Labor Day means a bit less this year, with 14 million Americans unemployed. While President Obama was preaching to big labor in Detroit on the importance of collective bargaining, millions of Americans were looking for work in an environment where the economy is at a standstill.

It is no surprise that unions are strong allies of the President, whose policies from the stimulus to Obamacare have included privileges for organized labor. Having spent $1.1 billion on politics and lobbying in the last election cycle, unions will continue to hold a prominent seat at the table in 2012.

The labor unions have helped lead to the staggering loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, and the demands they have made on employers and governments helped create conditions of high unemployment in Detroit and across the country.

In a new report, the Heritage Foundation’s Rea Hederman Jr. and James Sherk explain what it means for a business to unionize:

Unions make businesses less competitive and discourage investment. This reduces job growth. Studies show that jobs fall by 5–10 percent at newly organized firms. Going forward, employment grows by three to four percentage points more slowly at unionized businesses than at otherwise identical non-union companies.

Neither businesses nor workers seem to approve of this. Since 1970, unionized manufacturing has fallen 80 percent, while non-union manufacturing jobs have only decreased by six percent. In 2010, union membership fell by over 600,000 workers. Sherk explains why:

Union membership has fallen because traditional collective bargaining does not appeal to most workers. Polls show that only one in 10 non-union workers wants to organize. This makes sense: in the competitive private sector, unions can do little to raise their members’ pay. Additionally, most workers like their jobs and believe they are on the same side as their employers.

The unions aren’t going down without a fight, however. They hope to use the power of government to reduce worker choice and make it easier for unions to organize.

It is time for Congress to step up and promote job growth. Big Labor doesn’t have to be the only player in the game.

What are your thoughts on the declining labor market? Do you think big labor is to blame?

Comments (102)

Steve Fitzmaurice - September 6, 2011

I’ve been on the opposite side of the table from unions for the last 30 years. You win some and you lose some but mainly it’s an unnecessary and harmful intrusion into the workplace. This recently hit home in a layoff we had to make.
We called in the Business Agent because we didn’t want this blowing up in our faces. We had two current workers being laid off and we were creating a new position. Despite one individual being much more qualified than the other, we were forced to take the employee with more seniority because they both had the “minimum experience” required for the job. If we did otherwise we probably would have lost a costly arbitration.

Unions – they’re all about mediocrity and job preservation. We wonder why our kids are so screwed up and they’re being taught by unionized teachers. They’re simply not necessary in this day and age!

Donald - September 6, 2011

Obama and the Unions are destroying America. Every day they do something to destroy jobs

David - September 6, 2011

My father worked in the oil industry under AFL-CIO most of his adult life. I watched over the years as he worked so hard to learn new skills so that he could qualify for better jobs, only to have the jobs taken by someone older, less skilled and less willing to work, to achieve, to advance. The jobs were given out on the basis of seniority – alone. That kills incentive, kills the desire to better one’s self. It kills initiative. That’s labor unions. They should be banned.

Bruce Sucher - September 6, 2011

As an attorney who represents management in both the public and private sector, I can tell you from experience that public unions are far worse, At times, management caves vbecause its not their money and/or the unions have no fear of retribution. Strike? So what the unions say, we are entitled! I have heard thjsat refrain a thousand times. I am ready and willing to assist in the fight vs unions from anywhere and anytime.

Jane Robbins - September 6, 2011

As a former labor lawyer, I saw the constricting effects of unionization on employers. The problem was less the increased costs of wages and benefits than it was the limitations on the employer’s freedom to run its business efficiently. When almost every change in working conditions must be negotiated, sclerosis results.

Darell Reichel - September 6, 2011

Unions have been a pain in the rear for as long as I have been in the workforce (nearly 50 years. They do little except protect the weak, unmotivated, and greedy employees. I hope the Wisconsin experience leads more states and businesses to combat the unions and their liberal leadership.

Richard V. Harris - September 6, 2011

My membership started thirty-eight years ago when I was prompted to join with others to initiate the FDR era Davis-Bacon Act repeal. It is still law for contracting public sector work when federal funding is appropriated. What action/plans does The Heritage Foundation propose to get this job/higher cost act repealed. rvh

DortonL - September 6, 2011

I believe the Unions of today definately are detrimental to business and job growth. There was a time when they were necessary but that is long past. Now they play politics and buy their politicians at the expense of both taxpayers and their own members. The economy will improve without unions and politicians who are aligned with unions are not worth your vote.

Orval Wood - September 6, 2011

You and I know it’s the government red tape, the tax system and Obamacare that is snuffing out new business. I believe that we should quit using the term jobs. It is over worked we need to us the term entrepreneurs. They create the jobs. Perhaps you folks can figure out a better word than entrepreneurs.

David L. Gertz - September 6, 2011

If Unions were serious, they would change their strategy to one of ultimate cooperation with business, to become a partner with a collective goal to give American business’ a reliable work force that is the most productive in the world. They would then be able to bargin for more money with the increased productivity. More money in workers paychecks would energize the economy, but their liberal leaders are more interested in power than helping their followers.

Bob - September 6, 2011

Unions have no right to tell a business how to run a business, or to tell a government (local, state, or federal) how to run a government. Unions are a major contributor to governments going bankrupt, and businesses not hiring.

Richard Gaskill - September 6, 2011

Unions worked in the begining,but have gone to te dark side for the past 20 years or so.It`s not about the workers anymore,it`s ALL abour the labor bosses and thier corrupt greed that is ,and will continue to HURT growth in OUR country. Untill WE the people stop this graft in our goverment by the lobyist who pay to control it,our workers,businesses,OUR goverment will not flourish much longer.

Jim Freeman - September 6, 2011

Unions and their membership seem for the most part to have completely different agendas. The union heads hold the purse-strings or union dues to enhance their political power while the membership in generally want what they perceive as job security. Unions and job security seem to be a dichotomy. Those in power helping to destroy the cow that provides the milk

Bruce M Harmon - September 6, 2011

As a consultant to a heavy transportation equipment manufacturer, I have seen first hand the damage unions have done to steel production and manufacturing in the US. In and eastern US town there are acres of steel production and manufacturing buildings vacant or torn down for scrap because of the inability for companies there to remain competitive partly and in many cases mostly due to high labor costs and the union attitude against management at all costs. In fact one large facility has recently been “bulldozed” with all production moved out of state strictly because of a stalemate with the unions.

In another case where I worked several years ago during a similar economic downturn, several unions at a manufacturer in the West where I worked, decertified on their own and to this day are paid well and are consistently on Management’s “side”. The plant is highly competitive and efficient.

Edward Sobus - September 6, 2011

I have been a former union member for over 35 years. I have seen their demands push jobs and business right out of town or this country. Then to hear of UAW members that go to work and do not even have a job, they just do union business. What kind of malarkey is that? How do they expect a company to stay in business? Unions do have certain advantages, but when a postal worker gets caught selling drugs at work, gets fired and the union gets his job back, with back pay…..then there is something very wrong with that.

maxine olson - September 6, 2011

I agree totally with your comments. I recently turned down a job because in West Virginia, if there is a union at the place of employment, you HAVE to join as a prerequisite for the job. This sounds like extortion to me.

M. Grattan - September 6, 2011

Labor unions are a major reason companies have moved their operations off-shore. Also, government unions with the agreement of management are a major cause of government debt. Think of the unfunded liability of government pensions and other benefits. We will face some real turmoil as we try to deal with these issues.

Sharon Mulvaney - September 6, 2011

I work in a hospital as a supervisor of SEIU members. All of the union staff here including the MNA nurses are the reason health care is so costly. They get huge wages to begin with and then get bonuses just for coming in an extra shift. Very few nurses are fulltime because they want to pick up the extra shifts to make the BIG money. Without the unions the healthcare would go down alot!

George Boose - September 6, 2011

Obviously, unions are a major contributor to the loss of
jobs. If workers want to organize in the private sector, I
believe that is their privilege. However, ALL public worker
unions should be prohibited by law. It is unconscionable
to allow unions to campaign for their own bosses and have
those elected officials (mayors, school boards, governors, etc) beholding to them. Public workers have plenty of
protection under civil service rules.

Nancy Bailey - September 6, 2011

I shall never forget how unions hung around the guard gates at Northrop Corporation back in the 50’s and how we as the employees just ignored all of them. You see, just as today, employers are NOT employee unfriendly….we had the best of all worlds as employees there, and we knew it…..and we didn’t have to pay dues to some thugs to make it better. I do believe once child labor and other serious abuses were solved in the thirties, the unions became unnecessary to the American job scene.

Jo Ann Allen - September 6, 2011

Unions have become to powerful they elect a president without the rest of the country voting their preference it is almost to that stage unions have cost job’s because of increased wages that the unions get for their members which make their products more expensieve that is why China is getting all of the American job”s that our unemployed could use right now.

Donald Bahn - September 6, 2011

I was a union member and saw Union members use work slow down to create overtime wrongly thinking they were creating job security. Many union members fail to understand the employer has time studies completed before the work is introduced to their work force. The employer knows what the expected out put should be, if that exception is not met they WILL outsource the work. I watched as the electrical wiring harness jobs were sent to Mexico because of deliberate work slow down.

Eugene - September 6, 2011

Big labor is only a part of the problem, though it is a big part of it. Corporate management has been part of the problem as well because they have been willing to cave in to the unsustainable demands of the unions. Unionized government work forces are also a big part of the problem as there are no profit and loss checks and balances
. Every union demand becomes a political decision rather than one balanced by the need for a business to remain profitable to survive. Public employee unions need to be reigned in as to what is a mandatory subject of bargaining and their impasse resolutions should not include the right to strike. Any impasse resolution process should include as the threshold consideration the ability of the public employer to meet the unions demands without raising taxes.

Judith Weiss - September 6, 2011

I believe that Unions are in part responsible for the shrinking job market in America. The facts that Heritage has so profoundly pointed out cannot be argued. I also believe that over-regulation has led to the dismise of small business.

Doug Wood - September 6, 2011

Unions are bad for job growth. With all the demands and salaries they want , plus benefits, make American companies go out of business or just can not compete with Companies outside of the U.S. What Trump says is right.

Paul Crone - September 6, 2011

The evidence is abundantly clear. American labor has priced itself out of the WORLD LABOR MARKET. The only place left where union labor can survive is in a MARKET where there is NO COMPETITION. Starting with the merchant marines after WW II jobs went where labor was cheaper. Then our manufacturing jobs started leaving. In spite of the evidence before them, big labor kept on piling it on. Now foreign labor is coming here for your jobs. In Maryland democrats will give in-state tuition to illegals so they can go from taking your labor jobs, to taking your professional jobs too. Wake up DODO’s. If congress was concerned they would recind their own obscene pay along with the AUTOMATIC pay raises and the incredibly generous benefits and retirement. Don’t look for that to happen anytime soon.

Dewey Switzer - September 6, 2011

The adversarial relationship established at once creates a “union side” vs. management brings productivity and problem solving to a complete halt I have worked in both and the intimidation that occurs in the Union environment is totally scary!!

Ronald Rainson - September 6, 2011

At some point uncertainty becomes fear. A never ending attack on those that have realized the original American dream and promises of increased taxes and redistributed wealth have sent business leaders and entrepreneurs both scurrying for cover. Add that to the unavailability of technically trained professionals in the US and we have gone into a downhill slide we won’t soon stop. The US graduates 70,000 engineers a year, India 250,000, and China 600,000. Thanks teacher’s unions!

Gregory M Vincent - September 6, 2011

Unions do inhibit job growth. But their most deleterious effect
is not on wages but on managerial time and flexibility. Rigid work rules, endless negotiation over same, and needless added costs due to “jurisdictional” limitations are pernicious effects. I speak as a veteran of 40 years in management at large manufacturing and power production companies. All of them would gladly pay union scale, if only they could man jobs how and when the work demanded. Workers know this too, hence the steady decline of unions.

Walter - September 6, 2011

UNions ave done a good job of upgrading workers rights
and condidtions but have gotten so out of control they anke it economical for manufacturing to out scource to
a less hostile evironment. It’s like shooting youself in the foot, Egos get much bigger than brains and the net
result is you lost and are now fighting for your existance. Market realities will prevail and then every one will have to look in the mirror and decide how they contributed to this horrific situation. Some part of it has to be your fault—-

L. Richard Lewis - September 6, 2011

Understand that unions have the primary goal of limiting employment; i.e., preventing employers from hiring workers who do not gain the approval of the unions. Picture a union shop with 25 employees A thru Y, listed in decreasing competence sequence, and a non-employee Z, who just happens to be more competent than A. The union prevents the employer from replacing Y with Z (or even from adding Z to the workforce) unless Z gets the union’s approval.

Dean G.Newman - September 6, 2011

There is no doubt that big labor militance and demands for noncompetitive wages and benefits has led to loss of jobs at organized firms. It is fair to say that caving in by management to unstainable levels of wages and benefits has contributed to the situation. Employees have increasingly recognized that unions severely threaten their right to work whether they choose to join the union or not. Out of control wages and benefits have resulted in businesses having to seek lower costs over seas in order to compete in global markets and deliver goods domesticly at competitive prices. Government has significantly added avoidable problems via high corporate taxes and overburdening regulations.

Joan - September 6, 2011

The USPS is feeling the results of the labor unions which is exactly what has happened to all of our factories. Greedy is the word.

Greg Anderson - September 6, 2011

The single biggest job killer is government regulation. (EPA, Clean Air/Water, Endangered Species Act, etc.) Unions are probably second.

douglas d reaume - September 6, 2011

labor unions have outlived their need.60 years ago=needed . not now. they have caused the K FORCEunempLOYMENT to rise as ers have gone outside US TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE AT A MORE REALISTIC WAGE AND PRODUCTIVE WORK FORCE

carolyn olson - September 6, 2011

Are there any labor unions that help people–for instance the trade unions?

John Martin - September 6, 2011

I was raised in Massachusetts and grew up in a union type surrounding most of my life even though I was never a part of a union. I moved to NC after my stint in the Navy. I have learned that a union is not the friend it claims to be for workers or business. More often than not it breeds laziness and and environment of hatred and mistrust with the employer. Hoffa said it best yesterday- this is a war- and that’s how they see their role vs business. Unions cost us skilled jobs and make us non competitive with other businesses. Corruption, arrogance, and hate is what unions breed.

Peter M. Hekman - September 6, 2011

Big Labor priced itself out of the competitive marketplace many years ago. Big Labor is responsible for a great deal of the unemployment existing in the nation today, along with those economic idiots who pushed the minimum wage laws, thus knocking most teens out of their starter jobs. Jobs are created by profits. If companies cannot make a profit in a competitive marketplace, they cannot create jobs. Simple as that.

Miichael J. Law - September 6, 2011

Unions have priced themselves out of the market. The President has priced himself out of the market. Both NEED to be done away with.

Tom - September 7, 2011

Big Labor is only the baby brother to Big Government in job destruction and stagnating job growth. Big Labor, in fact, would not and could not exist without being sanctioned by the Government. We would still have collective bargaining, but only in those cases where it is desperately needed, such as the coal mines or the textile mills of the early to mid 1900s. Under those situations unionization makes sense, but even then only temporarily. Big Government is truly evil in this situation, with its strangling regulations, oversight, micromanaging and intrusion into our personal lives.

Jeffrey Jon - September 7, 2011

I find it quite hypocritical that our government points their fingers at the corporations for the unhealthy financial status of this country, and never point the finger at the unions.
I would dare say, that the “union bosses” are as wealthy as their “corporate” counterparts, and yet, they are omitted from the finger pointing. The unions have gone way passed their “healthy contribution” to this country. Without a doubt, they are just as critical for the “demise” of this countries financial problems. I would say, that they have been part of the impetus for many of the companies going overseas to “outsource” the work force. I don’t agree with the outsourcing, and we certainly don’t get the benefit from that business move, and yes, the corporations are not innocent, but neither are they the only ones to point the finger of blame at.
I am sorry that they have decided to paint the line in the sand, where the union workers are on one side, and other patriotic citizens, with differing opinions, are on the other side of the line, and are labeled, racists, terrorists, etc. Instead of encouraging a “United States of America” they are encouraging a “divided United States of America” They being the union bosses, not the workers who have given their all to the building up of this great nation. The bosses are the wolves who lead the sheep astray.

Jim ReMalia - September 7, 2011

Unions are not what they used to be. Some (like SEIU) are downright subversive and anti-American.
However, with the decline of unions, the decline of the middle class’ standard of living has also come.
Also to blame are so-called “Fair Trade” agreements such as NAFTA and super-extreme salaries of greedy CEOs, Technology has also eliminated many jobs.

Ross Sharp - September 7, 2011

For the Unions of the past,the lure of “Something For Nothing” only appeals to the few that do not Understand the damage that unions do not only the labor force,but an entire country… No matter the country…! If there ever was a time that unions had a useful purpose,that time has sense passed…Communist run organizations cannot work in a free nation…! And it is time to remind the these people that the USA is “Still Free Until Further Notice”…!

Paul Weilbaecher - September 7, 2011

Early on the unions were the workers best freinds. Unfortunately, they have evolved into a political machine that pushes agendas that are akin to communism and socialism. They have leadership that doesn’t mind spending the member money on political candidates that push for the redistribution of wealth, while they squander the hard-earned monies on themselves and those candiddates.
Its time for the worker-bee to wake up and smell the honey.

Ken Karmie - September 7, 2011

Bulls eye as always! Big labor is doing all they can do to confuse the electorate. The biggest deception is referring to their cause as “the defense of the middle/working class”. The are a special interest taking from the middle class (and employer) with focus only on their own personal gain and advantage. The president and his allies are desperate as the deceptions and getting harder to pull off. Expect more attacks. That is all they have left.

R. Meyer - September 7, 2011

I agree with the premise of this article. I work for a company that recently had a union vote. Thanks to the work of some energetic folks who used facts and the truth to cull out the misrepresentation of the union, we succeeded in avoiding unionizing. Our major challenge was the NMB’s recent ruling that stated 51% of the voters determined the outcome vice the historic requirement of 51% of the eligible employees. I’m glad to see the decline of organized labor. There was a time when it was needed to defend employees from unfair and unacceptable work practices enforced by management. Those days are almost gone and there are plenty of laws and rules to protect the employees. These days I see unions in the game for themselves, contributing huge of amounts of money for polical campaigns, while enjoying exhorbitant salaries and expensive outings, all at the expense of the worker’s dues. Of course, the workers have little voice in the operations of the unions that are supposed to be working for them. Kind of sounds like our federal government these days. What do unions really provide of value to the average worker? Very little…

Elaine Kiewlich - September 7, 2011

After belonging to a closed shop union for 34 yrs I found that it encourages laziness and does not reward extra effort or merit. It is very frustrating to work hard and give that extra effort while fellow employees sit on personal calls and pay bills on company time. I also was a steward and watched while the union leadership used their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of their members! The time for union is past. I watch the disgusting actions of the AFL-CIO, SEIU and other unions thuggery and their collusion with the corrupt Obama administration and fear for this country. If this man gets another term as president we will be in serious trouble.

James C. Tidwell - September 7, 2011

In 1977 I was President of a loudspeaker manufacturing plant in Paducah, KY employing almost 1,000 people that was forced to close after an 1,800 month-long strike by the UAW. I can attest to the UAW’s greed, lack of understanding of economics and absolute disregard for the welfare of workers. Similar fates befell Tappan, Florsheim Shoe and other large employers in Western Kentucky in those years.

Bob Scott - September 7, 2011

Yes, I agree that unions are responsible for a lot of the woes that affect our economy, along with the uncontrolled spending of this administration. The most devastating of all though is the fact that when you remove Almighty God from this land like has been happening, you invite his chastening rod across your back.

scott adie - September 7, 2011

The negative impact Big Labor has on job creation and job retention in America is a completely natural consequence of their existence. In order to recruit and keep members, unions must promise and ultimately provide larger and larger benefits for their members. These usually include much higher wages, expanded insurance benefits, additional vacation and sick days and other benefits that all cost employers and ultimately consumers huge sums of money. Is it not obvious that small independent business cannot compete with this and thus ship viable product production offshore? Is it not even more obvious that the companies that are essentially ‘forced’ to hire union workers tend also to move as much of their production offshore for the very same reasons. Bottom line is the bottom line in business. None of this should be a surprise.

art hudson - September 7, 2011

Private sector unions are bad enough. The worst thing that happened to this country was when JFK signed an executive order to allow the public sector to unionize. The AFSCME, SEIU and the teachers unions are destroying this country.

Roger Arends - September 7, 2011

I am constantly amazed at the labor unions and their members that watch companies move large parts of their companies overseas because labor costs are too high and look at the jobs lost to robots that don’t complain and are much more reliable. What do they think is the reason this is happening. Must be blind to reality. I’ve got a better word for it but won’t use it.


Steve - September 7, 2011

Big labor is certainly a big part of the overall declining labor market. Greed, not for the workers who are only pawns, but for the labor union establishment and it’s ally, the democrat party. Both are using the average working class and lower income people to promote their power. They will lie, cheat, create strife (class warfare) and will do anything at any cost to gain power; they care nothing for the working class or any class. If any of their policies do become enacted, like Obamacare, it does serious damage to the very people they claim they want to help.
This draws on my second point that it is not all big labor, resourceful Americans have found ways around this power grab and have been outsourcing jobs to other countries that do not have to pay socialistic union wages. The democrat party makes laws against American business and adds unrealistic rules and regulations, all in the name of some “good cause” like limiting activities that will cause nonexisting global warming, for instance. So, it becomes clear if just a little bit of time is given to investigate, mixed with just a touch of commonsense, it is big labor and the policies of the democrat party that has created our dismal employment

Anna Nelson - September 7, 2011

As a retired CA teacher I have found CTA to be bad for education, bad for children and bad for teachers. CTA is a very liberal organization using mandatory dues as a funding source. Unfortunately many teachers feel vulnerable both to thuggish union pressure and possible legal issues. I believe teachers are responsible for determining how their dues are promoting abortion, government takeover of health care, and an extreme liberal agenda which denigrates or ignores our Judeo Christian founders and the freedoms and responsibilities they promoted. Public unions like CTA and the crony deals with Democrats explain California’s current economic and cultural state and are predictive of its future.

Sally Galias - September 7, 2011

Unions consistently raising the pay scale, demanding perks not sustainable by employers, Government regulations, EPA, licensing, law suits, have driven our employers from our shores. We need them to come home!

James Konkle - September 7, 2011

I do believe the evidence of big labor along with the government has reduced jobs in America. Big Labor has high demands and play the game of buying politicians. The government destroyed the economy through NAFTA and bail outs. The game these two play to line their own pockets must end. They’re the anti-Americans. The true enemies of our country. The typical American person is fed up with being lied to and maligned. It only feeds the fuel of disgust for not only unions and their corrupt leaders, but the corrupt politicians as well. The cards are stacked against WE THE PEOPLE and WE are through with the game if it means throwing out all of congress.

john uhrhammer - September 7, 2011

Labor unions are a great part of our problem. They have too much corruption and wield bargaining position with out regard as to if their demands are affordable. Too many of them are willing to have no employment because they view it a “win” if the employer fails or moves out of country!
It is wrong for them to demand that tax payers continue to pay for benefits that are not affordable. It is an unfair ratchet that allows them to gain in good times but not retreat in poor times.

Jim Hackenberger - September 7, 2011

When your bought and paid for by union funds (Even though the people that had to put the $s don’t agree with what the union is supporting) you will do everything for the people that put in. I don’t see anything changing until candidates can’t take $ from unions.

Curt Krehbiel - September 7, 2011

I have never belonged to a union but have heard stories of how union members manipulate situations to the detriment of their employer. For example; on a production line utilizing many workers on a Friday an electrical malfunction occurs that stops production. Electricians are called to fix the problem. They do not come. They wait until the shift that is shut down is over and a new team comes on. Finally the electricians come and kill time until their 40 hours has been made before starting to fix the problem. Why? Because they are now being paid overtime and making more money. And the crew that had the problem was paid for the whole day but spent most of it waiting on the electricians.

Bill Bowman - September 7, 2011

Unions, both public sector and private sector are a part of the problem …but the real culprit is government that A: interferes in the free market … and then failing to enforce the very rules it creates … so to counter the problem … it creates even more rules … look at Dodd-Frank and having just read Gretchen Morgenson’s book “Reckless Endangerment” … too much money co-opted most all involved: and B: Our government is now quite adept at buying the votes of those who are least fortunate and perhaps the least educated to stay in power and “rip-off” this failing capitalistic system … Bill Bowman

Nick Di Benedetto - September 7, 2011

Big labor is significantly to blame for the declining labor market. Big labor, tax burdens and overwhelming regulations are all to blame for our poor labor market, but it was big labor who nearly killed the coal industry and allowed the oil industry, whose workers were not uninized, to rise to the forefront. They have hurt the auto industry and countless other industries in the same manner. Jobs disappear, workers suffer, while union leaders enrich themselves and rub elbows with liberal presidents, governors and other politicians.

George Williams - September 7, 2011

Yes, I think unions have been the primary force behind a declining job market in this country. I believe their strong armed tactics against business owners and operators have driven companies to seek alternative work forces and many of those are outside the country. A classic example of how unions affect the growth of business and jobs is seen in the manner by which they have fought Boeing from being able to build and open a new plant in South Carolina. Unfortunately, they have bought the support of the NLRB and now we have another unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of a business to conduct its business in the most productive fashion. Now we can expect Boeing to soon move those jobs overseas or to Mexico. We lose again because of the thuggery of Unions.
Secondly, I believe we are going to have to prohibit unionization of public employees, because they are obliged to work for the public and all their loyalties should be dedicated to working for the people–the majority of people and unions now represent a growing minority.

CiaoGino - September 7, 2011

I believe the “before and after” of Wisconsin needs to be shouted from every rooftop! If ever there was a clear demonstration of the differences between a state government held captive to the employee union and one that was free, this is it. Any GOP candidate that is not trumpeting the WI success doesn’t deserve the nomination!

Robert E. Black - September 7, 2011

One more victim of overly generous union benefits is the U. S. Post Office. When will we ever learn that unions suck the life out of any business ultimately!

Don Scott - September 7, 2011

I believe unions were instrumental in the 20;s and 30’s in doing good for labor in our country. However, I feel unions have far outlived their usefulness. Look at plants like Honda in the US where employees are happy, management is happy, stockholders are happy and government is happy because of the added revenues.

Robert Trent Sr - September 7, 2011

Banks being forced to make bad loans to folks who could not repay and the auto makers cowing to the unrealistic demands of the unions to the point of losing money on every car produced. (Paying folks who show up for work to sit in on “seminars” when there was no production work for them to do.) Add to these the size of government and the reason becomes very clear to anyone seriously wanting to find the truth of our current financial condition.
This condition exists because the American people have become a nation of sheep. To lazy to read the constitution and hold elected officials accountable.

Robert Trent Sr - September 7, 2011

Two organizations that EAT up HUGE AMOUNTS of MONEY yet PRODUCE NOTHING!!!!!!!


W. Colborne Mullen - September 7, 2011

I believe the labor movement is no longer approached, to achieve better working conditions. It now operates as the engine, to sustain it’s self. It is pretty much the same situation the rest, of the world views Muslim extremists. They simply exist, to continue, to exist. There is little likelyhood they will ever use common sense. They instead follow the lemming method, and are headed, over the cliff.

Dee - September 7, 2011

Unions are NOT for the people but rather for the union leadership. Why do the union bosses get paid so much? Do the rank and file union employees even know this or care? Worthless is the word that comes to mind when I think of what the unions have done to America.

charles a pembroke - September 7, 2011

Unions aren’t the only reason we’re losing jobs.We have over regulated manufactoring plants.all those rules and regulations are driving jobs out of this country.NLRB is a problem.Now they want to tell companys where to build their plants.Cmon lets spread the blame.It’s nice to have clean air and water which is better then It was 30 years ago.It’s better to have a job to go to.

Robert Hartman - September 7, 2011

Amazingly the same government that supports the unions so enthusiastically has played a significant role in making them unnecessary with the advent of OSHA, Minimum Wage, Equal Opportunity and many other government workplace regulations. These were areas that were originally monitored by the unions and did provide a useful service. Unions never have and never will control wage rates in non-government entities. So in effect they have no value in the workplace.

Robert Calabro - September 7, 2011

I agree with your statement. New York is a union state. We are currently last in job creation! Businesses have been taxed and spent out of our State. A prominent upstate businessman, Tom Collasano was taxed and spent out of our state. He moved to Florida and saved 5 million dollars in taxes! We were the electorial prize of the country in 1964. We had 45 electorial votes. We now have 29! Economics 101; Capital investment seeks the least path of resistence. The States that have the lowest tax rates and the least amount of regulation are the States that will win the competion for jobs! I believe that all states should be right to work states. You have a right to join a union and a right to reject union representation. Forced unionization should be outlawed. Forced unionization interferes with a person’s right of free association, Most americans are not aware of the fact that FDR was opposed to civil service unions and so was George Meany, former head of the AFL CIO. Civil service workers are protected by civil service laws. The uionization of civil service workers has given unions control of vital transportation systems as well as education. In my lifetime, the people of my generation have witnessed four illegal strikes; Two public transportation strikes, a teachers strike and a sanitation strike. New York City has the largest subway system in the world. We have over 1,000 square miles of track throughout the five boroughs. Approximately 2 million ride the subway every day to work. The subway is also used to transport blood from one hospital to another. No union should be that powerfull, so as to enable it to cripple a city like New York. I would like to see public service unions abolished. We had a bad winter this year. The last snowstorm we had was severe. Because of budget cutbacks to the Dept of Sanitation, some supervisors were layed off. Because of these layoffs, sanitation supervisors had to supervise additional trucks. These people sit in their cars all day and see to it that the garbage is picked up in the proper way. This irresponsible behavior went unpunished. It is incidents such as this, that put a strain on municipal budgets! Regards and god Bless, Robert Calabro.

Peter Cannon - September 7, 2011

Repression and derision of business owners by the government and the liberal establishment has become endemic. It is causing high unemployment and hurting America’s prosperity. In order to strengthen the American perception of the benefit of successful business owners to all of us I propose a simple change to the US Code. Change the name of “Labor Day” to “Business and Labor Day.” All the resulting discussion and even upheaval by the labor union segment will provide the perfect opportunity to remind Americans how essential business owners are to our prosperity. It will help Americans better recognize that laborers have nowhere to labor without the risk taking and personal sacrifice of business owners. When that perception changes, Government will be less anxious to burden our business owner heroes with unreasonable regulations and taxes as if they were the enemy. We may even come to realize that successful business owners are not evil because they become wealthy. When they succeed so also do their employees and customers succeed.

Ramon Villegas - September 7, 2011

Unions Have always made people believe they have a right to a job. NO! You have a right to WORK for a good pay and a good days work. I’ve done union work and never needed them. They never help me but intimidate me for not joining them. Most people I know that join have never amounted to anything and have no savings. I did better than most. Union DESTROY JOBS!

Anthony Landry - September 7, 2011

All products work under supply and demand, labor is no different, if there is no demand for labor that is controled by the union then the supply will fall. If you push it on businesses than the businesses will go elsewhere. People are in business to make money, yes money, no one work to grow a business just for fun. They hire employees to help grow there business to make more money. People go to work for business to make money, and in the process help the business grow. Labor unions are only in business today becouse someone is up there makeing money off the working class. In todays market a man wont a labor union at the place he work for only one reason and that is for [ him ] to work less and make more money, not to help his fellow employees. If you really wont to grow business in American, get the [ Government out of business ] and it will get the labor unions out of business and American will grow. Business move to other country to make money, not to give other country money, but to increase there on profit.

Jules Semegi - September 7, 2011

The post office is going out of business because it can not compete. The reason it can not compete is because of the public sector unions. The unions are sucking the life out of the post office. There are people sitting around doing nothing but the union will not let the labor force be reduced. The budget of the post office is mostly for labor (about 80%), is it any wonder why they can’t compete. Same is true for teacher unions and the problem there is that our children are graduating high school without a real education, some can not read, they can’t even fill out a job application. How about the auto workers unions they’ve done so well that most cars are made overseas now. Unions are parasites and need to be eliminated if this country is to become prospers again.

Rich Brown - September 7, 2011

The negative effects of union power are so obvious now. But, the culture created in the entire enablement movement is so deep and pervasive among such a high percentage of Americans that changing course is difficult to impossible. And that is true day to day problem. It starts in the school systems where use of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is still being used along with other propaganda designed by Progressive Agenda pushers to influence the young and impressionable, to the constant distraction from fiscal reality that exists in the current demonization of the Tea Party. My 80 year old Mom is the picture in my head when I hear the liberal elites / unions deride conservatives. She worked her entire life proudly and expects others to at least try to succeed rather than rely on others to get them by. To spend what you hav, not mortgage your future at impossible to overcome levels when tied to policies that demand more and bigger govt. when that is exactly what is creating the conditions all now fear. Unions are just a piece of the problem. But it is a corrupt piece supported by rules and payoffs at the highest level via legal means that do nothing to improve opportunities for the working people of the country. We are distracted by emotional attacks. Unions should exist if workers want them and can freely opt in or out, while not by design killing the company by its actions. Partnership is mandatory for survival.

Ann Kyle - September 7, 2011

Hoffa Jrs comments this weekend put him in a impolite stance, rude, roudy, rabble-rouser. If that is labor it is one of those divide and class warefare approaches. With union numbers dropping I don’t see what he has to talk about. He does not seem to understand the truths of working. I hope workers don’t like his tactics. We have got to look at facts and develop companies that can employ workers for everyone’s benefit. If employers will be reasonable, if government will be reasonable, workers will have a good place to work and earn.

Andy Wojtkowski - September 7, 2011

Do I think big labor is to blame? Absolutely. Big labor is un-American because it’s self-serving, with apathy towards and to the detriment of all other non-union Americans. Union labor engenders a false solidarity among various labor organizations and calls it “job security”, but in fact, it makes union employees exploitative in the conduct of their work (e.g., cheating on the number of hours worked in a day; unreasonably protecting a non-performing employee; etc.), thereby making employers less efficient and consequently, less competitive.

Tommy Valdes - September 7, 2011

Big Labor (i.e Unions) have become passe. Their core competency today is collecting dues from disinterested members and controlling local government officials to gain more entitlement benefits for government workers. To that end only do they want more union jobs, plain and simple. No one is buying into this old thuggery by questionably uneducated union leaders.

John Fussell - September 7, 2011

I don’t have the actual experience that some of your
commentors have but my thoughts as an outside observer echo those with direct interaction with the unions. Businesswise you can see why companies are
sending jobs overseas. With the huge labor $ difference
products can be made and shipped much cheaper than
made here. Unions had there time but that time was in
the 20’s and 30’s. Union leadership is all about keeping
their positions and not really for the workers. Union
workers can be “made” to be a team player because they do their job and only their job. If you asked them to
do something else they would contact their union rep
and a strike may be threatened. I could go on and on
about other issues relating to this. One final point though, we have laws in place, many because of union
action, that protects our workers. Unions have had their time and now they are a detriment to job creation and
their political leanings continue that.

Jared - September 7, 2011

There are a number of illustrative examples of why unions have not been positive for a business and in some instance very hostile, but the underlying result of a union in a business does not provide for a positive working environment for the company and it’s employees. In the end, if one group’s incentives aren’t aligned with the overall business, success will not be achieved. Personal success based on seniority vs. achievement is contra to many American’s core beliefs and values. Also, in most instances unions isolate workers and provide them with non-market wages and benefits. In the end, this is not beneficial to the worker nor the company.

Gary F Young - September 7, 2011

I have been a “worker” all of my life-from 6 to 66 years of age. I have never needed a union to help me. My only experiences with unions have been very bad. They do nothing for the working person, only for the union management. Labor unions are very bad medicine. Public employee unions are especially bad medicine. Bad for business, bad for the economy. They have outlived any valuable usefulness.

Casey Carlton - September 7, 2011

Big labor certainly has its share of the blame for the stagnant jobs market. My only experience with unions was with the National Education Association, which I had to join as a condition of employment. I also think the Obama regime’s pandering to the unions is the other major influence on unemployment.

JW Estes - September 7, 2011

I worked on both ends of the spectrum. Asst shop steward for IBEW and a one year stint in HR for a large utility co. It did not take long to realize I could be more useful to my colleagues and famliy by furthering my education and advancing into management; out of the clutches of the strong-arm union bosses. They are NOT looking out for the brotherhood, only their agenda and continued stranglehold on dues-paying members (money for nothing) and stifling corporations with entitlement deals they call “contracts”. This is not the 1920’s anymore – Unions have oulived their usefullness.

Robert Denk - September 7, 2011

If Obama wants to pour more money into infrastructure projects, he needs to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. The added office and wage/benefits costs are about double what the private sector pays for a skilled craftsman. Big labor would never allow this to happen!

James - September 7, 2011

Unions say they have a right to exist but they are more like a viral or bacterial type disease. Before there were unions there were industrial companies. The unions came along to feed off them like the viruses and bacteria feed off their host. Unions need industry or government (in the case of public sector unions) but industry does not need unions and in the case of public sector unions the tax payer (who is the real but unrepresented employer) does not need unions.

Hugh Fowler - September 7, 2011

Whenever this issue is discussed, there should always be a remedy suggested: Congress must REPEAL the Wagner and Taft-Hartley Acts. Writers tend to assume that their readers under 60 know the history of these anti-freedom laws. They don’t — so they have difficulty imagining the quick remedy. Remind them! If our GOP candidates had any guts this would be a prominent plank in their platforms.

LouR - September 7, 2011

In the early 20th century the unions served a purpose for the workers vs.the sweat house employers. That was then and this is now.
They have succeded in driving many jobs out of our country and into other countries. Additionally, the union workers productivity and their pride in a job well done has gone down the commode as unions gained more strength and the members became less motivated. A prime example is the auto industry. If you don’t agree, take a look at Detroit, or what’s left of it.
I hope they and Obama are flushed in the next election.

Jeff Yetter - September 7, 2011

We have witnessed the deleterious effects of institutionalized bureaucratic hierarchy in the decline of organized labor. The same effect is evident in too many of today’s corporate entities, which, of course, includes government. My conclusion? The further the remove between management and its’ life support, ( labor & production, always & forever), the more debased and sclerotic the system becomes.

Ray - September 7, 2011

Big labor is definitely shootimg themselves in their feet. The main source of a labor union’s revenue is their union dues. With so many union workers unemployed, the union’s primary income source is drying up. Where is big labor’s current income coming from? Shouldn’t this be an eye opener on big labor’s funding? There is definitely corruption involved.
Yes, I believe that big labor discourages job creation. Let’s make right to work and open shop standard throughout the nation. End mandatory union membership and dues collection from non-union workers.

Owen W. Dykema - September 7, 2011

Ubions fail to appreciate globlization. I expect they will bankrupt many more countries in their efforts to prevent them from indulging in the foreign labr market. Public service unions, of course, should never have been authorized, and simply must go.

Denny Converse - September 8, 2011

I am one of those Jim Hoffa’s son of ***** who believe the union problems are the direct result of policies implemented by him and people just like him and his father. There are a lot of good and hard working union people being misled by there union bosses.

Gregory Gagarin - September 8, 2011

In 1941, I was 19 years old, got a Summer job as a ‘stock chaser’ at Grumman Aircraft Corp. Bethpage, NY. The labor force was NOT unionized (otherwise I would not have had the job). Every week, Labor Union reps, were at the gate trying to “sell their services”. They were snubbed by the employees. Grumman was never unionized, as far as I know, even during World War II. Reason: The Company looked after the welfare of the employee just as much as they looked for lower costs of manufacture.
From this experience, I was a manager, V-P, and president of companies in the the railway supply industry until my retirement 23 years ago. Since then labor unions and Government regulations have had much to do in destroying railway supply manufacturing in the US. European and Asian companies have taken over, except for the “Buy America” law, which only increases prices of the product. This also applies to the Auto industry. Look in parking lots and you will see over 75% of the cars have a foreign label – oh yes, some are made in the US, but who profits? Who invests?

J E Houser - September 8, 2011

Absolutely. The growth and prosperity of America, of ancient Greece, and every other historical instance of such growth has been grounded solely on free enterprise, the privilege of competition, and freedom of competitive thought.

Carol Osiecki - September 8, 2011

I have had a variety of jobs in my lifetime. As a young adult I worked at a newspaper and it went on strike. I was put out to picket while the guys negotiating the deal sat on the phones. The settlement came in a progressive pay scale so my raise was not anything the union worried about. I know there are corrupt bosses but I think the choice is to leave and find another job.
Cars got made cheaper and cheaper in Detroit(with expensive repairs) while salaries and benefits went up.

Donald DaCosta - September 8, 2011

The modern Union is absolutely a detriment to the 21st century labor market, free market & economic growth.

Labor unions have never adapted to the growing realization by the modern, successful businesses in America that their employees are a valuable asset that must be cherished, protected and rewarded for their contributions to the enterprise. This is completely incompatible with the old confrontational, combative collective bargaining approach pitting employees against predatory management practices that no longer exist. Unions are no longer relevant and their bullying posture and unethical representation practices, card check, etc. do far more harm than good.

This need not be the case but will not change as long as unions remain under the control of thugs, enriched by their confiscation of union dues and protected by elected officials dependent on their generous campaign contributions.

As currently constituted they remain relevant in the government sector, an environment that allows them to negotiate obviously lopsided labor contracts filled with illogical work rules and excessive wages and benefits completely out of line with what they could achieve in the private sector. The reasons should be obvious.

The unions want back in to the private sector but one need look no further than the American auto manufacturing industry to see the severe, detrimental effects they cause. General Motors and Chrysler were not “to big to fail” they were saved by tax dollars to keep the unions alive in an industry they’ve rendered unable to compete with other auto manufacturers that produce very competitive, quality automobiles with American workers in a non-union environment.

This unholy, unethical alliance between the American union and government has to be ended. Unions have to be forced to compete in the free market they have assiduously avoided in their communist inspired manifesto, “workers unite” coupled with their declared animosity toward American business. Under completely new management, from top to bottom, with an attitude of collaboration and cooperation between the workers they represent and the companies they work for they might once again play an important role in the exceptional Capitalist, free market, competitive enterprise that is the engine of growth so envied by the world. Right now “Capitalist, free market competition” is anathema and irreconcilable with the union vision of the future, Allowing these thugs to succeed, aided and abetted by the top political executives in this country will be the beginning of the end for America.

Lincoln Craighead - September 8, 2011

Nobody ever mentions the fact that the unions grew in influence so much due to the results of collective bargaining where management was on the other side of the table and agreed to lots of things that have resulted in the big problem we are now facing.

Schmidt - September 8, 2011

Senority is a killer…..especility for those who have the knowledge and ambition to get ahead and are willing to put forth that effort…it benifitts the company and the individual. i’ve been there! Bob

Sam Weaver - September 8, 2011

I believe that big labor’s cozy relationship with powerful politicians/bureaucrats AND with influential members of media & academia are to blame not only for the declining labor market, but for the demise of Liberty, Justice & Rule of Law as well.

The DoEd is all but totally controlled by the National Education Association (“Progressive” teacher’s union). The Dept’s of Labor & Energy are also largely controlled by unions (i.e., the interests of big labor). Some may try to pathetically deny it (or stubbornly refuse to accept it), but “mainstream media (MSM)” slants HEAVILY toward the Left (“Progressive” ideology).

In conjunction with academia, the MSM propagates the “Big Lie” (i.e., modern “conventional wisdom,” a/k/a, “Progressive” ideology). Please see

Labor unions, teachers’ unions and public employees’ unions use the forced dues of millions of often unsuspecting—or, even, sadly, oblivious—Americans to buy off politicians who will implement the Big Lie (“Progressive” ideology) into every branch and level of government. The more programs and policies they can implement to make some group or class dependent upon those programs and policies, the more power and control they can amass over us—We, the People.

Americans have a history of busting monopolies. If Liberty, Justice and Rule of Law is to survive, we must—MUST!—break the monopolistic power & control of these unions!!

Kudos to The Heritage Foundation for your amazing and steadfast efforts in this regard!!

If anyone doubts anything said above, please refer to Obama’s speech to Congress on 8 SEPT 2011.

Sam Weaver
Sherman, TX

Bob Maguire - September 9, 2011

Unions are not totally to blame for the current unemployment problem, but they are responsible for keeping “dead wood” from being fired. They are responsible for keeping incompetent teachers from being fired in an expeditious manner, this with school districts in need of every dime they can get. The Wisconsin (union) debacle is a good example of union thuggery and violation of the law. So was the action of the Longshoremen’s Union in Seattle.Most unions have outlived their usefulness and are self-serving businesses who need ever more of their members’ dues for their political agendas and inflated salaries for their bosses. I have been a member of a union for most of my life and know from where I speak.

Stephanie Grable - September 9, 2011

I was a Teamster in Jersey many years ago at UPS. Not only was union membership mandatory, it was a joke. They took my money each month and did nothing for me. Completely worthless employees could not be fired and my “union rep” was worthless as well. Unions encourage less than average results. Why work harder and do your best when doing only what is required keeps your job AND gets you a pay raise to boot!?!

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