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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 02/28/2011

Air sick

By Tom Toles

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***
Labor pain
It's starting to look like labor unions share a trait with Democracy. Each is the worst possible form except for all the alternatives.

The litany of complaints and charges against unions is long and well-known. I could compile it blindfolded, and some of it from personal experience. Sure, everybody will grant unions the head-shaking to-be-sures about the important role they played way back when and whatnot, but look around NOW and all you see are the selfish system-gumming impediments to the sleek engines of modern global capitalism. Well look fast, because unions seem to on their last legs. And there HAS to be some better way to support workers' rights, assuming you still think they may even have such things as rights. And some better way to help ensure that the fruits of the economy get shared in some justifiable proportions. But do you happen to know of such a better way? Please share.

And how are we feeling now that we are staring, each of us our own autonomous individual self, into the front end of those sleek engines of modern global capitalism that have already sucked in and shredded all those slightly-less-agile-than-us unemployed? Those engines sure are making things ever cushier for the tiny few in the first-class cabin. Better check to see what's written on YOUR ticket. --Tom Toles
***

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By Tom Toles  | February 28, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Federal government  
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Comments

I'm pretty sure Saddam Hussein was not a Liberal. Nor was Hitler, nor Duvalier, nor...

If we're going to toss around wild generalizations, why not mention the FACT that not a single military dictator on this planet is or has ever been guilty of being too Liberal. Which leaves... yes, as a matter of fact, it WOULD be a much more pleasant world if those of us who have (me included) were to share more with those who have not. But, then, what would there be to argue about?

"TrueChristian," please forgive me if I notice that you write like a person who has either never read the sermon on the mount or one who rejects the concepts discussed out of hand. Is your blog moniker some kind of joke, or what?

Posted by: jonroesler | March 3, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Umm... FYI, daly, Wisconsin teachers (maybe all Wisconsin public employees) are ALREADY forbidden by law to strike.

Posted by: jonroesler | March 3, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

PrairieDog60, OckamsRazor & PaloAlto4 are correct....
... and have you heard of Wealth-fare?

Posted by: Tony-KS | March 2, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Air sick
By Tom Toles

My flight plan...
Flying high above the present social turmoil; I see some very dark clouds on the horizon. The clouds are moving in a horizontal circle with lightning and wind funnels.
I ask the stewardess for a parachute and she brings me a parachute that has a tag that says this parachute opens on impact.
I asked the stewardess if the pilot is going to avoid the storm and she tells me, no; going around the storm would waste fuel.
I asked if I could speak to the captain and was told that the captain does not talk to passengers.
I asked the stewardess, what can be done and she said, I can bring you a blanket and a barf bag.
I asked, will we survive this storm?
She replied, no one knows and no one cares.
We are expendable like everyone else.
I said this is not my flight plan.
She told me to stay seated and enjoy the ride. The plane hit turbulence and began to disintegrate.
The stewardess asked, does anyone have duct tape?

Posted by: OchamsRazor | March 1, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

kparc1212
That is a stupid argument...
Unions were once useful. They no longer have any use PERIOD. If they were, most to all of our industrial jobs would not have been lost. Why didn't your unions fight to keep the jobs in this country? They are the cause of their own demise and put the blame elswhere.
I have worked in union (had to, couldn't get the job without joining the union, course we don't like to mention that either do we) and also non union. My pay was a bit more for the union job course almost had to be so I could pay my share of dues to the union. Other than that....not much difference as far as benefits and company treatment. Even tho we told our reps what we wanted we only got a small fraction. Excuse was always...nope, they aren't going to budge on this, that or the other thing... Usually it was just the small % pay raise.

Just sayin'.
Our benefits slowly but surely declined drastically to where things are today. Hours are longer and workplace conduct and production is more severe....

Go ahead. Tell me again how great unions are in this day and age.

Posted by: bertzel | March 1, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Business should have no restraints, either should workers. If a worker wants to work 80 hours a week he should be allowed and business should NOT be burdened paying OVERTIME! Minimum Wage laws are just STUPID. If you don't want the job for what it is paying don't take it! Child labor laws have ruined the country, Let a kid work at 12 years old! Grow Character! And all these restraints on businesses to be 'safe', again, if you think the job place is hazardous, 'QUIT!" America needs to get back to basics - Work and work for the MAN THAT HAS THE JOBS, stop whinning!

Posted by: kparc1212 | March 1, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

~~~The state workers in WI pay ALL their own contributions to the pension plan. The union and state negotiate a total compensation package for workers. The workers then decide how apportion the total compensation towards current pay and how much is deferred pay (pension). No one refers to a pro-ball player's deferred pay as a pension. runner~~`

As to ANOTHER change of subject matter...I will comment on this paragraph....

You are not correct on your implication of state employees self-sufficiency concerning their benefits.

Also, 'workers' do not decide anything, the union reps do...workers get to vote.

Perhaps you would be better served by heading to Madtown and join the drum (pail) beating and chanting. Let my overtime police workers earn the extra money my tax dollars are paying for. I dunno do something crazy so they have an actual reason to be there!

Posted by: bertzel | March 1, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

~~~I fail to see how student achievement and TEACHER union membership have a causal relationship~~~ excuse me .

Removing the right to strike over fringe benefits is not union busting. planet~~~~

WHAT?

HUH???

Posted by: dalyplanet | March 1, 2011 1:36 AM | Report abuse

The state workers in WI pay ALL their own contributions to the pension plan. The union and state negotiate a total compensation package for workers. The workers then decide how apportion the total compensation towards current pay and how much is deferred pay (pension). No one refers to a pro-ball player's deferred pay as a pension.

It's a fact of economics that employer contributions are employee compensation, and there can be no serious argument otherwise.

We shouldn't forget that state workers are ineligible for Social Security benefits. The state does not have to pay into the SS fund on their behalf, as corporations do for their workers.

Hmmmm. Maybe the WI state employees don't have it so sweet. Truth hardly matters in this debate. Total compensation will probably have to be renegotiated. Collective bargaining rights should not be touched.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 28, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse

That statement just proves what an ignoramus you are...bet you don't even know how to play chess.

I don't believe it is I who keeps changing arguement here...you mentioned negotiations...I responded .
keep cryin' 'wolf' there bud.

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 8:59 PM
-------------------------------------------------
Thanks for proving my point about you. You can't stay on point and when you sense a debate is lost you change the subject. That's what all conservatives do when discussing issues of the day...or days past. I think you should re-examine your position on WI public employee unions and on unions in general. A public retreat from your current position is not necessary.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 28, 2011 11:17 PM | Report abuse

~~~I fail to see how student achievement and union membership have a causal relationship.

Removing the right to strike over fringe benefits and moving to a federal and majority of states standard is not union busting. planet~~~~

WHAT?

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

~~~Yes, you are the one crying to be saved...you are asking others--others who make not-so-much money, but are an easy target--to take the entire hit for GOP irresponsibility. You are doing this in WI and you are doing it nationally.~~~runner

That statement just proves what an ignoramus you are...bet you don't even know how to play chess.

I don't believe it is I who keeps changing arguement here...you mentioned negotiations...I responded .
keep cryin' 'wolf' there bud.

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see how student achievement and union membership have a causal relationship.

Removing the right to strike over fringe benefits and moving to a federal and majority of states standard is not union busting.

Wisconsin teachers had two years to come to an agreement with a Democrat Gov and legislature. They played hardball and made no concessions. They are now surprised their bought and paid for candidates lost so spectacularly in a fairly blue state.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 28, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

runner...there was and still exists an educational budget deficit...teachers were asked to renegotiate...they told us to pay more in taxes....you lose....
And speaking of budget deficit...if Wisconsin wasn't 'hurting' so much we would not be discussing this at all would we.... you lose again. And speaking of babies....I'm not the one crying to be saved...

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 4:47 PM
-------------------------------------------------
Now it's the "educational budget deficit!" I've not heard Walker mention the educational budget deficit. You keep changing the subject...I know it's hard, but try to stay with us on this. In no way is his draconian solution to this WI state budget problem required. Elimination of collective bargaining rights are not required to balance the WI budget.

WIsconsin was expected to end this FY with $120 million in the back...until Walker came along. Wisconsin is "hurting" largely because of the Walker tax cuts for business.

Yes, you are the one crying to be saved...you are asking others--others who make not-so-much money, but are an easy target--to take the entire hit for GOP irresponsibility. You are doing this in WI and you are doing it nationally.

This year, we will run a deficit of about $1.6 trillion. To put that in perspective, that's $5000 for every person in the U.S. Who should be the first to start closing that gap? You can keep crying, but we're drowning in debt now thanks to Reagan and Bush tax cuts.

Like I said, checkmate.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 28, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

ranger, turns out your rankings (or I should say, US NEWs rankings) are pretty subjective as well. It looks like they're going by NCLB rankings, which are subject to some scrutiny. In general, it's not clear what criteria they use.

The source I used was an old paper from the U of Missouri. Turns out it was from 1999, and not really sure what years the data was for. My apologies for the poor reference.

Here's another good piece on this topic.

http://studentactivism.net/2011/02/21/teachers-unions-actsat-and-student-performance-is-wisconsin-out-ranking-the-non-union-states/

Posted by: PrairieDog60

--------------------

I read the reference. Your pick - but not exactly unbiased, was it? At least the US News piece was recent; and it's hard to make the case that US News leans Conservative.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 28, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

~~~Sure. bertzel can take care of his/her self but...~~~~

thank you ranger. I'll take that as a compliment.


Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

True Conservatives make their own way - never ask for a hand-out/just a hand-up. They're also the most charitable folks in the world.
Posted by: pararanger22

My Reply...
There is no such thing as a "true" conservative, especially when their dimwit wars have caused us trillions of dollars in debt.
We were solvent when the conservatives took over the government.
If the conservatives where generous, they would not be conservative.
Conservatives are the kind of people who would not take charity even if their children starved to death and would have no problem with denying health care for children of the working poor.
If we were all "true' conservatives, we would still be hunting gathering and living in caves.
Dave


Posted by: OckamsRazor | February 28, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

ranger, turns out your rankings (or I should say, US NEWs rankings) are pretty subjective as well. It looks like they're going by NCLB rankings, which are subject to some scrutiny. In general, it's not clear what criteria they use.

The source I used was an old paper from the U of Missouri. Turns out it was from 1999, and not really sure what years the data was for. My apologies for the poor reference.

Here's another good piece on this topic.

http://studentactivism.net/2011/02/21/teachers-unions-actsat-and-student-performance-is-wisconsin-out-ranking-the-non-union-states/

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 28, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

~~~Comments in here keep defending the busting of public sector unions, yet there is no evidence that this would solve anything.
pdog~~~

Actually dog, there is no evidence of that actually happening either, is there.

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

prairiedog60,

State HS rankings (from a legitimate source/US News): VA - 23; WI - 44. We note you didn't cite your source for SAT/ACT scores.

Americans all over the country occupied voting booths last November to toss out Liberals from sea to shining sea.

Now it's time to toss out the public unions that provide no service to the State or the country; just themselves. The perfect self-licking lollipop program.


http://education.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/education/high-schools/articles/2009/12/09/americas-best-high-schools-state-by-state-statistics

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 28, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

runner...there was and still exists an educational budget deficit...teachers were asked to renegotiate...they told us to pay more in taxes....you lose....
And speaking of budget deficit...if Wisconsin wasn't 'hurting' so much we would not be discussing this at all would we.... you lose again. And speaking of babies....I'm not the one crying to be saved...

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Bullcrap. If it was'nt just about unions fighting for their own existence, why didn't the teachers negotiate when asked a year ago?
I rest my case.
Unions are no longer useful.

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 2:12 PM
------------------------------------------------
Reason why teacher unions did not negotiate a year ago: no budgetary crisis, real or fabricated, existed a year ago.

Checkmate, and you lose. That was an easy one...like taking candy from a baby. Not that I'd actually take candy from a baby. And BTW, you did not address the merits of the Walker bill.

Posted by: ptgrunner

-------------------------

Sure. bertzel can take care of his/her self but...

'no budgetary crisis, real or fabricated, existed a year ago.' That's why WI elected a GOP Governor because there was no crisis.

Just happened, right? Wait - I get it - Governor Walker caused the budget crisis in his first 2 months of office! Those dirty Conservatives!

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 28, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Bullcrap. If it was'nt just about unions fighting for their own existence, why didn't the teachers negotiate when asked a year ago?
I rest my case.
Unions are no longer useful.

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 2:12 PM
------------------------------------------------
Reason why teacher unions did not negotiate a year ago: no budgetary crisis, real or fabricated, existed a year ago.

Checkmate, and you lose. That was an easy one...like taking candy from a baby. Not that I'd actually take candy from a baby. And BTW, you did not address the merits of the Walker bill.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 28, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

TT - I'd like to weigh in concerning this stuff about teachers and their unions. First off: for as many years as NYSUT and AFT have been deducting dues from their trough-glutton members, they have provided -- in addition to the usuals of a union -- programs to develop the skills of teachers. Google the idea, and your readers will see exactly what I'm sayin'. Although not perfect, their ideas have promoted reading and writing, and I'm rather certain you'd find the dreaded "NCLB" as somehow sweetened to serve classroom teachers. Al Shanker (the president of AFT) said some twenty years ago that reform needed to be in the shaping of teams of teachers -- not a group who eat and smoke together -- but actual interaction that includes students' achievement problems, and What else can we do to reach the little devils? There would be a lead teacher, an assistant, an aid, another two teachers -- well before I get myself in trouble with the "kuh-ching crowd," I'll move on. BEing somewhat veteran, I believe that we tend to imitate our client group, and it does not tend to diminish with veteran teacher status. That often means doing as little as possible, and doing only what's BEEN comfortable, until of course the boom gets lowered. Then, not unlike the clients they serve, it's off to the parents to present themselves as victims of the evil-minded superintendent, or the Board of Education, or the state legislators, or the state's education commissioner -- anyhow, you get my drift, I'm sure. Typically, these adults' behaviors and consequences of sincere reform attempts are not the work of teacher unions: ask any private school administrator who has tried making changes in curriculum and personnel, (even classroom locations) and you'll find the response-and-conduct to be exactly the same. And by-and-large, you ain't gonna find no unions in them-there schools.

Posted by: dudeupnorth | February 28, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Tom, this is off-topic, but since I can't imagine you watched the Oscars last night, I wanted to be sure you heard about this. INSIDE JOB won for Best Documentary and when the director, Charles Ferguson, stepped up to the microphone he started by saying "Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that's wrong." It reminded me, of course, of your lonely crusade for accountability on this blog.

Posted by: coffington | February 28, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Comments in here keep defending the busting of public sector unions, yet there is no evidence that this would solve anything.

There is plenty of research demonstrating that, when all things are equalized, public sector employees make less than than those in the private sector. So, the "paid too much and spoiled" argument doesn't hold water. I've posted a paper from the Economic Policy Institute here before that shows this to be the case in Wisconsin as well. So, it's not like public sector employees with union representation are making a killing. They're not, and there's research to prove this.

Another argument is that collective bargaining doesn't do anything positive for teacher performance. While I can't say it absolutely does, here is a list of the only 5 states that ban collective bargaining for teachers, and their subsequent average ACT/SAT score rankings in the US.

SC - 50th
NC - 49th
GA - 48th
TX - 47th
VA - 44th

It would appear, from these numbers at least, that the teachers in these states aren't doing nearly as a good a job as teachers in states with collective bargaining.

And the budget issue? Gov. Walker gave tax breaks to businesses and wealthy individuals his first month in office that amounted to about 70% of what he calls the current "budget crisis". So, much of this crisis is of his own doing through giving money back to people who need it the least, and who, through many tax breaks in the Bush years, did nothing to create jobs with it. Actually, this whole "corporations create jobs" mantra was proven so incredibly false during that period that it's almost funny that people still keep saying it. Corporations and the high income folks never had it so good during the Bush years. And where was the country at the end of that 8 year run? 'Nuff said.

In places like Egypt and Libya people are standing up because they're tired of being marginalized by dictators who rake in their nation's wealth for their own good. Here in the US, workers are protesting because they're tired of bought-and-paid-for politicians doing everything they can to make sure that a small, wealthy segment of the population rakes in the vast majority of our nation's wealth. No, we're not repressed in ways that those other nations' populations are. Instead we are placated and pacified by fast food, gadgets, and 200-channels of "reality" TV.

Meanwhile we're destorying our environment, destroying our middle class, and creating greater disparity between the haves and the have nots. It cannot continue, and both parties can share in much of the blame. But instead of honestly debating the issue, they argue over the few pennies a month things like public radio and planned parenthood cost the US taxpayers, but nobody says word one about the BILLIONS of dollars a month going to never ending war and the war machine that makes it possible.

It's a wonder people aren't occupying EVERY capitol building in the nation.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 28, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I was shredded by a programmatic layoff in July 2010 (25 years of proven excellence so no other layoff possible) and now, at the age of 66, only temporary part-time jobs are available. I am told I am "not a good fit" when I apply for a job. What does that mean? They don't have to explain. And, still no insurance from my employer after two months because Health Net of California can't figure out how to enroll me in Health Net Seniority Plus. They will call me as soon as they can explain why they show me in two plans and Medicare shows me in no plan at all. My former employer continues to fax Health Net documents but can't do any more to help me. Full disclosure: I have no union.

Posted by: PaloAlto4 | February 28, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Actually Toles, the direction things are moving towards in these United States, we won't have to worry much longer about finding a better way...won't be any jobs left. Soo....they can keep raising taxes cuz only the rich will be able to pay...the rest of the country will be standing in lines for our government handouts....such the life!

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

~~~The issue is not the salary and benefits of Wisconsin teachers--these things can be renegotiated. Why aren't they being renegotiated right now? ptgrunner~~~~

Bullcrap. If it was'nt just about unions fighting for their own existence, why didn't the teachers negotiate when asked a year ago?
I rest my case.
Unions are no longer useful.

Posted by: bertzel | February 28, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Well look fast, because unions seem to on their last legs. And there HAS to be some better way to support workers' rights, assuming you still think they may even have such things as rights. And some better way to help ensure that the fruits of the economy get shared in some justifiable proportions. But do you happen to know of such a better way? Please share."
Tom Toles


My Sharing...
We are paying the government to provide equity, justice and human rights.
Instead, they are obligated to those whose who pay for their election.
People cannot depend on charity because people can be the victims of self-centeredness, greed, avarice and inhumanity towards other people.
People must have sufficient pay to cover the cost of living so that they can afford to support their government, their family, their lifestyle and the demand side of economics.
The society depends on an equitable economic system that meets everybody’s needs no just the greed of the elite few people.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | February 28, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

My Comment...
Malicious conservatives: Your greed, inhumanity, avarice and sociopathic madness is being plastered all over the world.

It is people's cooperation and concern for each other that makes civilization possible.
Anal retentive sociopathic conservatives are mentally disturbed people who are destroying this nation and many other nations.

Do you read the news?
The demonstrations in the Middle East are all about people being treated like sheep to the slaughter.
Without Human rights and Human entitlement, people's lives become a disaster.
Dave


Posted by: OckamsRazor

------------------

Typical, close-minded Liberal.

You know nothing of the world outside of Michigan where they've been handing out cash for nothing for ages. You know zip about the way it is in the Middle East - when was the last time you were there? C'mon, Dave, when?

Now that Detroit is on the ropes, are you looking to relocate to another hand-out mecca?

Unions don't do anything for anyone but themselves; and the taxpayers (public unions) and the corporations (private unions) pay for this never-ending party. Union leaders milk the public and the corporations for every last dime; then they gripe and complain for more when the last bar of gold is gone.

Parasites.

True Conservatives make their own way - never ask for a hand-out/just a hand-up. They're also the most charitable folks in the world.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 28, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Liberals: your hypocrisy and inflated sense of entitlement is being plastered all over the world - you will lose this argument.
Posted by: pararanger22

My Comment...
Malicious conservatives: Your greed, inhumanity, avarice and sociopathic madness is being plastered all over the world.

It is people's cooperation and concern for each other that makes civilization possible.
Anal retentive sociopathic conservatives are mentally disturbed people who are destroying this nation and many other nations.

Do you read the news?
The demonstrations in the Middle East are all about people being treated like sheep to the slaughter.
Without Human rights and Human entitlement, people's lives become a disaster.
Dave


Posted by: OckamsRazor | February 28, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Great cartoon. States our current situation about right.

The issue is not the salary and benefits of Wisconsin teachers--these things can be renegotiated. Why aren't they being renegotiated right now? [Answer: Walker has said he will not negotiate. If he did negotiate and close the budget gap by reducing pay and benefits for public employees, his justification--even though it's already a currently false justification--for eliminating collective bargaining rights would be COMPLETELY gone. This is about union busting, as many tacitly admit after some casuistry about the need to balance the WI budget. The real issue is Walker's bill, which 1) eliminates some collective bargaining rights for some unions representing public workers in WI, and 2) allows Walker to sell off some state assets with no bidding, 3) why state workers or any WI taxpayers should take the hit for a bill already passed by Walker which allows companies that relocate to Wisconsin to avoid paying income taxes for two years.

From the WI bill (Wisconsin Assembly Bill 11, the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill" (2011): "Currently, this state owns and operates numerous heating, cooling, and power plants that were constructed by the state to provide heating, cooling, and power to state facilities. The Department of Administration (DOA) determines the method of operation of these plants and may delegate this authority to any other state agency that has managing authority for a plant. This bill permits DOA to sell or contract for the operation of any such plant. The bill exempts such sales and contracts from the requirement for approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that may otherwise apply under current law. The bill provides that the net proceeds of any sale, after retirement of any outstanding state debt and any necessary repayment of federal financial assistance, is deposited in the budget stabilization fund. The bill also allows DOA, at any time, to petition the PSC to regulate as a public utility any person who purchases or contracts for the operation of any plant under the bill. Under current law, the PSC has regulatory authority over public utilities, including the authority to set rates for utility service."

There are several things wrong with Walker's bill..and he refuses to negotiate the bill. I don't really know why anyone would think that this bill is in the interests of the people of WI, even leaving aside the elimination of collective bargaining rights...which of course, shouldn't be left aside.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 28, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Many modern unions have some corruption and abuses, as do modern corporate management and modern politics. But that doesn't mean that the institution of unions should be trashed. Collective bargaining is a counter-force to the times when management treats its workers unfairly. We need them... or we need something else of equal counter-force. What would that be?

Posted by: egc52556

------------------------

Keep your private unions.

Public unions have to go.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 28, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Don't know about oyu TT but the only time I get to practice democracy anymore is when I'm invited to vote for some power ongering oligarchist, cuz very little else is being offered up in national referendum form say like "term limitations" so we can get rid of these elected bums on a regular basis. You can bet those foxes in the D C henhouse will never vote for anything that will "limit" them on anything.

Sball we all now bow to the East like good little servants...not East to Mecca, to our Washington, D C gods.

Posted by: thomas_pearson46 | February 28, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Unions in the developed world are the last obstacle to the capitalist dream of universally cheap labor. Mounting fear of job outsourcing will eventually bring them down. Once they are gone, wages and benefits in the developed world will tumble until they equal wages and benefits in the developing world. The only thing that could stop this rush to the lowest common denominator would be the unionization of the developing world. The labor unions of the western world had better figure out how to export their product, and quickly, if they want to survive.

Posted by: charlesbII | February 28, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

If the United States had a living wage instead of a minimum wage, if employers were required to provide health insurance as part of their benefits and a retirement package then there would be less need for both unions and some government safety net programs.
__________

What is a "living wage"?

I have an idea, let's just give every man, woman and child in the USA a $1M a year to eliminate poverty. Anyone really think poverty will be eliminated? Hint: No, you just raised the poverty level by $1M per year. If everyone made $1M per year, the cost of everything would go up. That $5.00 hamburger will now be $50,000, a $35,000 car will now be $350,000, etc.

Posted by: ATrueChristian | February 28, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Unions help enforce the terms social contract that any civilized society should have:

1. one for all and all for one;

2. as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me

3. do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Ayn Rand knee-jerk conservatives scream, "but this is Socialism!" Well, you know, if you live in a SOCIETY you must expect the SOCIETY will have SOCIAL requirements. What else should we call it? Just because Marx / Lenin / Stalin / Malenkov / Khrushchev / Brezhnev / Andropov / Chernenko used the USSR's Soviet Socialism to mask their totalitarian and oppressive regimes does not mean that no society should have laws or rules or structures so we take care of each other.

Many modern unions have some corruption and abuses, as do modern corporate management and modern politics. But that doesn't mean that the institution of unions should be trashed. Collective bargaining is a counter-force to the times when management treats its workers unfairly. We need them... or we need something else of equal counter-force. What would that be?

Posted by: egc52556 | February 28, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

You, Tom, and RMBinGoldendale and twhittlinger are correct.
The task must be global and deeper in scope. It's time....

Time to rethink economic and ownership systems.
We can take the best part of capitalism (free enterprise)
and combine it with ownership of work, not the earth.

In the beginning we stole the land, air and resources.
The prehistoric types may have killed for it.
Now, we are stewards of the earth system.

Stop paying for it or we'll lose our soul ... & lives ...

Posted by: Tony-KS

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Why is it that every time Tony-KS posts something I can smell incense and hear John Tesh music in the background?

We are the stream, not the rock, we go with the Tony-KS flow...

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 28, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I propose we form a Poor People's Union. No dues, but you must find one other poor person (shouldn't be hard) to join. All you need is an email address, and a willingness to vote as a bloc.

Everyone talks about the middle class. I'll tell you a secret: if you're one paycheck away from missing your rent payment, you're poor.

If the productivity gains of the past 30 years had been distributed equally, we'd have a 30 hour week, and full employment. If the productivity gains of the NEXT 30 years go to the holders of capital, we won't be poor, we'll be beggars.

Posted by: bobfischetti | February 28, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

$11.00 an hour ???!!, Many Wisconsin teachers are earning $45.00 to $50.00 an hour plus free benefits.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 28, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

You, Tom, and RMBinGoldendale and twhittlinger are correct.
The task must be global and deeper in scope. It's time....

Time to rethink economic and ownership systems.
We can take the best part of capitalism (free enterprise)
and combine it with ownership of work, not the earth.

In the beginning we stole the land, air and resources.
The prehistoric types may have killed for it.
Now, we are stewards of the earth system.

Stop paying for it or we'll lose our soul ... & lives ...

Posted by: Tony-KS | February 28, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Let's do a quick comparison here. Let's say that 100 union employees in Factory A, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, make $15 dollars an hour. 100 non-union employees in Factory B make $11 dollars an hour.

So, let's say we dissolved the unions and made everyone earn $11 dollars an hour. Where would you locate the factory?

Yep. Myanmar, where Factory C workers make $1 a DAY, go home, buy rice, and come back the next day.

Corporations DO NOT CARE about you; they're more interested in the governing laws of the Cayman Islands.

Posted by: aaronweiner

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Actually, if the union was busted, they work would go to Alabama where folks appreciate a job, appreciate hard work, and don't think it's right to milk the corporation and the government for every last dime.

Have you been to a factory in Myanmar? I've been to several in Bangladesh and India. The employees are well take care of there - by the ONLY functioning entity around: the corporations they work for....

I need a double-handkerchief for all the union belly-aching going on in this blog today. Sure - all the teachers, firefighters, police, et al in WI are living on food-stamps with a cardboard box over their heads for shelter.

The majority of Americans aren't buying this bull anymore - why keep selling this sad-sack story?

Public unions are destroying the States. The Federal Government does not authorize collective bargaining for Federal employees (Civil Service Act passed by a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President - Carter). FDR didn't believe that public unions were the right way to go.

Liberals: your hypocrisy and inflated sense of entitlement is being plastered all over the world - you will lose this argument.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 28, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Let's do a quick comparison here. Let's say that 100 union employees in Factory A, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, make $15 dollars an hour. 100 non-union employees in Factory B make $11 dollars an hour.

So, let's say we dissolved the unions and made everyone earn $11 dollars an hour. Where would you locate the factory?

Yep. Myanmar, where Factory C workers make $1 a DAY, go home, buy rice, and come back the next day.

Corporations DO NOT CARE about you; they're more interested in the governing laws of the Cayman Islands.

Posted by: aaronweiner | February 28, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"Most of the greatest achievements of unions have become national laws."

Truer words have never been spoken. Businesses large and small deal with federal, state and municipal regulations that protect workers. Some programs (like worker's compensation) even protect employers from employees. Given that most of the basic employee rights have been codified at multiple levels of government, why not finish the job and codify the basic rights of businesses?

Think of all the unemployed lawyers floundering in the wake of a ship of state that leaves a level playing field behind it as it moves forward. Business owners and labor operating in harmony under a matched set of expectations.

Any coin viewed from opposite sides of a table will result in one party seeing heads and the other tails. As long as the underlying principle of labor relations is opposition, the overriding result will be failure.

Posted by: HalflifeToolmaker | February 28, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Of course there is an alternative to unions: be a blood-sucking billionaire! --GR


Posted by: reynolds9 | February 28, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Time for the Lib speak to English dictionary again. Collective Bargain = Strike. I am amazed that for two weeks of this Wisconsin circus NO mainstream media has explained to the public what collective bargain means. Tell me again the left doesn't own the media.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 28, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"3. As for those 'evil' corporations - well they have to be sure that workers make enough to buy their products or their 'gravy train' goes off the tracks!"

Actually, I'm not even sure that's true any more. Corporations and customers are all global, and it looks to me like American customers are less and less important to the corporations.

Posted by: RMBinGoldendale | February 28, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The march back to feudalism continues apace. All those who oppose unions and support unregulated pure Capitalism are just convinced that they have a first class ticket.

Posted by: Capn0ok1 | February 28, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Very good! My take:
1. We, the citizens get what we put into it! Too many don't bother to even register to vote and many who do don't bother to vote. So the arena is left to minority groups of special interest to elect our politicians who then pander to these groups!
2. Unions indeed had a purpose YESTERDAY! They caused companies to consider their employees and the government to pass laws protecting and looking out for the workers. But, then unions became just like the government - only a small faction of members bothered to watch what was happening to the unions! So they became and mostly are corrupt - most run by people who have never worked in the trade/skill of the union - they are career union bosses!
3. As for those 'evil' corporations - well they have to be sure that workers make enough to buy their products or their 'gravy train' goes off the tracks! But the fact that so many Americans buy into the buzz words is indicative of the problem we have - people too lazy to think for themselves and buying into the crap!

Posted by: twhittlinger | February 28, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

A very apt illustration.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | February 28, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

The Walmartization of America is on track. But what will happen when all are at minimum wage and can't afford healthcare ? We're seeing this more and more but most Americans are not capable of worrying about anything other than Socialism and Sharia law.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | February 28, 2011 6:23 AM | Report abuse

The Soviet Union was a government run labor union that worked so well it had to ration toilet paper sort of like the rationing of Metro escalators today.

Posted by: billybeer6 | February 28, 2011 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Unions are only a lot of people getting together, to demand that their rights be respected. Plus enough resources to keep eating and find shelter.

So what is the difference between Egypt, Tunis, Libya or Wisconsin? Nothing in substance.

The demonstrators in Egypt and the other countries are only forming groups to ask for liveable conditions. The answer to your question Tom, is that the "better way" is simply that ALL those who are hungry, foreclosed, discriminated against, fed up with paying for the Mafia Class of Rich, or cheated by a "Justice" system that treats companies as people, DEMONSTRATE TOGETHER.

Which is what has been happening worldwide. No need to join a Union to protest. Just add a voice to the mass.

Posted by: Stonebird | February 28, 2011 5:30 AM | Report abuse

"The sleek engines of modern global capitalism." That's a good one. It is certainly the perception that those who run modern enterprises have after absorbing and deploying all the tricks they teach in B-school. Inside these sleek engines, money goes to where executives think it will do the most good: their pockets. Have a bad year? Pick 10% of your head count, declare them dead wood, put their necks on the chopping block. Watch the bottom line improve. Genius!

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 28, 2011 5:27 AM | Report abuse

Unions got us the weekend and the minimum wage and child labor laws and overtime pay and on and on. It’s all boils down to this. If you are a human and you work you should have basic rights and expectations.

Most of the greatest achievements of unions have become national laws. If the United States had a living wage instead of a minimum wage, if employers were required to provide health insurance as part of their benefits and a retirement package then there would be less need for both unions and some government safety net programs.

The overarching disconnect in America is that we like Social Security and Medicare and our overly dominant military, clean water, clean air, safe food and medication, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, quality education, 21st century infrastructure…. But we’d also like small government and low taxes. Does that come with fries?

Until Americans have a basic conversation about what services they want and don’t want and how we’re going to pay for those services, we’ll continue to dance round and round and round and round…

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | February 27, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

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