Labor Unions Fading Into History


Michigan a Right-To-Work State By Law

Out of the violence at the Michigan capitol of Lansing, one can only surmise it was inevitability of changing times in this country.

Michigan, the most famous union state in the nation’s history and birthplace of the United Auto Workers has officially become a right-to-work state by law.

Is that so shocking?

Nearby Indiana went that way earlier this year. The entire Rust Belt will eventually follow because the union’s legacy is over within the economics of the real world.

Today’s Globalization

The days of America dominating the world’s economy are over – never to return with today’s globalization. Oh, you can look back to the post World War II years when the UAW was all-powerful, the auto companies were highly profitable and the world was flooded with American cars.

Back when the UAW won wages, benefits and protections that were the envy of the world.

Fast forward to this month’s violent demonstrations hoping against hope to persuade a return to the “norm.” America alone emerged unscathed from World War II. Japan was in ashes, Germany pulverized and our allies, Britain, France and yes, Russia, were devastated.

America ruled the world, simple as that.

Allies Recovered – With Our Money and Support

But as time moved on, as is what history does, our allies recovered – with our money and support. From Volkswagen to Samsung, foreign companies began to overtake American industry that was saddled with protected, inflated, relatively uncompetitive wages, benefits and work rules.

Unions is the operative words.

Detroit went bankrupt while the southern states made record profits. Northern companies faced overpaid management that contributed to the fall. But clearly the wage, benefit and work-rule gap between the unionized North and the right-to-work South was a major factor.

Out-Of-Touch and Populist President

Meanwhile, our out-of-touch and Populist president supported the unions against the Michigan legislation. He termed right-to-work as “giving you the right to work for less money.” No need to realize that a free country should allow its workers to choose whether or not to join a union.

There’s no question right-to-work laws weaken unions and de-unionization usually does lead to lower wages. But another factor is at play.

That is the new reality of actually having a job in the first place. In right-to-work states, the average wage is about 10 percent lower. But in right-to-work states, unemployment also is about 10 percent lower. Higher wages or lower unemployment becomes the devil’s choice.

Unions Will Soon Join The Ranks of The Dinosaur

This becomes a moral dilemma.

Lower wages for the American worker creates a sort of inferiority complex. Yet for those facing the indignity of unemployment, it is a loss not just of income but of independence and self worth.

Economically speaking, the choices have already been made and the unions will soon join the ranks of the dinosaur.

They probably will anyway.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. His BS in journalism from University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.

Dwight has 30 years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. A native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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