Mitt Romney: Labor unions play an important role in our society

posted at 7:45 pm on February 21, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Just as Rick Santorum has pointedly and repeatedly reminded voters that Mitt Romney supported an individual health care mandate and the Wall Street bailouts, so Mitt Romney has sought to remind voters that Rick Santorum has been cozy with Big Labor in the past. In his attacks on Santorum, Romney has sounded unequivocally anti-labor, which no doubt has not helped him much in Michigan.

Today, though, the former Massachusetts governor displayed a nuanced perspective on labor unions, characterizing himself as pro-union-worker but anti-union-bosses. His first line — “Labor unions play an important role in our society” — might seem to make him a hypocrite, given his recent attacks on Santorum, but the rest of the clip clears up any confusion. Mitt Romney is a proponent of the right to work across the board — and has no Senate votes in his past that say otherwise.

On that note, though, Santorum has a voting record on labor issues beyond his misguided votes against Right to Work and in favor of Davis-Bacon wage rates. Byron York reports that, at times, Santorum’s record was more anti-union than the likes of Sens. Jim Talent and Jim DeMint, both famously opposed to Big Labor. That is, Santorum’s AFL-CIO rating (a measure of how often a politician votes with Big Labor) was actually lower than the ratings of Talent and DeMint some years.

Does that excuse Santorum’s sour votes against RTW or for Davis-Bacon? No. Incidentally, the excuse Santorum uses for those votes sounds an awful lot like the excuse Mitt Romney makes for his health care law. Santorum says the votes he cast were the right decision for Pennsylvania, just as Mitt Romney says Romneycare was the right decision for Massachusetts. Bottom line: At this point, Republican voters can either choose to be bitter about the flaws in our candidates’ past records or choose to be hopeful about the fact that Romney promises he would repeal Obamacare as president and Santorum says he would support Right to Work legislation as president.

I come back to Milton Friedman’s immortal words, which have given me more comfort in this primary cycle than anything else I’ve come across:

I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or, if they try, they will shortly be out of office.

Were more encouraging words for such a cycle as this ever spoken?

Update: A little O/T, but, in response to a number of commenters who earlier today suggested that I too willingly spin news in Santorum’s favor, I offer this personal mission statement. Please feel free to hold me accountable, as I know you’ll do no matter what.

What I will do as a chronicler of this election and as a voter myself:

  1. I will be hopeful that our candidates mean what they say when they express more conservative views now than their past records demonstrate.
  2. I will not excuse the mistakes in their past records or attempt to justify them. (Note, for example, that, in my earlier post today about Rick Santorum, I did not say he was justified to vote for a debt ceiling increase five times. Would that more pols would have woken up to the fiscal realities our nation faces sooner when Republicans did control the House, Senate and White House!)
  3. I will continue to promote conservative policies — like the repeal of Obamacare, Right to Work legislation, curtails to collective bargaining privileges for public employees, free trade and pro-life, pro-marriage legislation – no matter where the candidates stand on those policies.

What I will (try) not (to) do:

  1. Descend into cynicism about the GOP candidates.
  2. Automatically respond defensively to criticisms of Republicans or my eventual pick for the GOP nominee (i.e. no knee-jerk defensiveness!).
  3. Sit out the debate or forget the importance of the issues in the fun of covering the horse race.

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Don’t like the # 100.

Bmore on February 21, 2012 at 9:28 PM

The thing that most people are overlooking is that unions generally are composed of a national organization and a lot of local organizations. The legitimate and necessary functions of the union occur at a local level. The workers in such locals have virtually no ability to influence the policies of the national leaders and are almost totally ignorant about their activities. Among public sector unions most members don’t even participate at a local level.

Most locals are run democratically with strict financial accountability and transparency; the national councils are the exact opposite. The AFL-CIO is completely detached from any relationship with the workers.

Politician of both parties know that union leaders don’t speak for the membership. Democrats woo the leaders for the money. Republicans must address the real concerns of the rank and file, because except for the small group of dedicated Marxists at the top, most union workers have the same concerns that everyone else has; national security, public safety and fiscal responsibility out weigh issues like right to work or minimum wage.

Reagan figured this out, and got the union vote.

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Factories that employed union workers. Coal mines that couldn’t hire 12-year-olds and had to pay a living wage to adult workers. Sweatshops that had to pay minimum wage…

Nothing in recent economic history — as unions are broken, corporate profits and executive compensation rise, and shopfloor wages decline — suggests that, absent unions, the iron law of wages wouldn’t be in place.

urban elitist on February 21, 2012 at 9:25 PM

These are all things people in general did not like and would have gotten rid of with or without forced union shops. The law of wages is you pay the least amount the other person is willing to work for.

As for profits and CEO compensation rises, that is thanks to the regulation state we are in. The regulation state forces companies to be ever larger and cuts their competition. Anyone wanting to start a new business to compete is out of luck unless they have enough money to start off big and accept losses while they build a reputation. All the laws, regulations, taxes and so forth drain a smaller or mid sized company’s resources and causes them to either go out of business, remain small or get bought out.

Huge companies with a billion in sales or more are going to pay top dollar for the few people who show promise in being able to navigate all these rules and regulations and turn a profit. It has absolutely nothing to do with employees lost union power, and much more to do with employees lost ability to go out and start a competitor to the big company.

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 9:35 PM

If It wasn’t for the unions most of these manufacturing companies will be paying slave labor.

liberal4life on February 21, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Liar or ignorant, take your pick. When Ford paid his folks twice the going rate, including blacks, was that because of the union or due to his greed? By paying well, he reduced turnover and motivated harder work. After all, if the worker didn’t put all out, there’d be ten guys outside waiting to replace him. Plus being “richer” than the other saps out there, they had more money to fulfill their desires and not just their needs. They could work for their own car, get a maid for the missus (even blacks had maids) better housing etc. The unions may have boosted personal income, but it was at the expense of sustainability, flexibility to adapt to technology etc. A mere 30- 40 years ago, dearborn, northland, highland park, even eight mile was the epitome of affluence and upward mobility. Now it’s all part of the growing armpit of union ruled Detroit.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 9:38 PM

But don’t you DARE call him a RINO!!!

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 7:55 PM

True. He’s a liberal richy-rich Democrat corporatist pretending (and failing badly in the process) to act like a conservative Republican. All the while pandering and offering nothing new to the table whatsoever.

It’s so bad an acting job, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal wince in pain.

Myron Falwell on February 21, 2012 at 9:39 PM

instead they branded him a crank and doubled down with Dole. Lucky for them, Perot was a crank

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 9:23 PM

You can’t make this stuff up.

So the GOP was foolish to label a “crank” as a…”crank”

The party is run by fools…FOOLS I TELL YOU!!!!

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 9:43 PM

True. He’s a liberal richy-rich Democrat corporatist pretending (and failing badly in the process) to act like a conservative Republican. All the while pandering and offering nothing new to the table whatsoever.
It’s so bad an acting job, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal wince in pain.
Myron Falwell on February 21, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Myron,
How dare you? He is SEVERELY conservative!!! Or didn’t you see his CPAC speech?

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Romney has done nothing for the base.

God help us if he wins the nomination without conservative support.

It will be payback time ala McCcain.

Valiant on February 21, 2012 at 9:48 PM

Myron,
How dare you? He is SEVERELY conservative!!! Or didn’t you see his CPAC speech?

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Severly conservative. Really.

Just THINK about that phrase, and how utterly dumb it is. It’s a mind-numbing tone-deafness on the lines of Dan Quayle, only with no actual conservative credentials whatsoever.

If the establishment succeeds in getting that moron nominated, Mitt deserves to lose in a landslide to Obama. He won’t, but he SHOULD.

Myron Falwell on February 21, 2012 at 9:50 PM

These are all things people in general did not like and would have gotten rid of with or without forced union shops. The law of wages is you pay the least amount the other person is willing to work for.

How would they have fought corporate abuses without unions or — something else I’s sure you dislike — government regulation. Rich, powerful people don’t share money and power unless they have to.

As for profits and CEO compensation rises, that is thanks to the regulation state we are in. The regulation state forces companies to be ever larger and cuts their competition. Anyone wanting to start a new business to compete is out of luck unless they have enough money to start off big and accept losses while they build a reputation. All the laws, regulations, taxes and so forth drain a smaller or mid sized company’s resources and causes them to either go out of business, remain small or get bought out.

This is ludicrous. Not to defend regulation, but it’s the anti-competitive nature of entrenched industry that makes starting up hard.

Huge companies with a billion in sales or more are going to pay top dollar for the few people who show promise in being able to navigate all these rules and regulations and turn a profit. It has absolutely nothing to do with employees lost union power, and much more to do with employees lost ability to go out and start a competitor to the big company.

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Huge companies with billions in sales will pay a small cadre of top executives a great deal of money, and pay a large network of politicians whatever it takes to keep the workers down. All the regulation in the world doesn’t explain why top executive compensation rises by leaps and pound while blue collar labor loses grounds.

urban elitist on February 21, 2012 at 9:53 PM

You can’t make this stuff up.

So the GOP was foolish to label a “crank” as a…”crank”

The party is run by fools…FOOLS I TELL YOU!!!!

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 9:43 PM

The point is that the GOP misinterpreted WHY Perot got 20% or why Anderson only got 8% against Reagan and Anderson was one of them. Yes Perot was a crank as events developed but in 1992, Bush and his inner circle were pretty clueless about conservative principles. In fact, its my contention that in spite of eight years under Reagan, they couldn’t wait to dump his policies and ideas. Does voodoo economics, read my lips and we must save the free market by abandoning it? This is what CINOs do when in a panic. Talking the talk is fine when all’s well. As soon as there’s a crisis, it all goes out the window. This is what Mittness will do to us. It’s not out of malice, its just their instinct.

Anyhoo, when half the base deserts the GOP, they are as good as dead.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 9:54 PM

If the establishment succeeds in getting that moron nominated, Mitt deserves to lose in a landslide to Obama. He won’t, but he SHOULD.
Myron Falwell on February 21, 2012 at 9:50 PM

What blows my mind is that I was way into Mitt in 2008. Was sure he was the guy for the job. His window closed, because no candidate can withstand the vetting that running for POTUS for 6 years will do to you. And his signature piece of legislation in Mass is now the most unpopular thing in the US of the last 4 years. He’s like the pretty girl you finally got a date with, only to find out how shallow and dull she was.

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Anyhoo, when half the base deserts the GOP, they are as good as dead.
AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 9:54 PM

I get it, but there’s not time to blow up the GOP, establish a 3rd party and get it mainstream. The Republic is finished by then. We have to work with what we got.

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 10:00 PM

He’s like the pretty girl you finally got a date with, only to find out how shallow and dull she was.

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

You nailed it 100%.

Nothing like the horrible feeling you get when you find out your date has ‘man hands’.

Myron Falwell on February 21, 2012 at 10:03 PM

How would they have fought corporate abuses without unions or — something else I’s sure you dislike — government regulation. Rich, powerful people don’t share money and power unless they have to.

This is where you will never see eye to eye with 99% of the folks on this site. You believe in the helplessness of the individual, and their inherent need for someone to do their bidding for them…conservatives believe in the power of the individual. You will never see it any other way, so it renders most any other conversation pointless.

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Henry Ford famously paid his workers $5 a day, but there were a lot of conditions that went along with the money, most workers couldn’t meet them and got paid less. For all great things he accomplished, Ford never understood that you couldn’t treat factory workers like farm hands.

I’ve compiled a lot of notes about union corruption and malfeasance, but I am totally mystified by the claim that the UAW destroyed Detroit. Such a claim may satisfy the urge to scapegoat that most people have, but to be valid such a claim should be supported by details. What exactly did the union do to leave a city in ruins?

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 10:07 PM

I get it, but there’s not time to blow up the GOP, establish a 3rd party and get it mainstream. The Republic is finished by then. We have to work with what we got.

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Which is really nothing. We literally have… nothing.

Even if Mitt inexplicably wins, he’ll end up being extremly unpopular that we lose the House and Senate (should it even be attained if Mitt doesn’t totally depress any GOTV drive) in 2014, and he’ll either be primaried or lose in a landslide to Hillary Clinton in 2016. No guarantee that Obamacare will ever be repealed (smart money in on it NOT being repealed under a Mitt presidency), government will not get smaller, and Mitt will be remembered as a weak, ineffective liberal leader who added nothing to our nation’s legacy.

The Republic will be finished even IF Obama loses.

Myron Falwell on February 21, 2012 at 10:08 PM

These are all things people in general did not like and would have gotten rid of with or without forced union shops. The law of wages is you pay the least amount the other person is willing to work for.

How would they have fought corporate abuses without unions or — something else I’s sure you dislike — government regulation. Rich, powerful people don’t share money and power unless they have to.

Yes, why? Because the vast majority of government regulation in the market place is nothing more than the unions pushing it to the federal level. Of course they do not share their money unless they have to. Even with the laws they still do not like to. The difference is that the rules and regulations force the companies to do things that are less than the most efficient, making everyone poorer and making the value of a person’s work worth less. A wage is a mutually agreed upon price for labor. People do not work unless they are paid enough to do so.

Now, again, look at the rules and regulations, who do they help and hurt? The rules and regulations prevent a person from starting a small business, too many rules and regulations to learn and follow and the big businesses will be holding the small businesses to all those rules and regulations. This strips a person of negotiating power. Well, I could go work for myself and earn this much money, or I could work for you, but if I work for you I am going to want more than I would otherwise make…

As for profits and CEO compensation rises, that is thanks to the regulation state we are in. The regulation state forces companies to be ever larger and cuts their competition. Anyone wanting to start a new business to compete is out of luck unless they have enough money to start off big and accept losses while they build a reputation. All the laws, regulations, taxes and so forth drain a smaller or mid sized company’s resources and causes them to either go out of business, remain small or get bought out.

This is ludicrous. Not to defend regulation, but it’s the anti-competitive nature of entrenched industry that makes starting up hard.

Yes, I am sure you imagine that to be the case. Have you any evidence of this? No? OMG, another person with no evidence of what they talk about. The rules and regulations aspect though has many studies available for your review. But you are right, the entrenched by government decree businesses do make it hard to start your own business, because it is a self sustaining event. The companies change regulations to protect themselves, those regulations keep others from entering the market, the companies grow larger and more influential, demand more protections like a license to do manicures when all you want to do is cut hair. Keeps getting worse every year. Just imagine if someone like Newt did not come along and push for deregulation at great cost of the telecoms?

Huge companies with a billion in sales or more are going to pay top dollar for the few people who show promise in being able to navigate all these rules and regulations and turn a profit. It has absolutely nothing to do with employees lost union power, and much more to do with employees lost ability to go out and start a competitor to the big company.

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Huge companies with billions in sales will pay a small cadre of top executives a great deal of money, and pay a large network of politicians whatever it takes to keep the workers down. All the regulation in the world doesn’t explain why top executive compensation rises by leaps and pound while blue collar labor loses grounds.

urban elitist on February 21, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Yeah, keep the workers down. You do know that those few executives are no match to the voting power of the people? You do know that right? No? You should probably read up on American History.

By the way, the regulations do explain why compensation rises by leaps and bounds. Each person is limited in their abilities. Those who are seen as the very top of the pack in abilities are highly sought after, because there is so much at stake in making certain a company is run properly. Did you have an errant employee try and bribe a government official and get caught, well, you just lost a $300b contract. Because of the size of companies, pushed ever bigger by regulations, there is way too much at stake to risk it on someone who might be ok, but might not be. So the few with good track records are given massive deals to come work for massive companies.

Funny how your argument is that you cannot expect a company to pay a fair wage to anyone, but they are paying exorbitant amounts for top executives for what reason?

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Henry Ford famously paid his workers $5 a day, but there were a lot of conditions that went along with the money, most workers couldn’t meet them and got paid less. For all great things he accomplished, Ford never understood that you couldn’t treat factory workers like farm hands.

I’ve compiled a lot of notes about union corruption and malfeasance, but I am totally mystified by the claim that the UAW destroyed Detroit. Such a claim may satisfy the urge to scapegoat that most people have, but to be valid such a claim should be supported by details. What exactly did the union do to leave a city in ruins?

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Fought automation, fought companies firing employees who were inefficient. Caused labor costs to grow too large in fat years, and refused to allow them to drop in lean years. Had strikes that cost the companies billions of dollars in lost production while the company still had to pay for the capital investments.
You really did not know these things?

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Tina, keep up the great work. Don’t let some pathetic Mittbots intimidate you into not writing the truth about Romney.

Norwegian on February 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM

I get it, but there’s not time to blow up the GOP, establish a 3rd party and get it mainstream. The Republic is finished by then. We have to work with what we got.

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 10:00 PM

if you’re willing to compromise your principles for the sake of the party, be my guest.

The way I see it, this country faced two great crisis.
the first was when it was birthed. One third was ready to re volt another third was loyal to the king, while another third didn’t care or wasn’t ready to decide.

The second time, the nation was simmering for several decades over slavery and ripe for splitting. The Whigs didn’t think it was yet time. Yet within six years, the new Republican party had a potus.

Now we have an idiot which thinks he’s God’s ordained king and threatening to rip this country apart. Yet some want to stick with a middle way that will continue the eroding, just at a slower pace. No thanks. The GOP has been screwing us since Nixon. It’s tie to part company if they nominate yet another dem lite like Romney.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM

I’ve compiled a lot of notes about union corruption and malfeasance, but I am totally mystified by the claim that the UAW destroyed Detroit. Such a claim may satisfy the urge to scapegoat that most people have, but to be valid such a claim should be supported by details. What exactly did the union do to leave a city in ruins?
halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Janitors making $30/hr. Guys screwing nuts onto bolts for $42/hr with triple time on weekends and 8 wks vacation. Etc. Etc.

They get something other than market rate for the work being done. That’s what they do to destroy Detroit.

CycloneCDB on February 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM

urban elitist on February 21, 2012 at 9:53 PM

having worked at large, international, corporations I know that the vast majority of people could not do the job Senior Execs are doing, nor would they want to.

Executive compensation is more now because of globalization…there is more money flowing in from all over the world…esp. Financial sector companies (i’m talking about the last 20 years)

So to punish them for the work they do is not good.

Nor is it correct to glorify unions. The public sector unions act as though they are working in coal mines 100 years ago. Please. They are largely white collar people living a nice life.

And unions have had a negative impact in many ways…but i’m not opposed to unions..but they have to be regulated (anti-trust) so that they don’t do too much damage.

Unions are just as greedy and power hungry as any capitalist or politician

r keller on February 21, 2012 at 10:27 PM

and btw, i always find it odd that leftists defend unions. Unions will be the first to lay off low seniority people. Unions are perfectly happy to have plants close. Unions are perfectly happy to have a two-tier workforce…the older better paid workers…vs. the younger, lower paid, lesser benefits worker.

Worker paradise, I guess

r keller on February 21, 2012 at 10:30 PM

I’m not sure what you’re referring to in your update Tina. This site has been similar to NRO, except not as heavy pro-Romney. Basically anti-NotMitt.

As for the article, I was not impressed with the clip. I see he is making sure to target (is it a crime to say that still?) the union bosses and not the workers. The crowd is bland and he got a general ovation from the remark, nothing special. Was the crowd bought? Is it possible they weren’t too keen on it?

Nothing says blue collar like blue jeans? All we need is more federal laws that are questionably (un)constitutional. Federal is not supposed to be toward individuals.

John Kettlewell on February 21, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Boilerplate from Romney, and hard to get upset over. “Unions are good, but the bosses aren’t” is precisely the position maintained by the mainstream political “consensus” of the past 70-80 years.

It has been relatively easy to maintain in the US, because our unions several times successfully resisted attempts by foreign socialist influences to radicalize them — in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s. The resistance was mounted by thuggish union bosses with mafia-type methods, but mounted it was, and American unions remained pragmatic, if often corrupt.

Today, the influence of global leftist organizations has been making steady progress with the unions, and the unions themselves have shifted the locus of their base from manufacturing, manual professions, and transportation to public workers. Unions are a political problem now in a way they weren’t 50 years ago.

One of Romney’s drawbacks is that he is so steeped in and defined by the old political “consensus.” That is in large part because his professional life has been centered on the northeast, where the consensus is still thought of as political reality. I think he really doesn’t “get” the concern about public worker unionism among today’s conservatives. It’s not a reigning political reality in his part of America.

J.E. Dyer on February 21, 2012 at 10:46 PM

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM

I know that after every national agreement for the last 25 years the union has claimed that the plants were being automated through their bargaining efforts. I know the unions took pay cuts and gave other concessions in the 80′s and in the last decade. I know of no case where an auto company tried to fire workers for being inefficient (usually it’s something like absenteeism of drug use)
A factory may be closed for being inefficient but that is almost always related to the physical plant. There hasn’t been a general strike against one of the big three in years and it’s questionable how much a strike costs

But all of these points related to the question of how the union affected the auto companies. The big three produced millions of vehicle and had combined sales in the hundreds of billions last year they are not destroyed.

What did the union do to remove over a million residents from Detroit? How was the UAW responsible for hundreds of thousands of homes being abandoned Did union members commit the many thousands of murders in Detroit over the last few decades or cause the other drug and crime problems?

I’m curious

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I think he really doesn’t “get” the concern about public worker unionism among today’s conservatives. It’s not a reigning political reality in his part of America.

J.E. Dyer on February 21, 2012 at 10:46 PM

It’s worse that that. Mitt is simply tone-deaf to conservatives and just doesn’t “get it.” He’ll be lucky to win in November if, God forbid, he gets the nomination.

Myron Falwell on February 21, 2012 at 10:57 PM

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM

If your company is losing $3B a year and the best you can do because of union demands is saving $500m a year you are not going to do very well. If your workers have veto power over whether you can install such and such a device, you are not going to upgrade in time to make the most of efficiency. If you cannot fire employees because unions refuse to let you, you are not going to be producing as much as you could or as high quality as you could.
Your argument is lost. There is nothing of fact that can save it. It was lost on the ground with facts and action that cannot be undone or swept under the carpet.

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 11:00 PM

What did the union do to remove over a million residents from Detroit? How was the UAW responsible for hundreds of thousands of homes being abandoned Did union members commit the many thousands of murders in Detroit over the last few decades or cause the other drug and crime problems?

I’m curious

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM

They supported and got elected Democrats. Democrats who then increased welfare payments and other wasteful government activities, passed laws that were destructive to business trying to protect their union allies. In the process they created an underclass that turned to drugs as they did not want to work or those who did could not find it. So, yes actually the unions do share some blame for all those things. As they supported and ensured to keep in place a corrupt government that would do the union’s bidding against the rest of society.

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 11:04 PM

The problem with arguments based on the unions fighting against some unnamed technology or device, is that it doesn’t happen. If it does I’d like to hear what that technology was. I am equally unfamiliar with any contract that allows the union to refuse to let the company fire employees. I’ve seen many examples of workers who were fired and got their jobs back through the efforts of the union, and every time it was because the company failed to follow the rules they had created.

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 11:14 PM

The problem with arguments based on the unions fighting against some unnamed technology or device, is that it doesn’t happen. If it does I’d like to hear what that technology was. I am equally unfamiliar with any contract that allows the union to refuse to let the company fire employees. I’ve seen many examples of workers who were fired and got their jobs back through the efforts of the union, and every time it was because the company failed to follow the rules they had created.

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 11:14 PM

You are unfamiliar with many things. Now go lay down and rest your precious gold star earning head for a bit…

A union contract usually requires a fired employee to go through a specific grievance procedure. At the end of the day, the process is so hard, and the company is forced to continue paying the employee, it becomes almost impossible to terminate an employee for anything less than a felony charge.

http://www.balancedpolitics.org/unions.htm

astonerii on February 21, 2012 at 11:26 PM

The Union lead3ership certainly supported Democrats of the most socilist variety, and quite possibly many of the workers did as well, but you can’t place the blame for destroying a city entirely on the fraction of the voters who belong to unions. You might just as easily say that the fault lies with democrat voter, but that mmerly states the obvious.

halfbaked on February 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM

Strangely enough I was fired once for “using safety as a subterfuge” a somewhat less than felonious offense. my pay was stopped at that minute and in the hearing two weeks later the superintendent said he never really wanted to fire me and wanted me back because I was such a good worker.

Such is not the case in public employee unions, but that wasn’t my point.

You’re 100% right about one thing, it is getting late so maybe we can kick it around again some other time

halfbaked on February 22, 2012 at 12:22 AM

True. He’s a liberal richy-rich Democrat corporatist pretending (and failing badly in the process) to act like a conservative Republican. All the while pandering and offering nothing new to the table whatsoever.

It’s so bad an acting job, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal wince in pain.

Myron Falwell on February 21, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Yes, Willard Fillmoure Romneycare’s attempt and “playing a conservative” is so atrocious that Uwe Boll was mortified…

SilverDeth on February 22, 2012 at 12:33 AM

I come back to Milton Friedman’s immortal words, …

I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or, if they try, they will shortly be out of office.

The problem is that there are a substantial number of people working just as hard to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the wrong thing.

AesopFan on February 22, 2012 at 12:45 AM

The GOP has been screwing us since Nixon. It’s tie to part company if they nominate yet another dem lite like Romney.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Change Nixon to Hoover and you have a winner.

chemman on February 22, 2012 at 1:52 AM

Liar or ignorant, take your pick. When Ford paid his folks twice the going rate, including blacks, was that because of the union or due to his greed? By paying well, he reduced turnover and motivated harder work. After all, if the worker didn’t put all out, there’d be ten guys outside waiting to replace him. Plus being “richer” than the other saps out there, they had more money to fulfill their desires and not just their needs. They could work for their own car, get a maid for the missus (even blacks had maids) better housing etc. The unions may have boosted personal income, but it was at the expense of sustainability, flexibility to adapt to technology etc. A mere 30- 40 years ago, dearborn, northland, highland park, even eight mile was the epitome of affluence and upward mobility. Now it’s all part of the growing armpit of union ruled Detroit.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 9:38 PM

There’s a lot of truth there…however…men like Ford and Pullman were paternalistic (Socialistic?) towards their employees. Off hand, I never heard anyone back then complain about that, but what are the limits of noblesse oblige vs. personal autonomy in the workplace?

To me employment is a trap of sorts…you have to give up a certain amount of autonomy to other human beings, and labeling those beings as “the company” doesn’t negate that. Time will tell if multi-billion dollar companies are going to last well into the future and benefit us all, but I suspect they won’t.

How can a people such as us (rugged individualists) get into a situation where we quit working for ourselves and instead work for others? Our society is a corporate structure from D.C. all the way down to the individual…but yet, few of us engage in contracts for our labor. The heart of corporatism is the contract.

Americans need to start viewing themselves as individual corporate entities (the IRS and the legal system seems to get that) and negotiate rather than settle, and be more willing to work contractually and independently…but yes, the government regulations and taxation does make that difficult, and is increasingly reminiscent of what we see in Third World countries.

Now, if those contracts are negotiated through a co-op (union) or one on one, so what? The only problem is when your negotiating agency gets taken over by a new class of bosses. Then you go rogue or form another bargaining agency. But the problem there is the Feds and states don’t allow for multiple union contracts, and the companies and government employers are fine with that-all or nothing. There needs to be free enterprise/choice amongst unions themselves. And no worker should be forced into a union, nor should non-members enjoy contracts (excluding working conditions of course) negotiated by unions. Perhaps a non-member could get a better deal on their own? If so, great-that’s the point of free enterprise.

Contracted employment would alleviate many problems for both employer and employee. They need to include terms of employment, as well as the obligations of the employee. Now, if one guy has the attitude, “It ain’t in my contract.” that’s not a huge deal-if many do the “ain’t my job thing” then that’s a cultural/systemic problem. I dunno-is it too much to ask your secretary to fetch a cup of coffee? Or pick up your dry-cleaning? Or babysit your kids on the clock?

One last thing-Ford made a great product and continued to thrive even as their unionized labor force thrived. They and the other majors were outcompeted by the Japanese and other foreign manufacturers. The unions don’t design the product, the company does.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 22, 2012 at 2:15 AM

The GOP has been screwing us since Nixon. It’s tie to part company if they nominate yet another dem lite like Romney.

AH_C on February 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Change Nixon to Hoover and you have a winner.

chemman on February 22, 2012 at 1:52 AM

Click my name.

hawkdriver on February 22, 2012 at 6:20 AM

Click my name

.

its time for this

DanMan on February 22, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Dole, McCain, Romney…Fail, FAIL, FAIL!

insidiator on February 22, 2012 at 7:57 AM

The problem with America is not really her politicians.
It’s her people.
They are selfish, spoiled brats who for the most part have had it pretty damned good all of their lives, where even the poor have luxuries unheard of in the 3rd world, and have the opportunity to raise themselves up, but choose not to bcs being a dependent slave is much easier.
They talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time, just like many politicians & are always impressed by the new snake oil being touted.
In conclusion, America is really sucking bcs Americans themselves in large enough number really suck & are out of touch with reality.
But that’s the nice thing about stuff like this.
Reality will come to them, eventually.

Badger40 on February 22, 2012 at 8:04 AM

I don’t think I’ll be able to hold my nose and vote for him if it comes to it

Not-a-Marxist on February 22, 2012 at 8:13 AM

This is ludicrous. Not to defend regulation, but it’s the anti-competitive nature of entrenched industry that makes starting up hard.

Yes – and part of that entrenchment is lobbying congress for ever more regulations of their industry to make it impossible for start-up competition to succeed. Also known as crony capitalism. Why do you think big corporations give to dems? And I’m not pointing out just dems for crony capitalism, but if you looked at just rhetoric and policy platforms, no corporation would ever give to a dem candidate.

The more regulations the less any little player can stay in the game or even get in the game to begin with. The administrative costs are simply too high. That’s why the big companies like regulations and support regulations.

So, your above statement doesn’t “defend regulation” at all – but in fact agrees with us that gov’t should be made smaller and less intrusive in order to allow competition.

Monkeytoe on February 22, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Huge companies with billions in sales will pay a small cadre of top executives a great deal of money, and pay a large network of politicians whatever it takes to keep the workers down. All the regulation in the world doesn’t explain why top executive compensation rises by leaps and pound while blue collar labor loses grounds.

urban elitist on February 21, 2012 at 9:53 PM

That’s idiotic. What “laws” are keeping the worker down?

Even if the top executives’ pay was spread out in those companies to every worker, each worker would see some minor benefit – say $500 a year at most. Moreover, why pay someone more than the market requires? It is anti-economic thinking like yours that will destroy our economy. Planned economies have been tried and always fail. So your idea of deciding what every workers should be paid based on your idea of “fairness” has been tried – and it always fails.

Plus, the reality is that if the top executives were not receiving that pay, the money would not go to the workers, but to the owners of the business as profits – the shareholders would get dividends.

So all this hatred for executives and angst over executive pay is nothing more than pure ignorance. The only way you would get executive pay to go down to the factory worker is through wage control – in other words, communism. It’s been tried and it does not work.

Monkeytoe on February 22, 2012 at 9:09 AM

How would they have fought corporate abuses without unions or — something else I’s sure you dislike — government regulation. Rich, powerful people don’t share money and power unless they have to.

Perhaps, but in today’s world the union is actually no longer doing any good and instead does much more harm. Particularly public sector unions.

I’m not one that would argue that unions did not play an important role in making industry safer, and getting important laws and regulations passed. I think they did do so (in the industrial/manufacturing/mining sectors – there has never been any true need for unionization of clerical/office workers and/or gov’t employees). But, at some point they are no longer fighting needed battles, but like any institution, coming up with things to point to in order to justify their existence, which means making ever grander demands past the point of all reason or usefulness to society. Every institution, once formed, will fight for its continued existence and seek to grow to justify its own existence and gain further money and power. Just like any business. That’s all the big unions are anymore, businesses. The people in the top echelons are no difference than a top CEO – making huge money off workers’ backs and using that money to buy influence and power, with almost no regard for what the membership actually wants or believes.

there is something called “diminishing returns” wherein the cost of the next regulation or law outweighs its value to society. We have long since passed that point. We are now regulating what kind of chairs workers can sit in and other such nonsense. We have long passed the point where we were protecting people’s lives and ensuring a 40 hour work week and no child labor.

Now we are piling on regulations for the sake of piling on regulations. At what point is it enough? You are not going to make a perfect society through government regulation and every effort to try will backfire with unintended consequences.

Nobody argues that we should have no regulation of business. That’s silly. We argue that we are over-regulating business and everything else. The government that governs best governs least.

Monkeytoe on February 22, 2012 at 9:21 AM

Ummm, yeah thanks but no thanks. I don’t care if it’s the “union members” or the “union bosses” because unions in recent years especially have done nothing but destroy this country and keep the commie liberals in power to help them do more. Members vs. bosses is a distinction without a difference in most, if not all cases.

If the “members” are to be so without blame, why are they not taking a stand? It’s because most of them are damned sheep-in full agreement, useful idiots ever-willing to be used by their masters. Anyone who needs a refresher I would advise to visit the archives-watch the various union videos at Michelle’s site.

This is the same logic as all those “peaceful Muslims” we always hear supposedly exist, yet never speak out against terrorism.

dave_ross on February 22, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Sigh, it’s statements like this that make it hard to defend him, even if he is the Republicans best chance to get rid of Obama.

I guess he is right in a way – they do play an important role. They cripple the ability of private companies, and government entities, to turn a profit, and cause them to go bankrupt. So, there’s that. But in terms of positive roles, unions literally serve none.

milcus on February 22, 2012 at 9:50 AM

If this **** ends up as the nominee, we are going to witness the most painful and embarrassing flip flops in history of Presidential elections. Many of the fake conservatives positions that this **** took during the primaries season would be totally reversed in the general elections thinking that he is going to win the so called independents. However all this would not matter at the end because Obama is going to utterly destroy the **** with his Bain Capital record. Republicans, nominate this **** at your own Perils.

mnjg on February 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM

There’s a lot of truth there…however…men like Ford and Pullman were paternalistic (Socialistic?) towards their employees. Off hand, I never heard anyone back then complain about that, but what are the limits of noblesse oblige vs. personal autonomy in the workplace?

To me employment is a trap of sorts…you have to give up a certain amount of autonomy to other human beings, and labeling those beings as “the company” doesn’t negate that. Time will tell if multi-billion dollar companies are going to last well into the future and benefit us all, but I suspect they won’t.

How can a people such as us (rugged individualists) get into a situation where we quit working for ourselves and instead work for others? Our society is a corporate structure from D.C. all the way down to the individual…but yet, few of us engage in contracts for our labor. The heart of corporatism is the contract.

Americans need to start viewing themselves as individual corporate entities (the IRS and the legal system seems to get that) and negotiate rather than settle, and be more willing to work contractually and independently…but yes, the government regulations and taxation does make that difficult, and is increasingly reminiscent of what we see in Third World countries.

Now, if those contracts are negotiated through a co-op (union) or one on one, so what? The only problem is when your negotiating agency gets taken over by a new class of bosses. Then you go rogue or form another bargaining agency. But the problem there is the Feds and states don’t allow for multiple union contracts, and the companies and government employers are fine with that-all or nothing. There needs to be free enterprise/choice amongst unions themselves. And no worker should be forced into a union, nor should non-members enjoy contracts (excluding working conditions of course) negotiated by unions. Perhaps a non-member could get a better deal on their own? If so, great-that’s the point of free enterprise.

Contracted employment would alleviate many problems for both employer and employee. They need to include terms of employment, as well as the obligations of the employee. Now, if one guy has the attitude, “It ain’t in my contract.” that’s not a huge deal-if many do the “ain’t my job thing” then that’s a cultural/systemic problem. I dunno-is it too much to ask your secretary to fetch a cup of coffee? Or pick up your dry-cleaning? Or babysit your kids on the clock?

One last thing-Ford made a great product and continued to thrive even as their unionized labor force thrived. They and the other majors were outcompeted by the Japanese and other foreign manufacturers. The unions don’t design the product, the company does.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 22, 2012 at 2:15 AM

THIS. I wanted to touch on that as well, but typing last night on an android is so time-consuming and constant typos. Part of fixing the economy should be encouraging people to be independent contractors and to that end, we should reform tax laws to encourage people in that direction.

I too don’t think these conglomerates can sustain themselves in perpetuity. Sooner or later, more and more folks will figure out that they can do better for themselves by brokering their services.

To whit, I more than tripled my income by first proving my worth as an employee, then demanding that I be shifted to 1099 (due to contracting issues, couldn’t actually use my own LLC, but that’ll comde in due time) or else I’d walk away. This was two years ago. By negotiating with my employer, he basically keeps 10% off his labor rate, I get the rest and am responsible for all my so-called “fringe/benefits” and taxes.

Yeah, I have a greater tax-burden now, but there’s a lot that one can do to write them off/down. My effective tax rate was only 16%

The only downside is insurance. back when I was “scheming” to get off the W2 and go independent, Blue Cross had a package for self-employeed that would cost me $600/month with a high deductable, to include vision & dental. A year later, the high deductable was no longer available and the best I could get was a package for $1100/month – thanks to Oboobi.

After running the numbers, it was much cheaper for me to self-insure. I wanted to get just catasrophic coverage, unfortunately ObamneyCare pretty much elimnates that market, so I had to tinker with my auto/home insurance to up the coverage, since the odds are that most accidents happen at home or in the car.

All said and done, while doctor/dentist visits are paid in cash, it comes out far, far cheaper than paying for insurance. In part, because they will discount their rate to cash customers — on average 20%. I’ve even covered the costs of one kid having a concussion and the MRI scan etc out of pocket, another with a broken collarbone and still beat the cost of annual insurance. I just thank God that the family is blessed with good health to begin with.

I’m screwed, if it comes to a critical illness, but that is beyond my control for now again due to OC and the lack of catasrophic insurance. If anyone has a tip on that, I’m all ears. But in the event that OC is deemed constitutional, I’d rather pay the penalty than get insurance.

Bottomline, everyone needs to view themselves as their own enterprise and approach the workforce with that sense, not as part of some collective, where all are treated the same regardless of merit.

AH_C on February 22, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Click my name.

hawkdriver on February 22, 2012 at 6:20 AM

Beats the GOP any day.

AH_C on February 22, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Click my name.

hawkdriver on February 22, 2012 at 6:20 AM

I love the idea of a true Conservative Party, but isn’t there a danger of “CP-USA” being confused with the Communist Party USA? Their website is cpusa.org.
Not sure I would identify myself by the initials.

swinia sutki on February 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM

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