June 29, 2011
A Union 'Off-Target'By Brendon S. Peck
Confronted with an unwelcome intrusion, employees at a Target store in New York rejected unionization and dealt a blow to the grand plans of the UFCW.
That average Americans continue to stand against these job-killing, profit-leaching forces is most encouraging. But make no mistake, the fight is far from over.
Labor unions are in decline and desperate. Today, union membership is under 12% of the U.S. workforce -- it was over 20% in the 1980's. Among retail unions, like the United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW), membership has also undergone sizeable erosion, down over 40% nationwide since 1983.
More, public support for unions has fallen sharply and, according to the Pew Research Center, at near quarter-century lows. Not surprisingly, unions are seen as having both a negative impact on the "availability of good jobs" in the U.S., while placing our companies at a competitive disadvantage globally.
Yes, even with its allies in the White House, the press, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Americans are not fooled. And the "collective" repulsion of unionization is increasing. Like employees of the Target chain, most do not want, nor need, its tentacles in the workplace.
At the Target store in Valley Stream, NY, the UFCW's efforts to unionize workers was supposed to be a harbinger of things to come -- a national comeback if you will. But over 60% of employees voted down the measure. As one worker put it, "what do I need a union to fight for me for?" Good question.
Another voter rejected the very idea of paying union dues, dismissing Big Labor as for those who do not "want to work anymore." Remember the infamous Union Jobs Bank program that helped drive GM into bankruptcy? Thousands of union laborers were paid almost their full salary not to work.
Predictably, and on cue, the UFCW sought to invalidate the election results. In fact, the union called on their comrades at the NLRB to investigate Target for illegality, supposedly for employing fear, intimidation, and threats against workers. How typical of union thugs.
They refuse to acknowledge that it was average Americans who rejected their radical agenda and the need to hand over part of their paycheck to union bosses for the privilege of keeping their job. Instead, they raise the tired and overused specter of corporate interference...when no such evidence exists. They accuse Target of engaging in the same destructive tactics so readily used by the unions themselves.
Consider the bullying, boldfaced propaganda and calculated anger on display during the Wisconsin protests -- the true face of Union fascism. Under Mussolini, unions were politically linked to the regime in the "corporatist" state. And, not unlike their fascist brethren of old, unsatisfied with the outcome, they demand that the "federal government direct a new election." And why not? It has been done before.
As Charles Krauthammer reminds us, Delta Air lines employees "have voted four times to reject unionization." A fifth vote is possible. After four votes, we are supposed to believe it is not clear that workers want to be rid of these union marauders? Well, sure, but for Democrats that is beside the point. More elections, Krauthammer notes, serve only as an opportunity to give the Obama campaign the result it is pushing for. UFCW leaders know they have an activist White House at the ready. Obama needs their money and campaign manpower as much as he needs their votes.
Indeed, the UFCW is intent on moving forward with a unionization campaign at all other Target locations in New York, with a nationwide effort to follow thereafter. Note if you will, how their slogan, Target: Democracy, is unintentionally revealing. For Democracy and free thinking are exactly what they target. And with help from their leftist political allies, this will continue. But Target is prepared. After all, the company stood down a union incursion in Detroit -- and won.
For the UFCW, Target remains but a part of an overall strategy designed to increase its membership, a scheme that calls for continuous skirmishes with yet another thriving non-union giant.
With Joseph T. Hansen as leader, the UFCW has long fought against Walmart. One such method: engaging in what it calls "site fights" in an attempt to keep the company out of a community. As Walmart seeks entrance into the New York City marketplace, union attacks have grown more pointed and more personal.
This month, Walmart announced it will donate upwards of 5 million dollars to the city for a vital summer youth jobs program. The Bloomberg Administration says 3,400 jobs will be saved as a result. But this matters not to the UFCW. Their bombastic broadsides include the charge that Walmart's gesture was "political," an act of "penance" for supposed economic sins.
Such charges are echoed by politicians beholden to union power, ever willing to lob bile and threats Walmart's way.
At a City Council meeting earlier this year, Councilman Charles Barron, a Democrat, warned Walmart "don't you even think about coming to East New York." He claimed Walmart jobs were humiliating work. One Democratic functionary has even compared Walmart work to slavery.
Is it not telling that many New York union members actually disagree? They are desperate for work in the Obama economy.
Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen found that 74% of New York's union members want Walmart. The superstore means thousands of new jobs. As usual, union bosses are not looking out for their members, but themselves.
Thus far, unionization efforts against Walmart, like Target, have been repelled. Rejected not by manipulated employees, as union and Democrat rhetoric would have us believe, but rather, by well-informed workers who understand the pernicious impact of mandatory union membership. With their history of corruption, lost opportunity, and lost jobs, unions are not conducive to our economic health. Higher labor costs strangle business.
Worse, unions remain committed to fundamentally altering worker's rights through the elimination of the secret ballot. It is hardly news that Obama's NLRB cronies have shown themselves willing to assist, but this anti-democratic scheme is not lost on the public. In the 2010 midterms, voters in several states reaffirmed the "right to a secret ballot in union organizing elections."
It is worth noting, too, that even President Obama's onetime National Economic Council director understood the burden unions place on the economy, particularly that unionization remains a significant "cause of long-term unemployment." No matter. For unions, it's never about facts, but control. And they will not stop unless they are defeated.
Brendon S. Peck holds a Master of Arts in history and political science from the College of Saint Rose and has completed graduate work at Columbia University. He is a freelance writer. Reach him at email@example.com.
FOLLOW US ON