BLS September Mass Layoff Report: It’s unpleasant and inconvenient

It’s become something of a legend among unions and the nation’s labor relations community but, for those old enough to remember the mid-90s, when Whole Foods was under constant attack by the United Food & Commercial Workers, John Mackey, Whole Foods’ CEO once shared his opinion of unions with a reporter, as follows:


“The union is like having herpes. It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.”

Of course, the UFCW and other unions went ballistic. They protested and picketed and boycotted. [I mean, really, who wants to be told they’re like a case of herpes?] But, that was more than 15 years ago and times have changed for unions—although, with more than 93% of the private-sector now union-free, not for the better. Yet, unions are still having their unpleasant and inconvenient consequences.

Take, for example, the unpleasant and inconvenient Mass Layoff Report for September from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which seems to confirm Mr. Mackey’s analogy…

Here are the takeaways:

  • Employers took 1,495 mass layoff actions in September involving 153,229 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
  • Each mass layoff involved at least 50 workers from a single employer.
  • The number of mass layoff events in September decreased by 92 from August, and the number of associated initial claims decreased by 12,318.
  • All 4 regions and 6 of the 9 divisions experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance due to mass layoffs in September.
  • Among the census regions, the Northeast had the largest over-the-year increase in average weekly initial claims. Of the geographic divisions, the Pacific and Middle Atlantic registered the largest over-the-year increases in average weeklyinitial claims.

And, here’s the money quote:

  • California recorded the highest number of mass layoff initial claims in September, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, and Illinois. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims, led by California and Pennsylvania. (See table 6.)

What are the common denominators?

  • Four out of five are governed by union bought-and-paid for Democrats.
  • Four out of five will likely vote for Barack Obama in 2012
  • Four out of five are forced union dues (aka NotRight-to-Work) states

[You might say that North Carolina, which is currently a Right-to-Work state, borders on the having a case of the ‘unpleasant and inconvenient’]

In any case, although the Obama campaign may want to spin the facts whichever way they may, the real unpleasant and inconvenient truth is that unions kill jobs.



“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Cross-posted on


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