Instead of standing in the way of laws like SB 1070 that many Americans favor, a federal court has finally made a decision worthy of praise by temporarily blocking the National Labor Relations Board from forcing businesses to display a poster informing employees of their right to unionize. If not for the court decision, you would be reading the mandatory 11” x 17” union ad every time you visit the office coffee pot. President Obama warned us about this sort of thing when he was still president-elect, and announced his support for unions and the union-boosting Employee Free Choice Act:
Obama and Biden will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Obama and Biden will ensure that his labor appointees support workers’ rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers.¹
Are Republicans the ones who are wrong about the economy? Are we really on the rebound? Unions seem to think so. Last year their strikes cost businesses 1.02 million lost work days, a huge increase over waste from strikes in 2009 and 2010.² Creeping recovery or not, unions seem ready to make up for money lost and concessions made during the worst of the downturn. It helps to have a willing confederate in the White House. Before he took office, Mr. Obama was perfectly clear about what he planned for big labor:
Obama and Biden will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions.³
The president-elect vowed to:
Ensure freedom to unionize
Fight attacks on workers’ right to organize
Protect striking workers4
Perhaps unions believe administration propaganda about the economy getting better and are ready to plunder American businesses again. The Department of Labor has not been shy about twisting bad jobs numbers into a recovery victory:
For 25 consecutive months, we’ve registered private sector job growth. Some months we are seeing tremendous job gains, while other months we are seeing more modest gains. But the trend line is clear: Our economy is growing, and our recovery is durable.5
Do unions swallow Democratic rabble rousing nonsense the rest of us gag on, like Department of Education charges that teachers are underpaid? Even money won’t do the trick on Arne Duncan’s old stomping grounds where the Chicago Teachers Union is talking strike, in part because members were asked to work slightly longer hours for more pay. Duncan has compared teachers to other professionals, including lawyers, who command higher salaries (see: Teachers Must be Told That They Are Not Special). Union objections to working hours of less than eight per day in Chicago turn teachers into time clock punchers in a state that pays its elementary educators a mean wage of $57,820 per year, secondary school teachers $63,960 per year,6 and offers benefits so generous that the state has a public pension debt estimated at $85 billion.
With 37% of public employees belonging to a union,7 representing government workers is business so big that in Wisconsin curtailing collective bargaining could cost the governor his job. Despite the potential for public employee strikes to disrupt services taxpayers have paid for, the president had already warned us that he backs strikes and collective bargaining:
Obama and Biden support the right of workers to bargain collectively and strike if necessary.8
Unions are busy with preparations to help the president claim another four years. Perhaps they have not read the Congressional Budget Office’s review of his 2013 budget proposal, and how it will reduce output in future years because of the billions that will be added to government deficits and debt.9 We cannot afford the president’s budget any more than we can afford to have our public and private sector employees controlled by unions. Private sector employers who bear the costs of creating jobs should be able to conduct their affairs without interference from agencies like the NLRB that are intent on shoving unionization down our throats.
The president warned us many times about unions and what he planned to do to expand their influence. Was anyone paying attention?