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March 15, 1983 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-15

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C

OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, March 15, 1983

The Michigan Daily'.

Unions keep

unemployment rates high

By Mark Gindin
it has always struck me as odd that the
United Auto Workers, or any other labor union
for that matter, has never been prosecuted un-
der the same anti-trust regulations that govern
the rest of the country.
Labor unions meet all the qualifications for
prosecution. They are well-versed in the arts of
price-fixing, collusion, wage discrimination,
and monopolistic tendencies in what would
otherwise be free competition.
WHAT IS even more disconcerting is that
they are the single most important reason for
the current high unemployment especially
among young people. The country has been
lagging behind in productivity, yet there are
apparently armies of willing workers out there
who would like nothing more than the oppor-
tunity to contribute. Labor unions have stopped
them cold.
Unions have found that the best way to im-
prove the lot of their members is to restrict
competition, which means anyone who will
work for a lower wage. The trick to obtaining
a well-paying job is to join a union. And if you
don't join, you don't get a job.
Now that it is obvious it is in the labor union
community's best interest to restrict com-
petition in the marketplace, the actions of
organized labor over the past years become
clear. Closed shops, unemployment strike
benefits, and the minimum wage are only three
of their weapons.
WHETHER it is the UAW, the carpenter's
union, or the American Medical Association,
the less people working in the field, the less
competition union members have to fight. So in
the name of public security, legislation has
-been passed forcing various companies to hire
only members of organized labor - not
because they do a better job, but because they
are members of a union.
One of the restrictions enforced by the
National Labor Relations Board - the gover-
nment umbrella for organized labor -
removes any hiring freedoms from the em-

SELL HER'E

the world economy, those demands are
mutually exclusive.
As the price of labor rises, the economy turns
to more capital-intensive activities. This basic
law of economics tells us that as labor unions
demand and get more exorbitant pay raises,
there is added incentive for companies to
resort to automation and layoffs. Although ac-
tually caused by union demands, labor leaders
decry the shift as "un-American."
Ann Arbor's own Wordprocessors copy store
was forced out of business by the union that
struck the store. The state prohibited it from
hiring less expensive workers and the striking
workers received almost 90 percent of their pay
in compensation benefits. The business failed.
Society was denied its services permanently
and the workers were added to the unem-
ployment rolls. When it seemed over, the
owners attempted to set up a similar service
from their home and the union attempted to
stop them on the grounds that it was actually
the same company.
THERE HAS been recent uproar about
various proposals that would in some fashion
reduce or eliminate the national minimum
wage. Chief among the opponents of a repeal
are the labor unions. Although they say the
reason behind their actions is an interest in
those who would be forced to work for less pay,
they actually have their labor monopoly to
worry about. If more people were hired, some
may take the jobs currently occupied by a
union member.
If it is currently worth hiring someone at
their current pay, the only way another would
take the employee's place if his skills were
the same but he offered to work for less. Under
this system, an employee would be paid what
the job is worth, no more and no less. Skilled
workers would be paid more than unskilled
workers, and more people would be employed.
The employment of teenagers and other
workers who do want to work but cannot would
increase. Those of us who tried, but couldn't get

any sort of job during our formative years, will,
only be relics in a society that can get anybody
a job who is willing to work.
BUT LABOR unions wouldn't like such a
society. And according to reactions to the
proposals, neither would the rest of the coun-
try. They would prefer the curious situation'
where it is better to have many unemployed
and a few overpaid workers than many em-
ployed at less than high wages.
Of course, nobody would be forced to work. '<
As in any free market transaction, the
arrangement would have to satisfy both par-
ties. If you don't like the job, don't take it,%
someone else will. If nobody else takes it, the,
pay will rise until someone will take it. So even-
tually, job quality will equal pay.
The advantages of labor unions are many,
including acting as voice of the workers and as
a sort of caretaker and supporter of its mem-
bers during hard times. But workers should
join only voluntarily. As it turns out, they will
probably be better off without one, as will the
.rest of the economy.
If the United States is ever to regain its
reputation as one of the most efficient
producers. the world has ever known, unions
will have to give up their monopolistic tenden-
cies. And the government must stay out of the
market.
Anytime there is a monopoly, efficiency and
productivity are lost. As things stand today,
labor is much more of a threat to the free fun-
ctioning of the market than any of the multi-
national corporations consumer advocates are
screaming about.
A loss of the labor monopolies will result in
higher productivity, higher wages, more
national income, a better trade balance, and
higher employment. For all those labor ad-
vocates out there, there's the chance to do
something really meaningful.
Gindin, a former Daily editor, is a senior
economics major.

Douglas Fraser and the UAW: Thwarting free competition

ployer. Under this rule, it is illegal for a com-
pany to threaten a shut down or selective hiring
if the employees plan to form a union. Even if a
union will mean higher wages the company
cannot afford, the business is forced into
bankruptcy as the union watches. The market
is no longer free, and efficiency is thrown out
the window.
Atari, in a wise move, has decided that it will
bypass United States law and move out of the
country this summer. Citing high and rising

labor costs, the electronics company will lay
off 1,700 workers in California and move to the
more competitive countries of Hong Kong and
Taiwan. In this case, U.S. labor cut its own
throat.
IF IT ENDED here, the situation might be
only sad. As it stands, the current labor struc-
ture of this country is tragic. Amid cries of
"Buy American" and "Employ Americans,"
labor unions simultaneously call for higher
wages and more jobs. Under current criteria in

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Stewart

-I

I

4

Vol. XCIII, No. 128

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Taking the initiative

I

T HE WAYNE STATE University
Board of Governors should be
commended for divesting their univer-
sity's holdings in apartheid South
4frica.
Through their action last week, the
Wayne State board finally recognized
that divestment represents a moral
issue that must be addressed strongly.
Wayne State's governors say they
did not decide to sell off $1.9 million in-
vested in 11 companies that operate in
South Africa because of the new state
law requiring public universities to
divest. They did it because they
recognized the basic human rights
principle involved.
Blacks in South Africa deserve the
same basic rights all people deserve.
Yet the white minority apartheid
government there denies them these
rights. American industry operating in
South Africa supports that gover-
nment's policy through its em-
ployment practices. So action against
American companies - though it will
not have much impact on them - is the

most practical way for universities to
show they deplore the deeply ingrained
racist policies of South Africa.
This is what Wayne State's new
governors have recognized and the
majority of University of Michigan
regents have not. Divestment may not
force immediate change in South
Africa, but it will force change if it
becomes so widespread that it
threatens the stability of some com-
panies operating in the racist nation.
And there are companies out there that
are just as profitable for universities'
investment portfolios that don't have
holdings in South Africa.
Wayne State University has added
its name to the growing list of in-
stitutions opposing racism in South
Africa. University of Michigan Regent
Gerald, Dunn, who has said he now
favors divestment, could lead the
move here when the Regents take ac-
tion on divestment next month. Let's
hope Dunn and Wayne State's gover-
nors are starting a trend.

I

4

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Frieder wins fans for saying 'thanks'

.

--t

(4'

F'1
E

To the Daily:
Bill Frieder has done a lot for
the Michigan basketball
program. For the third straight
year, Coach Frieder has lined up
the state's best high school talent
to play for the Wolverines. His
teams have provided great
memories of Big Ten basketball
games from that first overtime
win against Indiana in 1981, last
years at-the-buzzer victory over

Ohio State, to the triple overtime
heart stopping, gut-wrencher
against Purdue just a few weeks
ago.
But last night, Bill Frieder put
on a show that made me a fan of
his for life. After a sloppy but
satisfying win over the Iowa
Hawkeyes, Coach Frieder made
his way from the Michigan bench
to the south end of Crisler Arena,
the student section.

Coach Frieder was going to see
the students. As he got closer,
Frieder began waving and
shouting as only he can to the
students, thanking us for the sup-
port of Michigan's basketball
team, for the support of his
basketball team, for the support
of our basketball team.
Bill was showing his ap-
preciation for the student's sup-
port the best way he knew how
and in response he was mobbed
by a mass of hand shaking, back
slapping, screaming Michigan

students - students who could
barely believe what was hap-
pening and who could barely
believe that someone connected
with the University knew they
were alive and that someone
would make such an effort to ap-
proach the students and thank
them for something other than
money. I was there and I couldn't
believe it and I loved it and I
really appreciated it.
- Michael Hoffman
March 11

4

o f

Trees aren't bike racks

To the Daily:
In the March 9 issue of the
Daily, a photo by Tod Woolf
showed a suspended bicycle
locked to the branch of a tree by a
student. While the purpose of the
photo was to amuse Daily

substantially to the loss of many
beautiful specimens.
We would encourage students
to use available bike racks and
not trees for securing bikes. We.
would like to hear from students
regarding suggestions for

Catch Law Quad arsonists

To the Daily:
I am writing in response to the
recent tragedy which nearly
caused the death of a University

and swiftly bought to justice via
prosecution to the fullest extent
of the laws. The University has a
responsibility to its students,

fiti "a

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