Union Political Power Stronger Than Ever

An editorial from the Orange County Register outlines why  Big Labor must rely on its political power.

Despite favoritism from the Obama administration – privileging the United Auto Workers over secured creditors in the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies; steering stimulus funds towards unions; taking legal action against Boeing for opening a new plant in right-to-work South Carolina, etc. – it has turned out that a union renaissance isn’t in the cards.

Two developments in the past week underscore why Big Labor has to rely on political power: It can no longer win arguments on the merits. The first occurred in San Diego, where Republican mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer triumphed last week over Democrat David Alvarez, who had received more than $4 million in labor support.

Faulconer’s campaign relied heavily on criticizing Alvarez’s union ties. Given a December Field Poll that showed more Californians think that unions are a force for harm rather than good, that was a savvy strategy.   The other result came out of Chattanooga, Tenn., where employees of a Volkswagen plant voted against joining the United Auto Workers despite the fact that the union and the company had been actively collaborating to make it happen.

What are we to make of these results? That the public has lost faith in organized labor. In the public sector, voters have seen the consequences of pension crises, schools led to ruin by the influence of teacher unions, and widespread cronyism. In the private sector, workers have witnessed the destruction that can be wrought by union influence. We suspect those employees casting ballots in Chattanooga were mindful of Detroit – a city brought to its knees by rapacious labor demands.