1. Multinational corporations have a new ally in their battles with organized labor: unionized workers," reports Crain's Chicago Business. "Some workers are becoming so disillusioned by what their unions can, or rather can't, do for them that they want out." a. A case in point is the Caterpillar Inc. plant in Joliet, Ill., where "dozens of machinists . . . crossed the picket line during a strike last summer and are planning unfair labor practices complaints" against the International Association of Machinists. b. When an agreement was reached in mid-August, the contract provided less than the one before it . management compared compensation to factory hands across Illinois and around the world and concluded that to be "market competitive," Caterpillar had to insist on the concessions. 2. The trouble for private-sector unions is that the global economy vastly increases the supply of labor, diminishing their bargaining power. 3. an IAM official at the Joliet Caterpillar plant, "says he understood that workers need to provide for their families, which meant crossing the picket line," Crain's reports. "But he adds: 'We don't negotiate for individuals; we negotiate for the benefit of the group.' " The trouble is, you can't have a group without individuals. 4. Meanwhile the Puffington Host reports that "there was an employee walkout at a Walmart Supercenter in St. Cloud, Fla., on Wednesday morning." That is to say, anemployee, Vanessa Ferreira, walked off her job decorating cakes. "The other employees watched her walk out of the store, then went back to doing their jobs." a. As Reuters reported, the OUR Walmart effort, spurred by the United Food and Commercial Workers, which is seeking to unionize the retail giant's employees, didn't amount to much: "OUR Walmart said it counted 1,000 protests in 46 U.S. states, including strikes in 100 cities--figures that Walmart said were 'grossly exaggerated.' " Whatever the number of strikes, Reuters reports, "there was no evidence they disrupted operations for the start of the crucial holiday shopping season." 5. The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann blames consumers for low wages at Wal-Mart and other big retailers: "We are the ones who choose where to take our business. And for the most part, Americans have chosen cheap." a. All workers are consumers, and most consumers are workers--a point on which Weissmann seemingly inadvertently stumbles b. Absent globalization, labor would command higher prices, but then so would everything else. The Power of One - WSJ.com From the article: A union is superfluous at best unless it can deliver a better deal for most of its members than they could get on their own. Results of a recent Rasmussen poll found that 9% of nonunion workers were interested in joining a union. For public school grads, that means that 91% have no such interest. In fact, maybe that means that 9% are public school grads who didnt learn to read on their own. (Just 9% of Non-Union Workers Want to Join Union - Rasmussen Reports) Rasmussen found that even workers in companies who were in danger of losing their jobs, it was still only 9%. What do the 91% know about union membership that the 9% dont? One can only conjecture. In the 1950s some 1/3 of all private-sector workers belonged to a union. Now only 7.6% of nongovernment workers belong to one. From 1997 to 2004, private sector employment grew from 66.1 to 103.6 million, but union membership declined from 14.3 to 8.2 million. (http://www.aeaweb.org/annual_mtg_papers/2006papers.html) At the same time, unionization of government jobs is five times higher (Union Members Summary) . Could it be that the concern of private companies for profits, and maximizing shareholder value, and workers choosing opportunity over job security explain the disparity? Or, in more loaded terminology, choosing capitalism over socialism.