Friday, December 12, 2008

The Problem With Labor Unions

Somewhere a long the line labor unions shifted their mission from protecting workers rights to trying to get as much money for its members for as little work as possible. They went from shielding workers from being exploited by management to exploiting management for the benefit of workers.

In a recent Op-Ed in the NY Times, Mitt Romney talks about how the former head of the UAW once told his dad: “Getting more and more pay for less and less work is a dead-end street.”

The UAW continues to insist that it’s not the problem. While they are not the entire problem, anyone with half a brain can see they’re part of it. And as the LA Times points out, one of their biggest problems was failing to unionize the auto plants opened up in this country by foreign automakers.

But the UAW is just an example of how most unions in this country have lost their way. In 2006 the Philadelphia Plumbers Union tried to halt construction on an office building because the developers wanted to use waterless urinals. Even though the amount of piping eliminated would have been minimal, that was still more important to the union than the business and environmental sense it makes to save 1.6 million gallons of water a year.

Even the AFL-CIO once refused to have its convention in Detroit citing union-required labor costs at the convention center as its reason to stay away. (Source)

If unions can’t open up their eyes and take in the bigger picture of the world around them, they’re going to eat themselves alive (just like the UAW is about to do) and force this country into a deeper longer recession (just like they did during the Great Depression, according to this Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal).

Just because labor unions have done great things in the past and can continue to serve a vital function in society, doesn't mean we should blindly support them in their lunacy.

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