Unions played an important role in American history. At the turn of the last century, a lot of workers encountered awful and dangerous conditions on the job. The workers banded together, demanded changes and got them. After that, Americans joined unions and the dues began to roll in. Riding that wave of compulsory money, union bosses rose. With that much money flowing, corruption wasn’t far behind.
Times have changed. The economy, country and world have changed. But unions haven’t. Union membership among non-government employees has fallen off a cliff. But although membership is down, their power remains large.
Why? Because a lot of Democrats, including probably President Obama himself, couldn’t get elected without the armies of “volunteers” and votes they provide. No group has contributed more in time, sweat and money to left-wing politicians. That generosity, which comes largely from donations generated by involuntary dues collected from workers, too often goes to politicians who work tirelessly to cripple industries flush with union workers. Coal industry, anyone?
That’s not because union bosses are idiots; it’s because they’re ardent leftists who put their ideology ahead of the actual human beings in their ranks without regard to whether those human beings can pay their bills. AFL-CIO chief goon Richard Trumka isn’t stupid. He’s made millions from workers whose demise he’s overseen. How many rank and file members of the AFL-CIO do you think have pocketed almost $2.4 million over the last 10 years? Sure, he runs the organization, but he also makes his living complaining about pay discrepancy between labor and management. And that’s just his AFL-CIO compensation. Who knows what kind of side gigs, such as consultant jobs and advisory positions, he has that help fill his personal Brinks truck?
What positive things have unions given us in the last, say, 40 years? That’s not a rhetorical question; I truly have no idea. Sure, SEIU goons attack and beat black conservatives such as Kenneth Gladney, which is like porn to leftists, and pay for-hire hit-groups such as Media Matters $50,000per [YEAR/MONTH/ONE TIME] to “urge” the media to ignore the story, but what else have they done?
They killed the Twinkie, so maybe they’re now morphing into an anti-obesity group? But if that’s the case, and you’ve ever seen these bosses in person, you know it’s not a fight they’re willing to lead by example.
They’re trying to kill Walmart. Think what you will of Walmart, but it’s an awesome company. No company in the country employs more people or does more to help the poor and near-poor afford the necessities in life. That’s why it’s so strange to see leftists and unions, both self-declared champions of the poor, seek so desperately to harm the company.
But below the surface, it’s obvious. Unions want to harm Walmart because they employ 1.3 million non-union workers, and unions, specifically the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, see an un-tapped pile of dues. Leftists see an un-tapped pile of union dues too, but only see the union as the colon through which those dues pass on their way to becoming political donations.
Neither actually gives a damn about the workers themselves or what workers want.
Every attempt to unionize Walmart employees has failed. Simply but, the majority of Walmart employees have no interest in throwing a portion of their pay on to the altar of progressive politics. But progressive politics has no interest in leaving those workers alone. The machine wants money.
That’s how a group like OUR Walmart was birthed.
OUR Wal-Mart is a UFCW front group that appointed itself the arbiter of what is “fair” for Walmart employees who want nothing to do with them. Under the guise of caring, OUR Walmart called for nationwide protests against Walmart for the crime of having employees work for double-time on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Think what you will of Walmart’s schedule, no one is forced to work there. Walmart employees can quit any time they wish. Unlike conscribed union dues, membership in the Walmart workforce is optional.
OUR Walmart, with only the “best interest of workers” in mind (that’s sarcasm, by the way), encouraged Walmart employees to call in sick or walk out on their job on the busiest shopping day of the year and protest against the company whose logo appears on their checks.
The failure of past unionization votes proves Walmart employees aren’t stupid, but unions won’t take no for an answer. They see money earned by workers the way junkies see someone else’s heroin. They gotta have it.
But their call for protest was a dud. How big of a dud? The Washington Post, the print version of a progressive megaphone, stuck to reporting how many protests OUR Walmart said it had “planned,” rather than how many actually occurred. Walmart, which controls more than a fifth of the U.S. grocery industry and is the nation’s largest private employer, said just 26 such protests occurred nationwide. Can that number be believed? Of course. If it were not accurate, you’d have heard by now … from The Post and OUR Walmart and any number of other leftist “information” outlets.
A few such protests did occur, including one in Landover Hills, Md., in which Cynthia Murray, a 13-year employee, called in sick to protest her salary and working conditions. If it takes you 13 years to decide you’re underpaid and underappreciated, and your job can be performed by anyone with a finger, you probably don’t have the ambition or marketable skills to do much else in President Obama’s failed economy. In which case, you should be thankful for the job you have, not lie to your employer about your need for a day off, then complain about your employer to the media.
Cynthia Murray should be fired. She probably won’t be, but she should be.
The protests were such duds, with 99 percent of participants union rent-a-mob members made up of unemployable rabble and true believer union members disconnected from Walmart, even The Postcouldn’t sugar coat them beyond the joke stage.
Today’s labor movement is a political fundraising machine with a reverse Robin Hood business model designed to advance a progressive agenda no matter how many forced-dues-paying members have to be ground into grease to keep the wheels spinning. It’s no surprise most workers don’t see any value in conscripted dues given to politicians whose agenda puts them out of work. What is surprising is that anyone outside of overpaid union leadership does.
The best way to get ahead and avoid this wallet-rape is the same it always has been – pay attention in school, work harder than you thought you could, and don’t trust anyone claiming to look out for your interests as long as you pay them in perpetuity to do so. Then again, if these goons get their way, the best way to get ahead in their world would be to become one of them – a bloated parasite living off the labor of people who work for a living. But how could you live with yourself?
Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.