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Not Your Fatherís Labor Unions The worker backlash.
NRO ^ | August 28, 2003, | By Ed Feulner

Posted on 08/28/2003 5:20:13 PM PDT by .cnI redruM

Some holidays inspire us to celebrate our collective heritage. We watch fireworks on July Fourth. On Memorial Day we remember the sacrifices made by our troops.

Labor Day, like the movement it symbolizes, is much younger than those venerable holidays, and tends to be seen mostly as a final summer fling. But it's more than that. It highlights the value of work, a theme stressed frequently over the years by our labor unions.

Given the large role unions have played in our history, and the glaring disconnect today between labor leaders and the rank-and-file, this is also a good time to reflect on what the labor movement ought to be in the 21st century.

Last year, just 13 percent of wage and salary workers belonged to a union, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That's well down from the 20 percent who were union members back in 1983. The sharp decline may be because today's unions are far less likely to reflect the views of their members than unions were 100, 50 or even 20 years ago.

For example, according to election night polling by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, one-third of union members voted for President Bush in the 2000 presidential election. That isn't reflected in union donations to political campaigns.

According to the Washington Post, in that same election, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees gave the Democratic National Committee $1.27 million in the weeks before Election Day. That's about $1 for each union member. It's safe to assume that at least a third of that — more than $400,000 — was spent opposing the Republican candidate that one-third of AFSCME union members went out to vote for.

That's just a single union in a single election. For years now, almost all union funding has gone to Democratic candidates. In the 2002 election cycle, 93 percent of labor donations — more than $89 million — went to Democrats. Only 7 percent — about $6.4 million — was given to Republicans.

In theory, union members are able to "opt out" of having their dues spent on politics. But in reality, doing so is difficult. The member has to leave the union, and send an objection letter stating that it should refund the amount of his dues it spends on political campaigns.

Plus leaving a union can be difficult, even dangerous. Union leaders have a vested interest in keeping membership high. They're not above using all sorts of "pressure" to encourage members to remain part of the "brotherhood." Intimidation is clearly keeping many Republican-leaning union members silent, even as their dues are spent on campaigns they disagree with.

It wasn't always this way. A century ago, when Labor Day was young and unions were just gaining strength, they really did speak for their members. Unions were less political and more activist. They helped close down sweatshops, end child labor, and guarantee workers a fair wage for a day's pay.

But today, with many people working at safe jobs, in comfortable offices, for reasonable pay, there's just not as much for unions to do. That's why they focus so much money and energy on supporting the Democratic party — because it's the only way for them to remain relevant.

Americans enjoy the right of free association. Anyone who wants to belong to a union, contribute to a union, or work for a union should always have the right to do so.

But we should also celebrate the right of Americans not to associate with groups they disagree with. And American workers shouldn't be compelled to contribute money toward causes they don't support. Extending to everyone the right to work, with or without membership in a union, would make this a happier Labor Day for all of us.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial
KEYWORDS: decline; labor; laborday; unions
Unions could and in some cases should make a comeback. Business leaders will shiv the employee if they gain overwhelming advantage.

However, when unions are so heavily politicized that they pursue aims and agendas that have nothing to do with the welfare of workers and then charge the worker heavily for their 'representation', they become just another bunch of monopolists.

They monopolize labor, rather than a product, but the Jim Sweeney's of the US are nothing more than OPEC with a better pr firm. Why The UAW is getting into gay rights and nuclear arms debates when their workers and the companies they work for are being carpet whacked and hung out to dry by Japanese, Korean and German companies that offer a superior product at a better price, is beyond me.

Unions are dying because they sold out to the Dems, drank the Jonestown Coolaid and are going the way of most dysfunctional, leftist fads. Unions should do their job rather than gripe about right to work laws.

1 posted on 08/28/2003 5:20:15 PM PDT by .cnI redruM
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To: .cnI redruM
Union folks do less labor that non-union folks. And demand more money.

2 posted on 08/28/2003 5:45:59 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen were injured to produce this tagline.)
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To: .cnI redruM
Thank-you VERY much for posting this article.

The truth is that nationwide, organized labor representation of the manufacturing workforce has drasticly declined to about 15%.
In comparison, over 40% of government workers are unionized.
(Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by occupation and industry)

For all intents and purposes, the marxist Democrat Party has abandoned representation of blue collar workers and focused on infiltration of our government and education institutions. From these bastions, they demonize our industrial private sector and castrate it with maliciously excessive environmental and health-care regulation and litigation.

Sadly, the neocon dominated Bush Administration has done nothing to fend off this assualt on our wealth-creating private sector. Instead, they have taken the laissez-faire approach: "don't make waves, don't rock the boat, don't use the presidential veto." Furthermore, they join in the demonization of our domestic industrial infrastructure as it suits their agenda to secure the profitability of transnational corporations shifting investment and employment opportunities overseas. And to compound the fraud that they perpetrate on the American People, they expand the social welfare entitlement tentacles of the federal Medicare system with prescription drugs for our senile citizens.

May the Lord curse the country club RINOs and cast their souls into the fires of eternity. They made a pact with the devil and have sold out our prosperity and national security.

3 posted on 08/28/2003 6:08:44 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Willie Green
Nice post. Key point.
4 posted on 08/28/2003 6:46:10 PM PDT by Mason
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To: Willie Green
Ending union control of school boards and the education bureaucracy should be job number one for conservatives. The NEA and other unions have worked feverishly to brainwash an entire generation of young people into being anti-American, anti-white, and anti-business. Yet no Republican has had the guts to take on the teachers' unions.
5 posted on 08/28/2003 7:24:38 PM PDT by Holden Magroin
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To: .cnI redruM
Unions could and in some cases should make a comeback. Business leaders will shiv the employee if they gain overwhelming advantage.

However, when unions are so heavily politicized that they pursue aims and agendas that have nothing to do with the welfare of workers and then charge the worker heavily for their 'representation', they become just another bunch of monopolists.

I actually agree with this statement. For sure.

6 posted on 08/28/2003 7:32:19 PM PDT by maui_hawaii
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To: MonroeDNA
Union folks do less labor that non-union folks.

Come on, insert a some in front of your union/no-union adjectives will ya? You want to walk 12 miles with me tomorrow and carry my 20 feet of mail to the 650 addresses I will visit? I agree it is easier for deadbeats to take cover in a union alot longer than in a non union setting. That is because they take advantage of competent people that have taken an oath to defend all members. But the truth of "you reap what you sow" eventually gets them because once certain limits are reached slugs can no longer be defended as an impartial mediator will rule against stupidity if a case even gets that far. That being said I and all of my fellow co-workers are very proud of the team we make and the mission we accomplish daily.

And demand more money. If I am good at what I do shouldn't I demand more money?

I am not trying to start a debate with you on the merits of organized labor I would just like you to realize that blanket, stereo-type comments should remain a leftist tactic and not be adopted by good FReepers. TCN. ;-)

7 posted on 08/28/2003 8:46:48 PM PDT by Kudsman
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To: Kudsman
What unions gave us-5 day work weeks. 8 hour days. health plans. safer work conditions. after that it was all frosting and no cake.
8 posted on 08/28/2003 8:51:27 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
What unions gave us..... Don't forget the role played in forming the most mobile, technically advanced society this earth has ever seen.
9 posted on 08/28/2003 8:56:51 PM PDT by Kudsman
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To: .cnI redruM
The sharp decline may be because today's unions are far less likely to reflect the views of their members than unions were 100, 50 or even 20 years ago.

Not exactly correct. Twenty years ago (1984), well over half of all union members voted for Ronald Reagan. Yet Big Labor, as usual, overwhelmingly, kicked in bucks for Demos.

Michael M. Bates: My Side of the Swamp

10 posted on 08/28/2003 9:01:41 PM PDT by mikeb704
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To: Destro
Actually, Henry Ford gave us the five day work week long before the UAW existed.

Health plans first came about during the building of the Grand Coulee Dam and were later expanded during the Wage Controls enacted by FDR during WWII.

L

11 posted on 08/28/2003 9:14:45 PM PDT by Lurker ("First get the facts right. Later on you can distort them any way you please." Mark Twain)
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To: .cnI redruM
...one third of union members voted for President Bush in the 2000 campaign.

Yup, I was one of 'em. Go "W"!

12 posted on 08/28/2003 9:19:54 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: MonroeDNA
I highly resent the efforts of the AFL-CIO in the California Recall Campaign to support Gray Davis and if that fails, to elect Busto-man.

My union dollars at work, and I don't even live in CA. Makes me puke.

13 posted on 08/28/2003 9:21:36 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: .cnI redruM
Unions are great! Just ask Karl Marx, or Frederick Engles. Every decent communist should support the cause of the unions. Thats why every lefty out there in Tax and spend land supports them.
14 posted on 08/28/2003 10:22:57 PM PDT by vpintheak (Our Liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain! And Unions suck!)
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To: Willie Green
When I arrived at my current job, people tried to recruit me join a govt union. It was a joke. They have no right to strike and could not even represent half the people they were attempting to recruit in collective bargaining negotiantions.

They were attempting to offer me health and life insurance packages that were already part of my compensation. Unions get more out of their membership than they actually offer in return. If they were still effective, they would successfully recruit in right to work states.
15 posted on 08/29/2003 9:07:29 AM PDT by .cnI redruM (Nothing Is More Vile Than A Blowhard With Halitosis! - redruM)
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To: vpintheak
Samual Gompers once told his union that "the worst enemy of the American worker is a company that fails to earn a profit. If the company goes out of business, you no longer have a place to work."

The modern unions are more inclined to say. "If the company goes out business, you now have to live off our handouts and do what we tell you to."
16 posted on 08/29/2003 9:11:53 AM PDT by .cnI redruM (Nothing Is More Vile Than A Blowhard With Halitosis! - redruM)
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To: Kudsman
OK, you are right. :)
17 posted on 08/29/2003 12:37:50 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (No longshoremen were injured to produce this tagline.)
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