From the beginning in the 1800s, labor unions were formed by skilled tradesmen using our “freedom of association” rights to fix prices. These trade unions had apprenticeship programs and favored members’ children; it remained a closed system. Skilled trades and farming were the family businesses that made up the Private Sector economy in the US from the beginning in the 1600s. The skilled trades developed techniques to perfect their processes and kept these a secret.
After 1850, labor unions became the preferred tool the Marxists adopted to promote socialism, big government and Communism. Karl Marx said “It is a political struggle”. They wanted to expand the union movement to unskilled labor.
Marx attacked the Industrial Revolution by convincing the workers that they were the victims. Industries became the refugee camps every time there was a drought or a famine on the farms. Hungry farmers brought their families to the cities to get jobs in the factories.
It was easy. Business managers were immersed in the technical problems associated with inventing new processes. Work was very physical and workers had been injured and killed performing dangerous work. It was also dangerous on the farm, but floods and explosions in the coal mines were a new experience.
Like today, Communists were calling for “demonstrations” and “strikes” whenever an injury or death occurred. Despite business managers’ attempts to make the work safer, the Communists insisted that they were evil and workers needed to be protected by “them”.
Seizing on the drama, the media covered the “plight of the worker” and romanticized the labor movement. In the beginning of these confrontations Industries hired Pinkerton to remove strikers, so replacement workers could get in the factories. Battles broke out and Communists were drafting Labor Laws for the US Congress to pass. The goal was to create “big government” to violate the US Constitution (as written). Individual property rights were tossed under the bus in favor of “social justice”.
By 1930, labor union membership was 7% of the workforce, but rose to 27% by 1945. Franklin Roosevelt passed a lot of Labor Laws, workers had lived through the great depression and were tired of being poor. In 1975, labor union membership was down to 19%. By 2000 labor union membership was back down to 12%. I spent most of my career making unions unnecessary.
Most union members in the US today are government employees at the federal, state and local level. These unions are the major reason why the cost of government has skyrocketed. Allowing government employees to unionize was a very expensive mistake.
Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader