The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Has Obama abandoned unions?

Has Obama quietly abandoned (private sector) unionism? As noted by William Voegeli, Obama’s big Osawatamie speech conspicuously did not look to Wagner Act unionism to redress the long-term rise in income inequality. (He barely mentioned unions.) Now Remapping Debate suggests that the President’s vision of a revived manufacturing sector may rely on a non-unionized work force:

But critics of U.S. manufacturing and trade policy suggest that, for all its populist rhetoric, the White House may actually be embracing some disturbing trends in the manufacturing sector: long-term wage stagnation occuring in tandem with the huge gains in productivity that have accrued overwhelmingly to the benefit of employers and the creation of jobs that pay less and offer fewer benefits — often in non-unionized states — than those that have been lost to outsourcing.

If Obama has in fact embraced this vision, that may show a heartening realism–both about America’s competitive strength (lots of reliable people now willing to work for $12 an hour) and the productivity destroying effects of the Wagner Act legalism (where every change must be bargained for)–and the resulting inexorable decline in unions’ share of the private sector work force.  Obama may be closer to Walter Russell Mead–and Mitt Romney– than we think.  … It’s almost as if Bain-like consultants are behind it all! …

P.S.: Of course, the President hasn’t abandoned private sector unions in the sense that they are welcome to help re-elect him. …

Update: AFL-CIO’s Rich Trumka does not seem very happy with his end of that bargain.. …