Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Unions Pass the Buck For Their Failures

In a fiery debate on CNBC Thursday, Center for Union Facts Managing Director J. Justin Wilson went up against Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO to discuss the toxicity of the union brand and the need for unions to appeal to members in right-to-work states, including newly-minted Michigan, and not simply take them for granted. Wilson noted that if not for politics, even Democrats would be opposed to membership-by-compulsion.

But instead of confronting these problems, Lee passed the buck and blamed everyone but unions. She blamed billionaires, employers and “attacks.” But even taking her word for it, it’s impossible to account for the complete collapse of labor unionism in the workforce without considering the failure by labor in holding membership.

Lee also noted that labor laws are “antiquated,” something that we’ve been saying for a while as well. The Employee Rights Act (ERA) would greatly improve labor law and help to bring it out of the 1950s. But, somehow, we don’t think that’s the type of law she is looking for.

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