Friday, April 29, 2011

How Far Fetched Is It Really?

One of the central themes of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is the constant interference of government in normal operations of businesses.  From the government passing laws to restrict outputs, to laws restricting movement and relocation of companies.  When I first read the book 16 or 17 years ago I too thought that it was pretty far fetched.  That was before I knew about agricultural subsidies, corporate tax breaks aimed at boosting specific industries (and effectively limiting others) and the latest decision out of the National Labor Relations Board. 

So, Boeing has a new plane, and to build this new plane, they decide to open a new facility, not right next door in Washington State, but clear across the country in South Carolina.  Obviously this is a menace.  Completely unfair to the poor Boeing workers in Washington who are now out of work.  But no, Boeing isn't laying anyone off in Washington.  That plant is still fully operational.  So, what's the problem?  The problem is is that Boeing's employees in Washington are part of a union, and if you want to work for Boeing in Washington, you HAVE TO join this union.  The employees in South Carolina CAN join that union if they wish, but they are not REQUIRED to do so.  Well, that's clearly a violation of the ummmm, the uhhhh, well gosh darn it, it's just not fair.

No, I'll tell you what's not fair.  What's not fair is a law that forces an individual to join a union in order to get a job with a company that is in an antagonistic (by design) relationship with said union, then compels dues be paid to said union.  Unions require majority support to be formed.  If they have that support they should be forced to maintain that support in order to stay.  If you can't convince enough people to voluntarily pay your dues, you can't operate.  They would have to better serve their constituencies to survive.  No, you're right.  Compulsion works better.  Makes life easier.

What's not fair is an unelected federal agency mandating where a company can do business, where it can hire employees.  The argument is that this is just another way to bust a union.  Again, no unions are being busted, they just have to earn the loyalty of new employees, give them a return for their hard earned investment.  If you can only exist by forced payments once you're establish then maybe you shouldn't exist. 

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