Big labor has been a tool of the Democrat establishment for decades. Could it be coming to an end?
Just recently I came across a column by Shawn Mitchell regarding the large labor unions antagonism over the fallout of Obamacare. Apparently they were counting on the false promises that “if you like your health care plan you can keep it” and so on. It was all a smoke screen to get labor backing for a legislative nightmare designed to do little other than putting the national medical system under government control, while destroying public access to the care and treatment they had come to expect.
Among the complaints that have surfaced is that the Act places the 40 hour work week in jeopardy and presents a danger to the American middle class. This reaction is a logical response to the demands of the law. It requires full time employees to be covered by medical plans at now artificially inflated costs. The answer; don’t hire any full time employees. If you run a Denny’s and there is an Olive Garden across the street arrange a labor sharing deal so that neither has a full time staff, but perhaps you can still keep everyone employed full time by working half time at each venue. With automobile manufacturers it may well promote the movement of manufacturing facilities to, predictably, China.
For decades the Democrat Party has had big labor in its vest pocket. It could always count on their support, regardless of the issue, and in response, they promoted the causes and interests of labor unions against employers. In so doing they were starting the slow death of the goose that was laying the golden eggs; the employers were gradually being bled to death by excessive wages, unrealistic pensions and non-labor regulations that prevented them from being as profitable as they might otherwise be.
Some of this was based, in part, on the mythical war that is supposed to exist between labor and management. Labor and management must always had the same goal; to make money and to expand their ability to do so. Management cannot do it without people to do the manufacturing. Working folks likewise need someone to run the front office and sell the products they produce. Their actual relationship must be based on cooperation in terms of expertise, ability and job roles. Unfortunately, labor activists, borrowing from socialist rhetoric have exploited the idea of conflict to their benefit. The Democrat Party has adopted this idea and benefitted from an alliance with the poorly informed to take advantage of them.
Because of this, big labor has become the Democrat infantry, to their ultimate disadvantage. They have been used by both the political party and union leadership, and many have blindly followed orders without noting that they were harming themselves in the long run. Excesses pushed forward by union leaders looked good, but in the long run participated in creating the financial troubles experienced by the major automobile makers, and other industries. Again, this was based on maintaining the antagonistic relationship rather than building cooperation.
Under general principles of business it should be axiomatic. Labor should be paid reasonable wages and benefits based on productivity, but not one that will bankrupt the company. If the company is destroyed it is to the detriment of all, and labor may be the one who takes the hardest hit. The union executive staffs in their designer suits never take this into consideration because they already have theirs and can go on to some other overpaid position. The working stiffs don’t matter to them at that point.
This brings us to an important event. It was when Barack Obama addressed a group of labor representatives and told them that he favored a single payer (government run) medical system, but that he couldn’t achieve it immediately. The reps applauded this, apparently refusing to recognize the messes that developed everywhere government run medical systems exist. They completely ignored the situations in Europe and Canada. They disregarded the lessons of history. Now they are finding out that they have been betrayed and are dissatisfied with it. They should have expected betrayal, as it has been the Left’s stock in trade for at least a century. The “working classes” have always been touted as the beneficiaries of socialistic programs, but always end up with less than before and little, if any recourse.
The recent failure of the City of Detroit, naturally focuses attention on the automotive industry, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. During the last five or so years the left dominated government has focused on shutting down the coal and petrochemicals industries with the potential for tremendous numbers of lost jobs. Not only the direct losses; the destruction of the energy industry would put extremely large numbers of people who depend on coal, oil, electricity and subsequent downstream businesses out of work. No one can stay in business long today without energy. No businesses means no jobs, which means the working folks will be up the creek. The question is “will they recognize the persons responsible?”
For many years the political left has thrived through the services of useful idiots. Big labor has been one of the most useful that any one has ever seen, willing to commit slow suicide for its masters. If the present trend continues American working people; the ones who generally keep our economy moving, will be ruined in the name of increased government authority and the elimination of liberty. This situation can be reversed, in part, through by big labor if they are willing to admit to roughly a century of progressive betrayal. It would be an extremely difficult movement on their part, admitting that the people they have been demonizing for so long were correct and that their supposed friends weren’t. It is the same thing that a person with a psychological problem encounters; the decision to admit that he or she has a problem before going into solving it. People generally don’t like to make such admissions.
On the other hand, it is likely that the administration will grant the unions an exemption from the “Cadillac” tax, and perhaps from other onerous provisions long enough for them to continue backing the Democrats for one more election. That would be a mistake by labor, but it is one that can and should be expected.
If labor isn’t willing to take the difficult step and admit that it has been betrayed and lied to, it is unlikely that it will change direction. What will matter most in this decision is whether they are willing to give up being idiots and think for themselves instead of letting others think for them.