Today was a pretty busy news day, and some things I heard piqued my interest. I have commented on one of them below.
I feel somewhat qualified to comment on this, I was an active union member for the first part of my working life. I was also a Democrat, which is sort of expected if you are a member of a labor union. I fully understand why labor unions were created, and I don’t disagree with the purpose. Back in the early days of the industrial boom, primarily in the eastern United States, before organized unions, large companies were brutal to work for. They forced workers to work long grueling hours, under sometimes unbearable conditions, not paying them overtime, or a decent wage. If you dared to complain, you were fired on the spot. If you wanted to work, you had to deal with whatever they demanded. Labor unions stopped all of that and leveled the playing field. I applaud them for that. However, like most things that generate a large flow of cash, it doesn’t take long for the criminal element to get involved. There have been some rather notorious characters associated with labor unions.
One of the things that I did not agree with as a young Boilermaker, was the blacklist that was published by the union local. It was a list of businesses that were not unionized, urging us not to patronize them. I felt very strongly as a 19 year old, this was wrong. I could not conceive what gave them the right to do that. My friends father’s business was on that list. He had a small sheet metal shop with one employee. I felt that was wrong then, and I still feel the same today, 58 years later. They had no right to try to deprive that man from earning a living for his family.
When I moved to Los Angeles a few years later, I attempted to continue working as a Boilermaker, but getting a referral from the Los Angeles local proved impossible. Not sure why, but I was never dispatched. I suspect that unless you were in tight with the folks running the local, your chances were pretty much nil. Which makes another important point, these people can pick and choose who works and who doesn’t. Pretty much like the large companies the unions are supposed to protect you from.
So, in order to be able to work at my trade as a steel worker, I became an Ironworker. For the next 20 years or so, I worked as a union ironworker. I have no regrets, I was never out of work, I always earned top dollars, with all of the great benefits that go with union jobs. However I must say that over the years of being associated with labor unions I became well aware that they have a dark side. If you step out of line they have no problem putting the muscle on you in many different forms.
When I got older and a bit wiser, I began to notice the power of labor unions extended well beyond the negotiating table. I began to realize they wielded a tremendous amount of political power. The Democratic party and the labor unions are inseparable.They are conjoined forever. This is where it becomes intolerable for me, and others that are not Democrats, and don’t like to be told how to vote and who to buy from. If I work on a job that requires me to be a union member, a large part of my dues go towards supporting the Democratic Party and Democrat Politicians. That is unacceptable to me, when I am a Conservative Independent, and would never support leftist policies and socialism.
The other negative thing about all of this is “payback”. The labor unions put Democrats in power, and the Democrats are compelled to pay back the favor with large government contracts that benefit the unions. One of the many reasons why you pay high taxes. Why do you think it’s so hard to get the government to green light Charter Schools? Because it jeopardizes the jobs of union teachers. Union teachers don’t have to perform at the levels you would expect in a private school. Their jobs are protected regardless of how well they do them. The same exact thing happens in the government at all levels. You can be lousy at your job but you don’t need to worry, you can’t be fired. Make no mistake about it, labor unions are a form of Socialism.
All of that said, today we are at a tipping point. The Supreme Court is hearing the case of Janus vs. AFSCME regarding whether workers can be forced to pay dues when they disagree with how the money is used. The ruling will likely be revealed sometime in June of this year. If the SCOTUS agrees with Janus, it will be very interesting to see what the fallout will produce. In my opinion the labor unions could have avoided this day by simply allowing the Conservative workers to dissent, and have a separate fund which would be donated to conservative candidates and causes. But then, that would be “fair” and the unions aren’t exactly good at playing fair.
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