The State of the Unions

There was a time in my life, as well as the life of the nation, when unions were a positive force. There was a time when only through the power of collective bargaining that workers had the opportunity to be treated humanely, to be anything but the cheapest, most easily replaced, cogs in the wake of the industrial revolution. In those bad old days, machinery mattered, people didn’t.

Those days are long gone. By this time, the pendulum has swung so far over, so far to the left, that unions are now among the most vile and corrupt entities to be found on the American landscape.

One can almost long for a time when the worst thing one could say about union leaders like Dave Beck and Jimmy Hoffa is that they were in bed with the mob. Today, they’re in bed with Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

There are two very good reasons why when the unions say “Jump!” the Democrats never ask why, but only “How high?” One, thanks to the dues pouring in from their members month after month, the unions have hundreds of millions of dollars with which to finance political campaigns. Two, they are able to mobilize huge numbers of “volunteers” who are only too happy to do everything their pet candidates require, and that includes everything from stuffing envelopes to intimidating conservative voters.

Unions and the Democrats have what is called a symbiotic relationship. Like pilot fish, the little guys that aren’t eaten by sharks because they serve as dental floss — clearing out food particles from between the shark’s teeth — unions owe their prosperity, not to mention their very survival, to the land-based sharks, otherwise known as left-wing politicians.

There is a reason, after all, why the lawyers unions, the teachers unions, the UAW and, particularly, the SEIU, never have to go hat in hand to Obama. There is a reason why the former head of the SEIU, Andy Stern, who remains a close advisor of the president’s, has spent more time in the White House than Michelle Obama. And there is a reason why civil servants are now paid roughly 50% more in salary and pensions than those folks who battle it out in the competitive private sector, but who, nevertheless, are responsible for feathering the nests of those who lacked the courage or the drive or the talent to spurn the government teat. You don’t require a Ph.D, after all, to understand that there’s something rotten with a system that makes the rest of us the servants of so-called public servants.

But there are disgusting things about unions that even I was unaware of until I read Deroy Murdock’s article, “Hypocrisy is Big Labor’s Big Problem,” written for National Review Online.

For instance, Mr. Murdock reported that Jim Callaghan worked for 13 years writing speeches and newsletters for New York’s Federation of Teachers. But when one of his colleagues was fired without cause, Callaghan tried to organize his 12 fellow non-union writers. For that, he was sacked and given 30 minutes to vacate the premises.

Compare that to the years it takes to fire a unionized school teacher, including those guilty of sexually molesting their students.

The SEIU was picketed by its own members when 75 of the union’s non-union employees were fired because they had tried to organize as the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

If you’re a fan of irony and a student of hypocrisy, it gets even better.

When the Teamsters constructed their 16,246 square-foot union hall in Houston, they used non-union construction workers in order to keep down the costs. Obviously, they decided it was more important to send the money to the DNC than to waste it on their own members.

In similar fashion, when the AFL-CIO refurbished its Washington, D.C., headquarters, they hired non-union electricians and construction workers.

Some unions even go so far as to hire non-union people to picket employers for not hiring union members. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters paid non-union protestors to picket Washington’s McPherson Building for renovating with non-union carpenters. It goes without saying that these freelance picketers lack medical coverage, prevailing wages and, of course, union representation — the very things the unions self-righteously demand of other employers.

So far as unions are concerned, we are all supposed to do as they say, not as they do.

Now you know why the Democrats will condemn Big Oil, Big Pharmaceuticals and Big Agriculture, three groups that provide us with the essentials of modern life, but will never utter a discouraging word about Big Unions or, for that matter, Big Government.

In the sleazy world of liberal politics, where hypocrisy is a way of life, unions can do no wrong. It is a world in which morality dies for lack of oxygen, where only money matters. In fact, the whole notion of do’s and don’t is turned on its head. In the end, for Democrats, it all comes down to dues and more dues.

©2010 Burt Prelutsky

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Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
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  • Hambone763

    Obama’s special interest group are the unions. Yet he complains and gripes about the special interest groups of the GOP. Give me a break Barak.

  • William A Manning

    “it all comes down to dues and more dues.”

    very true.

  • Bruce A.

    Good one Burt. The union hypocrisy does not make sense to me. But nothing today makes sense to me anymore. What great times we are living in.