No Bailout for Big Labor

Mark Mix, the President of the National Right to Work Committee, makes the case against a federal bailout of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union:

For decades, United Auto Workers (UAW) officials have wielded their monopoly power under federal labor law to negotiate wages, benefits and work rules for virtually all front-line employees of the Big Three, including union members and non-members alike. UAW bosses’ irresponsible exercise of their extraordinary, government-granted bargaining power, and Big Three managers’ unwillingness to resist outrageous Big Labor demands with fortitude, have played leading roles in rendering the firms uncompetitive.

And the UAW bosses’ stranglehold over the Big Three hurts not just employees of those firms, but all auto-industry workers in regions of the country, especially Michigan, where significant numbers of Big Three plants remain. As economist John Tamny noted recently in an op-ed for Investor’s Business Daily, in Michigan, GM’s “continued existence under weak management has served as a capital repellent such that capital and jobs will continue to flee the state if GM is saved with the money of others.” On the other hand, if the Big Three automakers go bankrupt, the U.S. auto sector and its employees will ultimately benefit, because bankruptcy will allow either Big Three managers themselves, under Chapter 11 provisions, or a future purchaser of the firms’ assets to get front-line employees out from under the UAW union monopoly so that they can be deployed far more efficiently.

Firms that currently furnish supplies for the Big Three and their employees would benefit enormously from having more stable commercial relationships with better-managed companies. Overall employment in the American auto sector would almost certainly resume growing in the wake of Big Three bankruptcies.

Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid and Mrs. Pelosi would have Americans believe that autos and trucks can’t be manufactured profitably in the United States any more, so in order to save jobs the industry has to be converted into a taxpayer-subsidized utility – perhaps even led by a presidentially appointed “auto czar.” Their premise is pure bunk. Today, Toyota, Honda and other non-Big Three, nonunion manufacturers employ more than 110,000 Americans, mostly in right-to-work states, where forced union dues and fees are prohibited, and are proving you can still make money building cars in the United States.

Big Labor and Big Labor puppet politicians are desperate not to protect American employees, whose fortunes do not depend on the Big Three, but rather the UAW union monopoly over GM, Ford and Chrysler auto assemblers.

Even more than they fear the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in union dues every year, union bosses fear the example Michigan would set when its long-dormant economy sprang to life in the wake of the collapse of the UAW’s forced-unionism empire.

Americans who instinctively oppose another massive industry bailout shouldn’t allow the self-interested claims of union officials, feckless Big Three CEOs and their propagandists to cause them to second-guess themselves. Instead, they should call their senators and congressmen today through the congressional switchboard (202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121) and urge them to oppose the Obama-Reid-Pelosi Big Three bailout on all votes.