SEARCH BLOG: LABOR DAY
This Labor Day weekend, the U.S. is in its fourth year of its "labor recovery" holiday. While some aspects of the economy have shown modest improvement, the first-term legacy of Barack Obama has been one of high unemployment and tepid prospects for the future.
Labor is sometimes a term used to describe difficult physical or manual work... digging ditches, assembly line jobs, watching Michigan play Alabama... but it is more broadly applied to any endeavor not related to relaxation and recreation. It is work. Still, Labor Day had its roots as a holiday for the "working class" or "blue collar workers."
Labor unions came about to represent workers in industry for obtaining better working conditions and better wages. Times have changed and businesses have responded to the adversarial situation between themselves and labor unions by locating their factories in "right to work" states... states where union membership is not mandatory... and providing pay and benefits at least equal to what unions have been able to negotiate without taking on the burden of dealing with a union and restrictive work rules.
In response to that, labor unions are now trying to have state constitutions rewritten so that public service employees are no longer subject to binding arbitration. In Michigan, a new ballot proposal would result in no effective way for Michigan to deal with public labor issues.
As a prelude to this lopsided public union grab for power, the Service Employees International Union struck a sweet deal with former Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm, to "represent" all home health care workers that received payment from the State of Michigan for providing home health care services. This deal, in effect, has skimmed almost $32 million from these providers for absolutely no benefit or representation... and continue to do so even after the current governor outlawed the practice.
Wisconsin has already provided an example of what happens when taxpayers say "enough." Then the pendulum swings so far in the other direction that public union employees are economically hung out to dry.
This could ultimately be the fate for public service employees in Michigan and, perhaps, the federal government will have to step in with more "shovel ready jobs" to overcome the impact of another taxpayer backlash ... specifically for Michigan. Nothing like some brisk work to get the old body's juices flowing, eh?