Mickey Kaus has some uncomfortable questions for Big Labor:
OK, so the idea is to target unskilled workers who do work that can’t be outsourced, and who work for large institutions. Questions:
a) Is this an admission that traditional power of unions–to go on strike–is no longer a very effective weapon? So unions have to rely on corporate campaigns–which work best against big, respectable institutions–and mandatory arbitration? A union card no longer becomes a way to engage in a (sometimes risky) “economic contest” with management through walkouts and picketing. It’s a ticket that lets you summon a federal mediator who will raise your wage, whether or not your union has any strike power. Labor must think these chain retailers are sitting ducks. After all, why not sign the card and get the government to award you a raise?
b) Are there really enough workers in these service jobs to “rebuild the middle class,” even if they all get 50% raises?
There are a lot more questions. Questions that should make current union members uncomfortable. And make potential union members very uncomfortable.
The Obama administration is leaning – heavily – on the UAW to make major concessions. Which, it appears, is working. So the strategy of Big Labor is to lose all the old school, high wage manufacturing jobs and substitute low wage service jobs?
But on to another union-themed item: The “Swine Flu” brings the unions – or one of them, at any rate – out howling:
The Service Employees International Union has launched an online petition criticizing Republicans for delaying the confirmation of a Health and Human Services secretary in the face of a swine flu outbreak.
The union accuses Senate Republicans of delaying the confirmation of nominee Kathleen Sebelius to “curry favor with extremist outside groups” and depriving the department of leadership as the nation confronts a potential flu pandemic.
Exactly what could a politically appointed “leader” do more effectively than the long-term professional staff is not exactly spelled out here. But then, the logic of the first item also escapes me.