Successful Small Business Owner on the Public-Sector Union Kerfuffle

My dad began working for himself as a carpenter and cabinet maker the year I was born, when he was 25 years old. Thirty-two years and four kids later, Crowe’s Cabinets, Inc., is a successful, small, *non-union* cabinet shop just outside of Youngstown, Ohio. I don’t believe he has ever employed more than 10 people at a time. Through the recession of late they haven’t grown at the clip that they had grown for the four years prior, but they didn’t shrink, either.

And did I mention it’s in Youngstown? As in, the city Bob Hagan represents in the Ohio General Assembly?

You remember Bob, right? He was the one who used “Macaca” “Buckwheat” as a pejorative on his Facebook page, but insisted it wasn’t racist. In making his defense he said “They are so full of s—” and dropped “teabagger.” More recently he was one of the speakers who ranted like an angry, well, union thug at a rally held at Youngstown State University in opposition to Senate Bill 5, which would significantly curtail collective bargaining for public unions in Ohio. At one point during his rant Hagan instructed all those who support SB5 to “kiss my union ass.”

Charming fellow, as you can see.

On the other side of the ledger, Governor John Kasich, who would lose an election in Youngstown to Stalin, has been to Youngstown three times in the past month, and took a great interest in a recent shooting near Youngstown State University. Note the comments in that video from Youngstown’s Democrat mayor, who ran as an independent D against the Democrat-nominee, one Bob Hagan.

The other day, Kasich was in the Youngstown area where he gave a speech about his efforts to bring the state’s budget under control. He talked specifically about things that were being done at the state level to assist the local economy, and cited the GM plant north of town, where union concessions helped the plant win the Chevy Cruze, as an example of how unions and management can work together to help the company flourish, to everyone’s benefit.

In response to Kasich’s speech and everything going on my dad sent an email to our family list which I have edited and have encouraged him to submit to the Youngstown Vindicator. I present it here (in part because I doubt the Vindicator will print it). I think he crystalizes well the dynamic that we are seeing in the battles in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and in Washington.

Governor Kasich spoke well. I’m thankful he didn’t use language like what Bob Hagan has been using lately. Hagan should realize he lowers himself, and our area, when he rants like that.

I may not agree with Hagan much, but I need him to be the best representative he can be for me and you and ALL people in this valley.

He might come across better if he cleans up his choice of expressions (“teabaggers” was uncalled for).

He might even consider a leadership role in admitting that maybe the government employees could possibly, just maybe, reconsider the fact that they have not been subjected to the budget axe quite like their private sector counterparts. Things like accumulated sick pay, personal days, etc. need to be eliminated (can you say Wendy Webb?). I have many friends, union and non-union, who work for all manner of contractors. We all see this issue from the same side–not union vs nonunion, but public vs. private.

Maybe Hagan would gain a lot of insight by opening a business of his own, hiring some employees, and try to make a profit with absolutely no government help. If he is as passionate about helping the working man as he says, he could join the ranks of the private sector employers and deal with EPA; Workers’ Comp; new and exotic taxes and fees; sending in required reports on time or facing penalties; dealing with government employees who never give a straight answer, but know how to levy fines; lazy employees who, when they must be laid off, still get money from the employer through unemployment benefits (NOTE: I believe MOST employees are hard-working and honest); making payroll even though you are waiting to get paid; health insurance; etc,etc. For how many people would he “create” a job?

I’m not attacking anyone. I know there are honest, sincere people—and unscrupulous people—on both sides of the issue. This economy is hurting all of us. But I believe that government should spend less, and regulate less. Those are two of the major reasons businesses are hurting.

After all, last time I looked, small business is where most people work. Small business IS the engine that makes this country run. Everything else, especially government, is the lead weight that slows us down.

Bring jobs to America by reducing government interference, which will reduce the cost of doing business.

Paul Crowe
Crowe’s Cabinets, Inc.