where were Unions on the subject of illegal immigration? Clearly the flooding of the U.S. by undocumented immigrants diminishes the influence of the rank and file; no? What was the contribution of organized labor in the creation of any number of industries to which they would ultimately attach their logo?

Name a specific efficiency or profitable (cost-saving) evolution in government-run services attributed to organized public labor; No, you can’t. I often hear, and it was also mentioned in Mr. Kristof’s article, of the influence and success of Unions in Germany’s auto industry however, they neglect to include a citation that nearly 65 percent of the German Auto Industries output occurs outside of Germany.

Much as the frequency which calls for government intervention the false premise eludes two prominent truths:

(1) The method chosen, by government, most often favors the lowest possible common denominator.

(2) Government will routinely act in a manner that promotes political favor in order to expand their own political influence.

Both are superbly expressed by National Labor Relations Act (1935) that key stroke of genius has been the licensing of collective-bargaining.  No, I strongly object to the idea that Unionized labor (both public and private) is the favored oracle of righteousness. It has proven itself to emulate the growth of waste, fraud and abuse, not at all dissimilar to that found in any licensed form of entitled bureaucracy and for one very good reason; either has a or bond to a burden of performance and have no price for failure.

It was too convenient for Congress to pass the NLRA as it allowed them to push the labor force off to a third party which allowed Congress to preserve their leverage on both industry and labor; now there’s an example for you of the lowest possible common. Strip away the veil of illusion and then ask a simple question; what is that Unions do or have done other than to prey upon existing law and use it to create a protected class and a merchandisable voting block? What Congress should have done was to establish a labor code that dealt with wage base by trade and seasoned-class including a regional index upon which wages would be adjusted, established a national minimum code of benefits & conduct (employer & employee) which includes an arbitration forum for dispute resolutions all administered by a federally sanctioned but State run court capable of levying punitive judgments for violators. Finally, the entire affair is then legislatively bound to the employer/industry operating within the United States or its possessions.

Unions were never necessary; they were and remain a scapegoat for failed policy promulgated by an institution (Congress) that games on its own ability to merchandise its self-assigned authority to influence. Does anyone but me find it strange that outside of the organized labor platform the collective bargaining nuance is codified as extortion? Should we really be surprised that Federal & State Governments single greatest debt-load are caused by Unionized Benefit & Pay Packages? Should we really be surprised that while many extol the virtues of Unions no one sees the connection between organized labor and multi-national economic concerns openly feeding off of the U.S. Consumer Market but yet are not held to pay value for the resources it extracts?

Equally far-off-rational as the organize labor sanctuary there is a far greater group of misfits. A Congress that actually is moving toward establishing yet another protected-class; the disadvantaged Multi-National in need of ever lower Tax Rates! The suffering middle-class, unemployed and expanding wealth-gap is, in no way, due the insufficient expanse of bureaucracy. It is due to a bureaucracy of thought that has sufficiently warped the rational conscience of a people into believing that all you have to do to grow corn is ample land and abundant water while remaining selectively ignorant of the need for seed.

The following are a select group of responses to questions/comments received after the original article was published. We believe you will find them of interest.

#1: MP: A predictable response, but then who, in a protected class status, would ever want to willingly release themselves from its privilege’s? Your premise is valid but then again, so is armed robbery. That aside, as you picked up on it, my point was something quite different: The illusion created, the acceptance of the illusion as real and the consequence of indulging in convenient tolerance of continued adherence to the false premise simulating reality. At some point the people of this country are going to be forced to come face to face with their tolerance of what would otherwise be intolerable.

Again, here is yet another case were Congress fails to perform its specific duty of a representative body and substitutes a non-representative agent for purposes of marginalizing what IS a Sovereign Right of ALL and not the exclusive domain of a protected class. As always, I’m thankful for your willingness to engage!

Curtis C. Greco, Founder

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