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Tags: unions | economy | right to work

Cashing in on a Crisis: The Threat of a Union Revival

signage relating to labor unions
(Dreamstime.com)

Dennis Kneale By Thursday, 21 October 2021 12:19 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The front page of The Wall Street Journal on Monday laid out the stories that should worry us. One story was crushing: the Afghanistan economy is so awful that a mother may sell her three-year-old daughter to a shopkeeper to cover a $550 debt for food.

The scarier story, though, might be this one here: "Unions Push for Advantage Amid a Tight Labor Market." Amid supposed labor shortages, organized labor just struck Deere & Co., after work stoppages at snack maker Mondelez, Volvo commercial trucks, and Kellogg.

If unions gain, America loses.

Unions are bad for the economic growth of the United States, bad for policy and politics; they are even bad for workers, draining a portion of our paychecks to fund Democratic policies that will further hinder growth.

Today the biggest, richest, most vibrant companies are non-union: Apple, Amazon, Google, Tesla, Walmart, and most of Silicon Valley — the greatest center of wealth creation globally.

It's difficult to name any industry that thrives because of its unions.

The U.S. auto industry vs. better and cheaper producers overseas; Hollywood productions vs. non-union markets in Canada and in the South; construction, the airlines, trucking, newspapers—are any of these industries model examples of sleek efficiency?

Government is our least efficient and effective sector.

Unions represent almost 35% of government workers at all levels.

Thirty years ago, to take a government job was to accept lower pay for the virtue of providing public service; now a government job’s pay and benefits are better than that of a private-sector job.

That, too, is bad for the nation’s growth.

It's a self-perpetuating influence-peddling machine: unions rake in dues from government pay, which are pumped into still more contributions to Democratic politicians, who approve more raises that fuel higher union dues.

Pro-union policies play a role in the supply-chain crisis now afflicting the U.S.

The media blames COVID-19 lockdowns and resultant global snags, but a bigger factor may be that half the trucks in the U.S. are blocked from picking up shipping containers at two of the busiest ports in the country, in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.

One reason is a state law known as AB-5, which decrees that only union truck drivers —remember the Teamsters? — can visit the ports. Owner-operators who comprise a large portion of the industry are non-union, and therefore their entry is hindered.

Another California measure, a green-energy rule, makes it tougher to enter the ports for all trucks manufactured before 2011 — a ridiculous restriction.

It's craziness, especially now.

The unions’ hold on Democrats has always been a bewildering one.

They represent only 6.3% of the private workforce in the U.S., yet the late AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka, who died earlier this year, once bragged that he was in touch with the White House two or three times a week during the first years of the Obama era.

Team Biden is out to one-up Obama in partisan pro-union policies.

It has proposed new federal tax breaks to stoke sales of electric cars and added a $2,500 sweetener for autos made by union workers — favoring the Big Three and snubbing Tesla, a non-union shop.

Yet Tesla is the largest seller of electric cars globally — it produces and sells more electric models than the Big Three combined.

So woke, so dumb.

My suspicion of unions runs deep. I grew up in Florida, one of 27 "right-to-work" states where you can hold a job without having to join a union; otherwise if you work in a union shop, you must pay union fees that are clipped from your weekly paycheck.

If unions are so great, why do they have to force themselves on us by taking out mandatory fees?

During my years at The Wall Street Journal, I prized the merit raises I earned for my individual performance; the smaller union raises going to all of us felt a bit socialist.

Long ago, when I was a mere intern at The Washington Post, the union pressed me to join up so it could tax my $287 paycheck.

I resisted.

At The Detroit News, I was told to take a lunch break rather than eat at my desk, and advised against crossing the picket line of a possible strike that summer, or a Teamster might crack my head open.

Those sorts of things stick with me to this very day.

Dennis Kneale is a writer and media strategist in New York, after six years as anchor at CNBC and Fox Business Network and 25 years at The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He helped write "The Trump Century: How Our President Changed the Course of History," by Lou Dobbs, published in September 2020 by HarperCollins. Read Dennis Kneale's reports — More Here.

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DennisKneale
At The Detroit News, I was told to take a lunch break rather than eat at my desk, and advised against crossing the picket line at a possible strike that summer, or a Teamster might crack my head open.
unions, economy, right to work
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2021-19-21
Thursday, 21 October 2021 12:19 PM
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