To compensate for the rigid limitations imposed by the unions, American corporations found a way to retain flexibility by hiring an army of temporary employees through specialized “temp” agencies. I used to be a temp and am describing only what I saw. The “temps” didn’t have the perks of their unionized co-workers, they worked more, and they could be fired without warning. For all intents and purposes they were the official second-class citizens of the corporate realm, whose work paid for the privileges of others.
I don’t mean to complain; I was grateful for the opportunity to have those jobs, as were most other “temps,” and the pay was fair. I felt like a deck boy sailing on luxury cruise ships of socialism that navigated capitalist waters under the protection of the battleships of trade unions. Unfortunately, there could be no protection against the icebergs of recession and financial crises. And when trouble struck, deck boys got thrown overboard without a life jacket. But capitalism is no more to blame for this than the Atlantic Ocean was to blame for the class divisions among the passengers on the Titanic.
These two unequal classes of employees seem to be a relatively recent byproduct of the policies of “economic equality and justice” — a compromise to avoid the death by strangulation as life is trying to wiggle itself out from under the morbid weight of absurd policies. How can such an idealistic intention as forced economic equality create inequality? When the results are the opposite of what is intended, it usually means that the intentions are based on a faulty premise. And since the premise here is “economic equality,” it must be an erroneous concept.
In the same way, on all levels of the economy, unionized socialism has created privileged classes of workers that exist at the expense of the underclass. As such, it has become a parasitic formation that is connected to the capitalist economy the way a parasite is connected to a healthy host body. It would then seem to be in the unions’ best interests not to immobilize the host body lest they die along with it.
The paradox of the union movement is that it succeeds as long as it fails to grow. A unionization of the entire country would not only end current exclusive privileges, but would make the economy so stagnant that the ensuing economic crisis would force the government to manage labor relations, restrict union powers, and revise labor contracts. Such a prospect is not so far-fetched, given some stated government aspirations to regulate paid vacations and sick leaves. This may seem friendly to the unions, but history indicates that when an intrusive government assumes union functions, friendship ends and a competition for power begins, in which the government of course prevails. Having fulfilled their historical mission of advancing a state-run economy, the unions will outlive their usefulness and succumb to the fate of their Soviet brothers as voiceless puppets of tyranny.
And since forced economic equality tends to result in forced inequality of the authoritarian state, unionized workers will end up being an underclass ruled by the powerful and corrupt state oligarchs, who are the only beneficiaries of a system that redistributes unearned privileges. If one day union activists wake up under such new management, they will only have themselves to blame.
Coming soon: “American Unions: A Study in Collective Greed and Selfishness.”