Posted by: Debby Durkee | March 3, 2011

Unions bankrupted GM, same for US?

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Unions bankrupted GM, same for US?

The blogger “Ironman” over at the website The Next Right has written an excellent piece comparing Barack Obama as CEO of the United States to former General Motors CEO Roger Smith. Smith is the CEO who was harassed by filmmaker Michael Moore in his film, “Roger and Me.” Ironman says that Smith failed as a CEO ultimately because he was looking ahead at the big things GM should do, but along the way caved in to the unions, which ended up sucking the life out of the company and leaving GM too broke to achieve Smith’s vision. Ironman says this is why governors must stand up to the unions or face the same fate.

…(Obama) sees a future for the labor movement essentially maintaining the current status quo on into the 21st century economy.  Notwithstanding the increasing burden of pay, benefits and pensions, and the irresistible pressure of global competition, we will “win the future” by making large infrastructure investments which will yield a high enough return to pay for our obligations.

Barack Obama, meet Roger Smith.

Both took over as CEO when their organizations were facing financial duress and existential threats to the enterprise. Both were, however, “company men” (Is there a “company” more insular than the Chicago Democratic machine?). Both spent prodigious sums on big ticket infrastructure projects.  But neither was willing to do two absolutely essential things: a) restructure the enterprise to be smaller and more responsive and b) address the long term labor cost obligations of the firm. Snip —

You can click the link to read in more detail what Smith did that left GM struggling to survive such as his efforts with Saturn.

Perhaps Smith’s greatest failure was his unwillingness to address GM’s unsustainable labor and retirees costs…

GM was left 15 years later hoping their retirees would expire fast enough to enable it to compete. It lost that race and filed bankruptcy under the auspices of the Obama administration.

The public sector is going to go down the same road as unionized manufacturers like GM.  The states are about where GM was in the 1980’s—the bump in the road has been hit and the time was come to think long and hard about where to go next. And maintaining a cost structure that accelerates faster than the economy that pays for it is a ticket to doom.

He goes on to point to governors such as Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin who can clearly see down the road to serfdom and are trying to veer off to the right, all the while CEO Obama seeks to continue down that road, never worrying about what happens when we reach the end. Please read it all here:

Obama pushes for more private unionization.

Not only is Obama working hard to preserve unions in the public sector, he’s also trying to increase their numbers in the private sector, and once again his administration is pushing the boundaries of executive branch authority. Obama increasingly encroaches on the rights of the legislative branch and the American voter’s power. He’s decided that since he didn’t get card check from the Democratic Congress, he’s just going to use regulations to tout the “goodness” of unions. This is from Sam Batkins at National Review Online.

Could 2011 be the year of the protest and the beginning of the end for the excessive political power of Big Labor? President Obama appears ready to do everything in his power to prevent that from happening. In addition to turning on his political machine, Organizing for America, by urging attendance at rallies in Wisconsin “with our labor friends [at] AFSCME,” the president is pushing a back-door unionization effort on a nationwide scale. The administration has successfully nationalized a local debate over the role of unions, and the president’s new regulatory agenda reveals that he isn’t satisfied with a few skirmishes in the Midwest.

Last week the comment period closed on a proposed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that would seek to increase private-sector unionization. After losing the “card check” battle in the 111th Congress, the president is attempting to implement through regulatory fiat what he couldn’t get from Congress.

Three days before Christmas, the NLRB and its de facto head, Craig Becker, announced that all employers subject to federal labor law (the National Labor Relations Act) would be forced to post notices of unionization rights at their workplace. Becker…claimed that the NLRB already had authority to force employers to advertise for Big Labor…

Those familiar with the extra-legislative pushes on “net neutrality” and greenhouse-gas emissions know that regulatory overreach is this administration’s modus operandi. It might be easy to ignore Congress and legislate from atop a regulatory board, but it’s generally not legal, and this NLRB action rests on dubious legal grounds.  Snip –

Batkins goes on to say that most non-unionized workers are used to seeing postings at work about their rights as regards leave and civil rights, but those postings have already been approved by Congress. The posting about “unionization rights” has not been approved by Congress.

If it is permitted to act without the necessary legislative authorization, who knows what the NLRB, an unelected and unaccountable body, could push in the way of politically convenient notice and posting requirements for employers? Snip –

After the defeats at the ballot box last November, the president must have recognized that amending labor law in an attempt to bolster private-sector unions would go nowhere in Congress…

This push is even more politically transparent if one examines the details of the proposed posting. Instead of a full listing of federal labor rights, the proposed rule omits right-to-work provisions and special protections that allow workers to file union-decertification petitions…

This president has made it quite clear that he is willing to push every boundary, make up rules as he goes along, and ignore everyone else’s authority but his own. It’s time for Congress to push back. This is quite similar to the way Democrats are treating the duly elected governor and Republican majority in Wisconsin. Republicans are going to have to figure out that their rights as the majority, and ultimately our rights as the voters, are being ignored and generally obliterated by the president and his increasingly lawless administration and the Democratic Party as a whole. If our country is to survive, if Americans are to continue to trust their government, it is incumbent upon our elected leaders to jealously guard their authority and our rights. Read it all here:


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