Manufacturing and union jobs

Here’s an interesting article that frames the growth in manufacturing activity in the context of union jobs.

Last July was a good month for factory workers in Anderson, Ind., where a Honda parts supplier announced plans to build a new plant and create up to 325 jobs. But it was a grim month in the Cleveland suburbs, where an industrial plastics firm told the state of Ohio it was closing a plant and laying off 150 people.

Nearly all of the Ohio workers belonged to a labor union. Workers at the Indiana plant don’t. Their fates fit a post-recession pattern: American factories are hiring again, but they’re not hiring union members.

U.S. manufacturers have added a half-million new workers since the end of 2009, making the sector one of the few bright spots in an otherwise weak recovery. And yet there were 4 percent fewer union factory workers in 2012 than there were in 2010, according to federal survey data. On balance, all of the job gains in manufacturing have been non-union.

The trend underscores a central conundrum in the “manufacturing renaissance” that President Obama loves to tout as an economic accomplishment: The new manufacturing jobs are different from the ones that delivered millions of American workers a ticket to the middle class over the past half-century.

There’s definitely a trend to avoid union shops on the part of manufacturers. Frankly, many unions overstepped their mission with ridiculous work rules, and many resources were used to protect the few workers who abused the system.

Now, in tougher economic times and high unemployment, the leverage is just gone for many unions.


NFL lockout is back on

The National Football League logo is displayed near the stage during round one of the 2011 NFL Draft Pick at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. UPI/Monika Graff

The NFL lockout is back on.

The NFL, after a series of legal setbacks, got a breather Friday when a federal appeals court put the lift of the lockout on hold.

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the league’s request for a temporary stay of the injunction issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who had ordered an end to the 45-day lockout.

The 8th Circuit granted a short stay in order to have time to consider a longer one. The NFL is appealing Nelson’s decision and wants the right to keep the lockout in place while that appeal is being decided.

Jim Quinn, an attorney for the players, said in an email that the stay from the 8th Circuit was “routine and totally expected.”

This mess is on full display as the NFL is going through its annual draft.

The owners created this fiasco by pushing for the lockout, and then the NFLPA raised the stakes by bringing the dispute to court. Now anything can happen.


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