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By Thomas Sowell | The biggest myth about labor unions is that unions are for the workers. Unions are for unions, just as corporations are for corporations and politicians are for politicians.

Nothing shows the utter cynicism of the unions and the politicians who do their bidding like the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” that the Obama administration tried to push through Congress. Employees’ free choice as to whether or not to join a union is precisely what that legislation would destroy.

Workers already have a free choice in secret-ballot elections conducted under existing laws. As more and more workers in the private sector have voted to reject having a union represent them, the unions’ answer has been to take away secret-ballot elections.

Under the “Employee Free Choice Act,” unions would not have to win in secret-ballot elections in order to represent the workers. Instead, union representatives could simply collect signatures from the workers until they had a majority.

Why do we have secret ballots in the first place, whether in elections for unions or elections for government officials? To prevent intimidation and allow people to vote how they want to, without fear of retaliation.

This is a crucial right that unions want to take away from workers. The actions of union mobs in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere give us a free home demonstration of how little they respect the rights of those who disagree with them and how much they rely on harassment and threats to get what they want.

It takes world-class chutzpah to call circumventing secret ballots the “Employee Free Choice Act.” Read the rest of this entry »


by Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst

At this point, nearly every worker in America can see that in economic terms our country is no longer suffering from a recession.  However, while our economy is no longer contracting, and is growing at very modest levels, the labor force has yet to see any meaningful reduction in jobless rates.  This is a very frustrating development, as many people claim that there are two economies which are diverging very quickly.  One has corporations which have weathered the crisis and are now back to making strong earnings, with an executive level management who have also weathered the storm.  On the other end of the economy many workers are experiencing stagnant wages, very few job openings, and lack of economic mobility.

In subsectors of the labor force, the frustration is even more apparent from employment data.  For young workers, aged 16-24, the unemployment is extremely high at 20%.  When broken down by race, the numbers get very frightening.  Latino youths have a 24% unemployment rate, and African American youth have an even higher rate at 32%.  These numbers are not only frightening, but unacceptable as both economic and non-economic ramifications will be seen in both the near and long term.

Policymakers and community advocates have been very sharp laying the blame on the usual suspects.  Failing schools, high crime, discrimination, the recession, and economically depressed regions have been offered up as the cause.  The truth is that all are to blame, and there is certainly enough of it to go around.  Our education system is becoming less competitive, and we currently are failing to educate 30% of our youths enough to even graduate from High School.  In the end, this puts the youth at a disadvantage.  Job growth both now and before the recession was mostly concentrated in sectors which require at least some college education. Read the rest of this entry »

By: Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst

The US Department of Labor issued their funding provisions for states in the Trade Adjustment and Assistance Program (TAA) last month, which could affect the benefits Americans receive for unemployment.  However, this year there was an interesting caveat; there are two proposed funding amounts.  One proposed amount gives the amount of money that is guaranteed to the states/territories and the other is the amount which they would get if Congress extends the program expansion put forth under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka the stimulus bill).

TAA, in more detailed terms, is a program funded by the US Department of Labor which gives states funding for assistance, job training/re-training and education programs for workers affected by outsourcing and foreign trade.  It affects the unemployed who fall into the categories of both structural and frictional unemployment.  Read the rest of this entry »

Harvard University professors Edward Glaeser and William Kerr recently published an article detailing their long-standing research that contradicts the generally accepted notion that regional economic growth is highly correlated to the number of large employers.

The professors call the systematic approach of local governments offering economic incentives (usually in the form of tax breaks) to large, developed corporations “smokestack chasing.” However, in contrast to generally accepted political theory, their research proves that incentives for the creation or growth of a greater number of smaller or start-up firms is more attributable to regional economic growth. Read the rest of this entry »

Who would have thought that unemployment within a segment of the American population would reach nearly 35%?!  It may seem impossible for our economic situation to seem even more dire, but for minorities, real unemployment in an already fragile economy is approaching more than one out of every three!

Although the current state of the economy as a whole is debatable, and perhaps more debatable is the future outlook, the outlook for minorities is not going to change without a little boost. . . Read the rest of this entry »

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