Boeing, Unions, Wages, Costs, and Unemployment

Here’s what Ed Morrissey has to say about unions in the context of Boeing and a government ruling stating the company was not allowed to move production out of Washington to South Carolina to save on wage costs:

Workers have the ability to collectively bargain for wages, benefits, and working conditions in the private sector if they desire.  If they make their labor too costly and businesses can conduct their operations elsewhere, then they have the right to do so, too.  The government has no legitimate role in forcing business owners to be hostages to their workforce.  If the workers price themselves out of their jobs, then they need to deal with the consequences. The ability to collectively bargain does not include a guarantee of a job.

That should go without saying. A job is a voluntary arrangement between willing parties. If one party is unwilling, we’re no longer talking about employment, we’re talking coercion. But Boeing is a rich, fat company and it won’t hurt them if the NLRB forces them to pay union wages, will it? Yes, actually, and it doesn’t stop there, because the government’s interference inevitably means that

we all pay higher prices for the same product or service — and for Boeing, which competes against the EU’s Airbus, it will mean lost sales and less work altogether in the US.  Prices of flying will increase, while the taxes that flow from both employment and sales will decrease.  Nor will it end there.  Such a decision will lock businesses in their present locations and give local and state governments carte blanche to hike taxes and fees, secure that business owners won’t be able to vote with their feet — and leave taxpayers holding the bag when businesses go under and capital stops flowing to the US for investment.

Author: marc

Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.