Equal Time

Since I’ve already tweaked libertarians for their sincerely-held views on this subject, I think it’s only fair to turn my focus upon those within organized labor-particularly the current leaders of the American labor movement-who ostensibly believe in a tight labor market, relatively high wages, and the sort of credentialing and licensing schemes that we’ve come to expect from any large, complex industrial project. Over the past few years, in speaking with average, unionized workers-electricians, mechanics, plumbers, construction workers-I’ve discovered that they almost uniformly oppose the importation of illegal laborers into their professions, which has inexorably led to the shoddy workmanship we see in the  scaffolding collapses and showers of loose concrete which we are treated to in with increasing frequency as we gallivant around the Big Apple.

Many of these men and women blame, with some degree of justification, the owners and managers of these projects for either knowingly employing individuals they know to be living and working without proper documentation, or as is more often the case, simply ignoring their responsibilities to verify the legal status of potential job applicants. But the problem with this charge-although it is largely accurate-is that it neglects the culpability of organized labor-not its members so much as its reputed leaders-in supporting political projects like amnesty, which would do more to undercut the wages of unionized workers and deprive them of employment than any action by a shady corporate entity or seemingly unscrupulous business interest possibly could.

UNITE, SEIU, and even larger national labor unions-such as the AFL-CIO-all wholeheartedly support amnesty for the tens of millions of illegal aliens currently residing in the United States, even as millions of formerly gainfully employed union members look desperately for work and collect unemployment checks. The stated rationale for their position is that they want to regularize this stream of undocumented aliens so that they can offer them the benefits of union membership once they enter the workforce under a legitimate work visa or green card. Of course, this will increase union membership, and solidify the hold that men like Andy Stern exercise over their political fiefdoms-thus, increasing their sway in the halls of Capitol Hill or in state capitals.

The only people who seem to be left out in this equation are the men and women I alluded to at the beginning of this post. The same people who’ve been diligently protesting illegal worksites for months-sometimes for years-laboring under the misimpression that the heads of their local or national union supported their goals, i.e. the return to work of their members, and the ability of future workers-whether they be native-born  or naturalized citizens-to earn a fair wage while abiding by the laws as they currently stand. To change those laws in return for the political aggrandizement and/or enrichment of the people they voted for to fight for their interests probably wasn’t what they had in mind when they received their union cards.

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