Government: Where Unions still Thrive and Steal
Good news was announced today that union membership held steady last year at 10.7 percent of the workforce, matching last year’s all-time low. Back in the 1950’s a third of the American workforce was unionized and in 1983, the percentage stood at over 20 percent.
The bad news is that while only 6.5 percent of private-sector workers are union, 34.4 percent of government employees are unionized.
Ironically, these stats came out the same week as the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote,
Organized labor has a long history of corruption, but federal records show it’s not improving. In the past two years a total of 143 labor leaders and staffers have pleaded guilty or been convicted of federal crimes, according to the Labor Department’s recently updated disclosures on criminal enforcement actions.
Not surprisingly, most of this wrongdoing involved Presidents and Secretary-Treasurers of local unions stealing from their own members. The thefts ranged from thousands to millions of dollars, with the thieves spending the money on cruises, tickets to Carrie Underwood and Sesame Street Live concerts.
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, put a positive spin on today’s data, saying the increase in the number of union members reflects “critical organizing victories across a range of industries.” Beyond the numbers lies a “growing movement of working people that can’t be measured as easily,” he said in a statement.
Back in 2011, Trumka said unions should “forget about the law; this is about more than that.” Under Trumka’s leadership, the AFL-CIO moved away from boosting wages and improving working conditions to focus on recruiting government workers who benefit from higher tax rates and bigger government.
Murray Rothbard wrote in “Left and Right”
Government control inevitably follows government privilege, and, as in the Fascist or Communist countries, privileged unionism has become in effect a powerful arm of the State apparatus for controlling the labor force and the economic system as a whole. Rather than representing their members, union leaders have been co opted into the power elite, there to serve as transmission belts for keeping the workers under the control of the various governmental “guidelines.”
Jordan Yadoo writes, “Median weekly earnings of union members continued to be higher than those of comparable nonunion workers in both the government ($1,104 vs. $917) and private sector ($984 vs. $816), the data showed.” However, the higher wages, come with fewer jobs, lawlessness, and bloated government budgets.