“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Monday, September 24, 2007

Labor unions....bad for America

The United Auto Workers are once again threatenting to hold the struggling American auto industry hostage for a bunch of "benefits" they don't deserve. If they don't get their way they are supposed to walk off the assembly lines at 11:00 today. Name another industry in which you can demand and get absurdly generous retirement packages and health care coverage until you die, exorbitant salaries far above what the labor market would otherwise bear, and no-fault job security? General Motors, and all other U.S. auto makers, have become little more than retirement benefit providers. Here's an exerpt from an article over at National Review about how out of whack the labor union contracts are...

Take grass cutting. As defined by the current United Auto Worker contract negotiated with the "Big Five" (GM, Ford, Chrysler, and top parts makers Delphi and Visteon), an auto "production worker" is a job description that covers anything from mowing grass to cleaning the toilets. In the real world, these jobs would be outsourced to $8 an hour, no-benefit wage earners, but on Planet Big Five, these jobs get the same wages as any auto line-worker: an average $26 an hour ($60,000 a year) plus benefits that bring the company's total cost per worker to a staggering $65 an hour.

But at least the grass cutters are working for their pay. The UAW contract also guarantees that 12,000 autoworkers get full wage for doing nothing. On the heels of Miller's straight-talk, the Detroit News reported that "12,000 American autoworkers, instead of bending sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank." These aren't jobs. And they certainly aren't being "lost" to China.

"We just go in (to Ford's Michigan Truck Plant) and play crossword puzzles, watch videos that someone brings in or read the newspaper," The News quoted one UAW worker as saying. "Otherwise, I've just sat."

One blue-collar Delphi worker interviewed by the Detroit News makes $103,000 a year operating a forklift and fears the consequences if his pay is drastically reduced. But many Americans will ask how a forklift operator felt entitled to a six-figure income in the first place (according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average forklift operator wage in the U.S. is $26,000).

See? Labor unions are disastrous for American car companies. How are our guys supposed to compete when the Japanese, Korean, and others don't have to wrangle with greedy, thug union bosses over guaranteed, absurdly high wages, pensions, and health benefits? In Japan, the labor market functions like any other commodity market. That's why their cars are affordable and their companies are profitable. Our labor unions will surely bankrupt the auto industry as they almost did the airline industry. In order to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we need to free our businesses to compete in a free market.

One last thing: voting for a democrat next November is a vote for a stronger stranglehold for union bosses around the throats of American industry, crippling it still further.


Kevin said...

Labor unions, along with the government regulations, will destroy this country's free capitalism, or what is left of free capitalism. When you restrict what a company can do, and couple that with labor unions demanding outrageous amounts of money for little to no work, you get a bankrupt business. When you bite the hand that feeds you enough, you stop getting fed!

Ed said...

When you bite the hand that feeds you enough, you stop getting fed!

The future of labor unions in a nutshell K. Nicely done.

David said...

Every day on the way to work I hear an IBEW 613 (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers)advetisment and I almost have to pull over to vomit. The voice of the commercial is redneck but what he represents and the hidden evil in his words will destroy the human spirit.

david said...

i done voted repubican last term and i will vote that way probably again this election. replubicans forevor.

Bob said...

How prophetic this blog was. Here we sit 12/4/08...The big three asking for 40Bil.$ and the unions are right along side them in the hearings...ELIMINATE UNIONS! They were needed in the '20's they are killing us now.
Figures...Dem. from Conn. is for the bailout...bailout including union is throwing good money after bad.
Answer = Break the union, then bailout, then U.S. oversee auto makers, free from union and healthier...

Anonymous said...

talk like that takes food out of my family's mouth. your right, lets bash the folks who gave you the 8 hour workday and the weekend. oh and that cookout you have every summer. thats us too. union's arent perfect, but id much rather be in a union than get my hand ripped off by a piece of industrial machinery simply because the company im working for is too cheap to put in the proper safety equipment. maybe trade tariffs would help level the domestic labor market from foreign competators. labor created the middle class, and low and behold when you weaken labor. you weaken the middle class. not everyone's mommy and daddy can afford to send them to college. i see 7 years of blowing coke and getting blown by sorrotity girls hasn't stemmed the flow of pretentious republicans who talk down about things they havn't even experienced yet.

Tall Thin Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tall Thin Man said...

I COMPLETELY AGREE. the Unions are totally bogging down the market and in many cases the pork that is paid to these union employees is inevidably passed down to the consumer in higher costs and many other lost jobs

Anonymous said...

Japan and Korea have one of the highest per capita union membership rates in the industrialized world.

Your right, unions are bad. Don't worry soon we will make nothing in this country including weapons for our army. Workers will be given slave wages in order to compete with the global economy. Owners will reduce safety regulations, and maybe someone in your family will die in a work related accident. Most likely it will be preventable, but in order to compete... your boss said forget safety regulations...I need to compete. Now your family has lost a wage earner. Now your house gets foreclosed on. So you try to sue the employer. But wait, some PAC influenced government to get rid of your right to sue for workplace negligence. On top of it all, you get fired for asking for time off for bereavement. Now go to cash in your 401k, but wait. We got rid of that union invention.


Believe in owners and management all you want. When your job gets outsourced in the name of competition, and your boss gets a raise high enough to buy a maybach, then then you will cry union.

While i'm at it i would also like to bring up fair trade. I want you union haters who always talk free markets, to look into how many cars we Americans can sell in japan and Korea versus what they can sell here. Tell me if its fair and free. This is not a right versus left issue. Its profit over people issue. Its a quality of life issue. Its a corrupt government issue. Most reading this will be middle class...Wake up...ignore tea parties, democrats and republicans. If things continue down this path i fear for the majority of Americans.

Don't worry soon jobs will be outsourced from Mexico, China and India to Africa. Why...because i'm sure someone in Africa will work for a slice of bread. But, don't sweat it, its in the name of competition.

Not all unions are corrupt or bad. They are a necessary protection. Yes they need to be reformed but they should stay in our fabric. If Jesus was alive? Would he support union workers or greedy money changers...i mean bosses.

Anonymous said...

The previous post must be from the poor forklift driver whom earns $106,000 per year and is worried about making what the average forklift driver earns... $26,000.

Competition is all about working hard, producing good product, and producing it efficiently, and therefore being succesful. Well Mr. Union... you don't like to work hard; you have caused the american car companies to take a back seat, as your skill level and desire to produce a good products don't exist; and you just plain old make far more than your worth... causing the cost of american cars to b far more than they should. Mr. Union, you should be ashamed of yourself for it is you that has caused millions of lost jobs and billions of tax payer money.

The truth of the matter is, if you support the union, there is a 9 to 1 chance that you would have been fired from your job long ago due to poor workmanship, being late or absent from work, not following directions, etc... Thats where the union excels, keeping the no-value employee (aka leech) in their job.

Unions had their day of help for american workers, now they are just corrupt organizations stealing from their entitlement minded members who just don't get it. But thats right, they don't get it because they are paid 5 x the national average for their position, but their friends are losing their jobs. Mr. Union, you are so selfish!

Perhaps it is now time to unionize... lets create a union, that will destroy all unions, especially UAW, NEA and Teamsters!

The government should focus efforts on making it easier to remove unions now.

Anonymous said...

Business has continually evolved to survive the new demands of a global economy. Unions have not. Their time has come and gone. Those who do not understand the need to compete in this new economy obviously have no place in it. They should take their ridiculous wages and invest in an education. Rather than sit around worrying about someone noticing that they are grossly overpaid, they could do something about it and prepare for real life.

As for injuries in the workplace... I'm fairly certain that OSHA can handle it without some overpaid under educated forklift driver carrying a picket sign because he didn't get a croissant with his coffee during his morning break.

Anonymous said...

Labor unions ARE free capitalism. A founding principle is that everyone acts to their own best interests. Just as a company's best interest is to maximize their profit, a worker's best interest is to get better pay and benefits.

I do agree that in many situations, if workers refrain from negotiating their best terms, it benefits the entire country's economy, and perhaps they should. However, same goes for corporations, who engage in maximizing their short-term profits by outsourcing abroad, which also hurts the economy. Why should they not refrain as well?

To ask workers to altruistically refrain from their best terms for the benefit of society, and not ask the same of corporations, is nothing more than a double standard.

Ideally, under capitalism, no-one should be asked to act altruistically. But if you start compromising on that principle, you should apply it to all parties involved.

Anonymous said...

Instead of squeezing the most pay from employers in the short-term, labor unions should lobby congress for import tariffs and against foreign outsourcing; this will naturally increase pay and bring stability to employment.

It also means consumer prices will rise along with the higher salaries; in the end we cannot consume more than we produce. However stability in employment is stability in society.

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