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January 24, 2010


Lawrence Summer, the director of the White House's National Economic Council for President Barack Obama, has even admitted that unions cause unemployment, when he wrote in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics that, "Another cause of long-term unemployment is unionization. High union wages that exceed the competitive market rate are likely to cause job losses in the unionized sector of the economy. Also, those who lose high-wage union jobs are often reluctant to accept alternative low-wage employment."

Yet in spite of his own economic adviser's word, Obama is determined to promote unionism even in the face of massive and worsening unemployment.

I come from a Union background. I have worked for Union employers for the last 20 years and have a clear understanding of the pitfalls created by Union Labor.

One thing to consider however is that in general, wages to not directly reflect cost of living increases. Unions help to insure that a person living in an area like 'Silicon Valley' California, will be able to continue to live. An extreme example would be during the DOT.COM boom of the '90's, homes valued at $300,000 were being auctioned off for a couple of million dollars because of location. Similarly, the cost of living went up ten fold. The only people who could continue to live in the area comfortable were members of local labor unions.

The flip side is after the DOT.COM bust, 9/11 and the current state of depression, Union Labor sits at home because they are unable to compete with non-union labor.

As far as union members accepting 'alternative low-wage employment' as stated by Edd Jobs, there are very strict rules in place. If a union member goes to work for a non-union company and is exposed, he runs the risk of fines, suspension and expulsion from the union. That may seem a small price to pay to go to work, but expulsion means forfeiture of all pension benefits including retirement (I'm not sure about 401a contributions). For a 19 year member like my self, that is a forfeiture of a $2500-$3000 a month retirement income.

In addition to provided higher wages, Unions generally maintain a higher safety rating for their members as well as offering several free trade related classes each semester, making union trade work much higher quality.

There are many clients that will only hire union labor because they understand that even though the price might be higher on the front end, the work will be of better quality and will be safely executed reducing the client's cost for insurance.

The issue at hand isn't wages directly, but the dues associated with the wages that union members have little say over. For instance, in my local there is a $1.00 per hour political action fund contribution. That doesn't seem to be a lot, but when you consider a full time wage is 2080 hours per year, and there are 3600 members in my local, that political action fund earns $7,488,000.00 that is distributed to various union friendly candidates.

There are other dues that are hidden in the pay structure as well; all to benefit everyone but the wage earner himself.

I have worked in management for the last 9 years, and have not received a union check, but during this lay off, I have certainly considered activating my name for a short term project or two. The problem is it would take me out of the hunt for long periods.

BTW Gina, I've been offered one job locally, and after 2 phone interviews, am flying to Chicago on Tuesday for another set of interviews on the company's dime. If all works out, I should have an agreement in place br this time next week.

If you remember, I'd appreciate a prayer or two.


And still many of those State and local governments are trying to raise taxes, and only cutting the very things they are mandated by law to fund. Layoff police and firefighters, but keep funding improvements in a park; start or increase kids' programs, but cut road and bridge maintenance. Foolish people doing the same suicidal things they always have. Insane!

Gary, That's great news about a possible job. Prayer sent up!

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