08.06.2010 1

Were Labor Unions Ever Necessary?

A common argument made by some Republicans and conservatives is that labor unions were necessary in society a hundred years ago, but they are no longer needed in today’s workplace. This argument, however, has many flaws. When looking deep into the history of the labor movement, unless you support a society modeled closely around that of the U.S.S.R., labor unions were not just unnecessary a hundred years ago, but have created lasting damage and are still continuing to wreak havoc across the nation.

Many fail to see the downside of the American labor movement at the time of its inception. Few remember that it was a product of the progressive movement, which created many of the problems in society that we deal with today.

Just take a look at the progress that the labor unions have made in their short history. From just 90 years ago, labor unions have gone from trying to “protect” the workers that they represented to taking complete control of the companies that they were “protecting” them from. In essence, they have a track record of completely dismantling the companies that they have set up shop in.

If you need an example of this, just look to Detroit. Of the Big 3 automakers, two have ceased to exist in the form that they did for most of the 20th century. One of them, Chrysler, has been completely taken over by the United Auto Workers, a union that sought to protect the employees of the car manufacturers from the supposed “greedy” leadership that was going to sell the workers short.

The UAW can even claim General Motors as a victim of their ruthlessness. GM has completely disappeared from being a publicly traded, privately owned mega company into a publicly owned, taxpayer funded zombie corporation all due to labor union malfeasance.

The goal of the unions has not been to protect the workers, but to stop private companies from turning profits that they claim do not enrich the employees that made them possible. Instead, the unions have taken far greater roles in dismantling the companies that pay the workers handsomely and in turn, destroy the companies while enriching only the union leadership.

In short, labor unions have turned into a total scam. They hustle money from the paychecks of those they represent and pad the pockets of those in leadership — selling short the employees that could live better lives without the so-called protection offered by Big Labor.

While the auto unions provide a good look at what Big Labor has done to private industry, the same type of damage has been done in the public sector.

Teachers unions have made it nearly impossible for poorly performing teachers to be removed from the classroom. The harm done hurts the students and the taxpayers that pay for these services. Teachers unions care nothing about the level of education offered, but look more to what they will earn on the taxpayer dole.

Just look at what is happening in New Jersey. When Governor Chris Christie attempted to clean up the New Jersey education system, he was met with stiff resistance from the teachers unions, even though the taxpayers wanted a change. The unions are not in the business of providing better services; they are simply in it for the interests of the union leadership.

The federal government should not go without blame either. It is the fault of Congress that has led to such powerful labor unions across the country. With legislation such as the Wagner Act, which created the National Labor Relations Board, unions have become institutionalized in America.

There is much more wrong with Big Labor in America and this is simply the tip of the iceberg. But at no point in American history has there evern been a need for such organizations such as the SEIU, AFL, NEA, UAW, and so on to “protect” workers in the workplace.

Americans have always had the ability to vote with their feet. If a job is bad, they can move on. But at no point has a hustler of one’s paychecks been necessary for the greater good. And to believe so is to lose trust in the free market system that made America great.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com for Americans for Limited Government.

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