Labor Strikes Threaten Other Workers. Duh.

I have enjoyed the last few episodes of the Tom Woods Show.  In particular, his podcasts. The most recent being Episode 730 on Labor Unions.  I wished I’d known this about labor unions decades ago.  I would have been able to avoid the violence and the threat of violence.  If you were a reluctant or even at times a faithful though naive enthusiast of labor unions, then you will enjoy the topics in Tom Woods’ Show.

HG3 18T p34
Truckers’ strike, Minneapolis, 1934

The points I really liked were, one, that labor strikes are threats against other labor union members but also against anyone in the general labor pool who were thinking of working in the business where the strike is held.

The second feature I liked about this Episode were the costs of unionism on the economy laid out by Morgan Reynolds.  Reynolds codified so to speak 7 distinct ways in which labor unionism imposes costs on the on an economy.  I list them here:

1) The redistribution of income from the general community to union bureaucracies and their members.

2) The unemployment effects of unions.

3) The consequences of union wage inflexibilities over the business cycle.

4) The cost of union work rules, meant to make work cumbersome and as labor intensive as possible to benefit members of labor unions and make production process inefficient.

5) The dynamic impact of unions to discourage research and development, investment, and entrepreneurship.

6)  The direct cost of strikes, strike threats, negotiating costs, labor consultants, national labor realtions board elections, bureaucratic costs, grievance costs, and related expenses.

7) The political role of unions of in increasing inflation, international trade barriers, government spending, and related forms of discoordination sustained by political action.

Woods then adds a quote by Murray Rothbard to which I cite only the beginning, “unions force people out of an industry they’re most suited for.”

For a timeline on labor unions, do not miss Morgan Reynolds’ history on labor unions from Colonial times to 2009.  Reynolds’ book is Power and Privilege.

Another book I found on labor unions was The Strike Threat System by W. H. Hutt,


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