Before proceeding to get union fans mad, let’s look at companies briefly. Toyota, good. Ford, bad. When a company stops growing it starts dieing, and dieing companies can do a lot of damage, for a lot of years, to people and the general economy.
The same is true with unions. Good unions, like the SEIU, are constantly seeking growth. They aim to organize new industries, new businesses. Business advocates may hate them, but these unions are doing their job. Anyone who thinks Wal-Mart isn’t socially better-off for the work of unions against them probably thinks Wal-Mart’s only obligation is to its shareholders. Which is false.
The CWA is a bad union. It is
no longer growing. It is involved mainly in protecting the gains of
older workers, protecting their jobs. From the market. That’s bad.
Anything that props up bad companies merely increases the damage they
do to people and the economy. Corporate deadwood must be cleared so new
growth can begin, and unions that link arms among the trees are hurting
In this case, the CWA is hurting our telecom industry. They are directly supporting the
efforts of the Bells to get rid of network neutrality. In other words,
they are supporting blackmail. And sometimes their words on this are
quite direct. As Matt Stoller writes,
They argue that Google, Amazon, and all of us are getting a free ride
on infrastructure paid for by Verizon, AT&T, and the like.
Why? It’s partly because they have been outmaneuvered. Verizon, in
particular, has been isolating its union workers into no-growth parts
of the business, while growing areas like Verizon Wireless non-union,
using every union-busting truck the Bush Administration can give it in
the effort. It has, so far, been successful.
This was intentional on the part of departing AT&T chair Ed Whitacre (right) and his $152 million retirement plan. Astroturfing gave his greed support within minority and disabled communities that should have been on the other side. The CWA has been doing the same with the union movement. In this way, he figures, all opposition is de-fanged, since the business community wouldn’t dare oppose him.
Bad unions are tools of the bad companies they are attached to. Bad unions
can’t be listened to by politicians, any more than bad companies should be
listened to. In this case the CWA must either organize
the other parts of Verizon — it must do its job — or it must go out of business.
Lead, follow or get out of the way. It applies everywhere.