Foreign Unionism

Polish Solidarity vs American Unionism

Dr. Charles Baird compares the strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) with the Polish trade union Solidarity. He concludes: "To support the goals and actions of Polish Solidarity is merely to support the goals and actions of the American Founding Fathers. To support the goals and actions of PATCO, on the other hand, is to support a retreat from the values of the American Founders. Supporting Solidarity and opposing PATCO is not only logically consistent, it is what anyone who is dedicated to the principles of democracy and limited government must do." 

Canada's Labor Policies: A Paradigm for the United States? Troy, Leo.

During a four day period between October 17 and 21, 1991, Canada's leftist New Democratic Party (NDP) swept the legislative elections in the country's western provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Coupled with the party's capture of the populous province of Ontario in September 1990, on the provincial level NDP now rules over more than l3.6 million of Canada's 26 million citizens.

In Ontario, the NDP has already proposed legislation that would amend the Ontario Labor Relations Act and create a new model of labor relations in the province. The measure would essentially relinquish all power to the unions by allowing a showing of only 20 percent support in prospective bargaining units to certify a union. It would bar managerial employees from keeping a company operating during a strike, prohibit the contracting out for services without the striking union's permission and prohibit the hiring of permanent striker replacement workers. The sole purpose of this type of legislation is to bolster a decline in what Dr. Leo Troy refers to as the old, or private sector, unionism.

Yet, admirers of Canadian labor policies, who advocate that they be adopted as a model for the United States to emulate, do so under the mistaken belief that they have been responsible for averting a decline in union density. It is a fallacy that Dr. Troy corrects in Canada's Labor Policies: A Paradigm for the United States?,noting that what analysts have missed is the transference in both countries of workers from the private to the public sector payrolls. To the degree that Canadian policy promotes the growth of public sector unionism it hardly merits emulation.

The largest public sector union in the United States is the National Education Association. It uses its resources to preserve its existence and influence, frequently becoming the major stumbling block to reform of the nation's education system.

The European Community's Social Charter: A Market Process Analysis. Baird, Charles W

By the end of 1992, twelve European nations will indelibly alter the continent's economic realities by merging their markets and dissolving the trade barriers between them. While the primary emphasis of this new European Community is intended to be one of economics, concerns are being expressed that adoption of its Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights - previously vetoed by then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - will ring a political death knell for optimists' lingering hopes for a free market system. Instead, there is reason to fear that it will advance the cause of socialism and universally expand the power and scope of organized labor.

This is the thesis that Dr. Charles Baird defends in this article. He criticizes the leaders of the European Community for clinging to the misbegotten belief that the charter will guide them to a middle ground between the free market system and communism. Using a market process analysis to critique the charter, he illustrates why their search for a "third way" can only create more problems than it can solve and have a negative effect on entrepreneurial discovery.

Public Sector Unionism at Home and Abroad. Troy, Leo

The pervasive influence of public sector unions on national policy is delved into at greater depth by Dr. Leo Troy in Public Sector Unionism at Home and Abroad. To better appreciate the direction unionism may ultimately lead the United States, Dr. Troy surveys the industrial relations systems in Western Europe, Canada and Japan. He concludes that "it is evident that close links between political parties of the left and union groups is part of the political economy abroad. Those who think that the same is less true of the United States are overlooking the deepening commitment of the AFL-CIO to the Democratic Party in this country."