published Monday, February 21st, 2011

Not the labor secretary's job

For decades now, fewer and fewer American workers have chosen to form or join unions.

There are lots of reasons for that. Some have been put off by strong-arm union tactics or by Big Labor's support for extremely liberal political candidates. Others have shied away from unions after witnessing the near-collapse of unionized workplaces that had unsustainable compensation packages.

At any rate, union membership fell again in 2010, to 11.9 percent of the U.S. work force. And most union membership today is among government workers -- who shouldn't be unionized.

The continued decline of unions and of Big Labor's political influence recently prompted U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to jump improperly into the fray by suggesting unions need a bigger voice.

"As workers across the country continue to face lower wages and difficulty finding work due to the recent recession, these numbers demonstrate the pressing need to provide workers with a voice in the workplace and protect their right to organize and bargain collectively," she said in a press release.

We realize that a labor secretary appointed by a liberal Democrat president is certainly not going to be anti-union, nor should she be. But neither should she be advocating on behalf of Big Labor. She should seek only to uphold the law.

It is not surprising, though, that the secretary of labor is "taking sides" in favor of unions. Her boss, President Barack Obama, and the Democratic Party rely heavily on union campaign donations. Unions obviously expect to get support from the administration in return. In fact, while campaigning for the presidency, then-Sen. Obama declared that if elected, he would even join a picket line in Chicago to help unionize workers at a hotel there.

Unfortunately, what is in the best interests of Big Labor is not necessarily in the best interests of individual workers or of the United States as a whole.

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bookworm said...

It's not that I don't undersatand why the Free Press is downplays unions: They are for unregulated big business. It would be nice if American business was as starry-eyed as in Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged,' but it isn't. Todays corporations more resemble those in the Guilded Age. But if corporations can have high priced lawyers representing their every interest, then it is only right that workers have unions to represent them. Unions are responsible for many reforms people today take for granted, e.g. 8hrday/40hr work week,vacations/ sick pay/ overtime. Indeed, it's a two way street. For everytime the Free Press says union bosses are heavy handed and corrupt, up pops another AIG and Enron scandal.

February 21, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Yes bookworm and it was a union which caused the situation where my 50 plus year old brother found himself out of a job with little potential for further significant employment. He had been with his company for over 35 years. Oh yeah, they are nothing but good those unions. That company had kept them out for years and it was only a short time after it came in that the fun began. So go on and on about how fabulous labor unions are. Not all are as wondeful as you seem to think.

February 21, 2011 at 7:41 p.m.
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