August 20, 2009

Where to even begin with this segment from MSNBC's Morning Meeting. I've really got to wonder if a single one of these people has ever done a hard day of physical labor in their entire lives to be able to carry on trashing unions the way they did.

First, Dylan Ratigan asks if unions are against health-care reform because everyone having health-care benefits would mean union members' benefits are no longer better than other non-union members' benefits, and of course the only thing unions care about is getting bigger. Ratigan doesn't seem to understand that those benefits are bargained for and part of an overall compensation package, and that if we weren't having to bargain for the health-care benefits, that would likely play out in being able to negotiate for higher take-home pay or some other benefit instead.

He also ignores the fact that this would be good for unionized companies if the burden of paying health-care expenses were taken off of their backs, which would make them more competitive, thus also benefiting the workers at those companies. Bernard follows with this:

Absolutely, the labor unions right now simply exist for one reason. To self perpetuate receiving union dues and having political influence. I think it's absolutely amazing to watch that clip from The Rachel Maddow Show last night. This guy is, he's saying to President Obama, I'm strong-arming you buddy. And my answer to this would be they are showing themselves to be as ridiculous as many members of the American public think they are. What happened to pragmatism? What happened to competition, and what actually happened to winning?

Maybe it would be great for the Democratic Party to lose the support of labor unions because quite honestly a lot of labor unions are what holds America back and keeps us from being as good as we can be.

I'd like to see these clowns try to have this conversation with someone like Leo Gerard at the table. He'd have eaten them for lunch. Heaven forbid someone who represents labor might have a seat at this table.

I hate to break it to them, but unions care about a whole lot more than just building up membership and accumulating political power. They have their problems like every other organization does, but to trash the only entity out there that is standing up for the interests of working Americans is just reprehensible.

They bargain for better pay and benefits, look out for the safety of workers on the job and they give the workers a chance to earn a living wage instead of a race to the bottom that there would be if corporations ran the whole show. They also drive up the wages of of non-union workers in industries similar to the unionized ones and for the non-union workers within the same company. Who's going to volunteer to be someone's non-union boss if your workers are making more money than you are?

The Michelle Bernards and Dylan Ratigans and Mike Allens of the world will never have to worry about working double shifts at two lousy jobs just to take care of their families because their first job doesn't pay enough to make the bills. They'll never have to worry about whether they might lose a hand at work because their company decided to skimp and not replace a guard on a piece of rotating equipment and they were afraid to complain about it because it might make their boss mad and find an excuse to fire them.

They won't have to worry about having a repetitive stress injury from doing the same task over and over all day, and because they have no union to ask that the jobs are rotated between workers, they can barely use their hands at a young age. They'll never have to be concerned that their backs are going out because they worked some job where they were stooped over day in and day out.

Instead, they sit on their pedestals and tell the public how awful the institutions that brought this country the end of child labor, the forty hour work week, overtime pay and a way for workers to be allowed to speak up for themselves in the work place without fear of losing their jobs are, and that all they care about is a "power grab".

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