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Unions, Immigrants and the Failing U.S. Economy: Left of Center View

I suppose that after weeks and months of railing on greedy corporate executives that have been bleeding their companies dry and then using the husk as a golden parachute, it’s only fair to examine the other side of the economic obesity problem, labor unions.

It should be pointed out that, like responsible executives, effective, fair and responsible unions do exist. They protect the people they are supposed to while working with management to reach a fair equilibrium in which the two sides co-exist. These organizations are not the problem. They are a vital and important protection and should be allowed to continue on unabated.

But let’s be honest here, we all know that there are some unions out there that have gotten way out of control. They have become a shield that apparently has been put in place to protect the employees from actually having to do any work. For example at a recent tradeshow being held in San Francisco, you could have your materials shipped to and received by the hotel that was hosting the convention, but only union laborers could carry materials across the threshold and into the exhibit hall. In other words you could carry a box half way around the globe, but you had to pay one of these jokers to carry it the last three feet for you. The price, $225 per hour, per employee, no partial hours charged. That’s $225 each way. So it was a minimum charge of $450 to move a 5lb box of marketing materials a total of 20 feet. Or you could just slip $20 to the security guy at the side door, different union, not a member of box-carriers 1304, to look the other way.

The idea of paying a guy $20 to not do his job seems a little silly, and on some levels morally offensive, but when you consider the alternative, $20 to save $430 doesn’t seem so bad. To some extent we all do that. We shop at Wal-Mart, buy knock-offs, or don’t pay the meter when we’re “only going to be a minute”. We all pull these little stunts, and we all feel perfectly justified doing it. But when a corporation decides that it no longer wants to pay someone in say Chicago $50 an hour to ignore customers on hold when they can easily find a guy in India who will ignore them for $5 an hour, we get all upset. “Stop taking our jobs!”

So what can we do? Nobody really wants to work for less money, but we also don’t want to pay full price when we can avoid it. I have a small suggestion. The next time you walk by your local bookstore, corner market, travel agency, etc., stop in and introduce yourself to the proprietor. Then the next time you actually need the goods or serves offered by your local, small business, stop in and actually spend a little money in your own neighborhood. Now you probably won’t save much on your first transaction, or your second, but over time as you build a good working relationship with your retailer, they may be able to offer their professional expertise, tailored to your individual personality and needs. They may even stop you from buying something you don’t need or help you find a better deal. And even if they don’t, even if you do end up spending an extra $20 here and there, it should make you feel a lot better than having to slip it to some guy to not do his job.


Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

Got a liberal viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Marriage for Green Cards

Send in your view from the Left to be our featured Left of Center View for the week.

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Last Week's View from the Left:
Fixing Our Economy Through Trade

Previous Weeks Views from the Left:
American Manufacturing for a Global Marketplace
Amnesty vs. Equity for Undocumented Immigrants
America - Under New Management
The American Dream
The Election and Public Policy
Should Americans Be Allowed To Buy Cheaper Canadian Drugs?
With Our Economy Failing, Will America Become the World's Next Cheap Labor Source?
What Does Trillions of Dollars in Debt to China Mean for Our Future?
Could the Bailout of Wall Street Lead to More Foreign Investment in America?
Could Open Borders Ever Be A Viable Option For America?
How Should American Immigration Policy Be Reformed?
What Would The American Economy Look Like Without Undocumented Workers?
Can International Trade Save American Jobs?
Would Harsher Sentences for Undocumented Criminals Lower Crime?
Will There Ever Be Comprehensive Immigration Reform in America?
Do Undocumented Immigrants Pose a Health Risk for Americans?
How Will the Oil Crisis Impact Foreign Policy?
What is a Fair Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Workers?
Which of the Presidential Candidates Will Bring the Best Immigration Policy Into Office?
Outsourcing, Bad Trade Policy and Recessions
Is America Capable of Breaking Free from Foreign Oil Dependency?
What Does the Globalization of Big Business Mean for America?
Are American Car Makers Ready for the Oil Crisis or Will Japan Reign Supreme Once Again?
Does Dependency on Foreign Oil Endanger America?
What is a "Real" American?
Archives by Date




Unions, Immigrants and the Failing U.S. Economy: Right of Center View

While it has been popular of late to blame immigrants and corporate executives for the current economic crisis, nobody has really taken the unions to task for their role in our economic quandary. These unions that hold companies hostage for wages and benefits far in excess of what is merited by the skill levels needed to perform many jobs have played a large role in making American business uncompetitive on the world stage. While union bosses have grown fat and arrogant jobs got shipped overseas to allow American goods to compete in the global marketplace.

So what can we do about this problem? How can we make sure people have safe working conditions and make a fair wage while preventing corrupt union bosses from gouging American business to the detriment of all people? What role might government play in solving the labor crisis in America? For one thing we could ask congress to abolish unions and replace them with boards of arbitrators who would solve labor disputes by looking at both sides and making a decision that is fair to all parties. Instead of crippling strikes and posturing you would have real negotiations and binding solutions while businesses stay open and workers keep earning real paychecks as opposed to the pittance they get in the form of strike pay from the unions.

The first question many have is how to pay for the infrastructure needed to make a board of arbitrators work. The answer is fairly simple. Look at the amount employees are paying in union dues on average and convert those dues into a payroll tax that pays for their representation in the form of government arbitrators. You might even find that you don’t need as much money as they are spending in dues to cover the costs of government representation. If that is the case then lower the tax to cover the expenses only and put the rest into the pockets of the workers.

Another question that will undoubtedly come up is whether this idea represents “big government” intervention. While that could be the perception, it is really a case of replacing one-sided representation of workers that leads to frequent impasses between labor and business with unbiased negotiators who want to achieve a fair result for all. It is another governmental agency but one that would play a valuable role in moving our economy forward instead of existing merely to exist as many government agencies today do.

The last point that I would make is that the current system is obviously not working. We are hemorrhaging jobs and losing trade to other nations at a rate that is crippling our economy. We have got to look at the fundamentals that got us here and be brutally honest about what has worked and what has not worked. If labor relations are a part of the problem then we need to address how we deal with those relations moving forward. Labor unions have made piles of money “representing” workers but still the jobs leave and the factories close. How effective has their representation been if we continue to lose jobs in part because of the wages that they have forced on our companies? At what point do we look at the unions and weigh the costs versus the benefits of continuing to do business the way we have done it in the past? Change can be hard but sometimes major change is needed and now may be the time for that change to come when it comes to labor unions.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

Got a conservative viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Marriage for Green Cards

Send in your view from the Right to be our featured Right of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Right:
Fixing Our Economy Through Trade

Previous Weeks Views from the Right:
American Manufacturing for a Global Marketplace
Amnesty vs. Equity for Undocumented Immigrants
America - Under New Management
The American Dream
The Election and Public Policy
Should Americans Be Allowed To Buy Cheaper Canadian Drugs?
With Our Economy Failing, Will America Become the World's Next Cheap Labor Source?
What Does Trillions of Dollars in Debt to China Mean for Our Future?
Could the Bailout of Wall Street Lead to More Foreign Investment in America?
Could Open Borders Ever Be A Viable Option For America?
How Should American Immigration Policy Be Reformed?
What Would The American Economy Look Like Without Undocumented Workers?
Can International Trade Save American Jobs?
How Much Impact Will Our Faltering Economy Have on Illegal Immigration?
Would Harsher Sentences for Undocumented Criminals Lower Crime?
Will There Ever Be Comprehensive Immigration Reform in America?
Do Undocumented Immigrants Pose a Health Risk for Americans?
How Will the Oil Crisis Impact Foreign Policy?
What is a Fair Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Workers?
Which of the Presidential Candidates Will Bring the Best Immigration Policy Into Office?
Outsourcing, Bad Trade Policy and Recessions
Is America Capable of Breaking Free from Foreign Oil Dependency?
What Does the Globalization of Big Business Mean for America?
Are American Car Makers Ready for the Oil Crisis or Will Japan Reign Supreme Once Again?
Does Dependency on Foreign Oil Endanger America?
What is a "Real" American?
Archives by Date

A Legal Immigrant’s Perspective

If you are not a Native American, you are an immigrant, so am I. I came legally to this country at the age of five with my parents who worked hard, paid taxes (even Jesus paid taxes), lived by the rules of this great nation and never took or accepted a penny from the government. We came seeking FREEDOM from a communist country. It was months before we were able to enter the US legally. I remember us getting medical exams, shots (small pox), background check, references, and going through numerous interviews once we arrived. I also remembered people coming to the US from all over the world who waited years since it was based on "Quotas". Read more...

Solving Our Immigration Problem

The major problem our country is facing with illegal immigrants today is because of the exploitation of these immigrants. We believe the solution to this problem is two-fold. First, we should allow more immigrants in this country to cut down on the number of illegal ones. Second, all immigrants should be educated about their rights at the expense of the government. Below, you will find an in-depth look at our suggested reforms.

Reforms for immigration limitations:

-New immigrants can't equal more than 1% of the US population in a given year (the population being from the last recorded census). That 1% will be further divided up to allow only a certain number of immigrants each month.
-Each country of origin for immigrants will be allowed a certain percentage of that 1%. No country could receive more than 10% of the total amount and no country can receive less than .1% of it. The left over percentage will be divided up between all countries as follows: Read more...

Do Elements Within the La Raza Movement Pose a Threat to America?

La Raza means literally “The Race” in Spanish. The movement was formed in 1968 to promote the interests of the Mexican-American community. Like the NAACP and other affirmative-action minded organizations, La Raza has many members that are interested in being part of America and promoting equality for all Americans. The fundamental goals as stated by the movement are benign and represent the ideals of American diversity and cultural pride.

There is another movement affiliated with La Raza that has historically been more militant and still maintains documents within their organization that point to isolationistic views Read More

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isn’t really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More



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