What has a Big Labor-run California government and U.S. President done for Big Labor’s image? Apparently, Obama and Big Labor’s California government union acolytes have hurt Big Labor’s image. Perhaps actions are indeed stronger than words. From the Orange County Register:
In the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency, the union movement believed it had the wind at its back. Big Labor had spent lavishly on the Obama campaign from its earliest days – and expected remuneration.
Despite favoritism from the Obama administration – privileging the United Auto Workers over secured creditors in the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies; steering stimulus funds towards unions; taking legal action against Boeing for opening a new plant in right-to-work South Carolina, etc. – it has turned out that a union renaissance isn’t in the cards.
Labor’s biggest wish, the Orwellianly titled “Employee Free Choice Act” (which would have abolished secret ballots in union elections) never passed. Public-sector initiatives like Wisconsin’s collective bargaining reforms and Michigan’s passage of a right-to-work law dented union power. And last year, union membership fell to its lowest level since 1916.
Two developments in the past week underscore why Big Labor has to rely on political power: It can no longer win arguments on the merits.
The first occurred in San Diego, where Republican mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer triumphed last week over Democrat David Alvarez, who had received more than $4 million in labor support. Faulconer’s campaign relied heavily on criticizing Alvarez’s union ties. Given a December Field Poll that showed more Californians think that unions are a force for harm rather than good, that was a savvy strategy.
The other result came out of Chattanooga, Tenn., where employees of a Volkswagen plant voted against joining the United Auto Workers despite the fact that the union and the company had been actively collaborating to make it happen.
What are we to make of these results? That the public has lost faith in organized labor.