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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 146. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 493 - This Terrible, Terrible Political Climate. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 492 - Labor Union Members Wanting Out.

Union Bosses Coercing Membership-

This morning, on Turner Classic Movies, I caught a little bit of a late-noir film (1957) called The Garment Jungle. It's actually a pretty good flick, in terms of composition and pace and all those kinds of things. Unfortunately, it is cartoonishly left-wing in its politics. We tend to think of the 1950s as an ultra-conservative period in American history, but, really, it was between 1956 and 1958 that union membership as a percentage of all private sector workers peaked, at 39%.

Really, then, The Garment Jungle is a bit of a time capsule for the pro-union zeitgeist of the era.

In the film, mobsters are associated with busting unions. Violence, in this film, is the only thing keeping unions from penetrating every workplace. Quite a departure from real life.

Today, Democrats fight for "card check" legislation, which essentially eliminates the secret ballot and allows a union "organizer" to hover over and "help" a worker make up his mind about whether or not to join. Today, unions are declining. When given a choice, not everyone agrees to unionize-- and plenty of people are opting out of unions they are already in.

Grover Norquist, in his new book, elaborates:

Real elections have not been working well for union bosses. David Denholm of the Public Service Research Foundation reports that in the past five and a half years, labor unions have tried to organize 14,743 workplaces. They won 8,260 elections and lost 6,483 elections. In the same time span, unionized workers have demanded 2,379 elections to allow them to "decertify" their union, and workers have thrown out their union 66.2 percent of the time.

And recently, in Colorado, union bosses had to admit that more than half of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) are essentially forcibly unionized against their will.

Labor union organizers in The Garment Jungle were willing to fight and die not just for themselves or even their fellow downtrodden garment workers, but for what they believed was the good of society. Whether or not all people appreciated what they were doing, their work was on behalf of all people. Sort of a sarcasm-laced "you're welcome" worldview, there.

Today, though, we know that states with high concentrations of union members are doing relatively poorly, economically. They have weaker job creation. They have slower GDP (or, GSP) growth. They are losing people and companies and capital to other states. They are the states that Obama says are clinging to guns and religion.

And it's no wonder, when you consider that the ten states with the latest "Tax Freedom" days have a unionization rate of 17.97%, while the ten states with the earliest "Tax Freedom" days have a unionization rate of 11.96%-- and that includes the high-union outlier of Alaska (24.7%), which has a unique Kuwaiti-like tax situation.

Moreover, examining National Taxpayers Union ratings of Senate delegations (.pdf), we see that high unionization is highly correlated with sending tax-and-spend individuals to the Senate, while low levels of unionization and "Taxpayers' Friends" in the Senate go together:


Download the Microsoft Excel file of this data here.

Thus, when labor union folks give you the haughty "we are why you have a weekend" nonsense, or the holier-than-thou "you are riding on the coattails of our hard work, indirectly benefiting from our organizing" ridiculousness, know that this is bunk. Unions not only don't help society, they actually harm society. And they harm themselves (ahem, Michigan, ahem).

Thus, if you-- a member of the "Leave Us Alone" coalition-- get the chance to voice your opinion on unions, and you think to yourself, "you know, let them do their thing, they're not really affecting me..." know that union strength does affect you. Union strength, today, is antithetical to liberty.

For Republicans, there are some interesting outliers on the graph. Arkansas and North Dakota, the two green triangles nearest to the bottom-left corner, are both states with under 10% unionization that send high-tax/high-spend liberal Democrats to the Senate and therefore also have Senate scores under 10%. If Republicans are ever going to achieve a filibuster-proof Senate majority, those are the kinds of states that the GOP simply cannot cede to the Democrats.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Influence Peddling.

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 May 2008 11:12 PM