(51) Trade Unions


The loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector in the United States is a well-known phenomenon. But many people don’t realize that unions are one of the main culprits. Unions claim to help obtain benefits for the working class, but they do the opposite. How? This is clear by tracking the history of unions and the transformation of their mission.

Trade unions were initially founded by members of the working class with few or no skills, for the purpose of negotiating with management. To a certain extent, a trade union is able to broker and resolve conflicts between workers and capitalists. But communist elements took the union and turned it into a tool to promote communist movements and policies.

Friedrich Engels wrote on the topic: “The time also is rapidly approaching when the working class will have understood that the struggle for high wages and short hours, and the whole action of Trades Unions as now carried on, is not an end in itself, but a means, a very necessary and effective means, but only one of several means towards a higher end: the abolition of the wages system altogether.” [16]

Lenin believed that the formation and legalization of trade unions is an important means for the working class to seize the leadership of the democratic revolution from the capitalist class. At the same time, he believed that the trade union would become the pillar of the communist party and a key force in class struggle. In his speech, Lenin proposed that trade unions become “a school of communism” and a link between the communist party and the masses. The daily work of the trade union was to convince the masses and bring them to the transition from capitalism to communism. “The trade unions are a ‘reservoir’ of the state power.” [17]

In the mid to late 19th century, communist and left-wing forces used trade unions to incite workers to go on large-scale strikes, make harsh demands on capital, and even take violent measures to destroy machinery and factories. The trade unions became a powerful weapon for communism to combat capitalism and carry on political struggle—creating chaos for the world so that it could further its goals.

In October 1905, more than 1.7 million workers in Russia participated in a nationwide political strike and paralyzed the country’s economy. During this time, the Petrograd Soviet, an even more aggressive union organization, was formed. Lenin called it the sprouting of a revolutionary government and believed that it would become the political center of Russia. In other words, the Soviet regime built during the 1917 October Revolution originated from the trade union. [18]

Trade unions in Western and developed countries are also widely infiltrated and used by communist elements. Workers and capitalists are supposed to be symbiotic, yet communists try to provoke, expand, and intensify conflict between them. One of its most important tools is the trade union. Trade unions are used to escalate the bargaining process between management and workers to the level of a struggle between classes. They rationalize and intensify the confrontational side of the relationship and use it to legitimize their own existence. From then on, unions inflame the workers’ dissatisfaction, blame the capitalists for any problems, and provoke conflict between the two. This has been one of the unions’ keys for survival.

Trade unions may be able to bring workers profit in small ways for a short period of time, but from a long-term economic point of view, the biggest victim under the union movements led by communists is the working class. This is because when capitalist enterprises crumble, the biggest losers are the workers, who lose their jobs and livelihoods. On the surface, trade unions are fighting for the interests of workers, but in fact they are undermining industrial competitiveness. There are two reasons for this.

First, under the pretext of protecting workers’ rights and interests, unions make it difficult for enterprises to lay off employees who don’t perform and who achieve little. This gives rise to a culture of laziness. Not only is this unfair to employees who work diligently, but it also makes them less proactive. The most important factor in the growth of a company is its workers, but with the union’s umbrella of protection over employees who fail to perform, enterprises lose their competitiveness.

Second, under the pretext of protecting employees’ welfare (including pensions, health insurance, and the like), unions constantly elevate enterprise costs. In the end, it forces companies to reduce their investment in research and development, also reducing their competitiveness. It also results in companies’ having to increase product prices, which also harms consumer interests. Studies show that this is why companies without unions, such as Toyota and Honda, were able to produce high-quality cars at lower costs, and why American automobile factories with labor unions in Detroit became less competitive. [19]

As Edwin Feulner, founder of the American Heritage Foundation, said of unions: “They function like an albatross around a company’s neck—making it less flexible, less able to react wisely to the demands of a changing marketplace.” [20]

All this is aggravated with union monopolies in the labor market. This then exerts deleterious influence over business decisions and results in numerous unreasonable demands, some of them harsh. Enterprises who fail to meet these union demands are then the targets of struggle, including strikes and protests, which further disable business.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) is the union representing the autoworkers in Detroit. The UAW routinely went on strike. Prior to the financial crisis in 2008, the union demanded $70 an hour in wages and benefits. Consequently, the U.S. automobile manufacturing industry was almost on the brink of bankruptcy. [21]

The loss of job opportunities in the U.S. manufacturing industry is now known to all, but many people don’t know that unions are a key driver of the job losses. Unionized manufacturing jobs fell by 75 percent between 1977 and 2008, while non-union manufacturing employment increased by 6 percent over that time, according to the Heritage Foundation. The situation outside the manufacturing sector is also similar. Take the construction industry for instance. “Unlike the manufacturing sector, the construction industry has grown considerably since the late 1970s. However, in the aggregate, that growth has occurred exclusively in non-union jobs, expanding 159 percent since 1977.” [22]

In addition, labor unions are the tools employed by communist elements to promote egalitarianism in enterprises. The Heritage Foundation notes that unions demand that companies pay wages according to the length of service of the employee (equivalent to years of service in socialist countries), without regard to the employee’s contribution to the company or performance. This has the predictable effect of suppressing the wages of more productive workers and raising the wages of the less competent.” [23]

The idea at work here is the same as absolute egalitarianism under communism, which is effectively the redistribution of wealth among employees within the enterprise. The interference with internal decision-making of enterprises and the monopoly of the labor market is an erosion of the free market.

Unions’ aggressive advocacy for what they describe as workers’ welfare ends up favoring some workers over others and puts a drag on individual companies and the economy as a whole. A survey conducted in 2005 showed that “most union households disapprove of American unions,” and that “the main reason for their disapproval is never openly discussed in union media or addressed at union conventions.” [24]

In all respects, those workers who are truly diligent have become victims, and communism has become the biggest winner. Fundamentally, communists use labor unions to destroy the capitalist free economy, subvert the capitalist system, and undermine the normal life of man in a gradual and step-by-step manner.

Labor unions infiltrated by communism and under the guidance of the progressive movement have evolved into a special interest group, similar to a large-scale for-profit corporation. The leadership has huge personal interests in the enterprise, and corruption is common. [25]

In democratic countries, labor unions have largely become a tool for leftists to fight against capitalism. They single-mindedly demand “social justice” and “fairness,” creating a huge welfare burden on society and industry, and becoming an obstacle for reform and attempts to improve efficiency in the manufacturing, service, and education industries, as well as in government administration. When the time is not ripe, they hide, but when conditions are favorable, they come out and mobilize a social movement to promote their ends. Labor unions have thus become a wedge communism uses to divide free societies.

In all respects, those workers who are truly diligent have become victims, and communism has become the biggest winner.
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