The Mechanics of Union Labor Law
In a violence free environment, economic actors trade their services in peace. The regulator of trade is the contract. In a contract, the parties grant rights to each other, and at the same time accept duties for themselves. It in effect becomes law for the associated parties.
The concept of Union Labor turns all this on its head, with disastrous results. The mechanics of Union Labor are such:
- Allows for the breaking of the vow promising to perform contractual duties with impunity.
- Excludes non-union members from employment.
- Allows for destroying property belonging to the employer.
- Allows for violence against those who would work in the strikers' stead.
- Allows for violence against those purchasing products & services from the employer.
The author will take a stand and make a few moral statements. Destroying property belonging to another is wrong; threatening violence in order to extract money smacks of Mafia tactics. Intimidating those who want to work is wrong. Physically harming customers on the market as punishment for peacefully buying a product is wrong. Breaking one's word is lying, and wrong.
Although (3), (4) and (5) on the part of union members are rare today, and there exist laws against such action, they do take place. Given the "correct" circumstances, government will look the other way. It must however be noted that the government enforces (1) and (2), whereas (2) is essentially the same as (4). Points (1) and (2) are the major issues.
It must be stressed that unions can only dare venture such acts because the government does not stand up for the victims of contractual fraud. It decidedly declines to protect the private property of individuals, or to enforce breached contracts. But this is not enough. The government is also strong armed by unions to use aggressive violence against the employer should he try to circumvent the union by hiring potential replacements. In effect, a monopoly is instituted through government violence.
Not honoring contracts and stooping to violence are the means exercised by union members to increase their own piece of the pie compared to what the free-market dictates; all with the implicit approval of a socialistic government.
But their victory is short lived. The market laws dictate that some will have to become unemployed. Competent understanding of elementary economics reveals this. The market price for a service is determined by the intersection of the supply (employee) and demand (employer) curve. When the price is artificially held higher than the market price, there forms a surplus of unconsumed supply, which is unemployment. Taking part in unionism is financial Russian roulette, as some are left without a job.
Maybe an analogy would assist in understanding the injustice of unionism. Suppose you are renting an apartment. Suddenly, the landlord knocks on the door and demands a 20% increase in pay, otherwise you will be thrown out on the street. He begins tossing your belongings out on the street to make his point. He then informs you that the government not only affords him this right, but also to bar any other potential landlords from providing you the same service at a competitive rate. This kind of action is particularly destructive for the economy. The market simply does not work if contracts are not honored.
There is, however, a right way to unionize. It is not immoral per se that a group of employees refuse to work. One can do it without violence and without breaking signed contracts. Refraining from violence and meeting contractual obligations is a matter of choice. The employee must only negotiate his contract such that he is allowed to stop work at a moment's notice as opposed to the standard two to six weeks.
But it must be understood that a person demanding these conditions will find closed doors with many employers. Most jobs require a certain amount of dependability; certainly the ones that pay well. An important job - one that commands higher pay - while at the same time not requiring dependability, does not exist. Also, the remaining unimportant jobs will only be had at a discount compared to workers willing to promise two to six weeks notice prior to ceasing performance. If the would-be striker's aspirations lie with obtaining the greatest amount of pay per unit work, he must prove dependability. But then he must forego the right to walk off the job at a moments notice per contract.
Author: Scott Wallace Brians
Date: 24 December 2006
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