The Labor Unions of 2003 look nothing like the original Labor Unions of 1886 created by Samuel Gompers. Once used to protect people’s rights now is too powerful and is trampling those same rights that were once protected. Labor Unions, which did shorten the workweek and workday and improve working conditions through collective bargaining, shifted their strategy to politics. Thomas Jefferson once said that “to compel a man, to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.” (Wilson, Online) Labor Unions fit this description as forcing union dues to all those with a specific job and have become tyrants in the government. Labor Unions “have betrayed their heritage by becoming too involved in partisan politics” (Steelman, Online).
For this drastic shift in policy, Labor Unions are hurting the economy and not doing what they were intended to do in the first place. Labor Union membership has declined recently because it has become too political and has a negative impact on the economy. Samuel Gompers created the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1886. As the first elected president, “Gompers worked towards wage increases, shortened workweeks, and improving working conditions in industry after industry”(Steelman, Online).
Gompers also was very “wary of embroiling the AFL in politics of any kind”(Steelman, Online).
He made sure that labor kept “its distance both from socialism and from partisan politics, focusing instead on organizing and winning concessions from business through collective bargaining” (Weinstein, Online).
Labor Unions: Aging Dinosaur or Sleeping Giant? The Labor Movement and Unionism Background and Brief History Higher wages! Shorter workdays! Better working conditions! These famous words echoed throughout the United States beginning in 1790 with the skilled craftsmen (Dessler, 1997, p. 544). For the last two-hundred years, workers of all trades have been fighting for their rights and seeking ...
Today, labor unions have turned from what Gompers believed and have become huge political machines. “Workers who once formed the backbone of the American labor movement now find themselves paying higher and higher fees to unions that are paying less and less attention to the real interests of their members.” (Weinstein, Online).
With law that forces union members of a particular job to pay dues, Labor Unions gain excess money in which they put back into the government. They become huge political machines that gain the advantage of bending law at their will. The government and Labor Unions actually have a close relationship with each other. By law, Labor Unions can require employees for a particular job, like the airlines, to pay dues to the union whether they want to or not. “Over 80% of all private sector union contracts authorize union officials to force each worker to pay dues as a condition of employment.” (Reed, Online) This money adds up for people who would have much better ways of placing their money in the economy and not into the union for its own personal reasons. Federal law does provide “that employees may opt not to formally join their work union, however, they may still be required to pay certain dues and initiation fees” (Mackinac Center, Online).
For those members who refuse to pay dues, Unions will demand that they be fired from employment and send their name around to other unions where as to make sure they will not be hired again. Yearly, Unions collect roughly “$6 billion” which is put into politics and interests which members who are represented by these unions may not even believe in. Placing money into politics instead of using it for reasons that does not help the economy. Another reason why Labor Unions directly hurt the economy is through their “ability to engage in economic strikes” (Mackinac, Online).
Strikes, through collective bargaining are a serious matter and always cause harm before any good is accomplished. A strike is a collective bargaining action in which employees of a certain company or industry, stop work to attain certain demands. No matter what the demands are, stopping productivity or services to attain them affect the economy. “Work stoppages, like the recent longshoreman lockout that shut down $2 billion-a-day port operations on the West Coast are harmful to the economy” (Rush, Online).
1.0.INTRODUCTION. This paper aims at examining the efficacy of trade unions in settling labour disputes in Tanzania: Law and Practice. The establishment of trade unions is to administer workers’ welfare, but ever since workers go on swimming on conflicting interest with their employers in vain. A trade union for an average person signifies the association of workers that is engaged in securing ...
This in effect, affects “manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, retailers, and consumers who make, buy, and sell the billions of dollars in products that pass through the ports” (Rush, Online).
Strikes in the aviation industry “damage the economies of states by reducing gross domestic product, personal earnings and employment productivity,” according to a recent study by Communities for Economic Strength Through Aviation (CESTA, Online).
The impact from these strikes “hurt everyone involved – airlines, workers, and the communities” (CESTA, Online).
In airlines, the labor cost “comprise up to 40 percent of the price of every ticket. It’s the largest single expense, outstripping fuel, taxes, fees, airplane lease and purchase cost”(Rush, Online).
Therefor, striking for higher wages passes the cost upon consumers which, they could have used for something else or decide to travel in other ways. The 2001 Comair strike by pilots “led to the layoff of 1,600 Comair employees and additional layoffs by airline dependent vendors and suppliers, substantial drop in hospitality industry and retail sales, lower revenues from sales tax and decreased accessibility for travelers” (CETSA, Online).
The loss of traveling to the area resulted in a “2 million per day lose of spending by pilots and travelers” (CESTA, Online).
The 1999 strike by American Airlines employees at DFW also resulted in a “50% drop of sales at concessionaires” as well as the cost of rerouting passengers and cargo (CESTA, Online).
By Labor Unions striking, communities are the ones that are left with the cost of the goods and services they are losing. “For every airline employee, 16 jobs are provided by businesses that depend – entirely or in large part on airlines. This adds up to almost 10.5 million jobs and accounts for 4% GDP” (CESTA, Online).
Any kind of strike in the airlines will be felt throughout the nation and harm the economy. Other strikes by Labor Unions in industries that make goods and stockpile them are also harmful to the economy. Gary Groom, a CFO for a company that makes recreation vehicles states that “there’s a greater opportunity for labor to impact the economy, from the standpoint that companies carry a lot less inventory now” (Duff, Online).
In the latter part of the nineteenth century the United States experienced rapid industrial growth. While the captains of industry accumulated huge amounts of wealth, the workers who toiled in their factories experienced no real rise of standard of living. Factory workers faced dangerous conditions, long work days, low pay and little or no control over the fate of their jobs. Children and women ...
He also adds “that if there’s any disruption in supplies for any reason, it does have an impact much sooner than it used to” (Duff, Online).
Labor Unions also negatively affect the economy through the pressure of upward wages. Labor Unions are almost always trying to negotiate pay raises for those they represent. Once these negotiations temporally end, companies paying more to their employees must find ways to make up for the cost. The easiest way to do this is raise the price of their product. This cost then is transferred to other businesses and consumers. Businesses that are affected by the cost, in order not to lose profits, have to also raise costs that will end up costing consumers. As Unions fight for higher wages, consumers are the ones who are expected to make up the money. When these businesses raise prices, consumers become reluctant to buy the goods or services which directly hurts the economy. Labor Unions also directly harm the economy through a firm’s productivity. Being in a Labor Union has its privilege for employees of a particular union because they prevent businesses from firing union members. This is not a privilege for the economy though. Because union members can’t be fired, businesses not only don’t get the best workers, but also these workers are not driven by any incentives. This leads to slow productivity and products not up to a particular scale. Also, “Unions emphasize long-term contracts containing rigid work rules, and pay and job security tied to seniority versus performance.” (NCPA, Online) If a firm’s products aren’t up to scale or stocked up, competition decreases and this harms the economy. Without competition, there is no efficiency and no innovation. Recent studies show that “on average, union shops have a market value 20 percent lower than non-union companies” (NCPA, Online).
Also unionized firms “rate of return on capital is 15 percent lower and they have an average of 13 percent less investment capital”(NCPA, Online).
Hirsch, the leader of the research, also found that “the growth rate was most negatively effected on productivity at growing, high tech unionized companies” (NCPA, Online) These reasons may be the cause of the recent declining membership in unions. If the idea of having money taken out of ones paycheck and placed into politics like “pro-abortion, Homo-sexuality rights, and welfare reform” doesn’t make one want to join a union, then the fact that they hurt they economy will (Weinstein, Online).
Globalisation pertains to the aggregate processes of political, economic, social and environmental interdependence of various economies . This means changes in the previous interaction patterns among European countries that have been limited to the confines of national regulatory and geographic boundaries. Globalisation then results to the mutual widening of the scope of international relations ...
The decline in membership is noticeable, from “35% of America’s workers in the ‘50’s, to fewer than 15% today” (Weinstein, Online).
With the “extreme campaign of politics by unions” and throwing money into the economy instead of the “bread-and-butter interest of the average worker,” unions can continue to expect more of a drop (Larson, Online). Sameul Gompers once said that “doing for people what they can do for themselves is a dangerous experiment, the welfare of the workers depends upon their own private initiative” (Steelman, Online).
Labor Unions aren’t looking out for their peoples’ interest or the nation’s economy, they are just another political interest group working on their own interests. Because Labor Unions are now more political and don’t use political bargaining they have had a membership decline. Being a member though isn’t necessarily good for the economy either because strikes, decreased competition, and a loss in productivity hurt the economy. Labor Unions have accomplished many great things in the past but are overall harmful to the economy and the drop in membership is just better for the economy.