Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Herein lies the problem


"MORE!" is the mantra of the labor unions that are crippling our state economy the same way they have crushed most manufacturing industries in the United States.

In her September 2 column from the beach on LBI (at least she wasn't in the Hamptons with Jonboy and Bon Jovi), Carla Katz, president of the largest state workers union and the governor's ex-girlfriend, espouses the wonders of the labor movement;

"New Jerseyans, like many Americans, have mixed feelings about unions. Old stereotypes die hard and the bad ones get perpetuated by the right wing press and anti-union employers. But regardless of those feelings, this Labor Day weekend we should acknowledge that without unions, there would be no three day weekends or paid holidays for most workers. Without the historic efforts of organized labor, there would also be no protections from job hazards, no secure pensions, no overtime pay, no job security, no paid vacations. And the list goes on. In fact, without the struggles of the American labor movement, there might still be legal child labor, or a 12-hour workday and a seven day workweek."

As a small business owner who is accustomed to 12 hour workdays and seven day workweeks, I hereby thank Samuel Gumperts and his successors for a well deserved day off yesterday.

There is no questioning that the labor movement has made a positive difference in our society since 1883. Yes there have been, and are presently, excesses, which lead to the mixed feelings Katz mentions.

Lord Acton's axiom, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" applies to economic as well as political power.

The labor movement, assisted by government, has historically provided a check and balance to the absolute power of the robber barons and industrialists of late 19th and early 20th century.

Likewise, management and owners, also assisted by government, provide a check to unfettered power of organized labor.

Through negotiation, an equitable balance of econonic interests arises. When negotions fail and equitable balance cannot be reached, or there is a fundamental shift in the marketplace that makes organized labor too costly given the alternatives, management/ownership will adjust and either shut down or find cheaper labor elsewhere.

New Jersey government is out of balance, because organized labor is unchecked. There is no "management" to provide the need balance, because labor has too much economic power in the political system. Our elected officials, of both parties, who should be "management" are beholden to or fearful of organized labor. Thus the cost of government is out of control and the "owners", the tax payers, are acting rationally and are leaving for cheaper government elsewhere.

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