Labor

Thanks for Not Sending "Any Brown Shirts After Me"

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brown shirt

A bill is headed to the House floor which will make it easier for teamsters to unionize FedEx workers. FedEx, which was technically founded as an airline, has been protected from unionization under the Railway Labor Act (don't think about it too hard). But that anti-union protection would be removed by the FAA Reauthorization Act. UPS, which is already unionized, has heavily backed the bill so that FedEx will have the same labor costs as its competitor:

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., a member of the committee, again objected to the language, saying that "to subject the No. 1 commercial carrier in this country to a strike which the Railway Labor Act is designed to protect against" would be a mistake….

Cohen noted that fellow Democrat [Rep. James L.] Oberstar had a reputation for remembering "everything since Orville Wright went to North Carolina." He then thanked Oberstar for not sending "any brown shirts after me," a reference to the uniforms of UPS.

Some analysts say the company's expenses could increase by as much as 30 percent, if a significant percentage of its 290,000 workers are unionized.

Of course, unionizing the company will be much easier if card check passes.  

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108 responses to “Thanks for Not Sending "Any Brown Shirts After Me"

  1. UPS, which is already unionized, has heavily backed the bill so that FedEx will have the same labor costs as its competitor.

    That’s the norm with most regulations – they are meant to level the playing field, by screwing the consumer.

  2. Keep your powder dry.

  3. Well, why should that industry be exempt from the labor laws that apply to other ones (I mean, a reason other than “I don’t like unions in general so I’m for every exemption simply because it means less unions”). IF they are going to have labor laws they should apply to them to.

    I mean, instead of bitching about UPS trying to use the law to screw a competitor one might wonder what kind of pull airlines must have had to get an exemption that gave them an advantage (I mean, that is a typical libertarian analysis, to trace regulation and exemptions back to “special favors”).

  4. “Keep your powder dry.”

    I love this kind of stuff. Oh Noes a law might pass which will make it possible to unionize FedEx! It’s practically the end of the Republic as we know it!

    I mean, c’mon, we all know the socialization started with the flouridation of water man, you’re late to the rebellion…

  5. “Some analysts say the company’s expenses could increase by as much as 30 percent, if a significant percentage of its 290,000 workers are unionized.”

    Isn’t this an implicit admission that they’re underpaying their employees?

  6. MNG,
    Well, why should that industry be exempt from the labor laws that apply to other ones[?]

    Their exemption was lawful. The real issue is if those labor laws that make it mandatory for industries to deal with unions if the workers decide to unionize are valid or not.

    I mean, instead of bitching about UPS trying to use the law to screw a competitor one might wonder what kind of pull airlines must have had to get an exemption that gave them an advantage.

    The advantage may have been unfair, but I can ask a similar and yet more relevant question – was it not unfair to make UPS deal with its union instead of letting the company hire whomever they wanted? Leveling the playing field so that both companies have to incur the same costs is the same as hobbling a 100 meter run gold medalist to level the playing field with a wheelchair racer.

  7. Isn’t this an implicit admission that they’re underpaying their employees?

    No, it is rather an implicit admission that UPS is overpaying its employees by as much as 30%. The FedEx workers are getting EXACTLY what they accepted when hired, not a penny less.

  8. The current labor law regime in this country unfortunately provides the worst of all possible worlds, where both employers and unions depend in their bargaining on grants of government privilege.

  9. MNG,
    I love this kind of stuff. Oh No, a law might pass which will make it possible to unionize FedEx! It’s practically the end of the Republic as we know it!

    No, it is rather the practical end to a cheaper alternative to UPS. For me, a person who has to ship items by ground or air, it IS a disaster. But I do not think MNG that you’re that concerned about the consumer.

  10. If FEDEX gets unionized, they’ll be just as crappy as UPS. UPS goons make a point of dropping anything marked “fragile”, just because they know they can’t be fired for incompetence.

    -jcr

  11. FTG, I’m going to reprint this on the assumption that you didn’t catch it the first time:

    IF they are going to have labor laws they should apply to them to.

  12. Compulsory union membership issues aside, why should any business be protected from the unionization of employees? I still don’t get the general disdain on this site for this freedom to negotiate as a group. What is it I miss? Much of my family has nothing but disdain for UAW unions but the one person who dealt with both sides as a plant manager (’66-78…Flint, MI) had to fight both sides to stem the transgressions that have GM where they are. In his attempts to stop hiring the excess workers (already had people scamming/sleeping etc.)the union wanted, he was overruled by the Detroit bosses because the plant was making too much money per day. A sharp-penciled, but shortsighted, fellow decided a strike would cost more than bringing in the dead weight. It seems to me that these calculations of greed, from both groups, are the real problem in creating any sustainable industry.

  13. most regulations – they are meant to level the playing field

    Nope, they’re meant to exclude new competition.

    -jcr

  14. “But I do not think MNG that you’re that concerned about the consumer.”

    Yeah, I hate consumers…Wait a minute I AM A CONSUMER. Hey, SO ARE YOU!

    UPS actually dropped something off for me today. At work we use both, and they both seem the same to me. If anything UPS seems better…

  15. The general Libertarian attitude towards union matters most of what you need to know about where their real biases lie.

    It’s time to modernize guys, or else you’re going to be the bitter old men whispering slurs to yourself on park benches.

    Or on the Internet.

  16. IF they are going to have labor laws they should apply to them[,] to[o].

    You reprinted the sentence with mistakes and all.

    And I say again: The exemption was lawful. What is the real issue is the validity of the labor laws.

  17. What’s wrong with letting FedEx’s employees unionize, if they so choose? If they want to form a union in order to better represent themselves in negotiating terms of employment, what exactly is wrong with that?

    I’d also note, as a general rule, companies that treat their employees well, generally don’t have to worry about their employees unionizing. My folks are in construction, pretty much every other business in their trade has gone union, my folks, however, treat their employees very well and no one has even mentioned the possibility of going union.

  18. Well, why should that industry be exempt from the labor laws that apply to other ones (I mean, a reason other than “I don’t like unions in general so I’m for every exemption simply because it means less unions”). IF they are going to have labor laws they should apply to them to.

    If they were in the same industry, then of course we’d agree. But they’re not. Fed Ex is regulated under the Railway Labor Act.

    Oh, what’s that? Government intervention and regulation screwed everything up? Well yeah, we know where this rabbit hole goes.

  19. “I still don’t get the general disdain on this site for this freedom to negotiate as a group.”

    Many libertarians either hate groups or argue they don’t really exist. Or something. It confuses me to bro.

    But I bet the real reason is something like this: Business interests fund most libertarian institutions, the piper pays the tune, and the hired intellectuals write tomes about how libertarians must hate unions.

    Libertarian leaning folks read such folks and eat it up with a spoon.

    Oh, and you get a lot of sentiment on this site from folks who work in a union shop who have unique and shocking insight (sarcasm) that THEY are the brightest and most hardworking folks on the shop floor, their co-workers are by comparison lazy and incompetent, and if only that damn union didn’t get away their employers would elevate them to their rightful spot at his right hand side while giving those no-gooders what they REALLY deserve!

  20. Paul
    So we should be against a proposed change in the law because of what the law pre-proposed change says…

    Yeah…Oh, and I guess you think that what proves the Bible is true is that it says so right in the Bible!

  21. MNG,
    Yeah, I hate consumers…Wait a minute I AM A CONSUMER. Hey, SO ARE YOU!

    You are not concerned about consumers, MNG. You are surely concerned about YOU, but could care less about the costs that your pet ideas impose on others.

    UPS actually dropped something off for me today. At work we use both, and they both seem the same to me. If anything UPS seems better…

    Oh, isn’t that sweet… Except the discussion is not about what’s looks good for YOU.

  22. “But I do not think MNG that you’re that concerned about the consumer. Yeah, I hate consumers…Wait a minute I AM A CONSUMER. Hey, SO ARE YOU!”

    See, that’s just it: The detachment from other people’s reality. It’s never about the worker. It’s always about the buyer and seller to people around here.

    It’s quickly becoming archaic, and a bit loony because it’s so transparent.

  23. “The exemption was lawful. What is the real issue is the validity of the labor laws.”

    Ohmigosh. Please refer to my first post 2-3 AGAIN and my 7:57 post…

  24. So, MNG, do you believe that labor laws *should* or *should not* exist? And if you grant the latter, what is your argument for applying an unjust law equally throughout the economy?

    In some cases I do think this argument can be made, mind you … for instance, the distortion of the economy and corruption caused by industry subsidies via tax breaks outweighs any beneficial effects in freedom from taxation. I just don’t see it as especially applicable in this case.

  25. I mean, you realize what you’re saying right:

    We should not lawfully change an exemption in the law because the exemption was lawful.

    (Smacks forehead)

    This is what anti-union sentiment does to your brain…

  26. KG,
    What’s wrong with letting FedEx’s employees unionize, if they so choose?

    That’s not the problem – the problem is that FedEx would then not be able to let itself deal with other employees (that is, firing the unionized employees and hire non unionized). If you say “well, that is just not fair”, remember two things: one, people are not entitled to a job, and second, businesses should employ whoever they choose.

    If they want to form a union in order to better represent themselves in negotiating terms of employment, what exactly is wrong with that?

    Absolutely nothing. The problem is NOT what people do, it is the laws that make it mandatory to companies deal with unions once these form, as if the company’s private property changed ownership all of a sudden.

    I’d also note, as a general rule, companies that treat their employees well, generally don’t have to worry about their employees unionizing.

    That’s a lie – Hershey’s treated his employees extremely well and they ended up unionizing anyway, because they were (take your pick): bamboozled, bullied, pushed to be unionized.

    My folks are in construction, pretty much every other business in their trade has gone union, my folks, however, treat their employees very well and no one has even mentioned the possibility of going union.

    Wait until the card check law is signed.

  27. Graphite
    1. Yes.
    2. Fairness (if a competitor must follow such laws, then so should the other guy).

    That was simple.

  28. Where are the Pinkertons when you need them?

  29. “one, people are not entitled to a job,”

    Oh blah blah twiddle-twaddle

    Over the weekend someone said that a person is not entitled to have government help protect his property either.

    See, we can say all kinds of things.

    Doesn’t make it so.

    “Wait until the card check law is signed.”

    Yeah, because when THAT is passed suddenly workers will find themselves unable to, well, NOT SIGN THE CARDS.

    Their hands will be possessed by demonic forces like in Evil Dead that will sign the cards against their will.

    Sheesh.

  30. Lefiti
    Hey, only unions bully, threaten and cajole, what are you talking about? Employers only use reason and moral example…

  31. MNG,
    Many libertarians either hate groups or argue they don’t really exist. Or something. It confuses me to bro.

    You’re easily confused.

    But I bet the real reason is something like this: Business interests fund most libertarian institutions,

    Ah. Somehow, I knew your objections could not be for philosophical reasons. I was wondering at what time you would come up with some really silly Ad Hominem, and you certainly did NOT disappoint.

  32. FTG
    I have philosophical reasons a-plenty bro, the above was a proposed explanation to an empirical question posed above (why so much union hate from libertarians here?).

    But you’re so philosophical you already knew that, right Spinoza?

  33. MNG,
    We should not lawfully change an exemption in the law because the exemption was lawful.

    No, you asked “Well, why should that industry be exempt from the labor laws that apply to other ones?”. The reply is: The exemption is lawful, meaning that there IS a reason it was exempted.

    Over the weekend someone said that a person is not entitled to have government help protect his property either.

    Actually, the COURTS (i.e. the State) have said this many times, which makes the comment rather ironic, especially coming from a State worshiper.

  34. I have no problem with any union that can convince its employer to voluntarily sign a collective bargaining agreement, and I’m fine with codifying some ground rules on how that bargaining should work once such an agreement is signed.

    But I’m “anti-union” because I think that if the union can’t get the employer to sign the agreement, we should not empower NLRB bureaucrats to force him to bargain anyway.

  35. MNG,
    I have philosophical reasons a-plenty bro,

    I have yet to see a single one. Your attempts so far to discuss anything related to economics or rights do not seem to be superior to a high school student’s, replete with platitudes, very little analysis, clumsy reasoning, a lot of pontification, too many Ad Hominems, change of focus, lack of understanding of concepts, epistemological errors . . .

    I mean, what should I make of this retort:

    “Oh blah blah twiddle-twaddle”

    You’re not helping me here.

  36. OH NOES TEH UNIONS

    LOL, for crying out loud. FOr as long as i’ve read this site/mag, one of the things i noticed was a definite chill out approach to the specter of fascism, or use of that term. But one whiff of teh union(or Obama in general), and the thugs, brown shirts, and all kinds of fascist innuendo comes to the forefront.

    Guys get a grip, and put your intellectual underpants back on. This place is getting tedious.

  37. Graphite,
    But I’m “anti-union” because I think that if the union can’t get the employer to sign the agreement, we should not empower NLRB bureaucrats to force him to bargain anyway.

    That sums up the Libertarian argument.

  38. At its height, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency employed more agents than there were members of the standing army of the United States of America, causing the state of Ohio to outlaw the agency due to fears it could be hired out as a private army or militia.

    During the labor unrest of the late 19th century, businessmen hired Pinkerton agents to infiltrate unions, and as guards to keep strikers and suspected unionists out of factories. The most well known such confrontation was the Homestead Strike of 1892, in which Pinkerton agents were called in to enforce the strikebreaking measures of Henry Clay Frick, acting on behalf of Andrew Carnegie, who was abroad; the ensuing conflicts between Pinkerton agents and striking workers led to several deaths on both sides. The Pinkertons were also used as guards in coal, iron, and lumber disputes in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as the railroad strikes of 1877.

  39. Yeah, the guy above who said that the exemption being legal was an argument not to change the exemption in law is going to lecture me in philosophy…(and I like the lame attempt to wiggle out now that you’re busted, that you really meant there was a reason for the exemption [which you again don’t supply]).

    Maybe you can give me a better answer than that and we can then get to the philosophy, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting on ya to do so.

  40. Is this a new type of Lefti?

  41. Plus, Pinkerton agents played the bad guys in that Jesse James movie! You know, the one with Colin Farrell and that Cool Whip chick from Varsity Blues.

  42. I’ve no problem with Fedex workers unionizing if they see fit. A simple election with secret ballots, overseen by, ohhh I dunno, let’s say the NLRB, would ensure that they so desired and were not being influenced or coerced by fears that evil management hired thugs might retaliate if they voted for a union. Those evil management thugs wouldn’t know who to retaliate against.

    Card check is too fucked up for civil language. That the Dems would support it is un-fucking-conscionable.

  43. The fact that they’re being exempted from an unjust law seems like a perfectly good reason for the exemption to me. FTG has been perfectly clear on this point.

  44. Graphite
    The NLRB requires bargaining in good faith upon certification of a union via a show of majority employee support. The reasoning behind this at the time was
    1. The public interest in bringing the labor unrest that plagued society before the law to a lower level by rationalizing the process
    2. A recognition that the employer has greater bargaining power than the lone worker (a greater power aided by the government supplying force to protect the employer’s greater property/capital)

    Least ways all that is required of the employer is to bargain in good faith. He doesn’t have to budge on anything. Big frigging deal.

  45. Jesus Christ Graphite. So if there was a provision in the drug laws that said that white people were exempted you’d say “that’s a justified exemption, because the drug laws are unjust anyway.” Or one that says that elected officials are exempted from gun control laws…Etc.

    Laws should apply to everyone similarly situated equally. If the law is unjust it should be changed.

  46. The reason they were orginally exempted is because they were classififed as an airline.

    Which is clearly a bizarre classification today if not then.

    Hence the proposed change. It’s unfair to their competitors to have them follow certain laws that they do not have to follow.*

    *Alert for FTG, the philosophical principle you seek can be found in this post

  47. Jesus Christ Graphite. So if there was a provision in the drug laws that said that white people were exempted you’d say “that’s a justified exemption, because the drug laws are unjust anyway.” Or one that says that elected officials are exempted from gun control laws…Etc.

    Calm the hell down. I’ve already said I think the argument can be made either way on this point, depending on the law itself and the particulars of the exemption. But you ought to get called out for bullshit when you accuse those you’re debating of having no coherent point whatsoever, as you so frequently do.

  48. Employees can unionize all they want. But in a free society employers am not obligated to pay them what they demand. If they want to strike, let them strike. But let the employer decide on his own whether it’s worth his while give in to their pay raise request, or to hire new workers. On the flip side, workers should be able to form their own unions, without being forced into the monopoly unions the government demands. Make locals local!

    Voluntary assocation. It’s the true test of liberalism. Of course, most “liberals” aren’t really liberals, but progressives more interested in controlling the behavior of other people than in empowering the individual.

  49. I just left my job at FedEx (Express, the rest does not count) and I can tell you there was almost no motivation to unionize among the couriers (it’s news to me that unionization was outlawed at all). There WAS, however, a great motivation to perform better and get raises/bonuses, and in general there was very little bullshit between employees and managers–in other words, an ideal work environment.

    I only started there recently. Those who were there 25 years were some of the happiest and most financially secure people I’ve ever met, ready to retire on a well-funded company pension. Apparently it used to be that you could get from $8/hour to $20/hour within the first couple of years if you performed well.

    Today they have changed policies to ones that affected me more than the “lifers”. Starting wages were good but increased at probably 1/5th the rate. The company pension was replaced with a 401(k). Health benefits were still fantastic, and available to part-timers like me. These changes caused some employee grumbling but we understood the need for the company to react to a changing competitive and economic environment.

    Now, assuming I want to get back into delivering packages, which is a great line of work, I would go straight for FedEx rather than UPS. Even though my starting wage would indeed be 30 or 40 percent lower than at UPS, chances are there would be no work for me at UPS due to all the union shenanigans. From what I understand I would have to load trucks at UPS for a non-union wage of $8/hour until they let enough people go to hire you for the job you wanted in the first place.

    If UPS were to use their political influence to get FedEx unionized, I would be steaming mad, as would most FedEx employees. The flexibility of that company is amazing and the ability to change (recently they announced a 5% pay cut for all managers) ensures a secure future for all its workers. Losing that advantage would be a tragedy for all FedEx stakeholders.

  50. Clearly the real problem here is that FedEx was started by an Objectivist.

  51. Where are the Pinkertons when you need them?

    They’re working for the government now.

    -jcr

  52. The fair thing to do would be for UPS to become an airliner as well.

  53. “If UPS were to use their political influence to get FedEx unionized”

    They can’t. Only if a majority of the employees express their will to unionize would FedEx be made to bargain with the union.

    That’s true if this bill passes (you can be unionized under the Railway Act btw, in fact before the NLRB passed government “forced” collective bargaining was going on under the Railway Act, this bill just changes the level at which the majority support of employees would be gauged from national to local units). That’s true if the Card Check passes (threats and violence to intimidate people to sign the cards would still be illegal, but yes the poor employee would actually have to have his brain send a message to his mouth to form the words and utter the word “no” when asked to sign the cards, oh however will the employees do that!).

    So don’t get your panties in a wad…

  54. “Voluntary assocation. It’s the true test of liberalism. Of course, most “liberals” aren’t really liberals, but progressives more interested in controlling the behavior of other people than in empowering the individual.”

    Oh yeah Brandybuck, it’s just that you are for freedom and us liberals, we’re just for slavery.

    Come on, do you really think that?

    Maybe it’s that we think that because employers have more capital and resources than employees that many of the associations between them are less than ideally voluntary and we think unions will make them more so. And we think since unions are run by elections it actually increases the average person’s voice in their own life.

    Of course, maybe you don’t agree that these premises are correct. OK fine, I don’t have time for that debate tonight. But do you really think we don’t have some idea like that motivating us? We just want to control people’s behavior for shits and giggles and you guys just happen to love freedom and respect individuals?

  55. The funny thing is that its apparent that most folks commenting here did not rtfa or know jack about labor law and the Railway Act, and so were acting under the assumption (false) implied in the post that Fedex was “exempt” and “protectede” from unionization, that it could not unionize.

    But you didn’t see too many crying about the rights of the FedEx employees to form a union being violated by government fiat (even if you think the employer should be able to ignore and fire them all for asking about it). That of course would be a violation of “libertarian principles” of voluntary association too (as some of you noted).

    But it would happen to be a pro-worker one, so nothing to get upset about…

  56. “Oh yeah Brandybuck, it’s just that you are for freedom and us liberals, we’re just for slavery.”

    You guys do have a hard-on for centralized control (there are exceptions such as, oddly enough, George McGovern, but this is mostly true).

  57. The fair thing to do would be for UPS to become an airliner as well.

    The fair thing to do is for UPS and FedEx to become railroads.

    Parker Bros needs to update it’s gameboard anyway.

  58. Shorter MNG: I’ll only debtate on my terms, assuming away the fundamental philosophical difference I have with libertarians. What, you don’t want to engage me? INCREDIBLE!

  59. Come on, do you really think that?

    Actions speak louder than words. From the actions of self-identified liberals, I would have to say that they believe in the 180% opposite of what classic liberals did. I’m trying to think of any significant non-sexual area where modern liberals champion individual rights, and I can’t think of any. And even in the bedroom you guys get pissy if any dollars are involved.

  60. In his attempts to stop hiring the excess workers (already had people scamming/sleeping etc.)the union wanted, he was overruled by the Detroit bosses because the plant was making too much money per day. A sharp-penciled, but shortsighted, fellow decided a strike would cost more than bringing in the dead weight. It seems to me that these calculations of greed, from both groups, are the real problem in creating any sustainable industry.

    Proving nothing about greed but instead that even extortionists need good timing.

  61. “Some analysts say the company’s expenses could increase by as much as 30 percent ….”

    Which implies that most analysts (whoever the fuck they are) say that expenses will not increase by 30 percent. This is like saying “some forecasters are saying there might be as much as a 50 percent chance of rain today.”

  62. I mean, instead of bitching about UPS trying to use the law to screw a competitor one might wonder what kind of pull airlines must have had to get an exemption that gave them an advantage (I mean, that is a typical libertarian analysis, to trace regulation and exemptions back to “special favors”).

    Dammit, MNG is onto something. For once.

  63. At its height, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency employed more agents than there were members of the standing army of the United States of America

    Well lefiti, doesn’t that make you long for the days when the U.S. didn’t just automatically assume that American troops overseas was normal.

  64. “…what kind of pull airlines must have had to get an exemption that gave them an advantage…”

    A swag at this would be…carrying US Mail. Most of legacy airlines were built around hauling air mail. Passenger service started as a secondary source of income. I believe FedEX today carries a lot of regular mail, particularly international delivaries.

    The government allows many restrictions on unions where it would interfere with its essential functions.

  65. Fedex Labor costs will go up 30%, not because they will pay current employees 30% more, but because union rules and inefficiencies and poorer performance mean an increase of 30% more workers.

    This is an example of Obama’s plans to reduce unemployment. Who cares if prices go higher?

  66. Not quite sure who wrote the following…

    …most regulations – they are meant to level the playing field…

    I am sure that this is the case for some of the supporters of said regulation; how regulation in general works in practice is another matter entirely. Regulation is subject to the same sorts of public choice problems associated with all forms of government interaction with social, economic, etc. actors.

    Personally I really don’t care what the intention of a law, regulation, etc., indeed, to care about such things gets one drifting into genetic fallacy land eventually. What I care about is what that regulation actually does, who it benefits, who it screws, etc.

  67. “Yeah, because when THAT is passed suddenly workers will find themselves unable to, well, NOT SIGN THE CARDS.”

    1. I choose not to sign card.
    2. Union finds that everyone who voted “yes” signed the card, while all of the unsigned cards are “no”.
    3. Union looks up all of the names that do not appear on cards.
    4. Brick through my window, flat tires.

  68. Paul
    So we should be against a proposed change in the law because of what the law pre-proposed change says…

    Negative. I believe that all regulatory laws of this nature should be scrapped. All. Of. Them.

    These types of regulatory laws make our fine lawmakers prime targets for, you know, influence peddling, rent seeking and downright corruption.

    But if we can just pass a law to get the money out of politics…then, THEN this won’t happen anymore.

  69. 3. Union looks up all of the names that do not appear on cards.
    4. Brick through my window, flat tires.

    That must be the kinder, gentler union you’d be dealing with.

  70. Colonel_Angus, that’s all fine though because it evens out the imbalance of power created by the employer’s ability to fire you.

    You as an individual, of course, are not supposed to have any power at all.

  71. An important little factoid to note about shipping costs is that UPS is almost always less expensive than FedEx. This would seem to indicate that UPS is a very well run business. UPS can operate with higher labor costs and lower consumer costs than FedEx. Wow!

    UPS might be helped with a larger market share, by having FedEx bear the same labor costs.
    But UPS will not be helped by raising the cost of shipping.

    Amazon, EBay, and whatever.com rely on the consumer’s calculation that driving to a store to make a purchase is more expensive and time consuming than having that purchase delivered.

  72. Colonel,

    Please, Unions rig elections all the time. They don’t need to wreak havoc on union skeptics.

    Recently, my union election was rigged through inter-necine strife that left one half of the scum sucking equation ready to sue using our union dues. The rest of us could give a fuck about which of side of the blood-sucking leeches ‘represented’ u

  73. MNG,
    I seem to recall having some kind of discussion with you where you argued there were forms of coercion other than the governmental kind.

    Surely you realize that social coercion is included (ex. arranged marriages), and that workers who did not sign the cards would ultimately have their idenities revealed and likely be subject to social harassment.

    Is it okay with you for some workers to pressure others into voting for a union, and if so, why would that be?

  74. That’s not going to happen, first of all, and second of all I don’t really see what the problem is.

  75. Well, I’m honored, I’m being spoofed at 7:15. And what a lame spoof! You’d think it would at least have me comfirming that us liberals actually meet at a Round Table every Thursday to secretly plot how to take away the freedom of the average individual…

    But let’s answer the more serious folks one at a time:

    “Shorter MNG: I’ll only debtate on my terms, assuming away the fundamental philosophical difference I have with libertarians.”

    No, 1. since I’m a regular I assume most folks know I disagree with them on fundamental terms, and while I’m happy to have that debate though not froggy too since me and many others will know we are just rehashing old stuff I don’t need to because 2. I ALREADY PUT FORWARD THE MAJOR PHILOSOPHICAL POINT: that once you have a law, fair or not, it should apply generally. Sheesh.

    “You guys do have a hard-on for centralized control”

    Many liberals think the federal government can be used to protect individual freedom from certain kinds of economic/social/political coercion. Maybe that’s a devils bargain, but that’s why we are often ok with using it, to expand freedom. And that leads us to…

    “I seem to recall having some kind of discussion with you where you argued there were forms of coercion other than the governmental kind.”
    “Is it okay with you for some workers to pressure others into voting for a union, and if so, why would that be”

    Well Hazel the flip side of this is usually you guys are telling my guys how “social coercion” is an oxymoron that the law should not deign to recognize. Are you telling me that you recognize the social coercion of a union card drive as potentially bending the will of an individual but the economic need of having a job so you can eat and feed your family as not bending that same will, or the social coercion of discrimination in privately owned businesses as doing the same? What gives?

    But in answer to your last question, I see the potential social coercion involved in card drives as not as much of a threat as the coercion that employers apply in ballot elections (making employees go to anti-union rallies, giving bullying speeches, holding the job over their heads, taking action against organizers, etc).

    Since I can vote to control my union but not my boss I see unions as inherently more friendly to individual autonomy than management.

  76. “4. Brick through my window, flat tires.”

    Col. Angus seems to pee his pants in fright at the mere mention of a union. I wonder, did he get roughed up by some overzealous union boys, or just watched Hoffa too many times?

    But Col, throwing bricks and cutting tires will be illegal whether card check passes or not.
    It’s interesting that libertarians get all riled up when people pose legislation about people are thought likely to do (gun control legislation, because people with guns MIGHT go off and start shooting people, so we need prior restrictions) but are all hunky-dory with legislation like that…if it applies to unions.

  77. MNG,

    Unions generally aren’t worth the significant social and economic costs associated with them.

    Since I can vote to control my union but not my boss I see unions as inherently more friendly to individual autonomy than management.

    You’ve made these claims about the benefits of Union democracy before; however, I am skeptical. If Unions were truly democratic that would make them quite unlike any other centralized human institution in well, human history (as opposed to the democratic, decentralized marketplace). Indeed, it seems more likely that on average that Unions are really oligarchic and paternalistic in practice.

    So I think it would be wonderful for you to introduce us to some say labor history or what not which illustrates your point.

    BTW, what sort of union are you talking about exactly? A craft union? An industrial union?

  78. MNG,

    BTW, Unions would likely be very unfriendly to individual autonomy when it comes to anything important re: the workplace; such independence would undermine the power of the union after all. Indeed, stifling individual initiative and the like would seem to be a prerequisite of a Union.

  79. Oh Seward, I do believe in Michels Law of Oligarchy. But an organization which tends to run as an oligarchy but in which in theory democracy exists (and which therefore will be achieved sporadically) seems to be the best we can do as humans. I mean, as you note democratic governments have the same problems, but they are better than the alternatives. I think the same thing about unions.

    Look, in the rough and tumble upthread I was unfair, I know that honest and serious libertarians are actually concerned that unions will run roughshod over either the majority of employees or at least a minority. Those are concerns. I, and I think most honest and serious liberals just actually think that as an empirical matter those concerns are less serious than the pressures employers bring to bear on employees…

  80. MNG,

    I don’t know if I need to point this out, but one of the ways that an individual creates autonomy for themselves is by, well, getting ahead; enhancing their value to an employer. That sort of activity seems it would create lots of waves in a workplace that is unionized.

  81. Seward
    Not necessarily. In fact, having certain union won concessions and protections may leave workers feeling protected enough to innovate.

    In fact, most large enterprises squelch innovation through their bureaucracy, union or no. Uniform rules, micromanagement, etc., are the norm for many organizations because while they tie up the genius they also tie up the fool…

  82. Another way to get ahead is for the employees to stick together (by each person’s decision) and get concessions (promotion schemes, job protection, pay raises, etc). It’s a strategy that, if it works, will maximize this getting ahead by spreading it among many workers.

    And with 85% less toadying to the boss necessary!

  83. Stay on point fellas…FedEx employee can already be unionized under the Railway Act. However, it must be done by class and craft across the nation. Simply stated, the whole company would have to be unionized by individual job funtions all at once rather than location by location as would be the case under the NLRA. Why is this necessary? Because otherwise a union could locally organize–lets say just Chicago–in turn the union could then leveage their ability to shut down Chicago and cripple the entire network world wide, to get what they want. Then they advertise their strenght to the rest of the nation by saying “look what we got for the employees in Chicago.” All the while, UPS can increase their prices as FedEx customers lose confidence in the FedEx network.

    Originally set up so the unions could not cripple the railroads in just such a manner before the airline industry took hold. Some of you seem to get hung up on the name so maybe we should change it to the Railway-Airline Labor Act.

    Keep in mind FedEx Express is an airline. They have a fleet larger than any other Airline out there kids. They fly freight to ensure on time delivery. Cant truck it from New York to LA overnight kids.

    UPS chose to contract their Airfreight, and not register under the Railway Labor Act. Keep in mind UPS was strickly a trucking company until the middle 80’s when they got into the air freight business. FedEx started in the express business. It has to and had to be an airline. Now that FedEx Corp has a ground network that competes directly with UPS and is growing in leaps and bounds they had to lobby to stop the competition. Plain and simple kids. FedEx ground is not governed by the railway act. Fedex ground is UPS’s competition (a separate company mind you). As express freight volumes plummet and ground freight rises, UPS fears FedEx ground, so they hatched a scheme with the teamsters to affect the Express company of which 75% of FedEx Corps revenue come from. UPS and the teamsters are also pissed about FedEx ground using the independent contractor model. A fairly brilliant way of avoiding organized efforts within the ground network.

    Hey, Unions are a business just as UPS and FedEx. They are trying to survive. They need new revenue as their ranks deminish from the ourageous demands they have placed on the American industry for too many years. I mean how much should we pay a high school drop out to load a truck or put a bolt on a car on an assembly line? Well, lets ask them now that they are all looking at an unemployment line rather than a assembly line or packages. Good job Teamsters and UAW !!!

    Last thing….next time you vote for President, would you like it if you had to advertise your vote to everybody in your neighborhood, church, work, or school weeks before the election? Why not? Thats what the Democrats that are beholden to the unions want for employees. Hey, being a Democrat is a business to. They need revenue to keep everybody beholden to them. Me…I rather make my own decisions and spend my own money and be responsible for my own life course.

    Luv….Ex-Teamster

  84. I should think its not hard to show as an empirical matter that this union strategy of which I speak is more successful for more people in the real world (that is, average union pay, benefits, etc. in an industry are higher than avg. non-union pay, benefits, etc.). More people getting ahead more. By your criteria, a success…

  85. FedEx is an airline?
    No shit, that truck that dropped that package off this morning, was that a DC-10 or 9?

  86. MNG likes to hear himself talk huh?. Let me ask you this: Last time you flew somewhere and took a cab to the hotel did you consider the the cab to be the main means of your transportation? Same here dork. The truck travel the last 10 miles of the 1500 mile trip. Or would you like to pick your package up at the airport? UPS and FedEx Ground truck the packages the entire way, hence, trucking companies. Fly it, and you get yourself an airline. Now go feed your fish.

  87. It is amazing to me that only a single person has bothered to point out that UPS is cheaper than Fedex.

  88. MNG,

    I should think its not hard to show as an empirical matter that this union strategy of which I speak is more successful for more people in the real world (that is, average union pay, benefits, etc. in an industry are higher than avg. non-union pay, benefits, etc.).

    Well, do it then.

  89. Eric S. What amazes me is that you believe that. FedEx Express is more expensive than UPS ground but in most cases UPS express freight is the same or higher than FedEx express. However, admittedly, there is no standard correct answer as pricing is a strategy that take in to consideration myriads of individual circumstance related to volume of a customer and the mix of services within those volumes. Not to mention distance based pricing influences.

  90. MNG. I must say (no kidding) I am impressed with the intelectual skills of the folks–including you–however, it seems there are no practical points of view. Experience that is only gained from within these various organizations. I worry about what you are learning in school. It is not what you will find in the real world.

    To your point however, Most folks do not belong to unions. Never have never will. They seem to get along well. One unavoidable fact about unions is that in a global economy, they have been pricing themselves right out of business. They now have to resort to what many fear as solicitation of our government to allow what amounts to more and more Socialists policies. We cant solve the problem by internalizeing trade. The world economy is far more influential on our childrens future that the protectionism theorist can ever admitt.

  91. MNG: Please start a business so that people could unionize under you and show you exactly how stupid you fucking are.

  92. MNG, Why are there publuc employee unions? Surely the government wouldn’t act in bad faith.

  93. If unions are such an untrammeled good for workers, how come they don’t just voluntarily unionize in all industries? Why are so many laws favoring unions necessary? Isn’t it really because there’s a tension between the marketplace and the union? After all, there are whole swaths of industries without significant unionization. Why is that?

  94. Kevin Carson, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Kevin Carson, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Thank you. *click*

  95. MNG: Why? you ask. Because they are spending your money (taxes) and then they tax the government employee’s wages. They are accountable to nobody. Nor does the government have to worry about competition or going out of business.

  96. Pro Libertate,

    Well, more to the point, union membership outside of government employment has been steadily dropping per capita and in sheer numbers across the “West” for about 30-40 years now.

    MNG,

    In fact, having certain union won concessions and protections may leave workers feeling protected enough to innovate.

    Many of those concessions are there to protect people from competition, and thus to stifle innovation.

    In fact, most large enterprises squelch innovation through their bureaucracy, union or no.

    Sure, I agree. Which is one of the reasons why I don’t favor government intervention to protect them.

    And with 85% less toadying to the boss necessary!

    As opposed to toadying to the Union bosses?

    As best as I can tell you are painting a very romantic view of unions.

  97. Anyway, one of the most significant obstacles for Unions in the U.S. is that they are government protected monopolies. They would be more useful and less corrupt entities if that protection was dropped; I would also like to see anti-trust activity by the government in general scuttled, but that seems to be less attainable goal.

  98. In fact, having certain union won concessions and protections may leave workers feeling protected enough to innovate.

    Based on actual experience working around the Teamsters, they tend to focus their innovative energies on finding ways to work less and steal more.

  99. I would object less strenuously to unionization if it included an “opt-out” provision for the owners:
    “You guys can join the Teamsters/UAW/Macinists/et c if you want, but the next day I will begin winding down operations at this facility, and transfer production elsewhere.”

    As has been pointed out already, if you treat your employees fairly, they will be less likely to fall for the bullshit put out by union oranizers.

  100. Eric S. What amazes me is that you believe that. FedEx Express is more expensive than UPS ground but in most cases UPS express freight is the same or higher than FedEx express.

    I agree, Eric was probably comparing apples to oranges there. The fact is that the two firms are price competitive. A decent sized company can take their business from one firm to another and keep or lower their rates, in most cases. Some of the time you make the decision entirely on customer service. I’m biased of course but I think FedEx Express has better service, and with ground I think UPS is better.

  101. do we all agree they are better than USPS?

  102. Labor laws are already stacked in favor of unions with such things as the Davis-Bacon Act – an outrageous rip off of the taxpayers that has been going on for about 70 years.

    And giving labor negotiatiors an artificial advantage in prohibiting companies from firing all the workers and hiring replacements.

    Employees should be free to organize and attempt to bargain with employers if they want but companies should also be free to NOT negotiage if they DON’T want and hire a whole new set of workers if they choose to do so and can find enough people available to do so.

  103. Yes. Union pay and benefits are higher in the auto industry. Look how that worked out.

    The problem is that unions are subject to the same political problems and incentives that everyone else is. The unionized workers stop caring about product quality or cost efficiency once their jobs are secure, because they are insulated from the effects of their performance.

    Except in the long run, when the company collapses.
    The way unions respond to that eventuality is to limit competition with their company. I.e. unionize all auto companies to level the playing field.
    But then the collapses happens across the entire industry when it is exposed to foreign trade. To which they respond with protectionist measures, or, if they are really ambitious “workers of the world unite!”.

    But even then, we’re still stuck with a shoddy product, because the workers no longer have incentives to perform.

    In other words … when the workers control the means of production, they end up producing junk and forcing people to buy it at the point of a gun.

  104. Umm, guys, when they do a survey and ask workers “would you like to have a union” the % that say yes if far greater than the current % unionized.

    That gap? That’s coercion.

    “Why are there publuc employee unions”
    WTF are you talking about? Unions have to sue the government all the time. In fact, they were and are the leaders in fighting drug testing in the workplace, for example.

    Seward
    Do I really need to prove to you that within an industry the avg. union employee has higher pay and benefits than the avg. non-union employee?

    Really? I thought everyone knew that. I mean, you can argue that this is ultimately ruinous like Hazel does, but to deny that is pretty way out there.

    ” how come they don’t just voluntarily unionize in all industries?”

    See discussion of coercion, supra.

    Spike

    My point is that it’s obvious that UPS and Fexex are in the SAME LINE OF BUSINESS, hence they should have the SAME LAWS APPLIED TO THEM.

    Ok?

  105. “That gap? That’s coercion.”

    That’s right, MNG. The managers are sending out thugs to “persuade” workers not to join unions.

    I am, of course, bullshitting liberally. I don’t count threatening to fire strikers as “coercion”.

  106. MNG: I have to ask–and please be honest. Have you ever been employed by a union? Have you ever been employed? Have you ever managed an operation? Have you ever owned a business? Im jsut trying to sense where your point of view comes from other than the useless text and liberal rags you seem to be absorbed with. What practical experience do you have in life? You seem so fucking naive.

    You are making a fool out of yourself. Does anybody agree?

  107. “You are making a fool out of yourself. Does anybody agree?”

    You’re conversing in an echo chamber, son. Asking if anyone agrees with every strawman characterization of an opponent on a Libertarian forum is a bit of rhetorical question. But it’s nice to see the often veiled Libertarian insecurity finally revealed.

    I’ve always believed that much of the ranting that occurs on here is merely people trying to convince themselves, but that’s another topic.

    Anyway, the predictions about how people act in the place if this or that authority are probably the most egregious logical fallacies cast around here, and are far too heavily relied on during discussions like this. In fact, they’re irrelevant due to their subjectivity, and inherent bias.

    Claiming that Unions absolutely affect quality control is an absolute howl. Low paying jobs (most of the jobs that are available) with little upward mobility, or security have already been doing that for quite sometime. Some of you seem to live in the same mythological America that the rest of Conservative-ville lives in. Guess what? It doesn’t exist.

    So, while some of you have managed to highlight the same old negative aspects of Unionization, that’s pretty much it. There’s no reason to express this level of righteousness over such a debatable topic.

    These are just ideas, and many of them haven’t even been tested, or analyzed. You guys seem to have graduated from the Ayn Rand school of logic. You’re combining the worst aspects of the hyper-emotional Romantic, with the worst aspects of the Conservative, “will to power” mythos.

    What a cognitive train wreck.

    And you wonder why you’re not, and likely never will be an important part of political discourse. At some point, you’re going to have to engage in compromise.

  108. “How to debate rationally”

    Get your nose out of the book and the dick out of your mouth. Folks like you like to here themselves talk–Nobody else does. There are two worlds of opinion out there; The one based on life experience and the one based on the mindless drivel pumped out by dorks like you. Baseless crap that sheep like you get from your liberal professors and socialist rags. You have no real opinion on social subjects–you have to read them somewhere first and then present them as if they were your own thoughts. It probably took you an hour to develop your response there skippy. I speak from life knowlege. My response is not theoretical..it is life experience. Let me ask you something genius: Do you have a job? Have you ever had a job? Have you ever run a business? Have you ever worked for a union? Have you ever worked? Have you ever managed people? Answer yes to any of those questions and I may have a sliver of respect for your mindless drivel. Otherwise–go polish your star wars figures and wipe your professor’s cum off you lips.

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