Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Sometimes I feel compelled to write about something I feel people will take the wrong way; today is one of those times. I am a strong support of unions; however, I see things their leaders do that is terrible wrong. I have written about unions defending incompetent workers when they should be doing the opposite. Today, I want to address something that is a little more difficult to understand. It has to do with “the tyranny of the masses”. We all understand the political excesses related to the tyranny of a dictator or a plutocracy, which is a group of rich people dominating the working class. They make decisions driven by greed for riches or power or both. This happens even in a democracy where we elect our representatives but once elected they cease representing the people who elected them and represent their own interest. We had a stark example of this in North Carolina when the Speaker of the House of Representative, a fellow named Thom Tillis, used the power of that office to create a situation, which would not only elect him as state Senator but would enable him to maintain that office: voter suppression, gerrymandering districts, appointments to election monitors, etc.

I was shocked to hear that at a National renowned theater were management paid stagehands $400 per hours, which had to be the result of tyranny of a single union. I reviewed salaries and pension plans of public workers in a number of East Coast cities. Obvious excesses were evident. Why? As union supporters, we know these are exactly the things that cause serious, widespread anti-union rhetoric, and worst of all, anti-union laws. We see Republican Governors around the nation use these facts as their reason for destroy public serve union bargaining. The sad part is they have widespread support of massive numbers of workers who are employed in private industry; perhaps it is jealousy but mainly because workers know overpaying wages is as wrong as underpaying wages.

When union leaders get management at the bargaining table through strike or threat of strike, work stoppage or perhaps work slow-down rather than ask for a living wage or a fair wage. These drastic actions give unions leaders the power of the masses and management caves; once they cave, union leaders routinely ask for excessive wages. Management decides to either pay what union management asked for or fire the workers and close the business—both can be drastic steps decided in crisis, which is never a good time to make rational decisions. Simply because of the massive number of variations, in negotiations there can be no general rules to follow. For example, public service union leaders are dealing with politicians who are one-step removed from taxpayers; therefore, they consider tax money to be free money so why not pay a huge wage and outlandish pensions if asked? After all, closing down the government is not an option but cutting services or closing public schools is. Only after we stop educating our children do politicians realize that the taxpayers are unhappy with what they have done. This is not unlike the $400 stagehand salary or signing outlandish professional player contracts; keep raising salaries thus be forced to keep raising the cost of tickets to plays or games until no one can afford to attend. Because “management” disperses the cost in this manner, the tie to excessive salaries or contracts, ticket buyers like the parent so children who have no school to go to, do not make the connection.

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