Labor’s Load

Fifty years ago, Labor could pretty much get what it wanted. Now, if it pushes too hard, it’s likely to bankrupt the place where its people work.

Globalization has been a good deal for consumers: more companies from all over are competing for their dollars. But Labor often finds that a winning good deal for members means pushing a firm or even a whole industry to the edge of oblivion. So industrial unions are shrinking. What to do?

For workers, there’s no employment security any more. The best employability security is to develop the skills necessary to continually upgrade yourself and add value to your employer. The specific skills will go out of date. The ability to upgrade never will.

For Labor, it’s time to enter the 21st century. Helping workers means working with management to make the business more competitive. Training and pensions should be their focus. Unions have to be seen as a company’s ally in the fight to succeed, not as a roadblock. If that happens, union strength can grow again.


Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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