Category Archives: Organized Labor

Plan B For Automakers, Do Nothing

Executives from the Big 3 automakers are in Washington making their case for $34 billion dollars (up from $25 billion a week ago) to ‘bail’ them out.

Their plan amounts to things they should have done years ago, but still amount to nothing more than duct tape over a gaping hole in the hull of their ship. Not one of them mentioned bankruptcy or getting out from under their current union contracts. That’s where the hole is and that’s why any amount of money now is just duct tape. It will also be nationalizing an industry doomed to failure if it doesn’t cleanse itself of the unnecessary union overhead that a bankruptcy affords them. All for the express purpose of propping up a labor union. I’m sorry, I believe our economy comes before a labor union.

GM’s COO Fritz Henderson is only fooling himself when he says that there is no Plan B. Of course there is. In this case, when you have an operation that ‘can’t fund’ itself, bankruptcy is always an option.

“There isn’t a Plan B,” said GM Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson. “Absent support, frankly, the company just can’t fund its operations.”

These auto execs seem unwilling to cut the umbilical cord to the UAW. That leaves the only other option, doing nothing. Why? Because Nancy Pelosi will get them the money they want one way or the other, making the automakers’ appearance this week before congress the obligatory dog and pony show. Pelosi is out to protect and preserve the UAW, not the company that employs them, and these execs know it.

“I believe that an intervention will happen,” Pelosi said at a briefing in Washington. “Everybody is disadvantaged by bankruptcy, including our economy, so that’s not an option.”

Pelosi said Congress will either approve new loans for the auto industry or the Bush administration will provide funding through the $700 billion financial-markets rescue plan approved by Congress last month.

Unfortunately for us taxpayers, and fortunately for the UAW, they will get their (your) money. Don’t you just love it when free enterprise capitalism is interfered with by the government? What makes it worse in this case is that the motivation is only to help big labor, Democrats’ special interest group.

related links: Big Three survival bailout requests rise to $34B | Pelosi Says Bankruptcy by Automakers ‘Not an Option’

Employee Free Choice Act Is Democrats' Quid Pro Quo

Among the first items on President-elect Obama’s agenda will be to pay back labor unions for their generous campaign contributions in the name of the Employee Free Choice Act. As if government is not already involved in all kinds of things of a socialist nature that it should not be involved in, but is, Democrats in Washington, if not by executive order itself by our new President, will resume the effort to boost labor union membership by enacting new legislation. Since when does boosting labor unions membership become a responsibility of the government? The easy answer to that is to follow the money. If you do that then you’ll know why the bill was sponsored solely by Democrats including Barack Obama.

The bill was mis-named on purpose. Had it been named correctly, it would have been named the Employee Forced Choice Act. The meat of the bill will remove the private ballot in union organizing and replace it with a public one. It is more than a little ironic that Democrats would have such contempt for a private ballot when every other kind of vote Americans participate in is a private one.

And be prepared also for the Left to attach this bill to their favorite political tact, class warfare. Last year, Sen. Hillary Clinton was speaking for this bill and said that it is for ‘the middle class’ because, she asserts, labor union members are middle class. Although Democrats purport to support ‘the working people,’ what they really support are labor unions.

Didn’t we just learn that small businesses create something like 80 percent of jobs in this country, and that most of these small business owners and their employees are ‘middle class?’ And that’s why Obama wants a ‘middle class’ tax cut while raising taxes on ‘the rich.’

Let’s examine Barack Obama’s economic theory. He wants to increase minimum wage to over $9/hr. He wants to increase taxes on small businesses with incomes higher than $120,000. He wants to enable labor unions to unionize small businesses. Does this sound like a pro-growth economic policy to you? It sounds like disaster that will only worsen our economic woes.

In 1983, 20 percent of workers in the U.S. were union workers. In 2007 that percentage was 12.1 percent, up .1 percent from 2006.

Much of last year’s growth came in the West. California’s rate of union membership rose one percentage point, to 16.7 percent, an increase of more than 200,000 members. Nevada showed an increase of 15,000 union members, reflecting the organization of casino and construction workers.

As you might expect, union membership in the Midwest decreased.

In the Midwest, manufacturing job losses reduced union membership. Michigan lost 23,000 union members. The largest decrease came in Illinois, where union rolls dropped 89,000. Ben Zipperer, research associate at the Center for Economic Policy Research, said the manufacturing sector — long the stronghold of U.S. unions — is being supplanted by the construction and private health-care fields, where union membership is growing.

The reason union membership has declined over the years is that employers have negated the need for them by paying more and offering benefits that employees want, without them having to pay dues to a union. This so-called Card Check legislation is a mistake for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is that it is not the government’s job to increase labor union membership. The other reason is the negative impact on business that come with unions in vastly increased overhead and payroll expense.

Look what labor unions do the the auto industry. Did you know that . . .

At a time when the average American company requires workers to pay more than $2,000 a year toward family health insurance premiums, the auto industry is among the 4% of employers that offer free family health coverage.

And these figures are from 2005, it is only worse now . . .

The cost of providing health care adds from $1,100 to $1,500 to the cost of each of the 4.65 million vehicles GM sold last year, according to various calculations. GM expects to spend at least $5.6 billion on health care this year, more than it spent on advertising last year.

Granted that it was the management of these automakers that agreed to such extravagant benefits, at the threat of a strike, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how labor unions can put not only the auto industry, but any industry at a competitive disadvantage, including small businesses that need all the help they can get. If unions go away, no one suffers. If small businesses go away, everyone suffers.

related links: Union Membership Up Slightly in 2007 | Obama renews promise on NAFTA, ‘card check’ | Employee Free Choice Act, Part Two

Big Education, Not So Big Students

Ever notice how politicians in both parties always want to spend more on education at all levels? There never, never seems to be enough money. After all, spending more on education is a feel-good type exercise. It makes our caring-karma glow and helps politicians get re-elected. But what good does it do our children? Why are we not seeing positive results there? Could it be because of the K-Mart (no offense to K-Mart) mentality of educating our children. That is to say, quantity rather than quality, like the editor writes. . .

The problem at the bigger, higher-profile institutions like the University of Florida and Florida State University is that they have been trying to handle too many students with increasingly tight budgets.

Yes, the budgets have risen in total dollars, but not enough to offset the rising costs of providing high-quality education to growing numbers of students.

Time is long overdue to expect more for our money which is already ‘invested’ into educating our children, and to dispel this blank-check, or bottomless-pit theory that if we just spend more money on education that we will get bright and educated children. We’ve had bright and educated children in our history with much smaller expenditures than what we are seeing today.

In financing education in Florida, the lottery shell-game that we all bought into years ago ‘has come home to roost.’ And while some politicians are quick to trash BIG OIL, BIG PHARM, BIG INSURANCE, and BIG ENERGY on costs, where in the world are they on BIG EDUCATION? The assumption that spending more money because costs are rising, instead of addressing the rising cost is where we lose focus on the important thing, teaching our children to be bright, productive, and able to think and reason on their own.

To borrow an overused phrase and campaign slogan, it’s time for change we can believe in. It’s time for politicians to step up and attack the ‘rising cost’ factor like they are so quick to do with other industries, instead of the taxpayers’ wallet. But first, they have to come to terms with their biggest obstacle, BIG LABOR, teacher’s unions.

related link: PNJ editorial, No free lunch on tuition

Labor Union Uses The Homeless

You know the internal support for unions in general is waning when they have to go out and gather up enough homeless people to form a picket line. If the union members don’t care enough to picket, or can’t afford to picket for themselves, it cheapens the cause. What’s the cause you ask? The carpenter’s union wants more money.

They’re hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.

For the rest of the hilarious story see Outsourcing the Picket Line.

20 Loopholes In Immigration Bill

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) released a list today of 20 loopholes in the current immigration bill. Watch how little attention this gets in the MSM. But first, check out Session’s press release where he lists the 20 loopholes.

Then get on the phone or email your representatives. Never mind that you may have already done that. Do it again.

Continue reading 20 Loopholes In Immigration Bill

Employee Free Choice Act, Dems’ Next Fraud

The name of the bill sounds good, but it is exactly the opposite of its namesake. H.R. 800 is designed for the purpose of helping labor unions (the democrats’ largest contributing block) to organize. As if labor unions don’t already have a right to organize. They do and have had that right for decades.

The reality is that union membership is dwindling because workers are, more and more, voting NO to unionizing their workplace. The synergy between Big Labor and the Democratic party is showing its ugly head, and it is the workers, employers, and consumers that will pay the price if this bill actually becomes law. The bill would eliminate voting by private ballot. Put another way, democrats really don’t want a democratic process when it comes to voting about whether or not to start a union in their workplace. They don’t want a confidential ballot. They fear a confidential ballot. The mis-named bill is actually an Employee No Choice Act, but you won’t find this interpretation in the MSM. The left is claiming that the White House is against workers’ rights, when actually it is workers’ rights that they wish to protect.

Big Labor is expecting to get a return on their investment (campaign contributions) that finance the democrats’ elections. In private industry it would be called an investment, but in politics it is more accurately referred to as a quid pro quo. Substitute the word ‘unions’ for ‘workers’ and you see just who the democrat lawmakers choose to represent.

Outsourcing & The Left

The political left are on the wrong side of outsourcing. Why? Because they ignore insourcing. To listen to a Democrat speak of outsourcing, it is always about how high paying jobs are going overseas and this is wrong. That, like the missing explosives ‘under our watch’ is simply not true. It’s spin.

If you imagine our economy as a superhighway, you can find these Democrats on the exit ramp, demagoging the economic function of outsourcing. All they see is jobs that ‘go overseas’. They refuse to see what’s going on at the on-ramps. So, as per their playbook, they make sure you only see what they’re losing and none of what they’re gaining.

This is a simple concept. Outsourcing is not an exclusive function of employers in America. Businesses do it where they can to cut costs, which means they can be more competitive and solvent to their investors (more increasingly you and I), and their customers in offering more bang for the buck. Fact is, countries around the world also ‘outsource’ where they feel they can benefit. And, not surprisingly, many of them outsource to the good ole U.S. of A. In the final analysis, more jobs are created as a result of ‘outsourcing’ than are lost. But the left, standing on the off-ramp is oblivious to this phenomenon. Studies show that over the past 15 years, foreign corporations have moved jobs to the United States at a faster rate than jobs have left. “Jobs insourced to the United States increased from 4.9 million in 1991 to 6.4 million in 2001.” There’s been an 82 percent increase in insourced jobs compared to a 23 percent increase in outsourced jobs.

Source Bruce Bartlett, a senior fellow at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. In their ‘perfect’ world, the Democrat party would like to eliminate outsourcing to appease the unions. It’s purely a political calculation for them, not an economic one. They claim outsourcing will increase unemployment here in the U.S. If that was true, then how can they explain our current unemployment rate, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put at 5.4 percent in September 2005, is one of the lowest in the world and in our history. (This article originally published in October 2005, it is 4.4 percent as of October 2006, and is now the lowest in history.) France’s unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, Germany’s 9.9 percent and Italy’s 8.6 percent. Our Canadian neighbor’s is 6.6 percent. Quoting Walter Williams here “The next time you hear a politician whining about our “awful” job climate, ask him which European country we should look to for guidance in job creation. The fact of business is that our country is the world’s leader not only in job creation but in terms of where the world wants to invest its money.” Outsourcing is not a dirty word. And the party stuck on the off-ramp does not have the answer. Only spin.