Thursday, September 26, 2013
Union Busting adds to corrupt bureaucracy and incites crime
Union Busting Lawyer
If it costs more to bust the union than it does to make a reasonable deal with the union then you would think it might be defeating the purpose.
Unfortunately business owners have a long history of doing this anyway if they think they can profit from it, or in some cases, perhaps, even if they don't, assuming they won't lose to much. It often seems as if it might be more important to maintain control than it is to make a profit. This is more effective if a relatively small number of people have dominant control of the economic system as I attempted to explain in my previous post, Corporate bureaucrats are robbing us blind, which covers additional ways corrupt corporations are committing fraud and passing on their expenses to consumers without benefit. In the nineteenth century they often shipped in a large number of immigrants, at a large expense, to avoid negotiating with unions. Then the government or the corporations often had to hire armed men to maintain order when the workers organized. Now they create complex distribution systems so that they can ship jobs overseas. Then they have to ship the merchandise back and they often have to deal with multiple subcontractors all to avoid giving workers good wages.
If they can use their market power to pass on these expenses to the consumers then it might seem more rational from the point of view of the employers but this would mean that the consumers wind up with expenses that provide no benefits for them. This wouldn't be possible in a competitive market where there was still a significant amount of factory direct and sincere small businesses could access supplies at reasonable prices. It also leads to much lower quality merchandise. And if there is a problem they often ship large amounts of merchandise through the system before they find out about it and fix it. This means that our current system is almost certainly sending a much larger amount of very low quality or even defective merchandise half way around the world before anyone finds out how much waste there is.
If there is any doubt about this think about how many times you bought something that was broken right out of the box that was made in a foreign country, perhaps on the other side of the world. If you have ever had to go out of your way to return something at the store that means the corporation paid to have that defective merchandise shipped half way around the world before they sold it to you and made you make an extra trip which they almost certainly didn't reimburse you for and then they throw the product away.
Do you have any idea how many defective products are shipped half way around the world only to be thrown away? Neither do I but when I see enough of them, either on the store shelves or find some after I get home it is a safe bet that there are even more that are caught by the workers at the store and that it costs a lot of money and one way or another it has to be passed onto consumers if the corporations are going to continue making their enormous profits.
This means that although many people don't realize it consumers have an interest in protecting the rights of workers. If workers are abused so badly they can't possibly make decent merchandise half way around the world the consumer also pays the price in lower quality of goods. Instead of investing in manufacturing corporations are increasingly investing more money in advertising, lobbying, and union busting efforts including the Guard towers made famous in Mitt Romney's 49% speech and the gangs that often beat up workers when they try to unionize in places like Guatemala or Bangladesh.
There may not be conclusive evidence to prove that these gangs are being paid out of the funds collecting from consumers but if they aren't then why would they be involved in busting unions?
There is also a lot of psychological research that has been done to learn how to more effectively manipulate people when busting unions and it costs the government a lot of money since it also leads to more crime for several reasons some examples of which I will describe soon; and because the police are often called in to settle disputes but the corporations don't have to pay those police and court officers that are helping to suppress unions. this amounts to an enormous government subsidy for well connected business owners and it is contributing to budget deficits and the fact that many cities are having a hard time paying for schools and roads.
One of the most important tactics that these union busters use involves efforts to convince the workers that unions are run by greedy people that want to collect their union dues. As much as some might want to deny this, there might be some truth to this sometimes; although the most effective union efforts almost certainly rely more on grass roots efforts and keep their overhead low. It would defeat the purpose if the unions created their own large union bureaucracy to stand up for their rights but allowing corporations to crush their rights in the absence of any protection would be even worse. When large business owners argue that unions aren't looking out for the best interest of the workers their alternative is that they do absolutely nothing to defend their rights and compete against each other driving their wages down and leaving them working for wages that aren't enough to survive on let alone get ahead as the "American dream" promises everyone.
Another good reason to believe that unions don't always do their best to defend their workers might be their support of the democratic party, which now seems to be doing more to defend the corporations while they only give lip support to the unions. The Democratic Party takes money from unions while simultaneously taking money from large corporations. Some of these union leaders get plenty of air time like Democratic politicians but when it comes to defending the workers they might be better at their rhetoric than their actions.
Marty Jay Levitt also cited John Sheridan, a former union organizer, as the person who taught him the ropes of union busting when he exposed the inside story of how he used to break unions. If union busters hire former organizer for their activities it is reasonable to assume they might attempt to make deals with current organizers if they think they can get away with it and use them to help appease workers without striking.
This might indicate that, in some cases, when there are problems with union bureaucracy it might actually be part of union busting bureaucracy disguised as union bureaucracy. However that doesn't mean that some legitimate union expenses won't be necessary and many of the most successful ones have been dominated by workers that do their organizing at the grass roots level. This was the case when they had some of the "sit down strikes" decades ago when workers sat down without recommendations from their "leaders;" and it appears to be the case now with many of the protests nationwide at Wal-Mart and fast food workers.
They've done an enormous amount to organize these strikes and if you look around it is also clear that they have done a lot of investigating. When it leads to results then it is clear that any bureaucracy in the union is being kept to a minimum and their is almost certainly accountability at the grass roots level.
However that doesn't mean that union busters won't attempt to make it seem as if unions are greedy, among other tricks, as indicated by some of the tactics that were exposed by Marty Jay Levitt in the following excerpts from his book. They also provide some indication that these tactics also lead to increased crime which is payed for by the tax payer and there are other sources that back this up including studies about increased crime and poverty at Wal-Mart and other locations where unions were busted bad jobs were outsourced.
As I previously indicated in Wal-Mart high crime rate continues uninvestigaterd a 2006 statistical study indicated a correlation between higher crime and the opening of Wal-Marts. This study, alone, does not indicate the cause of the higher crime, however there are other studies to indicate that Wal-Mart also results in higher poverty, fewer manufacturing jobs and other types of jobs, and lower income. Additional studies indicate that poverty leads to higher crime.
A good look at some of these studies indicates that their are multiple causes and that some of them are clearly related to the policies of corporate America including Wal-Mart, their union busting tactics, which are almost certainly similar to some of the tactic described by Marty Levitt, and their wage suppression tactics. The blog previously cited mentions numerous examples where workers have struck out at each other and the management because of their complaints about the way they've been treated. This is very similar to the scene that Marty Levitt described in his book where a coal miner went on a shooting rampage; and the tax payer has to foot the bill when these people go to jail and the shooters at Wal-Mart are being blamed entirely on them like Levitt's example without considering the possibility that union busting tactics might have contributed to these incidents.
In addition to that the police are often called in to suppress worker complaints as well and they often arrest them instead of encouraging mediation. When the police use their authority to suppress workers rights to express legitimate complaints they're not being "impartial;" they're taking the sides of business, which often donate to political campaigns for the people who give the police their orders. If tax payer dollars are being spent for all these purposes then there is that much less available to educate children and repair rods especially when, in many cases, they had to offer Wal-Mart or other corporations tax breaks, that weren't available to smaller business that were driven out, to come to town.
On top of that, as indicated in what might be a typical example, the lawyer for the coal miner also had his bill which the owner would have to pay and that would have to be passed on to the cost of doing business which the consumer have to pay. There is also an enormous amount of psychological research into this subject to develop these tactics over the years and there are plenty of newspaper reporters writing favorable stories for business that they almost certainly have a financial incentive to write, politicians that collect campaign contributions from business and give workers lip service while making union busting easier etc.
This creates an enormous bureaucracy for the purpose of depriving people who work for a living from getting a fair wage!
This bureaucracy does nothing to benefit the consumers who ind up with higher bills and lower quality merchandise as a result. Instead this is a major effort to increase the wealth of those that control the economic system at the expense of those that contribute to it.
This bureaucracy might also be part of a cultural divide between people from different classes, where people from one class obtain education in certain trades and take jobs in the bureaucracy while the rest remain in the working class. This seems to be indicated by the tactics that Levitt use when he shops for potential customers and seeks to obtain the lawyer of that customer as his ally in recruiting the business owner. This could be a tactic that is used as part of a modern day white collar feudalistic system. In the older feudalistic systems if a feudal lord gave his workers more rights and treated them better, perhaps benefiting all if this led to more productivity, then the other feudal lords would be worried that their workers might learn from it and demand the same so they might invade the benevolent feudal lord. Now they might use more sophisticated ways of wiping out small businesses that try to treat their workers with respect, although they might try to wipe out the small business anyway to increase their market share.
On another note many union workers have not been to happy with Marty Jay Levitt for previously working to bust unions and for going back for one last job after renouncing them; however he still did a lot to expose their tactics and this should stand on it's own merits. It is much easier to know how to deal with it if more people understand the tactics. Furthermore there may be additional people that might be willing to come forward with additional information who might be skeptical if they see excessive resentment against Levitt and others who have come forward in the past. A reasonable amount of skepticism is understandable and expected but it will do no good to ignore these tactics because some might not be happy with the source.
Also there might be some that might not be too happy with my speculation about union leaders that might be appeasing the workers and encouraging them not to strike. This can be at least partially addressed by keeping all union activities in the open and rotating those that lead them and keeping decisions at the grass roots level. It will do no good to claim that it isn't happening when it is or to jump to conclusions; but if the leaders don't have the real power, because it is with the workers, then it wouldn't do corporations any good to corrupt just one person that betrays the rest. If they have to treat every one with respect to get their cooperation that would be the objective.
The following are a couple related articles on the subject:
IBEW Fact Sheet PDF
Reading: Union Buster Tells All By Roger Kerson