Why unions have enemies It's no big secret

It’s possible to have a low opinion of billionaires without ever meeting any personally. Unfolding events — wherein Diane Hendricks, Wisconsin’s richest person, will get her fond wish of crushing unionism in Wisconsin — is just the latest example.

Does she even have union problems of her own? We’ve never heard of any. It’s hard to imagine how she ever could.  As a billionaire she can buy anything buy-able in this world. So why would she yearn to crush unionism in Wisconsin? Why does she need to fuck with these [financially] ordinary people?

It’s understandable why large business owners don’t welcome unions. Organized workers ask for a share of the pie, and other benefits. Unions cost business owners money. Or they certainly might. If I were a business owner, I see where I might not welcome a union, but I hope I’d learn to live with it, and consider it just another price of operating in a democracy, because that’s what it is. Laws, rules, regulations, taxes… you might not love ’em when they apply to you, but they can’t just be for the other guy. It’s all part of living in a decent society.

It wasn’t so long ago that the ability for workers to organize was considered a marker for democracy. You’d read about someplace in Latin America where half a dozen union organizers had turned up dead, execution-style, in a ditch by the side of the road. And not for the first time had organizers been killed. And you’d say, well, that is the sign of a very immature democracy or no democracy at all. You’d say to yourself that is one, still-backward, effed-up country, and you’d be glad to live here and not there.

Or you’d read about some other spot where a thousand workers had perished when their shoddily-constructed factory building collapsed. And you’d say to yourself, lord, it is amazing what an already-rich business man can allow himself to do just to get even richer.

And then you’d see video of the leader of a foreign textile union beaten within an inch of her life (yeah, the leader’s a woman) with an iron rod just at the factory gate. And you wonder if you would ever have the courage to agitate for a union in that part of the world.

The whole history of organized labor has been battle after battle. What’s going on in Wisconsin now is not new. The nice part is, in Wisconsin nobody gets murdered. It’s all nice and legal.

We humans have our pluses and minuses. We are excellent at convincing ourselves that we are good, and whatever we’re doing needs to be done. So the governor and his backers will have lily-white explanations for why the ability of workers to organize is no longer a marker for democracy. Why, they’re expanding workers’ freedom to choose. Yeah, that’s the ticket. That sounds real nice.


“Right-to-Work” Theater, part II Why oh why can't we have a better newspaper?

Back in December we said,

No grownup in Wisconsin believes that anti-union, right-to-work legislation would be barreling ahead in our state if the governor weren’t on board for it. (Well, with the possible exception of the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board. Could these be the most gullible journalists ever?)

On the editorial page, the State Journal was pronouncing , Scott Walker right to resist ‘distraction’. It was sprinkled with Walker’s own talking points:

“The right-to-work legislation right now, as well as reopening Act 10 to make any other adjustments, would be a distraction from the work that we are trying to do,” Walker said.

The State Journal thought that sounded great:

He’s right. Wisconsin should focus instead on improving our schools and economy, fixing a state budget deficit and building more cooperation and trust.

No, he wasn’t “right”. His talking-point may have sounded good.  Well… to the gullible. But gullibility is one of the last things we need from journalists. Taking the governor at his word is just silly and has been for a long, long time.

As we said, again back in December:

kabuki dancer bwGentlemen, it’s simple theater. First, in public, the gov claims he’s not for it (because of the “timing”). Second, over the gov’s *wink wink* objections, Republicans in the legislature quickly pass it, in January or February. Third act: What can the gov do, except sign it.

So within a week or two, right-to-work will be rammed through the legislature and signed by the governor. That little kabuki show will be done. Who believes there won’t be more?

 


“Right-to-Work” Theater

kabuki dancer bwNo grownup in Wisconsin believes that anti-union, right-to-work legislation would be barreling ahead in our state if the governor weren’t on board for it. (Well, with the possible exception of the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board. Could these be the most gullible journalists ever?)

Gentlemen, it’s simple theater. First, in public, the gov claims he’s not for it (because of the “timing”). Second, over the gov’s *wink wink* objections, Republicans in the legislature quickly pass it, in January or February. Third act: What can the gov do, except sign it.

The State Journal editorial writers, playing dumb again, praise this little kabuki show as if it were, well, something other than a show. But there they are on stage, *wink wink* actually part of the cast.