Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Didn't Know I Was Back On The Plantation

I have this as an avatar in the chat rooms:

Underneath it, I have this saying: "Labor unions are good eats!"

Disclaimer: I am a dues paying member in good standing. I have also seen more than my fair share of the good, the bad and the seriously ugly, simply due to the particular nature of my current job.

That being said, I hate state labor unions with a passion. Scratch that, as hate isn't that strong of a word. Despise would be a much better word to use.

I'm sure you're sitting there, asking the computer, which in this case is asking me, "G, according to your disclaimer, you're a dues paying member in good standing. Why would you say such a thing?"

A very good question. And hopefully with this post, I'll be able to give you a satisfactory answer to your query. At the very minimum, you'll get to uncover another part of my multi-faceted character.

I work for one of the 51 closed shops in these Fractured States of America. For those of you that don't quite understand what a closed shop is, a closed shop is by definition an entity in which you must be a member of a trade union or a guild in order to work for them.

As for the 51 biggest, the easy way to answer that is to whip out a Rand McNally and turn to the map showing the good old F.S. of A. That will show you the first 50. Number 51 is Washington, DC.

I actually make a distinction between unions for the regular slob (AFL/CIO and Teamsters for example) and the useless money siphoning pits of incompetence that fall under the umbrella of AFSCME (The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).

In my world, there is a saying among people like myself (clerical and other assorted drones who don't get no respect but are the ones who really run the work place): the tail wags the dog. Which basically is the state version of the inmates running the asylum.

The unions have got most state agencies so thoroughly cowed that they don't even put up a fight when they're right. Literally, they will cave in on an issue and actually pay someone to go away. Thousands upon thousands of dollars are wasted annually because the state pays bad employees to go away.

In the real world, bad behavior will get you fined and that you should thank your lucky starts that criminal charges aren't pressed. In my world, you can get caught doing most anything wrong, get fired, claim some bullshit nonsense and get some local yokel who doesn't live in the real world agree with your bullshit nonsense. The end result is that the taxpayer foots the bill for paying off these idiots to make sure that they go away, if they go away.

My other beef with the whack jobs that run the various labor unions, is that they follow the philosophy of no good deed goes unpunished. They make it a practice to save incredibly bad employees from themselves and help them keep their stupid job, but won't lift a finger to help save the job of a good employee.

I've seen a few very good employees unfairly disciplined and made an example of, simply because the union chose not to put up a good fight. I've even been on the receiving end of such behavior. The good employee makes one small slip up and they're instantly branded as incompetent for the rest of their state career, while the bad employee can perpetually screw up and yet somehow always finds a way to keep their job.


  1. I am not fond of labor unions. I used to work for a company in which the hourly employees were allowed to be members of a union. Georgia is a "right-to-work" state so employees could be a union member or not. That in itself caused a lot of trouble. As a manager there - it was so difficult to work with union leadership - just miserable. And the main reason I left the company. Not a happy place.

  2. I love the green pumpkin! My granddaughter grew some this summer. First time I really saw one.
    Out here it's our teacher's union that needs some changes made. :)Bea

  3. I still can't believe closed shops are legal. I think unions are necessary in some situations, when you have an employer running amok, but I don't see how they can justify forcing anyone to join.

  4. Lynn: I'm very mixed about mine right now.

    One hand, it took me a lot of years to get over being tossed under the bus via the massive layoffs in '03. On the other though, if I wasn't laid off, we wouldn't be having this wonderful conversation about labor unions, nor would I be where I am now.

    Bea: Teacher unions are another pet peeve of mine as well.

    The Halloween pumpkin I got in an e-mail from a former friend about three or four years ago.

    RK: Believe it. There are very few positions in state government in which you can work w/o being unionized:

    Summer workers

    Beyond that, you have to be a member of a union to work for the state. You are given the option of not paying dues but paying fees, but beyond that, you are kind of screwed.

  5. I have very mixed feelings about unions in general. In principle, their inception was valuable. In practice? Not so much.

  6. Boy did I make that picture too large or what? Scare the daylights out anyone who reads the post.

    Talon: I will always have mixed feeling about them. On one hand, there are some out there that do try their damnedest to save jobs (Machinists union is battle Pratt & Whitney over plant closings), but on the other, it seems that some of them are simply living high off the hog, so to speak.

  7. I don't like that kind of image too much G, so that's why I didn't leave a comment. I hope that was ok?

  8. Joe, that's fine. I honestly don't take offense if a regular chooses not to make a comment on a given post.

    I rarely use pics as opening for a post (matter of fact, I thought I made it smaller to begin with, so imagine the shock I got when I checked on my blog first thing yesterdag), but this one sort of went with the topic.

    You're still a great guy in my book.

  9. I know labor unions started with good intentions but the way they've been allowed to evolve and wield such power is not a good thing overall.

    As to the pumpkin, it's funny. People get so creative. Are you a carver too?

  10. Alas I'm not.

    But I did get a good nights sleep at a Holiday Inn the other night.

    Seriously though, I will always have mixed feelings about labor unions.

  11. Sadly, Goverment or not, union or not, many places still run that way. I've seen people get away with so much and not even get a second glance, but someone else would get strung up their toenails for a 10th of that same behavior...makes for a crappy workplace enviro, for sure!

  12. Kim: I believe it's more acute in state government than the real world.

    If you know how to play the system, you can basically get a free ride on the taxpayer's dime.

  13. Given the hits to Detroit and all the union jobs in the auto industry look for the unions to lobby congress for some pro union laws to get back some of the power lost.

  14. Bearman: They started already.

    That economic stimulus package is going to a plethora of union construction jobs.

    And that dropping of the secret ballot thing looks like its gonna be a done deal by the end of the year.

    My union dues hard at work.


  15. Yeah, I thought it was pretty cool.

    It kind of reflects the love/hate relationship I have with unions.;

    The bigger pumpkin is the labor union and the little is Joe Union Member.

  16. Scary Halloweenie pic!
    Union or not- I've seen unfairness in almost every job I've held, thus far-
    I'm sure you are forced to join if you want the job- then are trapped there forever! Unlesss you are the whistle-blower free-loader that is-

    Union jobs are "safer" n have better bene's, but you have to pay dues out of your check- then have so little power over what the funds are used for. Kinda like a semi-democracy inside the country's semi-democracy...

  17. True.

    However, with most unions, you do have a small say in where your dues go.

    There is a provision that allows you to become a conscientious objector, thus you do have a little control over things.

    And with the state, even though you have to join by paying fees, you have the option of becoming a dues payer or not.

  18. Ahhh, yes the BIG labor union good ol' boys!

    They started out with good intent and ended up just like regular politicians!

    That pumpkin is fantastic! The big one can represent "THE PEOPLE" and the little one can represent the ones who've been manipulating us! LOL

  19. Carol, that is definitely one way of looking at things, at least in regards to the pumpkin.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-17 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at georgebjr2006@gmail.com