Friday, January 12, 2007

Big Labor killing Detroit -- Liberal Journalist

Those of you who get irritated when I bring up Right to Work -- that is, the idea that no one should be coerced into joining or supporting a union, but rather should be free to choose to affiliate with a union -- really won't like the article I'm linking in this post.

Mickey Kaus is an online journalist whose been associated with "mainstream," liberal-leaning media: Newsweek, Washington Monthly and the New Republic. He makes the case as well as anyone for what's wrong with compulsory unionism, in Slate column, "Unionism Isn't Killing Detroit?"

13 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Father Martin Fox said...

Anonymous:

A wide variety of opinions are expressed here, no problem; but ugly, dehumanizing language that demeans people is not acceptable. That's why your post was deleted.

Feel free to come back and express your views without hate-speech.

Anonymous said...

Your hostility towards unions, Father, is far more "ugly" and "dehumanizing" than was my use of the word "scab."

Father Martin Fox said...

Anonymous:

If you want to reason together, let's be reasonable. Instead of ranting.

I have expressed zero "hostility" to unions. I don't know what more I can do than cite what I wrote in the post: I am for freedom to join unions, and freedom not to join.

I feel the same way about political parties, fraternal organizations, religion and so forth. I am for voluntary membership in the Catholic Church -- does that make me "hostile" to the Catholic Church?

Finally, while you are free to post anonymously, I point out to you that I have no qualms attaching my name to my views. What holds you back?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Father, wholeheartedly. I do not read one iota of "hostility" that the anonymous gentleman/lady says that you are exhibiting.

While I am currently attending college in western Michigan, I live in the Metro Detroit area and my family is very much connected to the auto manufacturing industry which has been suffering immensely for quite a time now.

I can only say that you are right on all points that you make and I agree with you totally. There are some unions that are asking some things of the higher ups in the industry that, in better times, would not have been a problem but now ... it takes some give on both sides. And I am not saying that the execs have done everything but still ...

And I agree with your point that people should be free to choose whether or not to join unions ... what is the use of forced membership? Isn't that one of the principles on which our great nation is based? That is, the freedom to choose what one does or does not do ... of course, there are exceptions (like abortion) but hopefully I am getting my point across.

Wonderful blog, Father ... I have you linked on my blog. God bless you and Mary keep you!

Jim said...

I grew up in a staunchly union household. My Dad was a shop steward and eventually the president of his local union.

Having said that I could not bring myself to join a union. The original intent of a union-to negotiate jointly with management-I agree with wholeheartedly. The ridiculous stuff that comes out of unions today, however, is absurd.

Unions basically support every wacky liberal idea that comes along even if it is direct opposition to their best interest.

As an example, in 2000 the coal miners union announced they were endorsing Al Gore for president. No big deal since most unions automatically endorse the democrats. Except, Gore was opposed to the very existence of the coal industry due to it's environmental effects.

The rationale the rank and file members received was that if Gore was able to wipe out their industry at least they could count on him to provide re-training for another job. I kid you not!

Anonymous said...

"Mickey Kaus is an online journalist whose been associated with "mainstream," liberal-leaning media: Newsweek, Washington Monthly and the New Republic. He makes the case as well as anyone for what's wrong with compulsory unionism, in Slate column, 'Unionism Isn't Killing Detroit?'" -- Father Fox

I found nothing, Father, on the Slate link you provided that speaks to people being "coerced" to join unions. (As if that were even possible here in the United States.) While Mickey Kaus was certainly critical of the UAW and other unions, he spoke not a word about "compulsory unionism," much less what's wrong with it.

Mickey Kaus on Bloggin Heads TV discussing the UAW and Unions in General

If Kaus said nothing about "compulsory unionism," why would you claim otherwise? Is it perhaps because of your hostility towards unions in general?

"Finally, while you are free to post anonymously, I point out to you that I have no qualms attaching my name to my views. What holds you back?" -- Father Fox

If I am free to post anonymously, why then ask the question?

Father Martin Fox said...

Anonymous:

Other than the question speaking for itself, one additional reason it would be helpful if you didn't post anonymously is that it would help me know whether you are the same anonymous who posted earlier. I am making the surmise that you are.

And it is irritating that you insist on some verbal jousting. You get one go at it, and that's it. I invited you earlier to "reason together." You insist on being difficult.
Now . . .

I did not claim that Mr. Kaus used the term "compulsory unionism"; I did say that he described "what's wrong" with it, and I stand by that. Because the situation he describes is a fruit of compulsory unionism -- i.e., the laws, primarily the NLRA or Wagner Act, that gives union officials compulsory power. Mr. Kaus himself blames this law:

Is it really an accident that all the UAW-organized auto companies are in deep trouble while all the non-union Japanese "transplants" building cars in America are doing fine? Detroit's designs are inferior for a reason, even when they're well built. And that reason probably as more to do with the impediments to productivity imposed by the UAW--or, rather, by legalistic, Wagner-Act unionism--than with slick and unhip Detroit corporate "culture."

(Note to readers: the link I provided above still takes you to this article, but you have to scroll down to January 11; and he seems to have changed the headline of the post, but otherwise the article is still there.)

Now, Anonymous, the link you provided goes to a different item from the what I referred to; although I watched his discussion, and he did, indeed, reiterate there his criticism both of the effect of union work rules specifically and Wagner-Act, confrontational unionism in general.

And, Mr. Kaus certainly said a good deal about "what's wrong" with unionism; indeed, he was very critical of unionism, although not uniformly so.

Anonymous, that's the last time I'm going to play your attempt at a "gotcha" game, which you lost, by the way.

You're welcome to stay and engage in honest, civil conversation; but if you won't do that, then there's the door.

Father Martin Fox said...

Anonymous:

Other than the question speaking for itself, one additional reason it would be helpful if you didn't post anonymously is that it would help me know whether you are the same anonymous who posted earlier. I am making the surmise that you are.

And it is irritating that you insist on some verbal jousting. You get one go at it, and that's it. I invited you earlier to "reason together." You insist on being difficult.
Now . . .

I did not claim that Mr. Kaus used the term "compulsory unionism"; I did say that he described "what's wrong" with it, and I stand by that. Because the situation he describes is a fruit of compulsory unionism -- i.e., the laws, primarily the NLRA or Wagner Act, that gives union officials compulsory power. Mr. Kaus himself blames this law:

Is it really an accident that all the UAW-organized auto companies are in deep trouble while all the non-union Japanese "transplants" building cars in America are doing fine? Detroit's designs are inferior for a reason, even when they're well built. And that reason probably as more to do with the impediments to productivity imposed by the UAW--or, rather, by legalistic, Wagner-Act unionism--than with slick and unhip Detroit corporate "culture."

(Note to readers: the link I provided above still takes you to this article, but you have to scroll down to January 11; and he seems to have changed the headline of the post, but otherwise the article is still there.)

Now, Anonymous, the link you provided goes to a different item from the what I referred to; although I watched his discussion, and he did, indeed, reiterate there his criticism both of the effect of union work rules specifically and Wagner-Act, confrontational unionism in general.

And, Mr. Kaus certainly said a good deal about "what's wrong" with unionism; indeed, he was very critical of unionism, although not uniformly so.

Anonymous, that's the last time I'm going to play your attempt at a "gotcha" game, which you lost, by the way.

You're welcome to stay and engage in honest, civil conversation; but if you won't do that, then there's the door.

Father Martin Fox said...

One more note on anonymous posting.

I allow it, because most of the time, there's no issue; but there are times when anonymous posting is an issue -- this thread touches on that.

Without the tedious process of spelling out "rules" or expectations, my intuition is that anonymous posters aren't entitled to be taken as seriously as those who post under a name or pseudonym; because it's not an even "playing field." My posts are clearly identified as mine -- and you know who I am.

So, if you are going to enter into a more serious discussion, and you expect that, then the courtesy of clearer self-identification (i.e., even a pseudonym) is expected.

On the other hand, if you are entering into a conversation in a more casual way, it doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

"And it is irritating that you insist on some verbal jousting." -- Father Fox

Father, if you find someone challenging your political views or what you've written on this site to be "irritating," then might I suggest that your next blog topic involve, say, your favorite recipe for making chocolate chip cookies. By all means, please avoid taking a position on the political issues of the day -- positions, I might add, for which you have neither the stomach nor the intellect to defend, particularly when challenged. Again, stick to the cookie recipes. Your stomach will thank you.

"I did not claim that Mr. Kaus used the term "compulsory unionism..." -- Father Fox

You used the word "coerced" in your original post and you used that word when speaking about union membership. You also wrote that Kaus "makes the case as well as anyone for what's wrong with compulsory unionism, in [his] Slate column."

Kaus compared costs in union shops with costs in non-unions shops. To the exclusion of many other reasons (e.g., incompetent management, the compensation paid to that management, poor marketing, a myriad of other costs and factors that in no way involve union membership, etc.) Kaus then reached some foolish conclusions as to why non-union automakers seem to be faring better than union shops. What Mr. Kaus most certainly did not do, Father, was speak to issues of union membership, much less whether one is or isn't "coerced" into joining a union. Mr. Kaus most certainly did not "make the case" for what's wrong with "compulsory unionism," your ramblings about the "fruits" thereof notwithstanding. In no way whatsoever did Mr. Kaus' column allude to right to work issues.

And while I am on the point, another thing Mr. Kaus did not do was mask a latent hostility for unions in general by claiming that while he has nothing against unions per se, he is, however, troubled that some people who choose to work in union shops must do so with the understanding that union membership is a condition of that employment. Mr. Kaus is, I suspect, far more honest than that. It is a pity that the same cannot be said for all.

Definition of the word "coerced"

Definition of the word "compulsory"

"Anonymous, that's the last time I'm going to play your attempt at a "gotcha" game, which you lost, by the way." -- Father Fox

Well, at least you have enough sense to know when to stay down on the ground for your own good. I'll give you that much, Father.

Father Martin Fox said...

Anonymous:

I debate political views with lots of people, but I don't waste my time with people who can't discuss things with courtesy.

You're outta here.

Feel free to come back when you learn some manners.

And when you are willing to step out from behind the "anonymous" mask.

Anonymous said...

Lets see,
In the 1980s the great Lech Walesa ran Solidarnosc at the Stoznia Gdansk.
He ran a very tight ship. You worked, you joined. He understood the bosses and how dangerous 'scabs' would be to
his members. To every thing there is a season and in some seasons you must play rough. Polish priests, at that time got their hands dirty, got killed in defense of the shipyard workers. None would have been traumatized by the word scab. God bless them all.