Thursday, January 20, 2011


Richard Epstein gets it:

I just read this scary story in the Daily Caller, which confirms my worst fears about the Obama Administration and its relationship to organized labor. About two years ago, I wrote a book length study on behalf of employer organizations called The Case Against the Employee Free Choice Act, which sought to explain the enormous dangers of any efforts to strengthen the statutory protections of labor monopolies.

In working on that book, I was struck by how little success unions had had in winning labor contracts at the bargaining table under a set of stable labor rules that have been tilted in their favor for the past 50 or so years. The gist of the situation is that workers are now keenly aware that the short term promise of union riches often leads to a loss of jobs in an ever more competitive global economy.

Just look what unions did for Detroit.

BTW- I'm not against all unions. One of my first jobs was at District Photo, a company that sorely needed a union. I worked on film processing equipment that was manned by a vast army on single mothers and college students. They were paid peanuts, denied bathroom breaks, and had little prospect of advancement. They needed a union. And a couple of friends and I tried to start one.

Fast forward 20 years and I'm working in a union shop for a supermarket chain. I still do repair work but it's only because I like to. I could take the attitude of our shop steward, who comes in every morning, takes a repair job that should take an hour to complete, and milks it for 8 hours. The supervisor has learned not to suggest he go on to accomplish other work, because a union grievance would result. So the supervisor swallows his anger; even when he knows that there's nothing wrong with the equipment this guy is "fixing".

So this guy was getting paid roughly double the going wage for our industry and was doing one-eighth the work. (oh, and stealing food as well) What a perversion of the concept of unions protecting the worker. Who protects the company?

Not Obama.