There used to be a good and necessary reason for labor unions: to protect the rights, pay and treatment of ordinary workers.
Nowadays, I'm not so sure.
Let us investigate:
Unions are undeniably a major reason why Obama was elected. Without them, he remains a junior Senator from Illinois (given his annoying habit of voting 'present,' perhaps he even slinks into oblivion from there). Fact: the SEIU and its sister unions of all flavors backed Obama and dropped Hillary. Likewise, unions were a huge factor in the election of Democratic Presidents going back to Clinton, Carter, Kennedy, Truman and FDR.
If you have a union job and cannot get fired, you probably are rabidly pro-union.
If you like the looks of Richard Trumka and the things he says, you probably have a union worker in your family at the very least, if you're not one yourself. One of the many objectionable things he said was that the only reason not to vote for Barack Obama is racism. What he actually said was "there's not a single good reason ... to vote against Barack Obama ... and there's only one really, really bad reason to vote against Barack Obama ... and that's because he's not white" and we can see from these unnatural semantics how he so cleverly tries to back door his racist slam.
Besides being racist in and of itself (one can't vote for another candidate because they don't like Obama's policies or lack of experience?), Trumka's little Obama pep rally is proof that Obama is in the unions' pocket. If you can sit through the seven minutes of Obama propaganda that fat-cat Trumka spews, you'll get a shrill crescendo about "right-wing race haters Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Ann Coulter." Now, this union-boss is acting as a self-appointed moral and racial conscience of America? I have never had a good feeling of integrity or conscience from union bosses or especially the unions themselves. To me, Trumka and his radical, Socialist diatribes are the embodiment of everything that's wrong with this country.
One thing is clear: the unions all love Democrats and hate Republicans. See what's happening there? See how the Dems so eagerly align themselves with the unions in exchange for money and votes?
From a paper entitled, "Union Corruption in America: Still A Growth Industry," by Carl F. Horowitz:
To research the issue of corruption in America's labor unions is both exhilarating and exasperating. Few experiences are more satisfying than reading and then writing about organized labor's embezzlers and extortionists getting their just deserts. Yet despite all the expulsions, arrests, indictments and convictions, there is also despair. For the story too often stays the same even if the cast of characters changes. Corruption remains deeply embedded in the way unions supposedly represent dues-paying workers.
Or this, from a John Stossel expose, "Public sector unions are parasites that will bankrupt America," said James MacDougald, President, The Free Enterprise Nation, "it is literally the parasite devouring the host," he warned. Watch closely as the fat, sweaty Transit Workers Union boss first laughs with delight at the NYC MTA's $800 million budget shortfall then squirms and dodges when asked simple, direct questions. He also unselfishly tries to give viewers a history lesson of unions. Lame, he is. Lame and vile.
Among the 'benefits' accruing to TWU members working on NYC's transport system are:
- Reaching the top pay level in the 3rd year;
- 30 vacation days in the first year of employment;
- Many sick days (which they use, some taking 50 or more per year; 51 TWU workers took off an average of 64 days in one year);
- Retire at 55
- A healthcare plan of extravagant proportions
I am continually amazed at how good, honest and decent people can still support the idea of unions and be completely oblivious to their basic deceitfulness. I guess some people are willing to overlook anything to achieve their political goals.
That's my first problem. Unions have become unashamedly dishonest organizations often infested with criminals who viciously cheat the American taxpayer and their members.
Another problem I have with unions is that I always see far too many union workers standing around; drinking coffee and watching one guy turn a screwdriver. It's empirical evidence at best, but it's what I frequently see and it seems valid to me. So my second problem is that union workers these unions supposedly protect are often lazy, unqualified slackers who cannot be fired and are looking for a free ride on the backs of the rest of us. Yes, this happens in non-union work situations, too, but less often.
This drives up prices and cost for the rest of us who have to work until we're 65 or older; don't get 30 days vacation or 54 sick days our first year on the job and don't have a 'Cadillac' health-care plan.
When you tally up the political corruption unions create, their workers' appalling lack of productivity and how the economy is ruined by the totality of these dynamics, you see that unions have outlived their usefulness and have become an ugly caricature of what was once a noble idea.
There's no way honest, hard-working Americans should let these denizens of destruction steal from us, ruin our economy and make all our lives harder and more expensive.
A silver lining: Thankfully, the percentage of American workers who belong to unions is under 12%, the lowest percentage since 1932.
Though counter-balancing the above happy statistic is the fact that government workers now comprise the biggest percentage of union members rather than the private sector -- an ominous sign indeed.
So until we can eradicate the dishonest and corrupt unions while keeping the honest ones, municipalities in particular will continue to suffer, as will the rest of the workers and American economy.
I know the 'Workers of the World Unite' squad will attack me ferociously. I don't care. Somebody must stand up to these atavistic descendants of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky and call 'bullshit.' Their way was tried in places such as the Soviet Union (notice the word 'union' ... hmmm), Mao's China, Castro's Cuba, Nicaragua and other ill-fated and heartrending geographies. It didn't work.
Quite the opposite, it enslaved hundreds of millions of people for more than 70 years and put progress on hold for the entire world while sparking two world wars.
Undoubtedly the world would be a better place without unions. And prices would be lower too.
(Corporations? Think I'm a shill for corporations? Stay tuned. I'll tackle the corporations in a column soon.)