On some level, it doesn’t matter all that much if private corporations succumb to Social Darwinism by making profit their bottom line. That’s capitalism! Of course the product must not be compromised and the employees must not be abused. Work conditions and wages must be appropriate. But there are always decisions to be made and very often there are trade-offs. For example, sometimes everyone must make a sacrifice for the sake of a business to remain in existence. Sometimes it’s better to make a small sacrifice and remain employed than refuse to do so and become unemployed.
In the private sector, unions can only get away with what the market will bear. Through the union era, labor unions pushed for wages and benefits. When demands became too great, businesses pushed back, very often threatening to close and reorganize while protected under bankruptcy laws. Obama’s seizure of the auto industry short-circuited this process, not for the better since taxpayers were burdened where they shouldn’t have been and non-favored, perhaps not-paying-off businesses, were forced under. Left to its own devices, Ford survived wholly on its own, surely making a mockery of Obama’s claim of saving the industry and underscoring the fact that when government intervenes in the free market both the market and the taxpayers suffer.
Public service unions whose contracts are with governments are different animals. Governments do not go bankrupt, though perhaps they should. Their funds are unlimited and the unions know this, the politicians know this, and the taxpayers know this since it is always their money that is taken. Unions in this sector continually demand, politicians promise, and governments routinely borrow to meet the demands. In big cities like New York, the government is held hostage by the sanitation workers union in the hot summer when their contract expires. Ever wonder why their contract expires in the summer? Garbage not picked up for a few weeks doesn’t really stink in the freezing winter. But it’s pretty gross in the summer swelter. Some genius union leader got really smart.
Overall, private sector union membership has significantly decline since the 1980s but currently public service union membership is approximately five times that of private sector union membership. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership is nearly half what it was in the 80s. In 2015 total union membership rate was 11.1 percent. It was 20.1 percent in 1983 when records started being kept. Currently, private sector membership is about 6.5 percent while public sector membership is over 35 percent. BLS News Release 1/2016.
This is all part of Social Darwinism. The primary purpose of unions originally was to protect the worker. Now, in an era where unions are somewhat outdated and even extraneous, the unions’ key goal is survival. Following sanitation’s lead, generally the police and fire unions get quid pro quo. Often, the teachers get less since in America teachers are considered tantamount to babysitters. But the teachers went national and have grown to epic proportions. Today, the AFT is a key player in elections, national and local, and in similar form so are the police and firefighters.
National municipal unions in today’s America do very little to protect and serve their rank and file. We hear about the high profile cases but seldom see the routine and mundane lack of services provided the general membership. Continual expansion, collecting dues and supporting political candidates for the purposes of union survival is now the primary function of public service unions. About 900 million dollars of union money went to, you guessed it, Democrats in 2004. That was to swell the size of government or increase union dues base. More than that went out in 2011 and 2016 is a municipal back-Hillary priority for the same purpose.
Public service employees must join their unions and must pay dues. They have no say where their union donates, so union members very often contribute to a candidate not of their choice. More important, the unions no longer exist to serve the rank and file. Having succumbed to Social Darwinism, they now exist to exert political capital to expand their membership base through swelling government. This is with no concern whatsoever for whether expanding government is beneficial or detrimental to the union members and the clientele they serve.
Survival at any cost has usurped their original purpose. Survival, not benefiting the people they are supposed to serve or even their clientele, is now their prime directive. They have succumbed to Social Darwinism.