Diary

The Sixties “Sit-in” Ambiance in Wisconsin Is Also a Tip-off

If nothing else, the union crowd can really put up some fiery political stagecraft worthy of praises from 1915 American Communist “labor organizer” Joe Hill. Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me to witness on the evening news, the Wisconsin assemblage of these public- and private-sector workers, and bussed-in “supporters,” shoulder to shoulder, emotively singing the 1930 workers’ movement hymnal, “I dreamed I saw Joe Hill Last Night”

. . . standing there as big as life
and smiling with his eyes.
Says Joe “What they can never kill”
went on to organize . . .

From San Diego up to Maine,
in every mine and mill,
Where working men defend their rights,
It’s there you’ll find Joe Hill! . . .

But the shrill song of today’s unionists for “the right” of collective bargaining doesn’t quite resonate with a majority of Americans (excluding, of course, my teacher-relatives). The nation was wary of the advent of unions back in Hill’s day; we’re disenchanted with unions today for demonstrable reasons involving their abuses. What particularly angers many of us is the egregious, paradoxical demand for collective bargaining for millions of civil servants—the public-sector workers whom we “hire” to work for us, from Obama on down to the mail carrier bringing our tax forms.

Federal, state, and city worker “salaries and benefits,” “expense accounts,” food, mortgages . . . are paid for with our money, tax-money taken from the accrued earned wealth of families who create, produce something, and directly contribute to keeping the American national engine going. The people should no more allow federal file clerks and form-processors to unionize than allow all military branches to coalesce into the “United Combat Workers of America.”

If anybody should be “collectively bargaining,” it should be us, the workaday American, who’s about had it with our employee-government’s confiscatory taxes we and our children’s children are ordered to fork over throughout a lifetime, and shortly beyond.

No, there’s no resonance. Not when we have innumerable federal, state, and city labor laws in place, as well as regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Labor and OSHA. Indeed, the walls of American businesses large and small are awash in posters, jammed full of union and non-union worker rights, the regulations protecting them, and instructions—often, all detailed in English and in several foreign languages—on where to file “complaints” or “grievance charges”—“charges” real, imagined, trumped up, or just plain over the top:

“My boss discriminated against me. He told me my work day begins at 9 A.M.,
not when I’m done with breakfast at my desk. I’m entitled to have a morning
coffee like everyone else around here. . . .”

“The union rep says we’re off the job; let the planes land on their own. . . .”

“Let Boston itself see to the rioting and looting while we strike. We cops mean to
have a union for more pay, boy-o, and less hours and better working conditions. . . .”

Alas, for the worker-rights folks, now out politically grazing in the Dairy State, looking to continue milking the system and chewing up our pocketbooks: 2011 is not 1919.