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The UAW's predictable demise

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  • The UAW's predictable demise

    From coercion to corruption to collapse: The UAW's predictable demise

    Having been a member of UAW way back in my younger days, I have to say I feel a sense of justice here...

    The life cycle of labor unions is predictable, the late economist Sylvester Petro once wrote. Because they are born not out of mutual exchange, but out of state-backed coercion, American unions inevitably face eventual demise triggered by their own corruption.

    The aged United Auto Workers union may be approaching that moment of extinction.

    After a four-year federal investigation into UAW bribes, kickbacks, and crony labor negotiations, the government has secured prison sentences for eight people connected to the union, Fiat Chrysler, and Automobiles NV, according to the Detroit News.

    The feds raided six locations, including the home of UAW President Gary Jones, and say they have evidence of blatant corruption, including “wads” of cash and files that confirm long-held suspicions that the union's leaders spent workers’ dues on vacations, private villas in Palm Springs, and other luxuries.

    The FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Labor Department are also investigating whether union leaders made money from tax-exempt nonprofit organizations connected to the UAW and kept cash from union funds intended to pay for flowers for workers’ funerals.

    Federal agents are reportedly considering charges under federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations laws.

    This means the nation’s most iconic union may soon be officially branded a criminal conspiracy. A spectacular fall indeed.

    RICO convictions could lead to a federal takeover of the UAW. The feds similarly took control of the Teamsters 30 years ago and just ended its oversight in 2015. Teamsters, which had been dominated by the Mafia and other organized crime, was cleansed of its corrupt leadership and forced to adopt new election practices and fairer wages, among other things.

    Federal oversight could be a good thing for the UAW. Its policies have hurt more than just blue-collar workers. They also helped destroy Detroit’s economy.

    It inflicted rigidities on smaller manufacturers, such as Packard, and depressed their profits, eventually forcing them to close their plants. Packard’s once booming factory now stands empty and forlorn on Detroit’s east side, with nothing to show for its innovation other than shattered glass and littered trash.

    When GM and Chrysler failed in 2008, the UAW used its political connections to the Obama administration to tighten its already choking grip on the once-proud industry. When politicians claim that they were rescuing workers and empowering them, it was false. They were really only empowering the labor bosses.

    UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, for example, has been accused of demanding more than $500,000 in kickbacks and bribes from auto executives and contractors to stave off strikes and other disruptive actions. UAW leaders cared little, if at all, about how these shakedowns would affect the workers they were supposed to represent.

    The UAW's corruption should come as no surprise, for it is in the union’s DNA. Labor law means unions gain their power through coercion and political power, rather than by offering value to workers and employers. Union leverage is thus the fruit of coercion and connections. It’s only natural that this is corrupting. “This power, like any other unlimited power, can only be abused, and it is abused,” said Petro.

    Michigan’s "right to work" law has eased much of the burden the UAW forced on to workers’ backs, but we clearly still have a long way to go. Detroit deserves better, and working men and women deserve better.

    Labor laws need to be completely rewritten so as to reshape unions so they gain influence only by offering value to their members and their industries, instead of being the naked political creatures they are today.


    At our very first UAW meeting - an orientation - the local union boss introduced himself, proudly claiming "They call me the dirty old man" and basically proceeded to explain what all we could get away with under the union's protection, and how to scam the system. He strutted around like some important mob boss tossing out gratuitous profanity to prove how tough he was, and how corrupt the company was.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Having been a member of UAW way back in my younger days, I have to say I feel a sense of justice here...
    Wow unions are corrupt! Yeah, I was Teamster for 10 years, I can confirm.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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    • #3
      I'm happy about the unions in Denmark though, I'm currently the member of one along with most of the people in my profession. I wonder if it's just a cultural thing that they're perceived as such a good thing here, and derided so strongly in the US.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
        I'm happy about the unions in Denmark though, I'm currently the member of one along with most of the people in my profession. I wonder if it's just a cultural thing that they're perceived as such a good thing here, and derided so strongly in the US.
        Here in the US they have a long history of corruption and being in bed with organized crime.
        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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        • #5
          Originally posted by seer View Post
          Wow unions are corrupt! Yeah, I was Teamster for 10 years, I can confirm.
          When I was police, it was the Teamster's Union that was trying to 'organize' us.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
            I'm happy about the unions in Denmark though, I'm currently the member of one along with most of the people in my profession. I wonder if it's just a cultural thing that they're perceived as such a good thing here, and derided so strongly in the US.
            I think it's that, here in the US of A, they tend to be headed by, in effect, mob bosses looking to enrich their own fortunes.
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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            • #7
              Originally posted by seer View Post
              Here in the US they have a long history of corruption and being in bed with organized crime.
              ... And here in Canada, they've also been responsible for their fair share of bullying, deception, and occasional bouts of xenophobia.
              Mercenary Maxim 37: There is No 'Overkill.' There is merely 'Open Fire,' and 'I need to Reload.'

              Chaotic Void's Recommended Advice for Trump's Opposition to Punt him from the Oval Office: Git Gud

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              • #8
                Unions say they are there to help the worker. and sometimes they do. I think in the past they did serve a purpose to stop greedy employers from taking advantage of workers. But that was before we had things like OSHA, and various other agencies that protected workers (And the unions are probably responsible for us having those things too).

                But now it seems they are businesses in themselves. They exist to enrich and promote themselves, on the backs of the very workers they say they are helping. They "gum up" the works. Making it impossible for workers and employers to communicate directly and work out their own problems. Once a union is in there, everything has to go through the union. The employers can't deal with the workers, the workers can't go to the employer. It all has to go through the various bureaucratic channels of the union. And like any other bureaucracy, it is an unwieldy beast of red tape and paper work. And the workers still get the shaft. They only get what the unions settle with the employers for. They have to strike unless the union is happy. Then the union takes their cut from the workers. It causes "overhead" for both the employers and the workers. Making things more expensive for the consumer too.

                Proud Member of Da Blonde's Axis of Evil, Adam's Dirty Dozen, Dee Dee's Goon Squad, Tweb's In-Crowd, The Brood of Vipers & Exorcised by Ty & Dee Dee, and the only person who ever banned rogue06!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                  Unions say they are there to help the worker. and sometimes they do. I think in the past they did serve a purpose to stop greedy employers from taking advantage of workers. But that was before we had things like OSHA, and various other agencies that protected workers (And the unions are probably responsible for us having those things too).

                  But now it seems they are businesses in themselves. They exist to enrich and promote themselves, on the backs of the very workers they say they are helping. They "gum up" the works. Making it impossible for workers and employers to communicate directly and work out their own problems. Once a union is in there, everything has to go through the union. The employers can't deal with the workers, the workers can't go to the employer. It all has to go through the various bureaucratic channels of the union. And like any other bureaucracy, it is an unwieldy beast of red tape and paper work. And the workers still get the shaft. They only get what the unions settle with the employers for. They have to strike unless the union is happy. Then the union takes their cut from the workers. It causes "overhead" for both the employers and the workers. Making things more expensive for the consumer too.
                  Like so many other institutions, unions were created to address a specific problem, but then they didn't go away - they just became bloated and perpetual. And that was back when a person would pretty well work for the same company for their whole life - today, you can vote with your feet. Somebody doesn't treat you well at work, you can quit and go find another job.
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                    Like so many other institutions, unions were created to address a specific problem, but then they didn't go away - they just became bloated and perpetual. And that was back when a person would pretty well work for the same company for their whole life - today, you can vote with your feet. Somebody doesn't treat you well at work, you can quit and go find another job.
                    I worked at a manufacturing company when I was in my 20s and inexperienced in the ways of the corporate/political world. The Union (I forget which one it was) came in and tried to unionize us (one of the other employee's invited them. They are like vampires, they can't come in unless invited) - And they went around promising everyone they would basically get rich and stick it to the boss. This was a small family owned business, with about 50 employees. But what we didn't know was that if they did get in, the owner was going to shut it all down. The owner told us that and explained why, because he couldn't afford to pay us more than he was, that he wasn't going to have to talk through the union, that if we had any problems we could come directly to him right now and that is the way he wanted it, and we should want it that way too. We voted out the union and the guy who tried to start it was encouraged to "move on" --- That was 30+ years ago. I long left that company, which eventually was sold off to some other company. But I am still friend with the sons of the former owners.

                    Proud Member of Da Blonde's Axis of Evil, Adam's Dirty Dozen, Dee Dee's Goon Squad, Tweb's In-Crowd, The Brood of Vipers & Exorcised by Ty & Dee Dee, and the only person who ever banned rogue06!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                      I worked at a manufacturing company when I was in my 20s and inexperienced in the ways of the corporate/political world. The Union (I forget which one it was) came in and tried to unionize us (one of the other employee's invited them. They are like vampires, they can't come in unless invited) - And they went around promising everyone they would basically get rich and stick it to the boss. This was a small family owned business, with about 50 employees. But what we didn't know was that if they did get in, the owner was going to shut it all down. The owner told us that and explained why, because he couldn't afford to pay us more than he was, that he wasn't going to have to talk through the union, that if we had any problems we could come directly to him right now and that is the way he wanted it, and we should want it that way too. We voted out the union and the guy who tried to start it was encouraged to "move on" --- That was 30+ years ago. I long left that company, which eventually was sold off to some other company. But I am still friend with the sons of the former owners.
                      Yup - I worked for a company many years ago that made all the telephone equipment for the Bell system (except the phones themselves) and it was owned by a family. Same story - we had some people who kept pushing for a union, and the vote kept failing.

                      One day, the owner called a company meeting - HUNDREDS of us - and explained what good benefits we had, how the pay was competitive with anything in the area, and how "I'm too old to want to fight a union, so please feel free to vote, but if you vote for a union, I'll simply sell the assets and retire." (He had even instituted "flex time" way before its time)


                      The vote was something like 28% for - and I think those were die-hard unionists.
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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