Bad Times for Unions

Wisconsin

The boards at Democratic Underground crackled on June 12.

It was just announced in Wisconsin that the unprecedented recall elections of Republicans will take place August 9.

The leftists dreamed.  Visions of a union-boss oligarchy danced in their heads. Posters misquoted Marx and Lenin. Others wanted nothing to do with waiting two months for an election: they were ready to take up arms and violently overthrow the Wisconsin government.

Verizon

By the time the Verizon strike—45,000 CWA and IBEW workers—began, the DU was subdued.  One posted predicted “This could be the spark that will change American history.”  But most complained about Verizon’s poor customer service and the decline of land-line phones.

The Marxist slogans were there for the Verizon strikers, but these posts seemed perfunctory. 

UAW

Having played a major role in destroying GM and Chrysler, the UAW turned its eyes toward foreign car manufacturers.

Results

In Wisconsin, millions of union dollars failed to win back the Wisconsin Senate. Governor Scott Walker’s overdue reforms of public employee union power move forward.  The leftist teacher’s union—WEAC—has announced layoffs totaling 40 percent of its staff

In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and neighboring states, the CWA and IBEW announced they will return to work without a contract while negotiations continue. 

And in automotive, the UAW failed to work its way into both VW and Hyundai. 

Trend

Unions hoped that their support of Barack Obama would reverse the decades-old decline in union membership and influence. Those hopes seem dashed. Like ACORN, union bosses are learning that tightness with Obama cannot save a failing idea.

The lesson for unions is clear: focus on workers instead of politics, and help business grow. That’s the recipe for helping working people. 

There’s also a lesson for business: focus on future growth, not next quarter’s report. Make every decision about what’s best for customers, and pretty soon you’ll be doing right by everyone.