Like the weekend? Praise Henry Ford, not the unions
By J.J. Jackson
Every day I receive at least one email from someone telling me how without unions there would be no weekend. Yes, it is true, people are indeed stupid enough to believe anything they are told.
In America today we are inundated with myths. These myths are concocted to shield the overly sensitive and the generally inept from the harsh realities of the world we live in as well as propel the powerbrokers to higher heights. These myths must be challenged and those that promote them must be broken down and dismantled to the status of quivering piles of Jell-o.
Unions struggle for relevance in today's America considering that they account for just seven percent of the private sector workforce . Much of what they once fought for is now guaranteed by the government or at least bureaucratically monitored by some agency or another. They have also mostly white washed their own history of violence against the private property of business owners to paint themselves as saints in a world of sinners.
Government unions are huge enigma. Compared to the private sector, 36.2 percent of government employees are unionized .
Now consider the standard propaganda in favor of unionism. The claim is that workers must unite against their evil corporate masters who would otherwise enslave them and trample the rights of workers if workers were not united. But who is the "evil" employer of government workers? Why, it is government. That is odd because those on the left, and who ally with unions, tell us government is the source of all that is good with the world. Furthermore, the government is, most basically, the taxpayer. So the taxpayers are now evil corporate masters? Ok, do not try to understand their "logic." Just understand that some dim bulbs think this paradox they have created is "logic" to them.
But what about the claim that unions invented the weekend? Well, like I said to open this article, it is a myth.
Actually, the weekend was invented by an evil capitalist. His name was Henry Ford. Some people however refuse to accept that someone like Mr. Ford actually accomplished this astonishing feat. But when confronted with the facts, they set about to justify his capitalism as being qualified. One of the popular claims is that Mr. Ford practiced, "welfare capitalism." This, as they say, is hogwash! He was a pure capitalist, no qualifier needed, through and through.
See, Henry Ford, like any good capitalist, wanted to make money. Not only did he want to make money, but he also wanted to make more money. But there was something getting in the way of his pursuit of happiness which was, again, to make more money. That thing was that he was having a hard time hanging on to workers in his automobile plant.
The basic problem was that Ford had a certain number of positions that needed workers. But because of his high turnover rate, he was often loosing highly qualified and competent people and having to fill each of these positions several times a year. This cost Mr. Ford a lot of money and, as a capitalist, he did not like that one bit.
So on January 5th, 1914, Mr. Ford announced that he was more than doubling the minimum daily pay for his workers from $2.34 a day to $5 a day. He also set the work week to five eight hour days. Please note, no government "wage" legislation, nebby bureaucrat or force from a labor union was required to get Mr. Ford to do this. And further note that this move was profitable for Mr. Ford as well.
The results were noticeable. The Ford Motor Company saw reduced turnover and was spending less money finding and hiring new employees. The company was also able to retain the best people for the jobs it had, thus making the operation more efficient. And perhaps the least discussed aspect of this policy was that Ford's own employees were now able to afford the cars they themselves were building. This plowed money back into the company as Ford's employees did just this very thing.
Henry Ford saw his company grow and the cars they were making become more and more popular. And his actions forced other employers to take note. Other companies, in order to stop their employees from fleeing to Ford at the first opportunity, had to implement similar measures themselves. Some did. Others did not.
Again, Ford was a true capitalist. He looked at a problem that was costing him money and he solved that problem. It may have cost him money to solve the problem but the investment paid off. Mr. Ford often complained that most people in business had no business being in business and running companies; that they had no idea how to handle problems like he faced. It was, ultimately, this ineptitude of many business owners that lead to problems between business and labor. It is also the thing which eventually allowed labor to make untenable demands upon business and, as we saw recently, nearly resulted in their undoing.
The fact that unions try, to this day, to take credit for the weekend is laughable. Especially considering the facts. But then again, what are facts but inconvenient things to those who want to promote lies?
The facts are that when true capitalism is practiced, everyone flourishes. And when collectivism is practiced, everyone may flourish for a time, but in the long run that collectivism consumes itself and becomes dysfunctional. End of story.
God bless Mr. Henry Ford. And thank you Mr. Ford for the weekend!
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.