Bob Carlson

January 18, 2013

Updating Union Violence

Filed under: Economy,Housing — Bob @ 1:20 pm

Most people think union violence against employers or non-union employees is something from the 1930s and earlier. Apparently that’s not the case. In at least some areas, union violence is still around and not in a small way. Consider this post and the links in it. They describe union machinations in the construction industry in the Philadelphia area. It’s worth a read. It covers not only the violent incidents but also the negative effects of excessively-strong unions on the middle class.

Union violence against non-unionized workers and their employers is an under-reported story. Everyone knows it happens but they look the other way. It’s hard to look the other way, however, when the violence and vandalism is videotaped and put on the web–that’s what two Philadelphia developers did and the result is making waves far beyond the workplace.

Since the first videos went up in spring, the tide of public sentiment has turned, and the Pestronks won a court order restricting the picketers’ behavior. But in coming years, the Goldtex battle and the techniques employed there may be seen in grander, historical terms: as the moment that started the unraveling of Building Trades’ vast economic and political power, and perhaps of Philadelphia’s entire power structure.

The above-market wages, featherbedding and absurd work rules make low-cost development difficult.

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