“I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries.” – Bernie Sanders, Burlington Free Press, October 1976.
On August 19, 2013 I wrote a column titled “The decline and fall of America’s unions” stating,
The “angel of death” for unions is progressivism, its primary weapon is big government bureaucrats, the anti-union soldiers.
I felt the need to update this column to help working class trade union members understand that the end is nearer than even I expected.
The “angel of death” is at your front door and her name is “socialism.”
The big government bureaucrats have unionized and have become the anti-union soldiers bent on destroying all other trade unions.
As political power becomes more centralized there is an irreversible decline in the power of unions. It is a cause and effect that cannot be denied or stopped.
Green New Deal
The Green New Deal takes away two key powers that make trade unions important to middle class workers, their power to negotiate wages and benefits.
In a column titled “The True Meaning of That Green New Deal” Lee Edwards writes:
Sponsors of the Green New Deal—including Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.—list these goals: Phase out conventional fuels (that is, oil, natural gas, and coal) by 2030, only a decade from now; implement a federal jobs guarantee; retrofit all U.S. buildings; overhaul transportation with high-speed rail; and provide universal health care. [Emphasis added]
If you have a federal jobs guarantee and universal healthcare then why have any trade union? If everyone works for the government then the only union that matters is the union representing the bureaucrats, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its 2019 Union Members Summary report notes:
The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.4 percent).
If the Green New Deal becomes law then blacks will be harmed most as they are “more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers” according to BLS.
As some point even public-sector workers like teachers and SEIU members will also lose their ability to negotiate salary and benefits. These public sector unions will slowly fade away.
Angels of Death
Oleg Atbashian, a citizen of the former Soviet Union, in his book Shakedown Socialism writes, “Union perks mean nothing when there is nothing left to redistribute. The Soviets learned it the hard way. The American unions don’t seem to be able to learn from the mistakes of others.”
The example of Poland’s Solidarnosc, an independent union that spearheaded the overthrow of the oppressive Communist regime in 1989. Why? Because, “…Current [union] perks can only exist in a free and competitive economy that ensures growth and generates wealth – known as ‘capitalist exploitation’ in the lingo of the champions of ‘redistributive justice’.”
Unions are only relevant if they retain their control to collectively bargain for wages and benefits in a free and competitive economy. If the government takes over this role, as it did workplace safety with OSHA, then unions are doomed.
The angels of death for trade unions are: Medicare for All, The Minimum Wage and Green New Deal. Socialist programs pushed by the Socialist Democrats.