Obligatory post about unions

It occurred to me today that, when z’rubber meets z’road, there is no contemporary political issue I’m more passionate about and riled up by than the fact that government employees are allowed to form unions and collectively bargain. Were once to trace many of the problems this country faces now back to a point in time, I would imagine many of them started when Pres. Kennedy enacted federal law allowing them to do just that.

I do not cede that unions – any unions – are proper, just, necessary or fair in a free nation. However, what people in the private sector do is their own business. If an employee wishes to submit his individuality to the blanket wishes and demands of a mob, then so be it (with several caveats, of course).

However … regarding people paid by tax money, it is beyond-infuriating, this notion that teachers in Wisconsin are taking some kind of principled stand is beyond absurd. If there were justice in this world, every last one of the thousand or so that called in sick today in order to protest would be booted out the door on their asses, forced to find a real job in the private sector where employment isn’t perpetual, pensions aren’t golden, and vacation is two weeks, not three years.

Adding insult to injury, specifically regarding teacher strikes, is the low quality of education American students get relative to the rest of the world and how much wasted treasure has gone into it. Only a government-protected cabal of reactionary dunces could think they deserve anything beyond min-plus-10 for the ignorance they spread over American youth like a plague. Oh sure, it’s not the individual teachers faults – there are, miraculously, some fine ones out there. Yet what kind of echo chamber could a taxpayer-funded teacher be living in if they think that now is a good time for a strike?

Stated unemployment has been between 9 and 10 percent for two years – today is the anniversary of Fred-6 signing in that stimulus that was going to cure so much, remember, a President that the NEA and AFT overwhelmingly endorsed and supported with cash. And now, after that insanity resulted in hundreds of billions of wasted dollars and a tenth of the country is seeking work but cannot find it, they think it’s a good time to bitch about their lot in life?

Seriously?

I don’t think that every teacher becomes a teacher for guaranteed employment, assumed moral superiority and the like, but I believe it’s a lot more than most people are willing to admit. I will never forget sitting in one of my graduate school courses and listening to an employed, doctorate-bound teacher insist that achievement is linked with money, even though I repeatedly pointed out that, for starters, the District of Columbia had at the time the highest per-student outputs in the country, and one of the most miserable districts to go with it. It was heresy, as though I’d just said that no, the Air Force shouldn’t have to hold a bake sale to buy a fucking bomber.

I don’t know how the teachers that do get it can stand it. One of my best friends is an elementary school teacher, and he – yes, he – must have the patience of Job to hear what he does without going bonkers. He tells me slivers of it, and I go bonkers.

Do I need to mention my fury that Organizing for America, Fred-6’s campaign arm, is bussing protesters in for support? I’ll leave that be for now.

Every last one of them, in a perfect world, would not only be fired, they would be jailed. They would be frog-marched out of their cozy homes in the dead of night while people like me stood outside holding pitch forks and torches, tossing eggs and tomatoes at them. This is what they deserve.

Teachers and other public “servants” better begin to wise up – the days of agonizing over the children have passed, and the days of being startled by the fact that all these government workers sure don’t care about their children when they might not get a raise, or might have to pitch in a few bucks on their benefits. It’s one thing for a righty like me to think this, but the public mood regarding these freeloaders is surging to the right.

Teaching used to be an honorable profession, and for some, it still is. It was a calling, or perhaps a dream. Now for so many of our dullest who were fortunate enough to get into college, it is the path of least resistance at getting a good paycheck without having to suffer the consequences of sub-mediocrity.

The times they are a’changing.

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About godsowncrunk
I'm King B, the originator of the Jellywhite lyrical style and god's own crunk.

2 Responses to Obligatory post about unions

  1. Eric says:

    I admittedly struggle on collective bargaining. There is nothing unethical or immoral about tellig your employer “I’m not going to come in to work anymore unless you start doing more for me.” In fact, in small businesses, such behavior is often the only way many employees ever gets a raise. And if there is nothing wrong with one person doing it, I don’t see how it suddenly becomes wrong for them to recruit a co-worker to do it with them.

    My main objection is when the government intervenes on behalf of the strikers or the, er, striked. Employers (including the state) should *always* have the option just to fire and replace them, and if their actions cause them to break the terms of an employment contract they should be liable.

    But in and of itself, I have a hard time understanding the moral/ethical complaint against unions, even though I can certainly see the problems they have caused our economy and share in the rage against it.

  2. godsowncrunk says:

    Here is *my* problem with collective bargaining in general: its existence in a presumably free nation is proof that we, as a people, do not actually believe in the free market (well whoop-te-doo, I know, I know). Collective bargaining, even in theory, begins with the premise that a human being has no other option to make money except the specific job in question, the one being collectively bargained for. That premise is false. If you don’t like the pay, go elsewhere, or work for yourself. We have strayed farther and farther from this simple idea, and we, as a nation, are now composed of lazy buffoons who think they are entitled to a living.

    We are not entitled to a living – not now, not ever.

    Taking away every nasty, silly, stereotyped notion one has about unions, the bottom line is this: unions exist because people believe they are entitled to a living from a specific employment provider; that even though our market is quasi-free, unions offer the notion that you don’t deserve other jobs or opportunities, you deserve *this* job at better wages, benefits, conditions, etc; and – most importantly – that every employee (now a worker) is the same, that all should be painted with the same brush, paid on the same scale and evaluated in the same manner.

    To me, collective bargaining is not only dehumanizing, it is counterintuitive and unethical. I’m tempted to add that it sanctions and promotes the behavior of Not Thinking For Yourself, but that’s immaterial, more of an objection via taste than one grounded in any sort of ethical dilemma.

    I think the sheer evil of government unions speaks for itself, or one is so opposed to my point of view nothing I can say would change the wayward mind.

    Ultimately, here is how counterintuitive and base-ignorant collective-bargaining is: unions destroy economy after economy, job after job and industry after industry – those economies, jobs and industries move to places that don’t have unions. If unions were right, good, moral, self-evident, etc, this would not be a problem. Like anything else, the basic rule of economics: if you want more of something, make it less expensive, if you want less of something, make it more expensive.

    I am told by my elders that unions once served a purpose – I’m not willing to concede the point, but that is immaterial: that was then, this is now. Private-sector unions, at their peak, counted approximately 1/3 of American employees as members – that number has plummeted. Unions cannot work when there are free people unwilling to join them, either out of principle, finances, etc. Unions are coercion, legislation by economic threat, and fiscal thuggery.

    That is why I find collective bargaining to be repugnant. FWIW.

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