UNION SINGS NEW ARIA

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: The National Labor Relations Board’s decision to prevent Boeing from opening a new out-of-state manufacturing facility has apparently inspired other workers to file complaints with the Board.

The American Guild of Musical Artists has now filed a federal complaint against the New York City Opera, which wants to move out of its famed Lincoln Center home after 45 years. The opera company is in serious financial difficulty and deeply in debt. Not only will the company move to a more affordable space, but it plans to reduce the number of operas it will stage next year, from five to three.

The opera company’s 200 members, including fifty choristers and ten production workers, are claiming that the move to a less expensive venue and the company’s intention to produce fewer operas than last season will result in reduced pay.

Of course, it will: that’s the point of restructuring. If the company is to survive and continue providing first-class opera performances to opera goers, it must cut costs. And one of its major costs is its labor expenses.

One can now expect that unionized workers of any company that wants to relocate to file a complaint with the NLRB. The Boeing decision has opened a Pandora’s Box of complaints that will continue to place obstacles against new opportunities not only for increasing profitability and productivity, but also (in this case) against a corporation’s very survival.

Corporate America can only hope that the NLRB does not approve this latest operatic complaint. It is an aria sung out of tune with logic.

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REALITY SWEEPS ACROSS MIDDLE AMERICA

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: After years of being over taxed to pay the outrageous salaries, benefits, and pensions of public sector employees, four principled Republican governors decided to turn back the collective bargaining clock and make public-sector and even some private-sector unions responsible to all citizens.

It has taken considerable courage on the part of the governors of Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Idaho to face down angry, vituperative mobs who have attempted to block legislative buildings and intimidate legislators. But, the governors stood firm, for they know that they have the vast majority of the citizens on their side. And those citizens expect their governors to balance state budgets and reign in extortionate unions without imposing ever more burdensome taxes.

In Wisconsin, collective bargaining by public sector workers would be restricted to salaries only, and legislation would require unions to permit members to vote annually about whether they want to remain unionized. In Indiana, proposed new legislation would prohibit unions from collecting union dues. In Ohio, collective bargaining and binding arbitration for public-sector workers would end. Legislation would also permit the hiring of replacement workers during strikes. In Idaho, collective bargaining by teachers would be limited to salaries and benefits. In addition, tenure would be phased out for teachers.

Altogether, governors in the Midwest have taken courageous stands, ones that should stiffen the spines of other governors across the country

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