The Unions’ Real Enemy: Themselves

It’s no secret that union membership has been slowly, but surely declining for decades in America. There’s a simple reason for that and it’s not unfair business practices, mean old corporations, or big, bad Republicans. No, the problem with union workforces is that non-union workforces are simply more competitive.

In a study of the decline of unions between 1973 and 1988, economist Henry Farber and sociologist Bruce Western found that the chief reason was that nonunionized companies grew faster than unionized ones. Employment at unionized companies dropped by 2.9 percent per year while employment at nonunionized companies rose by 2.8 percent a year.

Another paper by the same authors confirms that the union elections overseen by the NLRB were a sideshow: If the NLRB had held no unionization elections since 1972, the percentage of Americans in unions would have dropped by only an additional 1.7 percent.
You might be thinking that unionized companies shrank mainly because they tended to be in declining industries. But you would be wrong. Economist Barry T. Hirsch has found that only 20 percent of the decline in unions between 1983 and 2002 resulted from shrinking unionized industries. Eighty percent of it resulted from a decline within industries. Take manufacturing: Between 1973 and 2006, the number of unionized workers in that sector dropped by 6 million, but the number of nonunion employees rose by 1.5 million. In short, unions declined because unionized companies couldn’t compete with nonunionized ones.

This shouldn’t shock anyone. We’ve long since passed the days where unions were valuable organizations that protected workers from abusive practices.

Now, unions are a just another racket. They funnel money into the coffers of Democratic politicians and in return, the Democrats rewrite America’s laws to force companies to pay union members more than they’re worth on the free market.

Obviously, if you’re paying your workforce more than they’re worth on the free market and you’re running up against a firm that doesn’t do that, it gives your competitor an edge.

One glorious day in America, hopefully, unions will cease to exist. If and when that day comes, they’ll have nothing to blame for it other than their own greed.

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