Wednesday, December 12, 2012

And in Michigan... Craziness Reigns...

Back in my communist college student days one of my main interests was labor politics.  You can guess what side I would have been on in any debate.

In the past years I've been far more divided when the issue has come up.  I'm sure that in part it's because it becomes far harder to sympathize with what sometimes are absolutely exorbitant demands after enduring this recession.  When there have been conflicts of late and the media covers what the union workers have and what they want I find myself shaking my head a bit, because it tends to be over the top (or at least the stuff that makes the news does).

I'm far more torn over the issue when it comes to public sector jobs that involve education or safety, or when I see interviews with the nurses at the hospital that I recently spent so much time in talking about how important their union is because it protects people if they have to report an abuse.

So basically this is one of those rare instances where I'm in the middle on an issue... and yet... there is on aspect of the labor issue that pushes me in a certain direction (and makes me instinctively feel like siding with the governor on the recent debate in our state):

The screaming, ranting mobs really do nothing to tell me that unions are really awesome.  The fact that we need to stay clear of the capital, which is fairly close to our house, because I wouldn't feel safe over there right now, doesn't give me warm fuzzies about the unions either.  Sadie's "let's walk to the capital" (because she thinks the building is awesome) is met with an adamant "no" these days.

And then there's this video (it does have extremely coarse language in it, so be warned)... of the union guys attacking a blogger who tried to stop them from pulling down a tent filled with women and elderly people.

These guys don't seem to realize that acting like bullies, in an age of social media where there's a good chance everyone is going to see what you're doing, doesn't really win people over to your side.


  1. I am pretty split on this issue too. When I was a teacher, I was simultaneously annoyed by how hard it was to fire really awful teachers (though sometimes administrators blamed the unions when there were things they could have done) and annoyed by how administrators, who somehow had no idea about how to educate kids, would implement all these new measures and try and oust teachers who challenged them - legitimately. I also struggle with the idea that professionals, who in many cases require Masters degrees to even be considered for positions, are unionized anyway. One teacher cannot and should not just be swapped out for another - though they are treated that way and paid accordingly.

  2. I completely agree with you. In general, we are very conservative, but two issues - labor unions and immigration have us kind of in the middle. It seems as though Republicans go too far to the right (kick all the illegals out! Get rid of unions!) and the Democrats too far to the left (Everyone can stay! Make unions even more powerful!), and the rest of us who want moderation in both areas are stuck trying to explain our position to everyone.

  3. I thank God for unions 100 years ago (NO overtime, child labor, locked in with no safety) but least public labor unions are going too far- and I'm in one (part-time college instructor)

  4. In the midst of our current California budget woes, my school district administration wanted to hire a third speech pathologist for our district. The two (then) of us speech pathologists both had caseloads over twice the legal limit and it was impacting our health and our families well being.

    The teachers union that I am forced to belong to (and to pay $100 a month to) vehemently fought this move, because members (including speech pathologists) were facing furlough days this year.

    Teachers unions were once a necessity. They are now a "MORE for ME, ME, ME" club.

    (Okay, I've now been more political than I prefer to be in the context of my internet presence.) =D

  5. I don't usually chime in, but thought I would on this one. I have lived my whole life in a right-to-work state. While I certainly appreciate the historical important contributions of unions to worker rights, I am completely opposed to the idea of a closed-state environment. Anybody should be able to work for any employer without being forced to belong to a union if they don't want to belong.


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