Who asked the union?

If there’s any need to explain the declining popularity of labor unions, the United Steelworkers served up a nice demonstration this past week.

Steelworkers Local 1343 asked Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) to eliminate training for welders who might end up being hired as replacement workers by Caterpillar Corporation if the union goes on strike, rather than agreeing to a new contract in negotiations next month.

There’s plenty wrong here, most obviously the idea of any union presuming to tell an educational institution funded by public tax dollars who and what it should teach, based on the union’s private financial interests.

A secondary concern is the MATC faculty union siding with the Steelworkers. Let some entity other than a union suggest the college reconsider any of its educational offerings, and listen for the howls of outrage over “academic freedom” from that very same faculty union. It’s even more disturbing that the faculty union’s position is conveyed by an instructor in economics. We’re guessing free market principles don’t get much respect in his classroom.

A third and admittedly lesser concern is that MATC feels the need to explain and justify its actions. The institution exists to prepare all sdudents for successful employment in whatever areas it offers training. It most emphatically does not exist for the purpose of rationing supplies of qualified workers so as to strengthen the bargaining position of a labor organization.

With the prospect that mining will be revitalized in Wisconsin, the Steelworkers no doubt sense the opportunity to extract a juicy contract from Caterpillar, and it’s their perfect right to drive as hard a bargain as the company will stand for. It’s not their right to commandeer publicly-funded institutions for leverage.


About Wisconsin Club for Growth
The Club for Growth is a national network of over 40,000 men and women, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. Wisconsin Club for Growth, Inc. is dedicated to informing, educating and rallying citizens of Wisconsin to embrace and enact policies that lead to sustained economic growth, limited government, and minimal taxation. Wisconsin Club for Growth can and will have an enormous impact on the direction of our state. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes that effective lobbying is done at all stages of the budget cycle, including when our leaders make public promises and can be encouraged to support policies that spur economic growth. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes we must support pro-growth policies and encourage public officials with backbones to remain truly committed to making our economy and our state stronger. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes our leaders must stand up to the tax and spend mentality in Madison and work tirelessly to cut taxes and unleash the power of the free-market.

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