Español Puerto Rico labor unions have been out in the streets the last few weeks protesting proposed changes from the current administration. They’ve been protesting almost as much as they did when the previous administration proposed any changes of their own. These proposals, while imperfect, are needed to bring the island’s fiscal house in order and hopefully stave off a default. Even with these changes, however, that default may still occur.
Unions use strikes to put pressure on politicians by making things uncomfortable for the general public, forcing politicians to give in to their demands. It usually works. In fact, it works so well that politicians long ago threw fiscal sanity out the window in order to keep unions happy. Unions themselves have shown little interest in understanding how business actually works, sometimes even to their own detriment. Unions helped destroy US manufacturing and were directly responsible for the end of Eastern Airlines and the Twinkie (although Twinkie is now back and in non-union hands).
I think the time has come for business owners to fight back. It is time for Atlas to shrug.
I am calling on business owners, large and small, across Puerto Rico to close their doors for 24 hours on September 2, 2014. The date is known as Atlas Shrugged Day, in honor of the date repeatedly mentioned in the Ayn Rand book Atlas Shrugged. In the book, one by one, men of industry, the movers and the shakers of the world, simply disappeared. They quit, closed their businesses, and walked away, driving the economy, already destroyed by over regulation and union madness, into even bigger disarray.
The focus of the September 2 strike will be to deny government taxes for the day and send a message to employees that times must change and unions must be controlled. Employees of businesses that are not planning to shut down can also participate by calling in sick, taking vacation, or simply telling their bosses they will be on strike that day. This is a strike for those who believe in a free-market economy, in freedom, and understand government has gotten out of hand.
Business owners joining this strike should tell their employees exactly why they are closing down for the day. Tell them about over regulation; tell them Puerto Rico has too many laws and taxes; tell them how unions and their tactics have given their members better privileges at the expense of the rest of society; and tell them that if something doesn’t change soon, all businesses — and by extension, all jobs and tax revenue — will go away.
Do not pay your employees on this day.
This is the day business owners can choose to send a clear message to government: enough. I also ask those business operators who are planning to shut down, because they cannot continue to function under the law, to wait until September 2 to do so. Place a sign outside your store or business explaining why you had to shut down.
This isn’t just for small business. I’m asking banks, investment firms, major manufacturing operations, shipping and export businesses, and even internet businesses to shut down for 24 hours.
This is also not limited to Puerto Rico. I ask business owners across Latin America and the United States to do the same. Go on strike against the civil tyranny of government.
If this one-day strike proves unsuccessful, then another full-week strike should be organized for October 10, the date Ayn Rand’s book was first published. If that fails to get the government’s attention, then a third strike on November 5 may be needed.
If nothing else, we should continue to honor September 2 each year as a constant reminder to those in power that without business there is no economy. If we take no action, we have no room to complain when government ignores our cause. Those interested in joining or supporting the strike may join the Facebook group to learn more.