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Willisms

« Daylight Savings: Spring Forward. | WILLisms.com | The Left's Lacking Solidarity. »

Labor Union Shake-Down.

The Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal has a great piece on how American labor unions are trying desperately to scam large financial services firms into not supporting President Bush's Social Security reform push:

A notable sidelight to the Social Security debate has been Big Labor's battle to keep business from supporting reform....

With their membership falling, union leaders are finding it harder to influence companies or politics from the factory floor. Their new approach is to use their control over large employee pension plans to insert themselves directly into the boardroom. The result is what one observer has termed "the new politics of capital," in which liberal activists attempt to turn entire corporations into lobbyists for their social and political goals, their campaigns all neatly disguised as "shareholder activism."

....Now comes the AFL-CIO's campaign against private Social Security accounts. In addition to its usual grassroots and Congressional lobbying, it is threatening to pull its $400 billion pension fund business from any financial services firms backing personal accounts....

The problems with all this are many, starting with a rich irony: Unions are using the clout they've acquired from investing in the stock market to oppose a plan to let individuals invest their own tax money in the same market. According to a Tax Foundation paper, of nearly $2 trillion in public employee pension plan assets, 55% are invested in corporate equities. Labor leaders don't mind stock-market investing when it enhances their own political leverage, but for individual workers to build their own wealth is too "risky."

Meanwhile, in poll just last week, reported by the Los Angeles Times,

...union members, by a ratio of more than 2 to 1, think offering private accounts to workers younger than 55 is a good idea and... six of 10 union members are at least somewhat likely to create an account if given the opportunity.

Is it any wonder union membership has declined so consistently over the years? Union leadership has become woefully out of touch with the rank-and-file.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 April 2005 03:24 PM

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