If one listens to the popular media one would think the country was going through a labor movement renaissance as evidenced by the walkouts and demands of fast food workers. Suddenly everyone thinks she should be paid $15 per hour. Let's throw in free dental just for good measure. Is this what has become of the labor movement? It's down to trying to organize fast food restaurants? This was the same movement that took on big steel until it ran it into the ground and big auto until it ran it into bankruptcy and now it wants to pick a fight with a McDonalds franchisee?
My friend and I have watched the construction of a convince store since mid summer. It's being built non union and incredibly not a solitary picket has shown up. Ten years ago there would have been a half dozen pickets walking the line. Thirty years ago someone would have dynamited the thing to kingdom come. On the other side of town when a similar store was being built last year the carpenters union did hire a couple of goofy looking women to stand there four hours a day with a sign that said "shame". You're damn right it was a shame but the shame belonged to the unions which could not convince their membership to walk a picket line.
I was not always unsympathetic to the labor movement. I was was part of it and proud to be so. In those days business agents, the men who actually ran the show and got things done, thought it unbecoming to ever talk politics or religion since they viewed these things to be personal beliefs to be respected. As that generation passed, the politics began and membership loyalty declined. Political candidates got contributions and the membership got platitudes. Some of us just went to work elsewhere.
My suspicion is the present fights with fast foods and Walmart is more of a covert political operation than an organizational effort. There are implacable dollar and cents laws unions use when deciding to organize a bargaining unit. It must, or at least in the past, have to pay its way. Don't organization a company with a small, highly transitory, and grievance prone workforce that wants to take every issue no matter how insignificant all the way to the NLRB or you'll lose your shirt. A Walmart bargaining unit may make sense but a McDonalds, Wendy's would not.
The fast food fights are a sham battle that dovetails into the effort to raise the minimum wage and fight income inequality that has been exacerbated by the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing. Ben Bernanke is not solely responsible for the stratification of incomes but he is certainly not blameless. Quantitative easing, whether deliberate or not, has become a one-two punch for the Democrats. It has driven up stock prices to placate the financial industry and simultaneously given the party an issue of fairness that would not exist so flagrantly without it.
Let's face it. Now days labor unions only flourish in the public sector. The cause of their decline is unclear. What we are now seeing is political theater with a liberal media and Democrat activists who left Occupy and have duped the least sophisticated into risking their jobs to further someone else's political ends. They have run out of unions to wreck.