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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unions and the Cost of Jobs

Jerry Bader is highlighting a story in Sheboygan. The story involves Thomas Products in Sheboygan. Thomas Products employees roughly 400 people in Sheboygan and then another 75 or so in Louisiana. Thomas Products wants to consolidate its operations and has yet to announce (or even make one yet?) a decision as to which plant is moving and which is staying.

Of course, both municipalities are competing to keep their jobs and in both cases probably add jobs. Of course, one municipality is going to lose jobs. Sheboygan has less to gain and more to lose and vice versa for the Louisiana location. None of this is yet too atypical (perhaps none of it is).

Anyway, the Thomas Product employees are unionized under the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Jerry is reporting that the Sheboygan union has stopped talking to and working with Thomas Products. They claim they have made enough concessions and will make no more and now say it is up to Thomas Products to make concessions. Here is a very brief statement from the president of IBEW Local 1060:
Combined with concessions the members agreed to in August of 2008, the company will have gained more than $3 million and extensive changes in health care coverage.

Union members have made great sacrifices for Gardner Denver. The state and local governments are providing large subsidies.

Now it's time for Gardner Denver to step up and commit to Sheboygan.
Jerry took a lot of calls on this over two days. The first day the calls were from his core listening area and then members of the union started to e-mail and whine how they couldn't get through, which Jerry claims is a falsehood — still Jerry held another call in session taking calls just from Sheboygan listeners. I got the feeling very quickly most of those callers were just out of the union seminar on what to say, as most of the calls were fact-barren and were softly ad-hominem. Today Jerry says one fellow called in accusing Jerry of being afraid to debate the topic and when the caller was told he was going on-air to debate the caller hung up.

One caller in particular said he understood his job was in jeopardy but did not give a fig — it was time for Thomas Products to put up. I wonder if the the Louisiana workers are unionized or not?

Here is another report from Sheboygan Shenanigans, which talks about the union's excuse for missing a conference call with management.

This all reminds me of a story I heard once, no idea if true or not but it is pretty much the same situation. The employees of a large and successful manufacturing firm based in Wausau were seriously thinking of unionizing. The owner then informed the employees if they went union that he (the owner) was set as far as his wealth goes. That if the employees unionized the owner would simply close down the company. The union lost.

That is what the employees of Thomas Products face. The Thomas Products IBEW is holding at most a straight in their hand, does it make sense to be the house?

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