Changing Labor Market.
In the 1970s labor unions priced themselves out of a radically changing labor market. Too long during the decade unions continued to strike and bargain for wage increases without regard to the health of the industries whose workers they represented. In 1970 the railroad unions struck for two hours and received wage raises far above the rate of inflation without any increases in productivity. In the inflationary mid 1970s the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers demanded and received large increases in wages and benefits that did not recognize the severe cost pressures and profit squeezes that their respective indus-tries were undergoing. In the recession of 1979-1981 those industries responded to those pressures by laying off hundreds of thousands of workers. Also, several major unions—the Teamsters and the United Mine Workers among them—were caught up in corruption scandals that eroded the...
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