Wholly Macro

Why bashing unions is an exercise of slicing off the nose to spite the face.

Friday must been bash unions day in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel letters section.

I totally don't get this. Unless you own a company that has been going at it with unions, why should you give a rat's tuckus if anyone belongs to one?

Except, if you are part of the right wing crowd where it is all politics. Can't buy into the idea of climate change because that's a Democratic Party issue. Can't attempt solutions for health care because that would make the liberals look good. And have to be against unions, because they support the Democratic party.

Silly people. Don't you know it's liberating to vote against your self-interest? Maybe there's a better reason for that brand of politics, but it ruptures the brain to imagine what that might be.

Mind you, I do not now belong to a union. The last time I did most of you weren't even a gleam in your parent's eyes.

So for Stanley Beranek and Tony Slusar in today's editorial section, unions are some kind of scourge to disdain, but yet it is great to see their imaginations on overdrive. According to Mr. Slusar, why would someone need a union when they can just hire a labor lawyer? Apparently Mr. Slusar thinks legal services are cheap, especially for someone probably making near minimum wage.

According to Mr. Beranek's view, just be God damned happy you have a job.

Both of these and all the other anti-union letters that flood the Journal regard unions as useless. We hear it all the time. "Unions have outlived their usefulness."

Yup, unions are so useless, that since the GOP with the help of blue dog Democrats have gutted them, middle-class growth has stagnated.

In the many of the letters, including the erudite comments on the demise of the Twinkie, high union wages are blamed for sinking companies. Never once is the obscene compensation drawn out of these companies by the members of the C Suite ever mentioned. How come those wages didn't wreck these companies?

For those who know what goes on inside of businesses, it could in fact be argued that it is grubby greed that quite often blows companies onto the rocks. That of course never happens in the world of Mr. Beranek or Mr. Slusar. It's those evil union workers and their desire to own a house they don't deserve or a desire to send their brats through college.

It is no accident that as executives have gotten more, workers have gotten less. We are urged to honor the initiative, smarts and hard work of these capitalist heroes, but at this level it all comes down to one thing. Leverage.

It also comes down to their ability with the help of the government they disdain to suppress union growth.

Two things have happened as a result. Economic growth of the country has slowed because the real job creators -- the middle class -- has less money to spend. Meanwhile, a strong democracy needs a strong middle class. Notice how our system of government has gone south -- literally -- in the past decade or so.

It comes down to this. Yes, we can nitpick about unions. About the salaries the leaders make -- no wheres near what corporate executives draw. We can complain about unions defending deadwood -- though I have been in UAW plants and the workers are so eager to suggest production improvements that middle management sometimes regard these people as a pain in the ass.

But this is all micro stuff.

I am always interested in the marco big picture. And the fact remains that at no time has this country been able to move massive numbers of people from being among the working poor into the middle class. And when that happens, everyone in the country goes along for the ride.

Got a better idea how to do that? I'm all ears.

The right is fond of talking about how this country is going down hill, but that has only happened over the past generation when unions have been under siege. If you want to eliminate the deficit, no better way than to have a charging middle class pouring money into the treasury.

And in the meantime, think about the right wing's opposition to unions. Think about how they are offering us no future. All of us.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

The Anti-Alinsky January 16, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Bren, the sun has had that ability for the last couple of billion years. It's one thing to modify and spin data results. It's a whole different thing for the people collecting the data to CHANGE THE DATA so it gives them the result they want.
The Anti-Alinsky January 16, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Actually Keith, I usually come to the table with my wagers. And if I make a spur of the moment bet, I pay off as soon as I can, even if I have to hunt the person down. I personally hate owing people money, and I do everything I can to pay them off ASAP!!!
$$andSense January 18, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Brian Thank you for a polite response and forgive my assault. We are not far apart on the issue but I despise the “one size fits all” labeling the current generation uses when it comes to unions. I come from a blue collar generation where most worked in unions: IBEW, machinists, tool and die, carpenters, masons, brewery workers, Western Electric, Wisconsin Electric and on and on. They built this country and we all have taken advantage of their fading influence and accomplishments. Most of my uncles are/were WW2 vets and my favorite is an Iwo Jima Marine hell raiser who took a bullet and is still here today. He went on to become a union employee for Shell Oil. All I ask is that you or anyone else be careful whose feet you step on and how you phrase your stance. I have dealt with unions in my line of work but cannot categorize all as being evil, greedy or self centered. Now, corporate greed and their political influence is taking us back over a century when these money mongers wrested charge of our lives. They have no issue of sending work to china, pakistan, bangladesh, mexico, etc. where they do whatever they want w/o consequence to make money.
rodbuster rich January 20, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Blah blah blah...............United we STAND, divided we BEG
Born Free January 25, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Why haven't the unions ever walked off the job at any of the shipping ports in this country to protest the proliferation of job killing import products? Maybe because they really aren't all that bright? Maybe because they figured pro union bumper stickers would stop people from buying non made in America products? Oh wait...correction...non union made products. Maybe because their complicit in the New World Order aka share the wealth? Noting they still only organize strikes for wages, benefits and something or other unfairness even these days, it's pretty obvious though that they don't strike to ban the purchases of imported products at the consumer level, however, to save a buck union minions will shop at those places. Why the discrepansy? Go with, 'because their complicit in the New World Order aka sharing the wealth scheme'. Unions are socialist/Marxist/progressive share the wealthers. Thee, New World Order was mandated to start in 1956 by the League Of Nations for the purpose of that sharing the wealth scheme. So this is why Joe McCarthy has been demonized by the liberal media and unions? Yes! Sharing the wealth is after all also "all about the children". Ring a bell? Union Marxist socialists have left in their wake since WW-1 suffering, death and distruction to the tune of 100's of millions of people and trillions of dollars the worst of which occurs is when the greed of their individual demigods clash with one another for ultimate control.


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