The old Boomer Left laments the decline and fall of Amerikan Labor. They see it, perhaps, as the reason things are so unequal and tilted towards the new digital monopolies. Like many Boomers before them, they have a few intelligent points that they massively misinterpret.
Traditional unions that purportedly represent but prey upon heavy industrial workers have truly been reduced to money laundering devices that collect a blue collar paycheck tithe on behalf of The Democratic Party. The AFL-CIO has cratered in financial power because Mexicans, Chinese, and Indonesians do the mass production these days.
The extent to which heavy industry continues to function in Amerika, it functions in Right-To-Work States which are difficult terrain for unions to organize and subinfeudate corporations. Places that still kowtow to major Amerikan trade unions have lost their factories to more modern, more effective, and less costly environments in which to run a large-scale manufacturing operation.
Losing this de facto serf empire took poor planning and blind logistics. The United States of America is one of the most geographically overpowered nations ever allowed to exist in life’s cutthroat Civ VI Game. If God had given Brazil five great lakes, and billions of tons of high-quality coal and crude oil to go with the Amazon, I would compose this blog post in Portuguese rather than Standard American English. This is particularly true of Industrial Midwest region where the US Had Motor City, Steel City, and The Hog Butcher of The World. This part of the country started one Erie Canal short of a Wall Street Empire.
The unions of the Gilded Age, Progressive Era, and Amerikan Depression had a target-rich environment of natural monopolies upon which they could both grift and graze. The bounty upon which their early magnates feasted attracted the cockroaches and locusts. Unions stopped having leaders that got any closer to the factory floor than perhaps a guided tour offered to their municipality’s Harvard Club. Their issues were no longer Blue Collar issues. The entire moral gravamen undergirding their political and social power was dismantled and sold abroad as they bathed in dollar bills like Scrooge McDuck.
Yet Amerikans still do work. They do this work differently, via a different set of comparative advantages, that do not apply to the type of business interest that an old Boomer Union could effectively grift on. Work is distributed and frequently done from home. Things like affordable data plans and well-maintained cars never factored into a union member’s labor remaining competitive in the market place. They very well could be crucial in today’s gig economy. Hence The AFL-CIO remained in charge of a bunch of union halls that emptied of their work forces.
This decentralization changed neither the motivations, nor the methodologies of the most powerful in society. Only in Progressive, Leftist mythology do Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg care more for their work forces than did Andrew Carnegie. Only in history books written by sold-out, Boomer Campus Marxists would the complicated and monopolistic machinations of Oracle, Boeing, or Amazon receive lesser condemnation than the industrial organizations of J.P. Morgan or Commodore Vanderbilt. While Amazon has yet to send in Pinkerton Cops, it cannot be said to welcome the idea of having their distribution centers organized for the people who live anywhere outside of Marin County, CA.
According to CNN Business, the demise of the Amerikan Labor Union may well be an overcooked turkey of a meme. Unions have figured out a few chinks in the armor surrounding Amerika’s newer corporate structures. Namely, they all still need warehouses, and they all still rely on over-the-road trucking to move anything in bulk. Here is where The Teamsters Union seeks a way back into relevance and power.
Over the past year, the nascent labor movements at mighty corporations like Starbucks and Amazon have grabbed national attention. But less well-known is a looming high-stakes clash between one of America’s oldest unions and the world’s biggest package courier. Contract negotiations are set to begin in the spring between UPS and the Teamsters Union ahead of their current contract’s expiration at the end of July, 2023. Already, before the talks have even started, labor experts are predicting that the drivers and package handlers will go on strike.
A lot could happen here that bears relevance to the ongoing evolution of Amerikan collapse. Having 6% of your nation’s GDP go into cardiac arrest at the push of a strike button focuses even the Latte Leftist mind. Unionizing the infrastructural foundations of high-tech industries strips them of their immunity to the union movement. No matter how much of your workflow is digital, it all requires electrical current and the wires to conduct the juice.
Somebody with Wireman’s Gloves and perhaps now a union card will be laying that cable at some choke point in the underlying system. The unions will organize and strike these infrastructure systemic nodes for the same reason that Willie Sutton once robbed banks. For the traditional, Boomer-School union, this is where the money is at.
Absent the discovery of legitimate prestidigitation, reality always enters every business plan. You can digitize, you can virtualize, and you can put the storefront up on MyClunkyWebsite-dot-com. What cannot be accomplished involves the total elimination of a meat space interface. For people too effete and hyper-modernized to deal with common workers in old-fashioned ways, haec sunt draconnes!
This resurgent vox populi would make me feel about as pro-union as I ever could feel. Even the slimy, disgusting parasite has a God-Breathed evolutionary role in life’s rich pageant. If Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steven Bing are now under the power of economic gravity like the rest of us, perhaps they will act in a way that is less narrow and more enlightened when it comes time to interpret self-interest.
The positive side to having bandits loose in a feudal countryside involved the fact that the local lords and ladies would send the knights and road builders out to fix things in a jiffy before these bandits became an actual threat to the manor born. This needs to happen to the digital overlords of our new internet economy. Biological threats lead to the prevalence of positive evolutionary mutation. Perhaps this could start with a ladder to success that cuts out the entire so-called higher education racket that is bankrupting the youth as they climb the ladder of success. Maybe neo-unionism aimed at The Zuckerberg Peerage could make these people build an anti-fragile economy instead of The Joe Biden Seventies Show we are living through at present.