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Thoughts for Labour Day

pilotyip

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From The Detroit News:

White House pal fails unions

You'd think the labor leaders gathering in Detroit would want to hoist President Barack Obama onto their shoulders and carry him down Woodward Avenue as a hero.

No president in recent memory has been so sympathetic to Big Labor. Obama has directed a seismic shift in labor policy toward unions.

But still, labor is unhappy. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO and one of those expected in Detroit on Monday, accused the president of focusing on "little nibbly things" and threatens to break away the union from the Democratic Party in 2012.

That seems rough treatment for a president whose administration has, among other things, rewritten labor law to boost union chances of organizing Delta Air Lines; taken the extraordinary step of telling Boeing that it can't open a plant in a right-to-work state; put the 85 percent of construction workers who are nonunion off limits for work funded with federal dollars unless their employers agree to union wages, benefits and work rules; and spent most of the $1 trillion stimulus package to save the jobs of government workers.

The curious discontent stems from the new reality of the labor movement.

Unions represent fewer than 12 percent of the national work force, down more than one-third over the past two decades. (In Michigan, cradle of the industrial union, membership is roughly 17 percent.)

In the private sector, unions have all but disappeared, with just under 7 percent of workers organized.

However, one-third of government workers are represented by unions, and that has redefined the labor movement's objectives.

Unions today are less likely to be battling with corporate America for a bigger share of the profits, and more likely to be fighting with taxpayers to keep salaries and benefits that the private sector gave up long ago. That changes the collective bargaining dynamic, as well as the perception of unions.

A recent University of Michigan survey found 56 percent of local officials in Michigan, where the majority of local officials are Democrats, say unions hurt their communities.

The new membership mix places unions at odds with the growing public demand for less government spending and smaller deficits. With more members working for government than for private employers, unions must fight for policies that kill private sector jobs — higher taxes and spending.

The 2010 elections put Republicans in charge in Michigan and across the industrial Midwest, where unions once dominated politics and policymaking. These GOP leaders are undoing the special deals and unsustainable contracts their Democratic predecessors rewarded their union backers. And so far they're doing so with public support.

Taxpayers are waking up to the reality that their interests are not aligned with unions.

So having become irrelevant in the private sector, Big Labor is now at risk of losing its influence over the public sector.

And that's a trend that will continue even with a union man in the White House.

From conpilot

Anyway, yes I lived in England from 1956 until 1962. One way I can tell you just how the Labour Party was running England into the ground, was that World War Two rationing was still in effect. That's right, all rationing in England finally ended in July, 1958. The rationing of food had ended in 1954, however, coal which 90% of homes in the UK were heated by, was still rationed until 1958.

The primary reasons for this was the price controls and production limits put into place by the Labour Government. Due to the artificial price controls, wages were held low due to those price controls. Because of this England could not compete in the open market competing against more open free world markets. Because of union protectionism by the Labor Party coal prices were, by law, kept at unrealistic high levels, much higher than the prices in Europe.

Prior to and during World War Two English steel was one of England's most sought after exports. After the war due to the artificial high price of English coal the British Steel Industry could no longer compete on the open market. To make up for the lack of profit due to declining export of steel, the Labour Party forced all of the English Industries to only use English coal, coal imports from Europe were banned.

Thus the once mighty steel industry of the UK was doomed and the trickle down effect started the destruction of the UK auto industry, aircraft industry and the once mighty maritime industry. In a futile attempt to offset this trend, the Labour Party raised taxes on everything to subsidize the industries, to keep the Labour unions happy.

Make no mistake about this, really until Thatcher and the Tory Party took power, the labor unions controlled Great Britain through the Labour Party. The Labour Party was a combination of socialists and union leaders. As long as the Labour Party gave what the union leaders wanted, the rank and file union members voted straight Labour.
 
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