Götterdämmerung, UAW-Style

By September 25, 2007Labor Unions

Henry Payne, the Detroit News’ editorial cartoonist, is also a trenchant writer. He weighs in on the UAW strike against GM, asking, “Is this the final, agonizing howl?”

Detroit — Monday morning, America awoke to heavy artillery on Michigan’s labor front. For a century this was the central battleground of America’s labor movement, but now it is a witness to a union culture in its final throes.

While national headlines focused on the United Auto Workers strike against General Motors, there are actually two union-inspired crises here. Two impasses resulting from the same disease. The UAW’s auto-plant shutdown and a looming state-government shutdown are more than a coincidence in timing; they are both the product of anachronistic union cultures which hold that guaranteed jobs and benefits are an entitlement.

And yet…

WASHINGTON (AP) — The AFL-CIO and its unions said Friday they will spend an estimated $200 million on the 2008 elections, with the nation’s largest labor federation devoting a record $53 million exclusively to grass-roots mobilization.

In addition, the AFL-CIO said it would deploy more than 200,000 volunteers leading up to the election, with special focus on battleground states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

If you can’t win arguments on the basis of economics — and the dying unions cannot — then ensure your continued viability through politics. Classic rent-seeking.

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