Tag Archive for 'unions'

Wars and rumors of wars

“The problem with humanity is the humans.” That’s a maxim I coined a while back, and you don’t have to look hard to see the evidence, as humans “fight” over differences in ideology, egos and interests.

Over two millennia ago, in chapter 24, verse 6, Matthew reports that Jesus said, “… there will always be wars and rumors of wars.” Indeed, even here in the 2nd decade of the 21st century, wars are still being waged with weapons of destruction. But thankfully, one redeeming trend for humans is that most of the wars that are “Breaking News!” these days are increasingly being fought with words.

Even though there has been physical contact in the very recent conflicts in the Middle East over self-determination, the most effective weapons-of-choice have been words. In the U.S., there are ongoing wars between states over water rights, fought by politicians with legal word-daggers drawn. And for a couple of years now, from Greece to Wisconsin, wars-of-words are being fought over what to do about financial promises made with 20th century political expectations, now in conflict with 21st century fiscal realities.

We wanted to know what you think about this last kerfuffle, so last week, in the Newsletter and on our website, we asked this question: “In order to balance their budgets, some governors and legislators propose adjustments in employment terms and benefits of state employees to bring them more in line with the private sector. State employees, their unions and some legislators are protesting. Who do you agree with?”

Those who said they “agree with the protesters, this is just union busting,” represented 18% of our respondents. Those who think “state employee pay and benefits should be more in line with the private sector,” were in the extreme majority at 82%.

Wisconsin has become ground-zero for these intrastate conflicts. Indeed, what happens there in the war between the new governor and government employee unions will likely become the tipping point for how the conflict of centuries mentioned above will play out across America, including in Washington.

In times like these, the words of that great opossum philosopher, Pogo, continue to ring true: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the issues in Wisconsin  as well as the current unrest in the Middle East with my friend and Brain Trust member, Rich Galen, publisher of Mullings.com and talking head of the Republican persuasion. Click on the links below to listen to our conversations, and leave your thoughts on what should be the outcome of either issue.

State budgets realities vs public employee unions
What’s the political and economical future of the Middle East?

Small business and a union organizing threat

Union representation in the private sector has dropped from around 30% in 1960 to less than 8% today. The union product doesn’t sell well to the new generation labor force because 21st century employers do a pretty good job of taking care of their workers. I consider unions to be dinosaurs waiting to become extinct.

To reverse this trend, unions, with the help of their soul-mates in the U.S. Congress, have concocted an erroneously named bill called the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check bill). This law would be anything but free choice because, as designed, a union organizer can require an employee to vote “yes” or “no” on a card in front of the organizer and anyone else standing around. In other words: no secret ballot – one of the cherished hallmarks of our democratic heritage.

This bill, which should be called the, “Employee No Choice Act,” will likely be introduced and brought up for a vote within the first 100 days of the Obama administration. If passed, it will create a dangerous scenario for many small businesses because it would allow union organizers to have more influence with workers at smaller and smaller businesses, which historically were not attractive union prospects. All they need is a majority of votes to organize, and if the small business owner and newly organized labor can’t come to an agreement on terms within 90 days, either party can require a process that would lead to binding arbitration.

Clearly, vestiges of 20th century commitments to the UAW is a significant reason the Big Three U.S. auto makers can’t compete in the 21st century with foreign auto manufacturers, who built factories in the U.S. and employ thousands of Americans without union representation. One of the most dramatic example is what’s known as the “Job Bank.” Check out the information on this link or do a Google search with this term to see for yourself.

Why would we want to impose unions on more companies, including small businesses, when the evidence of their negative impact has never been more dramatic. With so many union “soul mates” in control of the Federal government in 2009, small business owners will have to step up our vigilance and do what we can to defeat this dangerous law.

I talked about this issue on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, this week. Take a listen and let me know what you think about my ideas.

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