Tag: Department of Labor

The Decline of Unions Is Good News

 

The United States Department of Labor released a report last week that chronicled the continued decline of the American labor movement in 2019. In our boom economy, more than 2.1 million new jobs were added to the market last year, but the number of unionized workers fell by 170,000. The percentage of union workers, both public and private, fell from 10.5 percent to 10.3 percent, or roughly 14.6 million workers out of 141.7 million. The percentage of unionized workers dipped even lower in the private sector, from about 20 percent in 1983 to 6.2 percent of workers in 2019, a far cry from the 35 percent union membership high mark last seen in 1954. Decline was lower in the public sector, where just over one-third of workers are union members, as a modest increase in state government employees partially offset somewhat larger declines in federal and local unionized workers.

This continued trend has elicited howls of protest from union supporters who, of course, want to see an increase in union membership. It has also led several Democratic presidential candidates to make calls to reconfigure labor law. Bernie Sanders wants to double union membership and give federal workers the right to strike, as well as ban at-will contracts of employment, so that any dismissal could be subject to litigation under a “for cause” standard. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth Warren wants to make it illegal for firms to hire permanent replacements for striking workers. They are joined by Pete Buttigieg in demanding a change in federal labor law so that states may no longer pass right-to-work laws that insulate workers from the requirement to pay union dues in unionized firms. All of these new devices are proven job killers.

The arguments in favor of unions are also coming from some unexpected sources in academia, where a conservative case has been put forward on the ground that an increase in union membership is needed to combat job insecurity and economic inequality.

Alas Acosta

 

Is Alex Acosta a tragic figure? By Paul Mirengoff’s account at Power Line Blog, rehearsed and elaborated over the past two years, Alex Acosta is a man on the make, a social-political climber. His aspiration: the comfortable security and status of a federal judgeship. To gain that prize, Mirengoff claims, Acosta spent his time in both the George W. Bush and Trump administrations carefully not offending powerful Democratic Party interests. That is, Acosta passive aggressively sabotaged his presidents’ stated policies. Maybe so, maybe no.

Alex Acosta was invited to walk out with President Trump Friday morning, addressing the press alongside the president. This was a resignation, but one in which President Trump and his Secretary of Labor would concede nothing. What he and President Trump got was a sound byte summary of unheralded achievements that matter to real Americans.

Puzder Expected to Withdraw

 

Andrew Puzder, Trump’s choice to head the Labor Department is expected to withdraw his name from consideration. This would make the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s CEO the first nominee not to win the approval the US Senate.

Several agencies are reporting this development, including Fox News and CBS. The Washington Post explained why Puzder’s nomination became such a lightning rod:

President Trump’s choice to serve as the next labor secretary, is facing growing resistance from Republicans and conservative organizations concerned about his personal background and business record — possibly imperiling his nomination at a moment of crisis for the White House.