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From Angelo Codevilla's The Ruling Class:

The U.S. labor movement now consists almost exclusively of government employees, employees of companies doing government contracts, or companies that are subsidized by government.

I know the majority of Americans in Unions nowadays are government employees, but how accurate is the rest of the statement?   Whatever the exact number in that group is, we ought to add the last two categories to the majority of union workers who work directly for the government when discussing the future of unions in the U.S.

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Discussions - 16 Comments

If this is true, then I think it means that the Unions have become totally dependent upon "rent-seeking" organizations, i.e. those who have have no interest in real profits, but who depend entirely upon the cash that flows from the teat of the government cow.

That cow is going to dry up pretty soon, and those Unions, if really that dependent, will come to an ugly end.

We are about to run out of other people's money. Maybe Michael Moore can put his money where his mouth is and save socialism in the United States??????

I assume the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics is as good a place as any to get the numbers:

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

Links to the raw numbers at bottom.

At any rate ...

The U.S. labor movement now consists ...

o "almost exclusively" -- a phrase sure to ignite debate regardless of the numbers.

o "government employees" -- the link above has lots of details on this.

o "employees of companies doing government contracts" -- does the unionized employee have to be working on the contract? Or just that the person is employed by company X and company X has a government contract?

o "companies that are subsidized by government" -- again, directly or indirectly? If indirectly, that includes everyone.

I've heard that about half of all union employees are in the public sector. If that's true, 'nuff said. Just as we disallow monopoly among firms, we should also disallow labor monopolies. The notion that civil servants should have the right to strike (the real power behind collective bargaining) against the people is absurd. Pubic sector employment is a privilege, not a right, and if the pay or the benefits aren't good enough then go elsewhere!

It just blows my mind that most Americans don't see how they are being screwed here. But then again, they are the same "independents" who vote this way and that, depending on how the political wind is blowing.

Let's be clear about this; conservatives and conservative libertarians are hostile to labor unions, period (recall the doubling of venom when government bailouts went to the Detroit auto companies with a lot of unionized employees - of those whose jobs remained stateside, that is). This isn't "just" about the public sector unions. That's just the foot in the door.

If only they'd recall the words of their St. Ronnie:

"[W]here free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lUZu9xhMqc#t=7m8s

Presumably with that "where" he meant "wherever" - as in, it applies universally, not just in those places that we brand as "evil."

Here he calls the ability to form unions and go on strike a "basic right":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orwN4WKhriw

By the Beckian standards (here I refer to Glenn Beck, the Ashbrook-honored talker on FoxNews) that dominate today's conservative movement, Reagan would be booed off the stage of CPAC.

I'm sure it just slipped your mind that Reagan said the Polish people have a right to form *free trade* unions and to strike.

btw -- You probably know more about Glenn Beck than anybody I have ever met. It is kinda weird.

Not to mention Ronaldus Magnus wasn't just a member of a union, but PRESIDENT of the Screen Actor's Guild, which meant he PERSONALLY negotiated many contracts for the members of the SAG. Additionally, he also intervened in many individual cases for members of the Guild.

What's our present Spectator in Chief, other than rabble rouse and strike a pose, akin to some Lady Gaga type politico.

That last sentence should have been: "What's our present Spectator in Chief actually done, other than rabble rouse and strike a pose, akin to some Lady Gaga type politico?"

The distinction often lost in this debate is the difference between public and private sector unions. The former has consistently increased its membership and influence in government; the latter has been declining and is now predominant in what can charitably be characterized as "declining" industries - U.S. automotive, airlines (declining in terms of profitability), and manufacturing in general.

Check the Reagan quotes - he was drawing this distinction, and his experience was with a private sector union.

Those claiming that the Repbulicans are hostile to all unions are also overlooking this distinction, and would be hard pressed to find Republicans taking an anti private sector union position. Where the take-over of GM and Chrysler were concerned, the criticism of the unions in that case was of the sweet-heart terms they received in preference to the priority that should have been given to bond holders under the rule of law.

Let's be clear: Public-employee unions have long been asking for this by giving 95% of their donations to the Democrats:

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

When you spend decades gleefully serving as a siphon-hose running from taxpayers' pockets to the Democratic Party's feed trough (to the tune of about $100 mil since '89 from AFSCME, NEA & AFT alone), how can you not expect the other party to try and put a kink in you if it gets the chance?

If pub-emp unions want to play the partisan political game, they have to expect to take their lumps. Is the GOP supposed to not notice how much Democratic campaign cash comes from pub-emp unions?

I won't even begin to delve into the many flaws of your "they've been asking for it" argument, but I will ask this:

Did you know that the source you cite, OpenSecrets, gets major funding from..... George Soros!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Responsive_Politics#Funding

Scanlon, you tactics wear thin. Whenever someone gets the better of you (which is most of the time), you fall back on snark or silence. Face it, your attempt to caricature the Right on this issue has failed. Alas.

Most of us are happy to see private sector unions go the way of the dodo, quite naturally and gradually. We have plenty of workplace protections on the books now to protect most workers (that is, IF the government does its job, which is a big if), and the notion that workers should have the right to strike and restrict employers from hiring replacements is absurd. Without government favoritism, private sector unions inevitably fail.

As for public sector unions, the notion is just plain stupid. You're damned right that we are hostile to such obamanations.

Did you know that the source you cite, OpenSecrets, gets major funding from..... George Soros!!!

An admission against interest.

"[W]here free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."

The statement is patent nonsense.

Not just state and federal regulation. You have the tort system, the insistences of underwriters, general affluence, and changes in the culture of management. It is doubtful that industrial relations would return to norms manifest prior to 1935 even in the absence of unions or an occupational safety apparat.

Wow, the guy who runs OpenSecrets worked for 7 years at Dallas Morning News?

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