Monday, July 25, 2005
Power, not dignity
Unions to Quit AFL-CIO
-- in today's Washington Times
First...no doubt we will hear from well intentioned, but misguided folks, how this represents a "weakening" of Big Labor, yet another sure sign of its "decline." But don't be misled.
This is simply re-arranging the furniture in the torture chamber.
As long as the federal government gives Big Labor the astonishing power to pick millions of workers' pockets every payday, and essentially spend the tens of billions generated however they choose, Big Labor's core power remains undiminished. Because this power is fundamentally political, and it is protective.
Yes, it's true that the political landscape has changed a great deal in recent decades. I'm proud to say I had something to do with that: I worked at the National Right to Work Committee when we formed up a no-compromise wall against the Pushbutton Strike Bill in 1994, and stopped that "sure-to-pass" power-grab with a filibuster, despite Big Labor controlling both houses of Congress and the White House. That fall, we made sure millions of Americans knew how their representatives and Senators had voted and--alas!--over 40 of those forced-unionism water-carriers were given pink slips on Election Day.
Then, in the new Congress, we went on the offensive with the National Right to Work Act. And when we finally gained a Senate vote, though we didn't pass it, we did get more politicians on the record. And again, many of them were found wanting by their constituents.
And yet, Big Labor remains a power to reckon with.
How else explain the GOP's knee-knocking ways? Too many Republican pols look for ways to curry favor with union bigwigs, either by looking for ways to appease them, or by double-dealing with the National Right to Work Act: promising constituents they'll back it; but undercutting, behind the scenes, every effort to bring it to a vote.
Second. Did anyone else notice the hypocrisy in the story linked above?
Hint: what did these four union bosses do, that they have workers fired, beaten up and even worse, for doing?
Answer: they chose!
Now, it's true, these union heavies didn't quit paying union dues. But, if they follow through on their plans, they will stop sending their dues, and the dues of millions, to the AFL-CIO.
What happened to "solidarity"? What happened to "majority rules"? What happened to "paying your fair share"? Aren't these folks what they routinely call individual workers who choose to do likewise? "Freeloaders" and "scabs"?
If you think the union isn't listening to you, you don't like how your money is being spent, either strictly in matters of "organizing," or in political activism, are you allowed to opt out of the organization, and no longer send the money; and seek other ways of pursuing your cause, including on your own if you so choose?
The answer is yes...if you are a powerful Union Don...
But if you're a run-of-the-mill working stiff, the answer is "S**** you! Get back in line, or you'll see what we do to your family! See what we'll do to you!"
Every American deserves the right to choose to affiliate, or choose not to affiliate, with any union, or no union, as he pleases.
It's called Right to Work.
Update: I looked a little closer at the picture I posted above; though there are four union caporegimes leading their familias out of the AFL-CIO, the four pictured above are not them; the two men in the center are Don of dons John Sweeney, and his Luca Brazzi, Richard Trumpka, head of the Mine Workers Union.