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The End of the Union Era . . . Hooray!

This is a Labor Day that will live on in infamy. It marks the end of an era for the labor unions in the US. Whether the unions will continue to exist in the future is largely irrelevant. For all practical purposes, the unions are dead.

Someday we will look back on the unions and wonder why anyone could have ever supported them. The former head of Teamsters union was Jimmy Hoffa, a large-scale criminal whose life ended after he mysteriously went “missing.” His son, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., is the current president of the Teamsters (a family history of crime is a union resume enhancement).

On this Labor Day, Jimmy Hoffa Jr. addressed his fellow union members by saying this about his political opposition: “Let’s take these son of bitches out.”

That’s Jimmy Hoffa speaking like a true crime boss, and he doesn’t even realize how evil that sounds to many Americans.

The unions grew during an era when there were comparatively few large corporations who employed many workers. With that divide, it was very easy to talk about the evil company boss who was trying to keep the “working man” down. With that language, the unions drove a wedge between the “bosses” and the “workers” and managed to grab a large chunk of loot while doing it.

Then a funny thing happened. As unions made greater demands on businesses, they drove them out of business or overseas to other countries. This has been the progression for decades now, and this chart gives a look at the recent decline since 1989. However, that doesn’t tell the entire story because the private sector union membership has, in fact, declined much more than the public sector.

The current recession has just hit the public sector though, and state governments are reforming to effectively eliminate unions: Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, etc. The “Right to Work” laws and the end of automatic union dues collection (it’s hard to believe that was ever legal) will cause further drops in union membership that won’t be apparent until the next year or so.

Even in union-friendly states, like CA and NY, the number of public sector union jobs and benefits are being slashed out of necessity. In addition, the United States Postal Service is facing bankruptcy and may slash 120,000 union jobs or go bankrupt and lose five times that many.

The unions are relics of a prior era. Today, most of us work at smaller companies and are much closer to our employers. We also change jobs much more frequently and understand how the economy works. This is the way it had to be. The parasites has consumed its host; the unions have killed big business.

We now wonder how forced unionism was able to infect the country, and marvel that it grew to such an extent. We’re shocked at the savagery that unions direct at those who provide employment. We understand that companies are not bottomless bags of money that we can extort. We are wiser.

Happy Labor Day!

September 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm
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