Despite gaining a stranglehold over the public sector, unions are losing ground in the private sector. This was seen again in the failed union walkouts against retail giant Wal-Mart.
The idea was simple: Take a day of little news, create a big stink, and watch a gullible media swallow it hook, line and sinker. That's what the United Food & Commercial Workers union did, in asking non-unionized Walmart workers to leave their jobs on the busiest day of the year in protest
Unfortunately for the union, the tactic appears to have been an epic bust. The tone was set early at the St. Cloud, Fla., Walmart where one — yes, just one — employee walked off the job.
The union had a bit more luck elsewhere, but it appears to have been a massive failure at creating anything like a problem for Walmart — which was the union's real goal, not "organizing" workers, as claimed.
Indeed, as of early afternoon on Black Friday, Walmart said it had sold 1.8 million towels, 1.3 million TVs, 1.3 million dolls and 250,000 bicycles.
"We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the (union) protest nationwide," said Walmart CEO Bill Simon. "In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year."
It's not hard to see why the union's tactic failed.
Wasn't it just two weeks ago that Americans got an object lesson in organized labor's destructiveness, when the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union showed it would rather close down Hostess, maker of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs and other sugary treats, than compromise.
Today, as a result of that union's militant intransigence, 18,500 workers have lost their jobs.
Whatever you might think of Walmart workers, they're not fools. They have no desire to be jobless for the holidays, as Hostess' workers will be.
In their so-called "campaign" — really, economic blackmail of the crudest sort — the unions have engaged in a poisonous propaganda attack on Walmart.
What they never say is that the world's biggest retail chain is in fact a major force for good in the U.S. economy. As numerous studies show, Walmart provides jobs, cuts prices and makes goods available in communities where they once were scarce. It is a major reason for the U.S. productivity boom of the last 30 years.
No surprise, then, that when given a real choice, workers avoid unions like the plague. Virtually all unionized industries in America are in steep decline — mostly because they impose unnecessary costs on businesses.
Even as recently as 1980, private-sector unions represented more than 20% of U.S. workers. Today, that has shriveled to just 7%, lowest since at least 1930.
Workers at thriving companies like Walmart see unions as bad for them — and bad for the economy.