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News flash! Union lobbyists wants to influence Biden against non-union SpaceX

In the past two days probably a dozen of my readers have sent me a link to this story at the Washington Examiner,
The Anti-SpaceX lobbying campaign casts new light on Elon Musk’s Biden beef.

The story reveals some private emails between a union lobbyist and a vice president at ULA, outlining their mutual effort to discredit Elon Musk and SpaceX because of its long term success in preventing its workforce from unionizing.

Everyone who has sent me this story somehow thinks it reveals a major breaking story.

I think this story is a tempest in a teapot. It reveals nothing newsworthy. All it shows is that a union lobbyist is trying to influence the Biden administration against SpaceX, a decidedly non-union company. Why should these actions surprise anyone? Unions always go after non-union companies, and they often do it by exerting their political clout.

Nor should be we surprised that one of SpaceX’s biggest competitors is partnering with the union in this effort. There is nothing newsworthy about this. Competitors compete, and that competition can sometimes be quite cut throat.

Furthermore, nothing in these emails appears illegal. The lobbyist’s claims against SpaceX are spurious and shallow, but so what? Unions have the right to lobby politicians, and they have the freedom to make whatever arguments they want, even if those arguments are silly or false.

Finally, to think it is a news story that Biden might be receptive to union lobbyists is kind of silly. Biden is a modern Democrat. In almost all matters he is going to genuflect to the unions. I don’t need to read the private emails of a union lobbyist to find this out.

However, the evidence in the past ten months shows that this lobbying effort has so far been incredibly ineffective. While I certainly do not trust the Democrats running the Biden administration, and fully expect them to take actions eventually to squelch private enterprise, this White House’s actions regarding space has so far generally continued the capitalist policies begun during the Trump administration. Note too that these are the same policies first begun at the end of the Bush Jr. administration, and encouraged strongly throughout the Obama administration. It certainly appears that — in space at least — the Democrats are as much for capitalism as the Republicans.

And these emails have apparently done nothing to change that. Thus, there is no news here.

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  • Jeff Wright

    What is new is how corporate types and unions both conspire with each other. I only had a place to live because my Dad was UTU. That was back when Reagan watered the borders down and Chavez was PRO boarder…for he and Reagan both knew that borders and picket lines are the same thing. No nice way to maintain either one-and libertarian border-union busters won..and the middle class lost.
    So are we better off now than we were 4O years ago-where everyone works two jobs? Or were we better off pre-Reagan where folks like my Dad could take care of his family with one paycheck? Sadly, the DNC is now the party of transgender snail-darter lives matter…and the workin’ man has no voice.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Unions always take credit for the Leave It To Beaver lifestyle of the 50s. It wasn’t unions who made things so good then, it was the strictly temporary circumstance that the U.S. was the only significant industrialized nation whose industry hadn’t been flattened by WW2. Even in the 50s, unions only represented about one in three private sector workers. Long-term, the only thing temporarily higher-than-market wages and benefits have gotten union workers is bankrupt companies, loss of jobs and those supposedly cushy pensions haircutted below scalp level by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.

    Unions, stripped of their Workers of the World Unite rhetoric, are pretty much extortion rackets with government licenses. The close connection of unions and organized crime is far from accidental. Unions are simply a form of organized crime. This is a form of economic parasitism which, fortunately, is now within sight of becoming extinct as its hosts die off one by one and are not replaced. OldSpace is among the few antediluvian industrial sectors – along with legacy U.S. automakers – that still have significantly unionized workforces. The prospects for both look pretty grim going forward.

    The connection of industrial unions to the Democratic Party is increasingly problematical anyway. The membership of industrial unions is overwhelmingly male. The work they do is often physically taxing and a fair amount of it is done outdoors in all weathers. The membership of government employee unions, which have long since surpassed their industrial predecessors in total membership, is, in contrast, heavily female and the work is done indoors and, as the saying goes, involves no heavy lifting. Given the Democratic Party’s general antipathy to men – along with the declining numbers of them in industrial unions – the Dems are unlikely to do much to advance the fortunes of people whom they now regard as their ideological enemies. A lot of union members voted for Trump both times, for example, and a significant number of industrial unions even endorsed his candidacy in 2020.

    Political realignments can be a bitch. But so can economic realignments. The Machinist’s union and ULA are not scheming together against SpaceX merely because it is non-union but because, in addition to being an uncrackable nut anent union organizing, SpaceX is also an existential threat to ULA’s continued existence as well as the space operations of other legacy contractors, all of which have unionized workforces. If these institutions go under, the Machinist’s union will be pushed that much further toward the looming abyss.

  • Jeff Wright

    I think it is more sinister. Free Trade cratered this country…and it wasn’t just WW 2. The GOP would like us to forget Reagan’s Amnesty. I love Trump because he is the anti-Reagan in some respects. Unlike Romney-who is no patriot. ULA just needs to kick Bezos to the curb. If I didn’t know better…I’d say he is an enemy of American Space capability old and new alike….Biden doesn’t care about space…and China wants old and new space to kill each other…when they should do the opposite. The one libertarian I can’t stand is Penn Gillette…who with Adam Conover called for open borders..augh!

  • Tom Billings

    What this lobbying campaign reminds me of is the period SpaceNews and other Space publication comment sections spent drowned under the posts of Gary Church. His many sock puppets extended so far that he ultimatelty revealed himself as a Union Organizer. This was the basis of his screaming hatred for Elon Musk.

    I wonder if Gary found some new friends, after his latest sock puppet was once again banned from SpaceNews and other sites? I wonder if he found a new audience to preach to?

  • Lee Stevenson

    Oh my…. I’m not saying I agree with what is occurring in this instance .. but unions are a very important push back by workers against overpower by the employee. I know I’m peeing in the wind with the audience here… But it never ends up well when one side or the other has total power. The workers have a right to have a say in their working conditions. That is what unions are for. I know the white, middle class audience here have no dogs in the race, but unions stand and fight for a decent wage and decent working conditions for working men and women. I am sure that many here will tell me why I a wrong. It’s wrong to expect a living wage, and decent working conditions for a hard day’s work.

  • Lee Stevenson wrote “I know the white, middle class audience here have no dogs in the race…”

    How the hell do you know the race of my audience, or the people who comment? Or their economic status?

    You don’t, which makes your statement a perfect example of what racism really is: Assigning a positive or negative value to someone based on their presumed ethnicity or race.

    You will stop doing such things now, Lee. Bringing up race when there is no cause is unacceptable. You are warned.

  • Questioner

    Lee Stevenson:

    The problem with unions nowadays is not that they are fighting for better working conditions, but that they are not only contaminated with politically left, but even with left-wing radical ideology through and through.

  • Col Beausabre

    One of the big problems is that union leadership is no longer from the workers. When was the last time Randi Weingarten taught a class? You look at their executive ranks and they are overewhelmingly made up of politicians and labor lawyers, not Joes and Janes from the mine or factory. They make salaries far above their union members and are part of the same social class as the industrial executives. They live in the same exclusive neighborhoods, send their children to the same exclusive schools, patronize the same high end stores and restaurants, vacation at the same chi-chi locations, etc. They’re looking out for Number One, not the guy on the line

  • Questioner

    Mr. Zimmerman, you are completely in the wrong direction. What’s wrong with you? Mr. Stevenson talks about dog racing, not human races. Why are you reacting in an exaggerated panic into the context?

  • Questioner: I don’t care if you don’t like it, my East German friend, but I will not tolerate anyone injecting race into any conversation, where it is not appropriate.

    Lee says he “knows” what the race, economic status, and opinions are of my readers. That is more than insulting and absurd. It is downright racist. He can’t know, and to think he does is disgraceful. He needs to think a bit more before he writes.

    And that you defend him in this only continues to confirm what I suspect about some of your own motives for commenting here.

  • wayne

    “White Like Me”
    SNL / Eddie Murphy [1984]

  • wayne

    Murray Rothbard
    The American Economy and the End Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II:
    Lecture 12, “The Great Cooperation” (1986)

    “Public housing, planned cities, government power plants, and coerced unionism were all part of the great cooperation between corporations and government through WWI and WWII. Milton Friedman proposed the withholding tax in WWII. Statistics came into being. Cartels were created to manage many industries, e.g. railroads and food. Unions were pro-war forces. Fascism was considered great…..”

  • Jeff Wright wrote: “…and the workin’ man has no voice.”

    Among other things.

    What are you talking about? Everyone with $20 has a global internet connection.

    Oh, you might mean a collective voice.

    Well, if you want to leave your life to others, sure. The Democrats famously kicked the working folks to the curb during the 2016 election. ‘Deplorables’, and all. And I know that after 10 hours of breaking rocks, it’s hard to muster the energy to fight City Hall. But that’s where we are; the more so, because we didn’t pay enough attention earlier. It will take extraordinary effort by anyone with interest to make changes. I think at this point, it’s more about carving space for freedom, than rescuing a country gone.

    No dog in the fight? Human, please!

  • Well, if you want to leave your life to others, sure.

    Blair, you have concisely described the entire mindset of social technocracy … subordinate your life, in total and practically irrevocable trust, to the myopia, conflicted interest, and agendas of an elite few, as you simply punch in, do what you’re told, and punch out.

    Jeff: THIS is how the many in the middle class lost … they were led to leave prosperity on the table for others to pick up, thinking that the post-WWII bubble of American economic dominance would last forever and enable the employers, unions, and government they trusted to assure their prosperity as they simply punched in, did what they’re told, and punched out … instead of taking the initiative to protect their own interests, by delivering more than asked on-the-job so their employers could better compete, by growing their reputations and skill sets to become valuable assets that employers will compete for., by managing their own lives so they are always in a position to fire their management and sign on with a better one.

    Those of us who took that initiative – even imperfectly – capitalized on the opportunities created by Reagan’s supply-side approach, and did not lose. That is what my own career is built upon. That is what has to be allowed and encouraged again by our “betters” – including the assumption of risk of failure – if we are not going to simply become a vassal state of China. For the ability of individuals to exercise the initiative to better our lot, impeded only by the need to respect the lives and liberty of others, gives America the capacity to innovate and out-compete authoritarian worker-beehives like China. It is our edge … an edge unions and government seek to suppress because the authorities within them Know Better™.

    As the son of a UAW skilled tradesman, I saw the good/bad/ugly of Big Labor through his eyes. And as an engineer working in American manufacturing firms, I saw that the jobs do not leave where American workers can and will deliver the value to keep them here … and how trade unions have diminished in the eyes of workers, while public-sector bureaucrat unions have grown.

    Lee Stevenson: The workers have a right to have a say in their working conditions.

    They have the same right as I do as a “professional”: fire their management and sign on with a better one. It may take a while to find one you can live with, and it may not be in the location you would really like, but it CAN be done. To trust others to secure your interests diminishes the ability to work around their failures … a valuable component of individual liberty that I have previously recommended for your consideration.

    Unions had a purpose a century ago – they were the “training wheels” for people moving from the farms into industry, countering the advantage of established ownership. Now, those training wheels have become rusty and weak, because not only do unions have legal advantages that management does not – not only is union leadership exhibiting the short-sighted greed normally attributed to CEOs – they lull their workers into a complacency that “they will be taken care of” if they just punch in, do what they’re told, and punch out.

    No wonder unions have allied themselves with the prime promoters of social technocracy: the Progressive Left … and will collude with another set of its promoters: Big Corporate America.

  • Edward

    Jeff Wright wrote: “Free Trade cratered this country

    The reverse is the case. This country was founded in large part because the colonists wanted to trade freely with the world. The colonies could only sell to England, which then traded freely with the world for a great profit. This mercantilism was among the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence. Once the U.S. could trade freely with the world, living here became desirable, because our labor could earn full price on the market.

    Free Trade created this country.

    The U.S. is beginning to crater now, because our government is once again restricting our ability to trade freely, controlling our businesses and commerce from a central location that does not make the correct decision for most cases. Unions are another method of controlling the cost of labor outside of the free trade system.

  • pzatchok

    Do you know what killed unions?

    The unions own success.
    They were created to help the worker gain a little power.
    Well it worked.
    The work place is safe for the worker and if the worker does not feel safe they only need call the state.
    Better working hours. Well I do not know a single workplace that can force you to work for longer than you want, or when you want.
    Better pay for the worker. Well the minimum wage is regulated by the state. I do not know of a maximum wage your not allowed to make.

    If you do not like your pay rate, job, or hours go get another job.
    Heck make your own job.

    The unions worked themselves out of a need for themselves.
    What do they have left to fight for?
    Higher wages. What wage is high enough? The term ” a living wage” is not a number its a political talking point. And my living wage could be entirely different than your living wage.

    Thats all they have left. Higher wages. And that reason is easy to beat. Just look at the UAW and how fast it is shrinking. And more cars are being made in the USA than ever before.

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