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Under the Obama administration, the influence and involvement of trade unions in government policy decisions has surged to unprecedented levels. Some of the more egregious examples include the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, which abolishes the secret ballot among workers deciding on union representation and imposes forced interest arbitration of contract disputes; the selective protection of union healthcare benefits from proposed "reform" legislation; the awarding of assets seized from major automotive companies to the United Automobile Workers; and the involvement of union personnel, especially members of the Service Employees International Union, in electioneering efforts mad counter-demonstrations on behalf of the Democratic party. That all of this has occurred within less than a year is especially troublesome. What makes it more so is the well-established pattern, on the part of unions, to disregard and disrespect the rule of law. Unions disrespect the rule of law in two principal ways, one more obvious than the other. First, in the past and still today, they violate it by disobeying or ignoring whatever it happens to be in its contemporaneous guise, whether common law injunctions, tort law prohibitions, Taft-Hartley unfair labor practices, or Landrum-Griffin reporting requirements. They do this as economic rent seekers--hoping to secure for themselves and their members rewards greater than the value society accords them in a free market. Second, they dishonor the very principles of the rule of law by engaging in a corrupt, symbiotic relationship with lawmakers. They do this as political rent seekers hoping to secure rewards of their own choosing, independent of economic or market restraint.

Politics & Current Events
January 1
Cato Institute
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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