Monday, June 30, 2014

(Related update): Great news! Labor unions reeling from UAW loss in Tennessee!

Related update 2:  One of the two labels I gave this series of posts was "human progress" (you can find the labels at the very bottom of each OLS post).  The reason is that I consider it a good thing for humans when union power is thwarted and reduced, as was the case with the issues in the two posts below.  Today, I'm rejoicing in the Supreme Court's ruling against the union policy of taking membership fees from employees that don't want to be a member of the union.  That is a major, major blow to unions and, as such, is truly human progress! Here's  an excerpt from a FoxNews report:
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled Monday that public-sector unions in Illinois cannot collect fees from home health care workers who don't want to be part of a union.
The ruling is a setback for labor unions that have boosted their bargaining power -- as well as their bank balance -- in states like Illinois, by signing up thousands of in-home care workers and forcing them to fork over union dues.
Though the ruling doesn't go as far as I'd like, it nevertheless represents a major step forward for human progess and a major step back for the future of unions in the US!

Related update (2/18/14):  If you're wondering why the Chattanooga VW employees voted against the UAW, then you need to check out an excellent anaylsis of the situation in this Wall Street Journal opinion piece.  Here's an excerpt:
The UAW may be able to negotiate a near-term increase in pay and job security for current workers. But the price—in addition to the steep coerced dues—is usually a less competitive company that means less security and fewer jobs in the long run. The best proof is the UAW itself: It has lost 75% of its members in 35 years as its demands and work rules made their employers less competitive.  [Emphasis Marc D. Street]

That long run might have come soon for Volkswagen's Chattanooga workers. They know the company may decide as early as this month where to build a new SUV for the U.S. market, and the Tennessee plant is competing with Mexico for the job. Mexico already benefits from a low-tariff, free-trade pact with the European Union that the U.S. is only now negotiating, and a UAW victory would have been an additional incentive to go south of the Rio Grande.
There's much more of interest in the article, which is definitely worth reading.

Original post (2/15/14):  In another major blow to unions in the United States, workers at union-friendly Volkswagen voted yesterday to reject United Auto Workers representation.  From an article at FoxNews:
Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation in a devastating defeat for the United Auto Workers union's effort to make inroads in the South.
The 712-626 vote released late Friday was surprising for many labor experts and union supporters who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches.
And from WSJ's coverage of this important story:
Volkswagen workers rejected the union by a vote of 712 to 626. The defeat raises questions about the future of a union that for years has suffered from declining membership and influence, and almost certainly leaves its president, Bob King, who had vowed to organize at least one foreign auto maker by the time he retires in June, with a tarnished legacy.

"If the union can't win [in Chattanooga], it can't win anywhere," said Steve Silvia, a economics and trade professor at American University who has studied labor unions.
Let's just hope the future proves Professor Silvia's assessment correct!  Kudos to 712 VW Tennessee heroes!