Monday, February 21, 2011

Have You Ever Belonged To A Union?

Donald Douglas at American Power has a great response to an Ezra Klein question - "Have you or anyone close to you belonged to a union?'

I never have. My father briefly was part of the Teamsters when the airline he worked for became unionized. I remember he didn't have any sympathy for the air traffic controllers (PATCO) who went on strike in 1981, with those who didn't return to work being fired by President Reagan. Even though he wasn't an air traffic controller, I remember him saying "I took an oath I wouldn't strike." Other than that, other members of my family have belonged to teachers unions. While the unions have given some teachers protection, there's a lot of "bad" that outweighs the good.

Sure, a union can prevent a wrongful firing, but what about firing for "incompetence" or not doing your job. Remember how it took an undercover TV crew to expose UAW autoworkers using their lunch breaks to smoke pot and drink booze? Had it not been for the expose, those workers would probably still have jobs.

I've glanced at a lot of the teacher's union magazines and you can tell the political influence and campaigning in them. The local teacher's union promoted the "One Communist Nation" rally, and I saw scores of AFT members, as well as other unions. All those buses, boxed lunches, etc, etc, were paid for with union dues. Couldn't that money be better spent on the workers they claimed to represent?

Then there's the unholy alliance between unions and the Democrat Party, which is something that needs to be broken up. Look at how Harry Reid got re-elected, when polls showed him losing the race. Don't tell me unions didn't play a role in that. This unholy alliance between unions and Democrats is how the union workers are held in much higher regard than those of us who are non-union. They've become another "special interest group" whom the liberals use for their own political gain.

Which comes to this question to those backing the unions: what about the sacrifices those of us who are non-union employees have made? Many of us, over the last couple of years, have had pay freezes, had to pay more in health care premiums, or had our employer temporarily cut contributions to our 401ks. We did that, because the alternative was perhaps not having a job to go to.

But ask the unions to sacrifice, and then this sense of entitlement crops up, even as they make more money and don't have to pay as much in benefits as non-union workers. I think a lot of Americans are finding their attitude offensive, and is rallying them against these protesters in Wisconsin. It certainly doesn't seem to help the President, who has cast his lot on the side of the unions who have supported him (and he's returned the favor, with Obamacare vouchers).

All I know is that there's probably a lot of non-union workers who'd love to have the jobs the union members aren't doing, because they're too busy protesting.


Wraith said...

Actually, I'm technically still a Teamster, though I haven't paid dues since before the first Republican Revolution.

I was in one of those Union States, where once the union gets in, it's a "Union Shop." You want a job, you join. These states are wonderful for the unions, because once they get in, they don't actually have to do anything. Management screwed us on our gainshare, shoved mandatory overtime down our throats, and even took away our lunch break. Seriously. And what did the mighty Teamsters do about it?

Nothing. Except, of course, to keep collecting dues for services not rendered. I'd never been that crazy about joining a union in the first place, but I thought I'd give it a try. Never again. When they're needed, they're useless; when they actually do anything, it's for political gain. I have a suggestion for the unions--it ends with "and the horse they rode in on."

Larry Sheldon said...

A long time ago, in a place far, far away, I went to work for a telephone company, and the union did commence to lean. hard.

And after a while, I said "the vigourish is not _that-bad_ and it will keep them off my back so I signed the card (for $14.85 a payday, I think).

Then they raised the dues, and I never signed a new card.....

Funny, but true....after I transferred to Kester (and got into several squabbles with the steward), the area rep asked me if I would take the job of steward -- they wanted to be shed of the idiot trouble-maker.

I pointed out that I was not a member....