Among modern institutions, one stands out for the breadth of conservative priorities it could advance: generating widespread prosperity, limiting government intervention, preserving families and ways of life, revitalizing communities and fostering solidarity. That institution is the labor union.
“Conservative labor” might sound like an oxymoron, but America’s dysfunctional labor unions, creatures of Great Depression-era legislation and decades of political polarization, are neither inevitable nor typical of their counterparts elsewhere.
Concern for worker power and representation is as old as the discipline of economics. “Upon all ordinary occasions,” warned Adam Smith, employers “have the advantage in the dispute, and force [workmen] into a compliance with their terms.” John Stuart Mill, a favorite of modern libertarians, lamented that without sufficient union strength, “the laborer in an isolated condition, unable to hold out even against a single employer…will, as a rule, find his wages kept down.” He condemned those who did not “wish that the laborers may prevail, and that the highest limit [for wages], whatever it be, may be attained.”
American Conservatives Are Working on the Railroads
The Railway Safety Act has made concrete the ideological debate raging between conservatives and libertarians over the role of government regulation in the free market.
Critics Corner with FreedomWorks’ Phil Bell on the Railway Safety Act
Oren Cass is joined by FreedomWorks’ Phil Bell for a wide-ranging discussion the Railway Safety Act of 2023.
Jobs Americans Would Do
A more productive conversation about raising workers’ wages