Post # 322
I had spent 33 years with my employer, my last employer, in full time employment, followed by another 9 years on contract. Twenty one years of that employment was in some level or another of management. The last of my management years necessitated that I interact with union leadership.
Now I’ve never been hot or cold on unions. Looking at the time line of union history, I can see the good and bad of their existence. Originally, unionization benefitted the oppressed worker for better and safer working conditions. Over the years, union efforts have benefitted the country as a whole, boosting our national standard of living, whether directly or indirectly.
On the negative side, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and union leadership was no different. Where is Jimmy Hoffa’s body today? Unions became so involved with protecting its membership, that they overlooked members incompetence by demanding standardization of treatment. Incompetence became to be rewarded equally with competence. I recall my uncle telling me that his union explained he would lose his job if he didn’t vote for a particular presidential candidate.
As I said earlier, I believe our country’s high standard of living is a direct affect of union efforts over the years. It is this standard of living that is a drawing card for so many from other countries. ( What people don’t realize is that this standard of living now requires a 2 member working household, which ultimately breaks down the original family unit)
One of the television networks did an all summer news segment looking for things “Made in America”. That exposé caused me to check the labels on my purchases. So many clothes are made elsewhere, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and on and on. To my surprise even Minnetonka moccasins are now made in China! We have a problem. Our standard of living is so high, that it makes the costs of American products prohibitive for lesser (foreign) economy’s to buy them. Therefore our only market, for American made goods, in a worldwide economy, is ourselves. That limited market, limits our need to produce, which limits our income, which limits our ability to purchase.
I was surprised, no, I was shocked, this summer to hear the outcome of negotiations between the unions and the U.S. auto manufacturers. The union’s total focus was on maintaining benefits of existing members while giving up control/benefits of future members. Not long after the close of the negotiations, GM announced they were opening a plant in China to manufacture a car line that would be shipped back to the United States for sale. Last week Ford announced that they were opening an assembly plant in Mexico to produce vehicles that would be sold in the United States. Both companies cite costs as the incentive to move jobs out of the United States.
I prefer to keep my purchases Made in America as much as possible. I have learned that that is an impossibility when it comes to power tools. But as I ponder my next auto purchases, I need to the weigh the following questions. 1. Is it better to buy a vehicle made in a foreign country when the corporate office is in the United States (tax wise the money will never flow up to the U.S. tax return for benefit in this country) or 2. Is it better to buy a car manufactured/assembled in this country by a foreign car company? (tax wise the money will never hit the U.S. tax return, but U.S. employees are getting a pay check)
Yes, our personal economy is so good overall, that we no longer can afford to make our own goods. Soon to be seen, the Ford F-150, assembled in Mexico, from steel made in Germany, seats made in Bangladesh, glass made in Japan and so on. There won’t be anyone in America that will be able to earn enough to buy goods any more. All of the companies will have moved to Ireland and their banks will be in the Bahamas. All because the unions wouldn’t let us stay an impoverished country.