Monday, April 28, 2008

Today's Unions: Stirring the Kool-Aid and Causing Collateral Damage

As former union leaders, there was a time when we admired unions and what they allegedly stood for. However, like many, the deeper we dug, the more we saw, and the more we experienced the betrayal of workers, the more disgusted we became with the union leaders of today. Like many people who are duped into believing in something, only to find out it is based on a false premise, a collectivist creed, and, in the end, causing more harm than good, we left in order to oppose that which we once preached.

There are several stories circulating in the media that offer prime examples of just what is meant by the above paragraph.

The first, of course, is the sordid battle going on between the SEIU and the CNA. There are enough stories floating around the internet for one to research on their own, so we won't spend any more time on it, except to offer you our opinion on What's Really Behind the SEIU vs. CNA Fight, which we posted on Friday.

The second story comes by way of the Detroit News and discusses a United Auto Workers' (UAW) strike against General Motors at one of its plants and several others that the UAW has threatened with strikes. The title of the piece is aptly titled: Motive in UAW threats unclear.

In the piece, the writer quotes a UAW striker, Michael Shrubbe, as saying: "None of us know why we're here."

Mr. Shrubbe, the article states, has been walking a picket line in Delta Township, where workers have been off the job since April 17 at the factory that builds GM's popular crossovers.

The article goes on to say:

GM believes the UAW threats, all against factories that either make critical models for the automaker or supply the parts to build them, are a tactic being used to draw the company into the strike against American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., according to several sources familiar with negotiations. Labor law prohibits the union from striking because of a dispute elsewhere; many think the union is using local negotiations to apply indirect pressure.

"There's a feeling among workers that their jobs are being jeopardized by things beyond their control," Gary Chaison, a labor specialist at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. "Their expectations were when everything was tied up nationally everything would fall into place. Now it appears to be unraveling so fast."

The American Axle strike, in its ninth week, has created a parts shortage that has forced GM to idle or cut production at more than two dozen North American factories. But GM's bottom line has been relatively unscathed since the affected factories produce slow-selling large trucks and SUV that were backing up on dealer lots.

Now, besides strikers not knowing why they're unemployed and on the picket lines (that, by itself, is condemning enough of the union's leadership), the fact of the matter is, if GM's assumptions are correct and the UAW is trying to use local strikes as leverage to draw the car maker into the American Axle strike, then the UAW has become woefully inept at flexing its own muscle.

As every unionist (former or otherwise) knows, the strike is a union's only weapon and for a union to pull the trigger without making sure its gun is fully loaded and correctly aimed is not only irresponsible, but borders on a negligent dereliction of a union leader's duty--to care for his membership first.

In this case though, it would appear GM workers and their families are being sacrificed because of Ron Gettlefinger's poor calculations in dealing with American Axle and, if true, that is both reprehensible and inexcusable.

Our third and final story comes from the Los Angeles Times and deals with the aftermath of the 100-day writer's strike.

In the LA Times article, the reporter discusses at length the many hardship cases of the "collateral damage" caused by the strike. Namely, the crew members and other talent (mostly union members) that are facing financial ruin from the economic fallout from the writer's strike.

As the article states: Some are at risk of losing their homes. Some can't afford groceries. Others have filed for bankruptcy. Still others struggle to work enough hours to hold on to their health insurance.

Although hard figures are not available, union officials say that thousands of crew members who normally would be busy at this time of year are still idled because of the sharp contraction in television production. Some union locals report a quarter of their members are sitting at home.

Karen Hartjen is one. She can't bring herself to open the utility bills lying on her
kitchen table in Simi Valley.

The 53-year-old assistant prop master has been out of work since early November,
when a string of jobs on TV shows such as "CSI: New York" and "Medium" came to a halt after the writers walked out.Although Hartjen is accustomed to earning $100,000 a year, she is now $10,000 in debt and her home is threatened with
foreclosure. She has turned to her church and the Salvation Army for help with

To add insult to injury, these workers who stood behind their union "brothers" and "sisters" are getting the shaft from their own unions who administer their health care...

Many crew members are in a race against the clock to keep their health insurance.
Union rules require that members work at least 300 hours every six months to
maintain their benefits.

After a four-month hiatus, foley artist Dominique Tabach of Valencia recently returned to work part-time on the CBS drama "Numb3rs." But she has nothing else lined up.

Without additional work, Tabach, 43, is concerned that she won't accumulate enough hours to keep her union health insurance beyond September. The insurance covers Tabach, her 8-year-old daughter and her husband, a former TV executive who recently lost his job.

Yet, in the face of an actors' strike that is certain to bring financial devastation to those teetering on the edge right now, NONE of these "victims" seem to question whether their "union solidarity" was worth it. None seem to wonder if "Hollywood is a Union Town" is really a good thing, or perhaps it is a bad thing.

Last December, we received a comment from a rather irate wife of a man who was unemployed due to the writer's strike (which is posted here). In her comment, she called she and her husband "collateral damage," to which we took her to task. In sum, if you place yourself in harm's way, then you cannot call yourself "collateral damage."

In closing, as was stated at the beginning of this post, when people realize that today's unions are based on a false premise, a collectivist creed and, in the end, causing more harm than good, perhaps they will stop allowing themselves to become the "collateral damage" to half-witted union leaders of today who only know how to lead people down a one-way path to self-destruction.


viagra said...

I think that people were in their right sense actually I like to support strikes and other kind of manifestations because it's the way to fight for we want.m10m

pharmacy said...

unions disappoint me so bad, seriously, since 1963 i lost my faith in the.

Viagra Vs Cialis said...

I don't know why people don't like Unions. It is the best way to defend yourself from the tyranny

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