There will be many sad and deplorable stories to come out of this bailout farce. One of them has been the brazen opportunism of the Labor Unions. The magnanimous bailout proposal from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was, in fact, just a rent-seeking wish list. Take this proposal, for instance:
An Economy That Works for Everyone
Following the longest period of wage stagnation in American history, we are in an era of historic income inequality. Between 1980 and 2004 CEO pay went up 700% -- but American workers’ wages saw little change.
By enacting The Employee Free Choice Act at no cost to taxpayers, government has the opportunity to set a framework for the private sector to ensure we have an economy that works for everyone—not just those at the top. American workers should have the chance to freely choose whether to join together in a union at their workplace so they gain a voice on the job, wages that support a family, and better benefits.
Never mind that the "wage stagnation" is largely a myth (among many other things, wages are only one part of total compensation). The Employee Free Choice Act (aka: Card Check) isn't about "free choice", it is about lower barriers for Union organizers. It is far easier for them to pressure people, on the spot, to sign a card than it is to persuade workers to sign a secret ballot.
You might expect that the SEIU would lobby to tilt the playing field to their advantage, but the really shocking thing is this: the SEIU claimed removing the secret ballot would cost $0.00.
Of course, we know what they really mean: it won’t cost the government anything; the costs of this regulation would come out of someone else’s hide.
That is a bailout alright, but it had nothing to do with the subprime mortgage problem. It was a cynical ploy to get the government to bail out the increasingly desperate unions.
One month ago today, the Wall Street Journal ran an opinion piece pointing out that the ironically-named Employee Free Choice Act actually makes it “more difficult for [Americans] not to join a union,” while states that resist this kind of regulation have higher growth in per-capita income, higher rates of job creation and lower unemployment.
This is far from an exception for the Unions. Their ongoing lobbying for "green collar jobs" - which are generally just existing jobs that have been reclassified to benefit Unions - is a farce, as well; the Texas Workforce Commission pointed out the many ways that is a charade in a recent report.
Unfortunately, Unions see their opportunity to conscript Americans workers and manipulate jobs into Union hands. They know the stakes in 2008; that is why they're spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect their stooges. The cost of this will not be $0.00.