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    Default Five myths about the labor union movement



    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Five myths about the labor union movement

    By Alec MacGillis

    The anniversary of the $787 billion economic stimulus act came and went last week with unemployment still holding stubbornly close to 10 percent. The Democrats' universal health-care legislation lies in limbo on Capitol Hill. Where in all of this are the unions -- the historic guardians of the Democrats' economic agenda? Sidelined, sort of.

    Labor's top legislative priority, the Employee Free Choice Act, is languishing. Craig Becker, the union lawyer nominated by President Obama to a five-year term on the National Labor Relations Board, hasn't made it to his post. This month, he failed to win enough votes to prevent a filibuster on his nomination, and the president declined to make a recess appointment.

    Becker's travails drew a brief flurry of attention to the issue of labor law reform. It might be tempting to dismiss this fraught realm with the old joke about academia -- that the politics are so vicious because the stakes are so low. But this would be wrong, as is so much that is said and written across the political spectrum about organized labor.


    • 1. Organized labor is in inexorable decline.

      Not exactly. Organized labor isn't so much shrinking as shifting.

      continued

    • 2. Unions are bad for economic growth.

      Economists on the left and the right can debate this one for days.

      continued

    • 3. Labor laws are not the issue -- economics are.

      Far from it. Even lawyers who represent employers say the system is badly outdated. There has not been a major change to labor laws since the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.

      continued

    • 4. The Employee Free Choice Act would radically reshape the job market.

      Not really. While the proposal would bring the biggest change in generations, it would leave some union challenges unaddressed.

      continued

    • 5. Unions have the Democrats in their pocket.

      They wish. Despite their diminished numbers, unions still pack a powerful punch in national politics --

      continued
    Last edited by NikDiesel; 02-22-2010 at 11:05 PM.

 

 

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