Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Thu Feb 18 09:12:23 PST 1999

sokol at wrote:

>Perhaps, his sucking up to the market-schmarket crowd is nauseating. But
>that does not mean that all his arguments are rubbish. Au contraire, he
>makes a few valid points. Among them is his argument that the economy is
>woirking against the unions as we know them. He cites several reasons that
>need a serious discussion:
>1. The movement toward small firms (often welcome by liberals and populists
>who are hostile toward big corporations) creates unhospitable environment
>for union organizing.

What movement towards small firms? Isn't this just a lot of New Era hype? McDonald's and Wal-Mart have killed countless small retail operations. There's been a movement towards more outside suppliers in manufacturing (see point #2), but those are typically far from small operations. And with just-in-time inventory and integrated production systems, the big guys are very vulnerable to a well-timed, well-planned disruption.

>2. Low wage workers cannot generate sufficient resources for financing
>union 'realpolitik' campaigns. That in, turn, may push unions toward
>making spectacles instead of real changes.

>From what I've heard, this is one reason the UAW has shied away from
organizing auto parts suppliers - the workers aren't paid enough to justify the dues income. So they'd rather whine about Mexico and Japan taking away their jobs - when the UAW's more pressing problem is the nonunion suppliers in Ohio.

>3. Unionization will cause job flight from urban centers (union
>strongholds) to the hinterlands that are hostile to unions.

That's ancient history by now, isn't it?


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