Unions in this country have had a checked past and now an undervalued future. In the 20's & 30's the union movement was one of violence by organizers, against organizers by business thugs and organized crime involvement. Organized crime involvement increased after WWII and strengthen its ties to organized labor. In the 50's & 60's American post war prosperity created ever increasing jobs and middle class wealth. Unions helped this process through collective bargaining. This increased wages, and benefits helping to propel blue collar workers into the middle class. Unfortunately, union leadership did not do what business leaders of successful companies do over time - they did not plan for the future. Instead they continued the continued the wage and benefit model to the point that it drove up cost to consumers, requiring close union shops in major cities (NYC, Chicago, etc). With technology change in the 80's & 90's union membership began to decrease and became less valuable. The parasitic 'wage & benefit' negotiating strategy destroyed their 'host' employers (both private companies & public governments). If they had leadership who could have built business plans to anticipate the impact technology would have on their membership, they could still be providing value to American workers and businesses. Instead, they are now only a left wing political group, forcing unions dues to be paid by non-members and using same for political benefits. With almost no value remaining for the country, they have declining membership and have become a drag on economic growth. If union leadership would develop a plan, that both political parties could align with, there is a chance they could reclaim an important role in the America economy of the 21st century.

The Effect of the UAW’s Big Win

from Maudlin Economics:

The United Auto Workers strike won big concessions from the Big 3 automakers. The US manufacturing sector continues to expand but Gavekal analyst Tan Kai Xian points out a possibly uncomfortable twist: Someone still needs to buy all this new stuff we’re building.

Key Points: US manufacturers have been adding a lot of production capacity but so far it is not raising either factory output or employment. High interest rates, a strong dollar and rising payroll costs are all major challenges. The UAW’s big win is only the latest sign of labor’s new bargaining power. The real significance of the UAW strike is not on the auto sector but in its likely spread to other industries. It is not clear what new markets this new capacity will end up serving, if any. Bottom Line: An important question is whether the UAW’s win will force non-union firms like Tesla to also raise wages. Given the demographic labor shortage, that is entirely possible and might add more inflation pressure.

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