Just because an idea has noble intentions hardly means that the people in charge of pushing the idea have an honest agenda. This axiom applies directly to labor unions, and especially to their leaders, who through grandiose slogans pretend to care for the welfare of workers. Why do hard-working union members still fall for their lies and deceptions?
Although the appeal of unionized labor, currently 10.5% of American labor force, has declined in the U.S in a steady fashion. There are countless high-profile public figures who in a very clever and subtle way manage to keep labor unions relevant. Senator Bernie Sanders to Nobel Prize- winning economist Paul Krugman, both socialists, make the arguments for a more unionized workforce promulgated under the disguise of “expert opinion” while relying exclusively on intellectual laziness and blatant lies. In other words, pronouncements made in the typical smug liberal fashion.
Democrats Pandering for Labor Votes
From a politically practical perspective, office-seekers from the left especially beg for labor union endorsements. Their pandering is not because they are gravely concerned about American workers. The reason why political candidates seek out endorsements relies on the theory of bloc votes. This is where union members vote according to their union leadership which has endorsed, for example, candidate A because voting for candidate B would supposedly be wasteful and would carry potentially harmful repercussions.
Politicians. particularly Democrats, seek out bloc votes as opposed to individuals because bloc leaders (i.e., union bosses) are considered politically essential. They can be “rewarded” for their election cycle loyalty more easily than individual voters. Therefore, the next time some politician proudly proclaims that he/she received the endorsement from a labor union for a pledge to defend the American worker, consider this: The candidate just bought crucial votes in key battleground states on a discount without putting in any fieldwork.
Marxism considers individual human lives as expendable livestock.
On a deeper level, the labor union peddlers are merely echoing the work of Marxists agitators. To achieve another (failed) Marxist revolution, various Marxist factions today disagree whether the outcome should be achieved through a violent revolution (Antifa) or peaceful covert means (“Sandersnistas”). The latter refers to the incremental use of democratic means by exploiting the theory of bargaining power from surplus value via labor unions. The modern Marxist movement is thus more aligned with the peaceful methodology of Bernie Sanders, who has been eager to take advantage of vague Democrat slogans to exacerbate inter-generational class warfare.
As history has so clearly shown, Marxism considers individual human lives as expendable livestock which can be sacrificed for the better future and visions of Marxist leaders. To put it another way, humans consist of raw building material for the constructions of a “new society” and a “new man.” Therefore, if you are a member of a labor union or desire to join one, please know your place as a non-essential pawn in the socialists’ game of sacrificial chess.
The Economics of Unionization
The economics of labor unions are relatively simple. By preventing competition between workers, unions strive to restrict the supply of labor and consequently raise the price of workers for a company. The worst nightmare for labor unions, after low-skilled immigrants flowing into the job market, is open competition. These workers would automatically bid the price of work downward. After all, bargaining strength emerges from the law of scarcity: Value derives from its relative scarcity to substitutions.
In other words, if you happen to be a ordinary production associate at a non-unionized BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, as I once was, your skill set is not very scarce. As a result, your bargaining strength is weak because you can be replaced with someone with equally low skill set or something else (i.e., automation) very easily.
Liberal economists’ claim that raising the minimum wage or increasing the cost of labor through regulations would not impact the demand for labor is at best dishonest posturing. This is especially true when the whole premise of raising the price of harmful behavior (e.g., smoking, soft drinks, use of plastic bottles, straws, fossil fuels) relies exclusively on consuming doing/using these things less because of the added cost. Somehow the economics of labor has been flipped around by assuming that employers would hire more workers as their cost goes up. Intellectual dishonesty, hello!
Even more peculiar are instances where public sector workers go on strike and exploit union power under the guise of negotiating better contracts. The reality is union leaders are exploiting the workers they claim to be helping.
In the case of a South Carolina teachers’ strike, the participants misunderstood a key point. Wages go up only if productivity increases or the number of educators decreases, thereby forcing the buyer of teachers’ labor (i.e., the state) to compete over a scarce number of qualified teachers.
However, in the public education system, there is only one buyer of teachers’ services: the state. Therefore, even if unionized educators managed to restrict the entry of new teachers to compete over limited positions, the state has stronger bargaining power. Perhaps this is the reason why teachers’ unions dislike private schools and the voucher system.
Just Another Brick in the Wall
In the name of intellectual consistency, it’s worth noting that, in the past, labor unions have accomplished good things for the average worker. Furthermore, even today in non-unionized companies, poor management practices and exploitation of workers do exist. But unionization does not offer the same practical solutions as it might have achieved in the past.
In the age of technological revolution, no one can feel safe in their careers, and there’s not a darn thing a labor union can do to change this. At the same time, the existence of labor unions implies a sense of loyalty to those who either create or protect jobs. There is certainly no need for such thinking.
The only way to achieve purpose is to be loyal to oneself, not to a specific industry, company, or union.
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Henri Erti is a writer for NRN. Born in former USSR Estonia, he escaped communism to neighboring Finland where he learned first hand about the atrophying effects of socialism. Erti studied international business in Brevard College (NC) and completed graduate studies in international political economy at Dubrovnik International University (Croatia).