October 09, 2002

TOO QUIET

TOO QUIET: Will someone who has a better knowledge of labor policy than I please explain the wisdom (or lack thereof) of Bush forcing the ports open? The blogosphere has been strangely quiet, perhaps because the issue is so arcane, but there must be someone with a viewpoint on it.

UPDATE: Okay, I read the Wall Street Journal op-ed (not online) by Stefan Gleason of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Gleason applauds the president for the Taft-Hartley injunction, but says it's just a "band-aid on a gaping wound," and calls for real labor policy reform (though he's a little vague on the specifics). The president intervening in labor negotiations leaves a bad taste in my mouth all by itself. It appears that this is a case of regulation begetting regulation; there would be no need for government intervention if unions didn't enjoy extrodinary government protection in the first place. In fact, shippers staging a lockout to protest a union-mandated work slow down probably wouldn't happen at all if employees were freer to buck the union line. As it stands, unions are typically formed by majority vote, sometimes generations ago; employees are rarely able to join a union one at a time, as they ought to be. I'm fairly certain that this is codified in federal law.

My question is, is there any labor law that belongs on the books? I tend to doubt it. Merely enforcing criminal laws prohibiting violent 19th-century style strike-breaking tactics should be enough to level the collective-bargaining table sufficiently.

Posted by John Tabin at October 9, 2002 02:14 PM
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