Tuesday, September 22, 2015
A sorry excuse for bashing unions
The honorable Scott's biggest talking point among those Republicans who vote in primary elections was that, as a true blue conservative, he had fought and bashed the labor unions in Wisconsin. This is a good talking point among Wisconsin business folk because the state has been losing jobs to China ever since the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was a popular thing. I have some cooking utensils that I may have inherited from my mother or at least acquired during the first five years of my marriage that have stamped statements on the bottom that they were manufactured in Wisconsin. Washing machines used to be manufactured by the Whirlpool Corporation whose factory was in Benton Harbor, Michigan. If you buy a Whirlpool appliance today it will have a little stamped message with the words "made in China." Wisconsin and Michigan have been big losers to low-wage, non-union countries like China. It's no wonder that governors of these states would like to get some of the manufacturing work back. Hence, the attack on unions - to bring about a change in the cost of labor in Wisconsin.
Of course, going after the labor unions isn't going to bring any of those manufacturing jobs back. The difference between the Chinese average wage and the American minimum wage precludes American labor costs from falling to the level of those in China. Even if you count the advantage of the cost of transporting the manufactured products from China to the United States where they are sold to the public, the Chinese still have a big advantage. Bashing the unions or even eliminating them completely isn't going to solve the problem. Union bashing is a sorry, ineffective action, like spitting into the wind.
As sorry an excuse for a leader as the Hon. Scott Walker is, the voters of Wisconsin who keep voting for him are an even sorrier lot. There are available candidates for public office who understand that labor unions by themselves are not responsible for the problems that free trade agreements have imposed on us. The American people - even the people of Wisconsin - are not going to tolerate any state or federal government that has the policy of trying to compete with China by imposing drastic reductions in the pay of American workers. Why the voters of Wisconsin have not thronged to support these more intelligent and less biased candidates in beyond me. After all, I grew up in Michigan, not Wisconsin.