I AM THE WARRIOR

The Supreme Court is almost certainly about to gut public employee unions, including teachers' unions. Briefly, state laws currently can compel some people to pay union dues if they benefit from the collective bargaining done by the union on behalf of all employees. Otherwise any rational person would realize that the dominant strategy is that of all Free Riders: contribute nothing, hope the contributors succeed, and then enjoy the benefits. Since a teachers' union bargains on behalf of all teachers and not just union members, the seemingly sound logic goes, all should contribute.

The complicating factor is that unions, like corporations, non-profit groups, and many other entities, donate money in elections and are active in other aspects of the political process. It was only a matter of time until someone interested in becoming a right-wing martyr filed the right lawsuit. He/she can go on tour with Kim Davis. Think of the ticket sales.

Literally the first thing I cover when teaching Intro to American Government is the concept of a collective action problem. It's the backbone of the course, and it comes up repeatedly. The textbook explanation is that rational individuals have the incentive to free ride. What I don't cover but believe to be an important part of the resistance to collective action is that people (read: conservatives) wildly overestimate what they are capable of achieving on their own. Why should we have single-payer healthcare, I will be able to pay for my own healthcare. Why donate to an environmental group, if the water is gross I'll just move. And who needs a teachers' union, I'm awesome and I'll either negotiate a sweet deal all by myself or I'll just get a higher paying job at another school. Believe me, there is not a single social, economic, or political problem you can present to 19 year olds as a hypothetical that they are not 100% confident that they will solve on their own initiative, most likely incorporating the use of Bootstraps. It's understandable at that age. Unfortunately a lot of people never seem to grow out of it.

In an entirely different course we read Anthem, selected because it is the shortest and thus least painful Ayn Rand piece and because it is one of the finest works of comedy ever penned. How can you do anything but adore a story that ends with a man drafting an ode to individualism in a house someone else built and that he broke into. Anyway, the real money scene is where the protagonist heads out into the forest and, in the space of a few hours before dinnertime, he makes a bow and arrows and shoots plenty of birds out of the sky to feed himself. He also gets a few by throwing rocks at them. This is a minor detail in the story but, in my view, is a great litmus test of a fundamental personality characteristic. The kind of person who thinks, "Yeah that seems plausible" believes that some people, namely themselves, are simply Great and therefore can solve any and every problem on their own through the force of their own Greatness. The other kind of person looks at a man running off into the woods with no supplies, food, clothing, or tools of any kind and thinks, "Well he's gonna be dead in about a week."

When someone shrinks from collective action it might be based on a rational belief that the group will succeed regardless and the benefits will be available for everyone to enjoy. It also might be the result of decades of bombardment with Rugged Individualist homilies and the belief that there simply is no problem that one cannot solve with their own (no doubt inestimable) talents. The latter goes one of two ways. For some people, a life of social privilege and unearned wealth reinforce the belief that one is Great and needs no one else. For the rest life has some real big surprises in store.

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59 Responses to “I AM THE WARRIOR”

  1. HoosierPoli Says:

    In a related point: If I read one more single thirty-year-old bitching about the cost of their health insurance because they "almost never go to the doctor" I'm going to throw my computer across the room.

  2. dloburns Says:

    I think this is probably going to become my favorite piece of yours.

  3. Xynzee Says:

    It's an interesting point that those who I ironically make the loudest noise over "free riders" are themselves happy to mooch off of everyone else's hard work.

  4. Buckyblue Says:

    Since Act 10 here in Wisconsin we've had to yearly recertify the union with a vote of 51%. Not 50%+1, but 51%. Which was some dumbfucks fuck-up in the lege. We currently have about 50% of our staff as dues paying members but in the annual vote we get 67% of the vote. So 17% of the staff thinks the union's a great idea but they just don't want to pay for it. Most of those are younger teachers who don't see the need for a union or think they can negotiate their raises themselves. On a somewhat related side note, the worst part of stripping away Union power is that there's no voice for the teacher against the central office. So every dumbshit idiot idea that they have we have to do. No complaining allowed. Most of their ideas come from college profs who wrote books on some bullshit study they conducted. As an example, we've changed our grading system three of the last four years. The current system has the lowest percentage that you can receive and still pass at 12.5%. It used to be 70%. Talk about free rider, try convincing high schoolers to do anything when they know it's virtually impossible for them to fail. I have a kid who hasn't been in my class since the end of September, he only recently dropped into getting an F. He's my only one.

  5. H.M.S. Blankenship Says:

    "…some people, namely themselves, are simply Great and therefore can solve any and every problem on their own through the force of their own Greatness." This sounds as if it applies directly to a current presidential aspirant, whose name sort of looks like 'Turnip'.

  6. Wim Says:

    Anthem was my gateway to Rand when I was like twelve or thirteen, only because the jacket copy made it seem like it was going to be science fiction. I found it dull and stupid, which was how I later felt about the Fountainhead and what I could stomach of Atlas Shrugged, the book that cured me of the feeling that I had to finish any book I started. All these people who seem to take to Rand like religion cannot have possibly actually read this shit. They have to study it, the same way they study the Bible, in selected excerpts which they're instructed what to think about.

  7. Hazy Davy Says:

    All workers in positions that are bargained for by the union benefit from that bargaining.
    And all people overestimate their own leverage.

    But can we compel people to pay union fees, if they don't care?
    I mean, we can compel people to have insurance as a prerequisite for driving. Why? Because that benefits the rest of us, besides the driver. If the driver were the only one impacted by not having insurance, we might let him be impacted.

    It feels like union dues are different. Greedy corporations might prefer to not have unions. I know, I know, they aren't allowed to prevent unionization. But forcing all workers to pay union dues, regardless of membership? The corporation and foolish individuals might agree in opposing that.

    I think the issue, here, is that, in the absence of collective bargaining, all power rests with the corporations. ALL POWER. They even are able (thanks, CU) to limit legislative oversight!

    And there's the other thing—if Corporations and PACs can donate to political causes, then Unions can, too.

    It's an imperfect world. Screws fall out all the time.

  8. Dave Dell Says:

    The Union (eventually I was the chief steward for the local NTEU chapter) I was a part of discriminated against non-members by only having members serve on committees, serve on details (some of which were quite extended and beneficial personally and professionally) serve on negotiating teams, etc. – all of which occurred during normal work hours. When non-members would complain of this practice they'd get handed a sign up form. When non-members had a grievance they got full attention and effort and a sign up form. Still had a lot of non-members. It wasn't a perfect system but it helped.

    Most of our contract mirrored federal labor laws. Most of management and most of the bargaining unit would not take the time to become familiar with the contract despite the various meetings and "lunch and learns". That's what the union does best. It provides knowledge of the contract. I was a big help to both management and the bargaining unit simply by my knowledge of the contract.

    My nephew, an elementary school principal, laments that it is hard to fire a bad teacher. I simply tell him to study the contract and put in the work. Of course you can purge bad teachers from your school. Clearly defined expectations and goals for performance appraisals. Clearly defined plans for improvement with follow up measures. It doesn't appeal to most managers (school principals) to put in the work so bad performance slides through.

  9. Dave Dell Says:

    Oops, I forgot to mention that my elementary school principal nephew does have a couple of problems in that it's a rural area and a couple of the bad teachers have family relationships to the local school board power structure. Not much can be done about that.

    Rural America… I could write a long post about how living in rural, lightly populated America can be a good thing as long as you're buddies with the county sheriff.

  10. Xynzee Says:

    Urg!!
    Just checked in.
    That should be: *UNIRONICALLY*

  11. Tom Says:

    Randy Johnson could throw a bean and dine on birds.

  12. carrstone Says:

    Nice try, Ed, but that ship don't sail.

    At issue here is the matter of choice. Your message appears to be that all people working in a sector in which there is trade union representation should be COMPELLED to be members of that trade union.

    This is not, as you suggest, because of the magic of 'e pluribus unum', but because, should workers have a choice, they will, over time, disassociate themselves from said union; I'm not saying 'all', but many – enough to matter, particularly to the union.

    There would appear to be solid evolution-based motivations for this flight. People vote with their pocket books [which, of course, explains the popularity of Bernie Sanders's promises] and people are likely to value the union's performance on their behalf as well much below the union's assessment of its own performance.

    The union has different concerns – but that surprises no-one. They fear that, in the face of falling membership numbers, its influence will wane and its coffers will be less well filled – and that ain't good for the Democratic Party, now, is it?

  13. jon Says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthem,_Arizona

    It's okay to pee there, but I wouldn't stay longer than I need to.

  14. Greg Says:

    Now we're at evolutionary libertarianism? Carrstone, go read The Sea-Wolf. We'll wait.
    On that subject, Ed, have you ever used the Sea-Wolf for a primer on social Darwinism and its total failure as a cultural organizer? 9th graders could understand the message. Which means, I guess, that Carrstone will not.

  15. c u n d gulag Says:

    Here's a great education policy that's sure to make our country stronger in the future:

    Teachers, just bite the bullet for a year, pass the kids, and then they're someone else's problem the next year!
    See?
    Easy!

    And isn't it funny (not at all, really), that the same conservatives who want to destroy unions by encouraging free-riders not to pay dues, are the same people who then bitch about the 47% of moochers and free-riders in our country.

    It's ok, I guess, if it's for the cause of Conservativatism!
    Until you become one of the 47% – which is sure to happen , and the precentage increases – as wages and benfits continue to decline!

    But, hey!
    It's all good!
    More to bitch about in the future!!!

  16. doug Says:

    Labor continues to loose its voice and to be more irrelevant in most matters. I see a difference between public and private unions, however. I know I like private employment unions, but not sure at all about public ones.

  17. freeportguy Says:

    And the very people with "the belief that there simply is no problem that one cannot solve with their own (no doubt inestimable) talents" all say that their free market theory is proven by WalMart being able to sell at lower prices because of…ECONOMY OF SCALE!!

    Yep, they don't see the irony when they say to gut unions is to give workers "the right to work"…

  18. Tom Says:

    The unions are providing services for all covered employees, members or not, and they deserve to get paid.

  19. quixote Says:

    For a while I taught in Some University in flyover country where everyone already has the right to work (for nothing) and a critical mass of people would never have anything to do with a union.

    Salary per course at the time for an adjunct: $1500. (For all I know, lo these many years later, that's what it still is.)

    Salary per course at the time in unionized California where I moved after a couple of years there: $5000.

    The tragedy, of course, is that all that money being frittered away on university profs and school teachers could instead find productive use in campaign contributions.

  20. Jestbill Says:

    @Tom:
    "The unions are providing services for all covered employees, members or not, and they deserve to get paid."

    I do not understand that definition of "all."
    A person who is not a member of the union should get nothing from the union and that provision should be written into the contract.

    People who like to think they play hardball have never actually been in a real game.

  21. Skipper Says:

    My sister and BIL are Foxaholics. If I want to know what's trending on Fox, all I have to do is call my sister.

    Both of them worked in unionized jobs. My sister worked for the city and my BIL worked for a private company. The union saved my sister's job — twice — when the politicians were coming after it. The union saved my BIL's health insurance, when the corporations he worked for decided that management bonuses were more important than employee health.

    Both sister and BIL hate unions.

  22. John Bachman Says:

    Great comments. I want to party with some of the people on this page. And why we are at it we can talk about getting Bernie Sanders elected president.

  23. Kmtberry Says:

    Skipper: never underestimate the power of propaganda. Your BIL and Sis are perfect examples. It's easy to get average intelligence people to vote against their own interests- you could probably get them to vote for people who want to exterminate them.

  24. carrstone Says:

    @Greg
    What's to 'understand'? Rest assured that, having grown up with it, I understand the soppy regressive mind only too well and, as a bonus, could refer you to myriad sorry tales about trade union membership waning in the face of choice but I'm sure you know these already.

    By referring me to The Sea Wolf you're in the right arena, though. Both the book and your progressive ideals are fiction. The downside of your creed is that you want to compel me to conform to your vision and, frankly, I'd rather not do that.

  25. Major Kong Says:

    Pimping my own article here.

    Had someone go off on me about my pilot's union. You might find it entertaining.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/11/1467801/-The-Conversation

  26. el mago Says:

    One fundamental problem is that it's always high school in the U.S., all day everyday.

  27. Greg Says:

    So my assigned-by-you "progressive ideals" are fiction, which I want to compel you to obey, but your clearly articulated libertarianism is forged from the strong iron of experience and pragmatism, and you are merely persuading?
    Well, you got me, I want to enter your home and remove your weapons, insert above tools into your urethra, and show you gay porn and Rick Santorum's home videos with his dog. After that I'll drain your bank account and hand it over to a crack dealing person of color and instruct her to bear more children if she wants the limo, all while you languish in jail under the watch of a lazy and incompetent jailer whose lack of entrepreneurial spirit is obvious from his skin color. Then I'll take you out back and shoot you for failing to respect mah authoritie! And I'll win the lottery while riding a pony.

  28. JohnR Says:

    Greg, you mistake Master carrstone's work. It makes much more sense if you remember that for those of his ilk, It's Always Projection. He is unable to imagine anything except through the lens of his own beliefs. Similarly, the thief Knows that everyone is stealing from him, and the liar Knows that nobody tells the truth. This may help you understand the "Conservative" (and presumably "Libertarian") dogmas a bit better.

  29. Katydid Says:

    @Major Kong; I enjoy your diaries on Daily Kos. You keep keepin' on with them. :-)

  30. Steve in the ATL Says:

    "Since Act 10 here in Wisconsin we've had to yearly recertify the union"

    If this type of law ever passes at the federal level, labor will be dead.

  31. Khaled Says:

    I've been a member of union against my will, and I hated every minute of it because of the rather large fees for very little benefit. I was a cashier at Large Chain Grocery Store where the local meat cutter's union had raised the dues to something like $50 a month. While we were making $6.75/hour. We got a raise, eventually, because the local Meijer store was paying $7.50 and our store manager literally had no applicants to keep the registers open. The union rep also hated a lot of us college students who were working there (basically all of my friends got jobs there after I did. Of the 12 or so cashiers, I think seven of us were students, and five of those were me and my friends) so when a dispute arose, the union rep did absolutely nothing to help out a friend of mine.

    I'm sure the union was part of the IFCW, which has lots of members, most of which are cashiers and stock clerks at grocery-type stores. Having managed Large Chain Drug Stores (where some stores had unions, but vast, vast majority did not) I can tell you that those workers that they had "organized" were no better off than those that did not. Unions that organize retail workers are really good at collective dues, but don't provide any extra benefits. The pay rates weren't better, the staffing levels weren't better, and the benefits weren't any better.

    Unions help in public employment because of the presence of political shenanigans that take place. They also help with safety issues in industries where it is an issue; Airline Pilots is a fine example of that. Teacher's Unions benefit teachers because of the lack of good objective ways to determine performance. It would benefit people in retail, if those collecting the dues actually cared about their members.

  32. DanG Says:

    @Jestbill
    That's how a union gets its strength. If a shop has some employees bargaining on their own and some bargaining through a union, then everyone gets screwed.
    Imagine this: Jane is offered a job in this half-union open shop. She opts to negotiate. The boss, being wiley, says "Jane, you're good at negotiating. I'll pay you 110% of the union wage to be at-will." Jane says, "great". A few weeks later, Jane mentions to her new fellow employees how she got 110% of their wage by refusing to join the union. 40 more employees jump ship in this 100 employee shop over the year.
    Next year, contract negotiation time, the union has 59 employees they are representing. They eke out a concession for a COLA raise, but not much else. Their threats of strike are faintly hollow. The 41 non-union folks gloat about their 110%. Twenty more people drift over, because, hell, they were only getting $50k with the union to their non-union peers's $55k!
    Years three and four, more people leave the union, though union wages go up because of that COLA, which no one negotiated individually. But, Wiley Employer is still paying more than the union! Only a thousand or two more by the end of the fourth year.
    Year five, another contract negotiation. Union gets no concessions. Union says "fuck it!" and walks out. Employer laughs because only 20% stayed in the union. He can cover the work with the non-union employees. The union collapses, ten union employees take their jobs back as non-union but at 90% of their original salary (disloyalty and all).
    Year six, "times are tough, mate! We're cutting all salaries by 20% and laying off 10 employees because we made do during the strike with only 80". Too bad there wasn't anyone to fight back…

  33. Jestbill Says:

    @DanG:

    Correct…except for that first year. As soon as the union finds out about the 110% rule, they announce a retaliatory strike for a 10% raise across the board. Playing hardball with patsies is easy; unions are supposed to know better.

    The only reason there is a union in a business is that people were really unhappy at some time in the past.

    The union either has power or it doesn't. If it can't make its agreements stick, it needs to admit that it is just a management sock puppet and go play golf.

    Not a "wildcat" or illegal strike if it's in the contract that members get benefits and non-members go to hell.

  34. April Says:

    @Greg What's this "pony" shit? Unicorns, man, unicorns!

  35. democommie Says:

    Greg:

    When dealing with Carrhole…

    "Fuck you, douchebag." is as good as any argument you might present. Just sayin'.

  36. eau Says:

    I believe I remember Carrstone previously referring to himself as a 'job creator'.

    Enough said.

  37. Beleck Says:

    Unions are on the way out cause business knows how to divide and conquer, using that story above, for example.. and some unions become just as bad/corrupt as management. funny thing is unions got us holidays, 8hrs workdays, weekends and lot of other things. But unions are not Business friendly, so they have to go. Watching Wisconsin go RED proves lies are much stronger than any facts already into existence. of course, not touching police, the protectors of the Rich, is always one union better left unquestioned. the Fear of the Other is more important than improving our children's futures, apparently.

    "Greed is good" nonsense and "getting over those you can" is in calculated into most American psyches by the time you leave high school. aka "American Exceptionalism."

    the willful ignorance and subliminal hatred of code words/dog whistles (up until Trump opened his mouth) quietly hinted at by the Right/Business interests, espoused by Fox et al, works it quiet "evil" slowly and continuous by never admitting it is wrong. never giving up works wonders. the ignorant are legendary and irreversibly determined never to even hear, much less accept a different point of view. that kind of Change is "unAmerican" according to the Right. it is mostly sad and comical to see how the very "perks" that most Americans enjoy, for those who can still find jobs, that is,are so full of this rabidly pro " Right to Work, anti union" Orwellian phlegm spread by the Propaganda team running Business and Government. Don't forget that St. Reagan ended unions with the firing of PATCO, the Air traffic controllers union who went on strike. if the President can do it, than it's fine and dandy for everyone else. lol Role Models Anyone? Zombie Mindlessness?

    whatever else can be said about the idiots who follow Republicanism, Randian fantasies and anything anti society, these "zombies" believe this to be God's Truth and will never ever ever believing in anything of a social nature, like unions, or a common good. Truth is not allowed if it conflicts with their "version" of reality. never has and never will.

    Just listening to the various strains used to demean attempts to work for the betterment of all, not just a few, show how the "seeds of division" are never uprooted from such expressions. the new Age of Feudalism/Neoliberalism/Fascism does whatever it takes to prevail and against a chaotic and unorganized America, such antisocial, amoral, asocial Hate will prevail. keeping the proles uneducated is why Bush pushed for our "Are our Children Learning" No Child Left Behind zombification of our Schools.

    Cause it all about the Money. and they got it and want to make sure YOU don't get any of it. Unions!! over your dead body. just read the Powell Memo for a clue.

  38. Lless Says:

    The NLRA needs to amend the requirement of a majority vote to organize in any State or unit having "Right to Work" or other individual opt-out. There is no reason to give employees free to walk away a voice in the bargaining decision of their organized peers.

  39. Major Kong Says:

    I'm a "job creator" every time I purchase something.

  40. carrstone Says:

    @Beleck
    What nonsense! It's quite natural [in an evolutionary sense] for commerce to want to resist and fight against incursions into their activities from any source – and the same goes for trade unions.

    It's all about choice. By all means band together and negotiate from strength but the freedom you want to enable you to do that is the same freedom that lapsed union members have to opt out of membership.

    As for that other inane union complaint about non-members benefiting from the 'skillful' negotiations of the union – why does that even bother you? The union should focus on what it's for – delivering the best product for their members – and that's enough for a day's work.

    Life's a bell curve and, if unions, in the opinion of the workers, is doing a good job, membership will swell and vice versa; that's the American way, or should be.

  41. carrstone Says:

    @democommie
    Nice one, your comment deftly and succinctly deals with my contribution to this thread, I expected nothing more from you and I got what I expected – nothing.

  42. Paul Says:

    Great stuff, Ed. I'm nodding in agreement so hard I've stirred up a strong wind! …Ayn is a favorite hateread of mine.

  43. Interrobang Says:

    Hey, Ed, did you ever notice how much of Anthem is plagiarised from Yevgeny Zamyatin's We (which was circulating at the time Anthem was written, and, as a Russian expat, Rand would almost certainly have read it). It's almost like she read it, got disgusted with it, and tried to write a refutation…and failed miserably.

  44. Townsend Harris Says:

    The faculty and staff union at CUNY has 20,000+ workers in its bargaining unit. The union negotiates on behalf of the entire bargaining unit. More than 15,000 of the workers are union members. The rest of the workers pay a discounted rate called "agency fee". NYS requires the union to account for its annual political spending, and uses that spending to calculate the percentage discount for "agency fee".
    Seems kinda like having to pay income taxes and property taxes, despite disagreeing with some of the government's policies.

  45. Robert Says:

    I think I'm the only person I know who has been an officer of a union local and a Masonic Lodge. That makes me feel old-fashioned, somehow.

    I have great contempt for those who decry unions. I understand their viewpoint and perspective.

  46. democommie Says:

    Dear Crapstonea:

    Fuck you, douchebag.

  47. Heywood J. Says:

    Fun music trivium: Anthem is (very loosely adapted) source material for the side-one suite of the 1976 Rush concept album 2112.

    Also, too, as a member of a public-sector union for the past seven years, I can tell you first-hand they do roughly jack shit. After eight years of no cost of living adjustments, they finally snagged us a whopping 2% a few months ago. That's almost enough to offset half of the 5% increase in health-insurance costs, the third such consecutive increase in as many years. The union hasn't even bothered to raise the issue on that, at any point in time.

    I'll agree with the basic premise that a bad union is better than no union at all, but these peckerheads don't even try. For example, teachers' unions (at least in CA) have a 5% bonus for staff who have earned a master's degree. When it was suggested that our union propose this in the (just completed) negotiations, they said no, they were just going to go for the 2% crumb and be grateful for it. It didn't even occur to them to ask for slightly more than we really wanted, and let the county haggle them back a little. These guys negotiate like old people fuck. Oh, and they jacked up our union rates to boot, apparently to reward themselves for their success.

    It's sort of like the argument about preserving Roe v. Wade — if there's only one (or no) abortion clinic in your state, and it's a $60, six-hour bus ride away, you have reproductive choice only in the most technical of terms. Similarly, if your union barely bothers to represent your interests at all, and merely functions as the crumbled bulwark against at the more common predatory jungle ur-capitalism we have come to accept as the vicious norms, what the hell are you paying them for?

    Norm MacDonald used to have a bit about seeing a homeless guy with a dog, and feeling sorry for the dog, that the mutt was looking at the homeless guy thinking, "You know, I can do this shit on my own." I'm a strong union supporter in principle, but I'm really starting to feel like that dog. My father was a lifelong Teamster, and say what you want about the Teamsters, they knew how to run a fucking union.

  48. mike Says:

    I'm certainly sympathetic to the union cause. I have a Wobblies songbook in my jacket pocket. Everybody should know the Boss Doxology. I believe all should have a fair wage that enables them to get a piece of the American dream. Every teaching job I've ever been layed off from was a union job, and when you lose your job and they don't get their money out of you, they ain't returning your phone calls. When you get a teaching job the union takes money out of your paycheck without so much as a hello, welcome, or a thank you. The teachers union wants nothing to do with the average worker as far as I can see, and we are all in this together.

  49. moderateindy Says:

    People like Khaled with his "the union didn't do anything for me" story are a perfect example of those who lack critical thinking abilities.
    You see it's quite simple Khaled, if the union wasn't there in the first place, there would have been no 6.75 an hour. There would be no OT, or safety regs. There would be no baseline wage that the Meijer store would have had to compete with.
    All that crap exists because unions had the political power to get those items passed on a state, and federal level. Their ability to negotiate is why you had a crappy wage instead of an absurdly crappy wage.
    This is one of my favorite examples of how stupid and short-sighted the "unions never helped me" types are.
    I have a friend that is a big conservative. His father was a non union truck driver who, because of the wage he received, had enough money to live in a Chicago suburb which has ridiculously good schools. My friend has a good job, and went to a good college. (Michigan State). He is adamant that the unions did nothing for him. Of course before the Teamsters were formed driving a truck was a really crappy job, which paid quite poorly. Without unions settng the base for what a truck driver earned, other non union businesses would never had to pay a comparable wage. His father would have never gotten paid the money he did, would never been able to afford a house in a suburb that had great schools. My friend would have, in all likelihood, lived in a poor suburb, at best, and possibly something approaching a ghetto. There would have been no college, and no corporate job in his future. He thinks the unions never did anything for him either. Yet they are the foundation for his entire middle, and now upper middle life.
    By the way the unions ability to set wage and working condition baselines fliters up the entire economy. The middle manage will get a raise so that he makes more than the those below him. A larger unionized workforce makes for better income distribution, and a stronger economy. When the middle class A) has more money to spend, and B)is larger because the working poor get more money, and thus are able to move up to the middle class, the economy thrives. Then tax receipts rise as well so the government can afford to spend money on not just social safety nets, but also things like infrastructure spending, which means more jobs, and more tax revenue.
    Will anyone lose? Probably the top 1% will. But even that loss will be mitigated by the fact that consumer spending will grow, and there will be a larger pie to share.

  50. Just this Once Says:

    @carrstone

    >if unions, in the opinion of the workers, is doing a good job, membership will swell >and vice versa; that's the American way, or should be.

    Unless they can reap the benefits without paying for them. Which is the entire fucking point of the article. You're either dense or a troll.

  51. carrstone Says:

    @moderateindy
    There's unions and then there's unions. If you really think that the function of a union is to focus only on the interests of its members by negotiating high wages etc., you're mis-defining what should be it's real objective – ensuring that the company remains solvent. Without the company there are no jobs.

    And, of course, you'll now be tempted to come with the 'them and us' argument; that holds no water, either. The way the world works is okay – it's all a bell curve with destructive argument only taking place in the extremities. Sane people realize that it's a matter of 'give and take', not a matter of 'win or lose'.

    @Just this once
    Are you really for compelling working men and women to do things they don't want to do? Are you really that sleazy?

    And what's your problem with free-riders, anyway? Progressives do it all the time. Why, Bernie Sanders has even made it a campaign program: free education, free health care, using other people's money to buy votes.

    If the unions want to have more members, they need to re-design their program so that people will join voluntarily.

  52. carrstone Says:

    @moderateindy

    There's unions and then there's unions. If you really think that the function of a union is to focus only on the interests of its members by negotiating high wages etc., you're mis-defining what should be it's real objective – ensuring that the company remains solvent. Without the company there are no jobs.

    And, of course, you'll now be tempted to come with the 'them and us' argument; that holds no water, either. The way the world works is okay – it's all a bell curve with destructive argument only taking place in the extremities. Sane people realize that it's a matter of 'give and take', not a matter of 'win or lose'.

    @Just this once

    Are you really for compelling working men and women to do things they don't want to do? Are you really that sleazy?

    And what's your problem with free-riders, anyway? Progressives do it all the time. Why, Bernie Sanders has even made it a campaign program: free education, free health care, using other people's money to buy votes.

    If the unions want to have more members, they need to re-design their program so that people will join voluntarily.

  53. bobbyp Says:

    Without the company there are no jobs.

    Without jobs, there are no companies. Stuff always has to be done. And one way or the other, it will get done. Forming "companies" is just a social convenience.

  54. Just this Once Says:

    @Carrstone
    If the unions want to have more members, they need to re-design their program so that people will join voluntarily.

    Again, missing the entire point. Not even pretending that it exists. I'm calling it: Trololololol.

  55. carrstone Says:

    @bobbyp
    In the real world, companies advertise vacant positions. But you're right, if nobody responds to the advertisements offering jobs, there'd be no companies. Or, to put it another way, there'd be no jobs.

    @Just this once
    What was the point? Collective bargaining is a good thing? You won't hear me arguing with that. What I'm arguing about is that you guys seem to think that it's okay to compel people to join a union. Compunction is just a fig-leaf to hide the unions' incompetence and greed.

    It'll be quite funny to watch when those new, unwilling members [because they've thought about matters and come to the conclusion that membership is an unnecessary luxury these days] start rousing all flaccid members who don't give a shit either way into siding with them into changing the leadership of the union for something more representative. And they'll succeed because the new members will be the brain Trojan horse and the flaccids have been fooled before and can be fooled again.

  56. bobbyp Says:

    Or, to put it another way, there'd be no jobs.

    Oh, really? Please explain how a modern society can function without "jobs".

  57. bobbyp Says:

    what happened to comments 1-55?

  58. carrstone Says:

    @bobbyp
    You're just joking with me, right? I don't know how old you are but if you had read everything I've said without bias, you wouldn't have asked your question. There's a context within which my comment is framed and, by ignoring it, you're revealing more about you than you could sensibly want.

    To remind you, I didn't say that 'a modern society can function without jobs', I said that companies are the first cause in job creation.

  59. Ed Says:

    There are 2 types of people in this world. Those who want to be left alone and those who won't leave them alone. I'll let you decide which type is least "Great".