Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Union derangement syndrome

Warning: this post and the linked article contain potentially offensive language and terms.

I have no other way to describe the warped thinking evident in this missive than to call it 'union derangement syndrome.'

You may have heard part of this article in the June newsletter of the Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council (NWOBCTC) being discussed on both the morning and afternoon shows on WSPD. That's where I first heard of it.

I managed to get a copy and am sharing it here for all to see in its entirety, because I believe it's important for people to know exactly what union leaders are thinking.

The title of the column, "Union haters are ignorant fools" might tell you all you need to know in terms of what officers of unions think of those who aren't in a union. But, as I've said recently in other posts, when you start with an incorrect premise, you draw an incorrect conclusion.

In this case, the incorrect premise is that those who want to rein in the unsustainable public union compensation packages must 'hate' unions. Further, as the article makes clear, they have to be fools if they don't agree completely with the union agenda.

But the article itself is dripping with 'hate' and derision toward people who see a problem and are trying to fix it. How else do you explain the use of the word "tea-bagger" - a sexually-explicit and intentionally derogatory term opponents (and even the media) have called members of the tea-party movement?

"Governors and Mayors, bankers and developers, Tea-Baggers and their conservative mouth-pieces are blaming unions for our economic woes. They complain about how much money union workers make and how opulent our benefits are while they give themselves and their pals pay raises and bonuses. Simultaneously, they introduce reckless anti-union bills in the name of budget balancing, while in reality these are nothing but thinly veiled union-busting tactics.

Why else would Senate Bill 5 contain language to the effect that public union members would only have to pay dues voluntarily?"

Let's look at the 'logic' here...

While I don't believe that unions are the sole source of our economic woes - and I haven't heard any elected officials say that is the case - the 'opulent' (his own term) benefits and compensation packages of public sector unions are contributing to the budget problems of the state. I don't blame unions solely for this - I also blame elected officials who, with their symbiotic relationship to the public sector unions, fail to properly represent the taxpayer when it comes to negotiations and voting on contracts.

Both parties are at fault for the situation, but it is unions who are making things worse by this type of rhetoric and incendiary language, refusing to admit that maybe, perhaps, possibly, the 'opulent' (again, his term) compensation they receive has a significant impact on the current financial state.

In fact, unions are doing themselves - and their members - a serious disservice by failing to understand that future public pension and health care obligations are at risk if steps are not taken quickly to address the problem.

Of course, it should be noted that NWOBCTC is not a public sector union, so SB5 doesn't even apply to them.

But other pending Ohio legislation, to raise the threshold for the prevailing wage (PW) provisions and to eliminate Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), would. In case you're not familiar with these, PW laws require state and local governments to pay what is 'determined' (via formula) to be the 'prevailing' wage in the area for government jobs/projects/contracts. This most often turns out to be the union wage as it is traditionally the highest. The law requires bidders on contracts to pay their workers that particular wage, thus ensuring that union companies are not at a disadvantage to non-union companies when bidding.

A project labor agreement is more insidious in that the governmental entity will mandate a union contract with a bidder for the duration of the project bid. In most instances, the government actually negotiates the contract with the union and then imposes the terms upon the company and its workers. The workers - who are not in a union - are then forced to pay union dues and other fees to the union while they are performing the work under the contract with the government.

I opposed PLAs in Lucas County, but the Commissioners instituted them after my term was up. Interestingly, it was the NWOBCTC that pushed the PLAs in Lucas County. (For more on this you can go here, here, here and here.)

Mr. Schlagheck, of course, doesn't want to see these measures passed because he, and his union coffers, directly benefit by using government to force non-union members to pay dues to an organization they have previously refused to join. But his 'logic' on why these two measures shouldn't be instituted boggles the mind:

"Both of these bills have been introduced by Tea-Bagger politicians to "save the budget" even though every study ever done proves PW and PLAs do not drive up costs."

Really? Every study ever done???

A quick Internet search came up with this website which lists multiple studies and findings showing exactly the opposite. In all fairness, I did find a study done by a union-dominated group that said PW doesn't increase costs, and multiple references to that study. But as the unions will claim a bias by those who say otherwise, I cannot help but believe there is a bias toward the union position when a study is done by a group that is dominated by unions.

There are numerous other articles talking about the problems with the federal PW law and why it should be repealed. Apparently, Mr. Schlagheck is not as well-read as he would like to believe.

As for PLAs, there's actually an entire website dedicated to the sinister nature of such agreements, www.PLAwatch.com, which has a page of studies proving that PLAs raise costs, diminish bidder participation and reduce competition.

Aside from these studies, common sense tells you that when bidders to public projects are required to pay more than what they'd normally pay, the cost of the project is higher than if the bidder were allowed to pay the lower wage. Nothing could be more simple and even a child understands this concept. Why don't the unions?

One can only conclude that the denial of such basic logic qualifies under the definition of 'deranged.'

But it gets worse:

"Of course, much of this labor bashing rhetoric stems from those hateful morons on conservative talk radio and TV. It appears to me that these idiots and their Tea-Bagger minions unusually have one thing in common. Hate. Among them it is O.K. if you do not even hate the same thing as the next hater, as long as you hate something.

It is hard to believe that a bunch of misfits with so much hate could somehow form an organization. Groucho Marx said, "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." I pointed this out to a Tea-Bagger. Now he hates me for it."

Would Mr. Schlagheck also apply the Groucho Marx 'logic' to his own union membership? If he did, he wouldn't be a union member.

Remember the line from the article quoted above:

"Why else would Senate Bill 5 contain language to the effect that public union members would only have to pay dues voluntarily?"

Why would any union want a member who didn't want to voluntarily support the organization they were a part of by 'voluntarily' paying dues? The contradiction makes me want to wrap duct tape around my head before it explodes.

Despite giving no evidence of 'hate,' the premise continues to be advanced. But what could be more 'hateful' than to call people you disagree with 'morons,' 'Tea-Bagger,' 'minions' or 'misfits'??? Talk about a lack of civility.

As for his friend, I would have loved to know the entire conversation for I can't help but believe the discussion was filled with 'derangement' on the part of Mr. Schlagheck that drove his friend insane. Further, if the individual was a 'friend,' I doubt the feeling is now 'hatred' as much as frustration. This is the usual reaction of a tea party member to the lack of logic, reason and common sense (like this article demonstrates) promoted by many on the union side.

But that's not all.

Apparently, there is some sanity within the union membership ranks - and that cannot be tolerated by the organizations that preach tolerance to others.

"The thing that bothers me the most about this contempt for labor is that we have some of our own members who listen to this crap and believe it. He votes for those who attack us. He thinks we should settle contracts for less to keep the company competitive. He works overtime for straight time. He skips breaks. He back stabs. He hauls materials and tools in his own truck. He complains about union dues. He complains about "the union." He mows the boss's grass and shovels his snow.

He is in general a brown-nosing ass kisser. You all know this guy. Maybe he is you."

Wow - if that's not 'hate,' I don't know what is.

Notice the 'anti-logic' here: 'we shouldn't settle contracts for less so the company which employs us and pays our wages can continue to be competitive and keep us employed.' Does Mr. Schlagheck not realize that if a company fails to be competitive it goes out of business and all his precious union workers will no longer have jobs? And without jobs, where will his wages, derived from the dues of those members, come from????

Derangement is the only term that applies to such thinking - or lack thereof.

And look at how Schlagheck demeans and belittles someone who doesn't go along - sort of like children on a playground - criticizing a person who chooses to work and not take breaks; who - gasp! - uses his own vehicle for hauling materials and tools; who is the lowest of low - a "brown-nosing ass kisser.' How dare he make the rest of us look bad for not going above and beyond.

That's hate - someone who publicly disparages, mocks, sneers at and vilifies another because they disagree. Mr. Schlagheck should look in the mirror.

It is the hypocrisy exhibited in this piece that bothers me most. I can understand someone disagreeing with me about various positions. I can more than hold my own in the debate about whether or not prevailing wage and project labor agreements add to the costs of government thus requiring more from taxpayers. I can agree to disagree with people who, for their own reasons, staunchly believe that unions are the best thing for them.

What I cannot 'tolerate' though is a headline that calls me a 'union hater' and 'ignorant fool' because I disagree and then goes on to display the most hateful attitude and use the most despicable language to describe those of us who have a different opinion.

In this article, the writer shows himself to the be the 'hater' and the 'ignorant fool' - thus earning the distinction of derangement.


Mad Jack said...

What do you expect? John Schlagheck makes his living by being a fanatic and leading by example. He'll decry the most reasonable of scenarios at every opportunity, because if people stop listening and begin thinking on their own, John will very likely be out of a job.

skeeter1107 said...

Excellent Post!

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