Union Paybacks Affect Us All

 

Most of the attention of our nation’s businesses entities is focused on attempts to win government favors. That’s typical of political economies sliding into corruption mode.

America’s unions have been a big winner of the competition. They poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Democratic campaigns. Their bet paid off when Democrats swept the presidency and both houses of Congress. Not only that, ol’ Scranton Joe is a longtime friend.

So White House favors have flowed in a torrent. For example, a new law mandates union labor on virtually all federal projects, automatically adding 20 to 30% to the cost. There is also a provision making union dues tax-deductible, another huge union subsidy.

The Green New Deal is union-friendly. A $4,500 tax credit is available for electric vehicles only if the car is union-made. The $14,500 tax credit for homeowner energy-saving devices also requires the work be done by union members.

Worst of all, the “jobs bill” would abolish the 26 state right-to-work laws. Tens of millions of workers would be forced to pay union dues and support union political causes.

There are legitimate reasons why workers may decline to join a union. The benefits of membership may not be worth the dues. They may not support the union’s political views.

Especially ambitious or capable workers may not want to be bound by union work rules, promotion, and salary schedules, typically designed to protect the weakest performers. Moreover, many workers are repulsed by the 2,100 documented cases of union corruption, including embezzlement, racketeering, and inflated salaries.

But it’s no secret that mandatory membership would massively increase union rolls and coffers. Joe Biden may have lied about a few things here and there, but his vow to have “the most pro-union administration in history” meant business.

But if the unions are experiencing a bonanza, how about the rest of us? After all, only 6.3% of private-sector workers are union members (about half of government workers are unionized). How do the other 93.7%, and those of us not considered “workers”, fare?

Not that well. You may have heard of the supply chain shortage and the massive backup at our ports. You’ve seen prices rise and empty shelves starting to appear.

In response, President Biden recently announce a “gamechanger”, ordering more hours for the ports. Union work rules regarding off-hours pay make the option a significant burden for the port operators. But it would increase cargo movement by less than 10%, hardly solving the problem.

The dysfunction in America’s ports isn’t news. The World Bank rates LA and Long Beach 328 and 333 worldwide for speed and efficiency. Not one US port was in the top 50.

Here’s the reason: our ports lack modern technology. Automated cranes and other laborsaving devices operate worldwide over twice as fast as our outdated equipment.

But unions demand the obsolescence to preserve make-work jobs. The International Longshoremen’s Association has a contract blocking the use of automated cargo handling equipment.

Biden could take action, but he won’t. His Build Back Better bill specially prohibits using any funds for automation.

Government unions, because they needn’t worry about any economic impact on their employer, are even more abusive of the public trust. The main reward for teachers’ union loyalty has been the party’s staunch, enduring opposition to school choice.

School choice for underprivileged children is rightly considered the civil rights issue of our time. Many leading Democrats, like the Obamas, Clintons, and Kennedys send their own children to desirable schools but deny the same privilege to millions of children who will be economically handicapped for life by the school they attend.

The teachers’ unions displayed their impressive clout again during the recent pandemic. Long after research data had thoroughly discredited the wisdom, (children were essentially COVID-19 proof), they selfishly kept schools closed. The education fallout is proving to be catastrophic.

Unions historically have played a role in improving the plight of workers. Private sector unions particularly deserve the right to exist, to organize, and to be treated fairly. But when the scales are tipped to afford them political benefits not enjoyed by other Americans, we all get hit.

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  1. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Boiling mad now. Why aren’t we fighting back? This is ludicrous.

    Complaint/observation at random:

    If the GND really wants people to upgrade, so much that they will give them $14,500 in tax credits, why would they also limit the job to have to be done by union construction workers, who make up maybe 5% of the work force – and we presume they are already busy with their current work load.  How long does AOC think these upgrades should take, 50 years?

    Also, what would the justification of this requirement be – that a union worker is somehow better, or more qualified or something?  Based on what??  That would mean that 95% of all construction work right now is being done by incompetents (including me for the last 45 years).  Is that what they’re saying?

    • #1
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Tom Patterson:

    There is also a provision making union dues tax-deductible, another huge union subsidy.

    While I agree with much of the rest of your criticism, this hurts your case badly. White collar workers long had a deduction for professional and business association dues. What you also leave out is that union workers used to have this deduction until Lyin’ Ryan and Mitch McConnell took it away in the 2017 tax reform bill. Actually, they took away the deduction for employees who pay either union or professional association dues. Only self-employed workers now get to count their union/ professional association membership dues as a business expense. Moreover, as a budget gimmick, the deductions were not eliminated, but suspended through 2025.

    So, this is restoring what was recently taken away by the RepubliCAN’T congressional party. How big is this “gift?” Not more than $250.

    “The provision allows for up to $250 in dues to a labor organization be claimed as an above-the-line deduction. The provision is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2021.”

    The RepubliCAN’T party will never win another national election. President Trump, while he signed the 2017 tax bill, has been consistently pro-worker, including praising skilled labor union workers, unlike your disparaging tone. Wise observers have noted the massive shift in union composition, to around 50% government employee unions, with a huge rift in political/policy priorities from traditional labor unions.

    The new leftist legislation does nothing to redress the political/policy/economic harm to traditional skilled labor, and that would be a far more fruitful criticism.

    • #2
  3. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Tom Patterson: The Green New Deal is union-friendly. A $4,500 tax credit is available for electric vehicles only if the car is union-made. The $14,500 tax credit for homeowner energy-saving devices also requires the work be done by union members.

    They’re not even pretending anymore. It’s not about the environment. It’s not about workers. It is only about the money unions give the DNC.

    And for folks who like to “Main Street not Wall Street,” the really don’t like small businesses. Support the big union shop over the tradesman trying to make a go of things on his own. 

    • #3
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Here is the current House Rules Committee mark-up. Follow the legislative action at the Rules Committee and here.

    • #4
  5. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    The RepubliCAN’T party will never win another national election. President Trump, while he signed the 2017 tax bill, has been consistently pro-worker, including praising skilled labor union workers, unlike your disparaging tone

    Have you ever been around union construction workers?  When we bid jobs on which we’re required to use union workers, we plug in the union scales and then triple the labor costs.  Union productivity is horrible.

    • #5
  6. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Tom Patterson:

    The teachers’ unions displayed their impressive clout again during the recent pandemic. Long after research data had thoroughly discredited the wisdom, (children were essentially COVID-19 proof), they selfishly kept schools closed. The education fallout is proving to be catastrophic.

    Let’s see;

    If teachers are this ignorant of the science, they should be fired.

    If teachers are aware of the science and still did their best to avoid teaching children, they should be fired.

    • #6
  7. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    And for folks who like to “Main Street not Wall Street,” the really don’t like small businesses. Support the big union shop over the tradesman trying to make a go of things on his own. 

    Yeah, it’s funny how many people still think of the Democratic Party as being for the “little guy.”  So the little guy saves up and buys his own 18-wheeler so he can be his own boss.  Shouldn’t Democrats like that?  Not in California, where owner-operators are forbidden from servicing those backlogged ports.

    • #7
  8. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    And for folks who like to “Main Street not Wall Street,” the really don’t like small businesses. Support the big union shop over the tradesman trying to make a go of things on his own.

    Yeah, it’s funny how many people still think of the Democratic Party as being for the “little guy.” So the little guy saves up and buys his own 18-wheeler so he can be his own boss. Shouldn’t Democrats like that? Not in California, where owner-operators are forbidden from servicing those backlogged ports.

    So where is the Interstate Commerce Commission on this? Most of those containers are headed to destinations across the US. It could easily alleviate the delays caused by California’s restricting laws by negating them.

    • #8
  9. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    And for folks who like to “Main Street not Wall Street,” the really don’t like small businesses. Support the big union shop over the tradesman trying to make a go of things on his own.

    Yeah, it’s funny how many people still think of the Democratic Party as being for the “little guy.” So the little guy saves up and buys his own 18-wheeler so he can be his own boss. Shouldn’t Democrats like that? Not in California, where owner-operators are forbidden from servicing those backlogged ports.

    So where is the Interstate Commerce Commission on this? Most of those containers are headed to destinations across the US. It could easily alleviate the delays caused by California’s restricting laws by negating them.

    One of the few reasonable uses of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

    • #9