Saturday, March 04, 2006

When is a picket line not a picket line? A: When AFL-CIO officials cross it!

In yet another case of union leadership not supporting working families, we have AFL-CIO people crossing picket lines.

From the Club for Growth

Q: When is a picket line not a picket line? A: When AFL-CIO officials cross it!
The Center for Union Facts Finds AFL-CIO Union Execs Living Large on Members’ Dime


SAN DIEGO, CA -- Under a gentle breeze on a sunny afternoon, Pacific Ocean waves quietly crested and crashed onto the soft sandy beaches at the foot of the exclusive Hotel del Coronado, which played host to the AFL-CIO executive council annual meeting this week. But while the Center for Union Facts followed the luminaries of labor out here fully expecting to find members' dues funding this lavish lifestyle, even we weren't ready for the union execs' shocking hypocrisy: the hotel where labor leaders are spending their members' money is currently being picketed by a union in a labor dispute!
As shown in our photo album, a Carpenters local isn't happy that the hotel uses a contractor that has remained union-free. But the AFL-CIO hotshots apparently don't believe in solidarity when it gets in the way of a good vacation on their members' dime.

And that dime turns into real money pretty quickly. The hotel itself is as expensive as it is beautiful, and rooms can easily run $600 per night or more. The spa is extra, and so is the food. But the hefty price tag didn't seem to slow the labor officials we saw, one of whom clocked more than 5 hours doing the members' work at a seaside bar, alternating between $3.25 bottles of San Pellegrino and highballs of whiskey on the rocks. For an idea of what the final tab could be, we checked the AFL-CIO's bill for its 2004 meeting at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. There they racked up a bill of $224,000 -- categorized as "union administration." That's a big party for a small group. With only 53 council members, that’s more than $4,000 a head.

The Center for Union Facts thinks it's important to highlight the hypocritical and selfish use of dues by union officials. So, we've put together another ad summing up the AFL-CIO's great boondoggle junket of '06 in the form of a postcard from labor leaders to their members. And just to make sure they got the point, we hand-delivered a few of our post cards to the AFL-CIO's top brass.

There are pictures at the site.


Anonymous said...

Let's be clear. Republicans are about breaking up unions. Republicans are against collective bargining for healthcare, wages and vacation. Republicans are about the CEO's taking their profits overseas and disolving the great middle class. Let's keep it up with the anti union stuff. I do like your readers to see that you are about dividing people from their unions.

Republican Michigander said...

You're half right. I am about dividing union members from the fat cats which are the union "leadership".

I've seen long ago how often union officials are willing to sell out their members. You forget that I come from a union family.

Anonymous said...

I am not from a union family but I was always taught to appreciate unions and what they have done for our families.
They brought us safe workplaces, the weekend, overtime, and healthcare. In turn the great middleclass where working families could send their children to college.
Be careful what you wish for!
Robert Kennedy says Republicans are Democrats with bad information. This keeps me always trying to get people like yourself to see the light!

Anonymous said...

What do you think about your State Party chair having a driver and a brand new Cadillac Esclade. Mark Brewer drives a 3 year old Taurus by himself. He has over 140,000 miles on his car. What do you think about your party dues being spent on this? Saul also flew on your Republican Party's dime all over the U. P. Is this okay with you?
Do hold the Republican's to the same standard you hold Democrats?

Anonymous said...

Unions are the most corrupt organizations in America. Ever hear of the mob?

Today's unions are nothing like the early unions. They give us inflexable work rules (costs jobs), wholesale control of the democrat party (high regulation, big government), big time corruption (how many unions are in fedreal custody?) and the union bosses wont take strike pay when workers are on strike (they take full salary) and ofcourse, the junkets galore on the workers dime, and all the money they force out of workers to give to their democrat pals.

The best day of my life was getting out of the oppressive union structure (did I mention they are anti women?) and got a better job.

Stop your love affair with thugs who could care less about the average worker.

Anonymous said...

So now democrats dont want people to buy new american cars? We must be winning the battle of ideas if the best you can do is worry about what kind of car republicans drive. Bad saul, for being a successful businessman in his own right. I hope he buys another great american car.

I hope he keeps flying around the state meeting voters and getting them signed up as republicans. I'm sure he'll fly over a broken down mark brewer some where on his way to take orders from one of those fine union boss county party chairs.


Anonymous said...

I don't think any of you would like a world without unions. How can you be so trusting?

Keith Richards said...

I've had a chance to see all sides of the union issue. I grew up in a hard core blue collar neighborhood where most people belonged to unions, as did the vast majority of my male relatives. And during my young and foolish days I worked at one location of a company that was targeted with a successful union organizing drive. During this time I volunteered to be a union organizer and worked hard on behalf of the union. The union won the vote by 157 to 151 and I've always believed that I played an important part in that union victory. Someday when I am old maybe I'll do what Paul Harvey does and tell "the rest of the story".

Up until a few years ago I worked at another job where I spent most of my time working as a non-union contractor in auto plants all over the U.S. and Canada, particularly the unionized plants of the big 3. Believe me when I say that I've seen a LOT that explains the current troubles of these companies.

These jobs were separated by a couple of decades of time, during which I went to college and became a Reagan conservative. Not too surprisingly my views of unions have changed a lot over the years. Experience does that.

Over the years I've had a chance to watch other union organizing efforts too. Usually worker unrest begins because one or two incompetent managers mishandle some employees, or because the company creates a few stupid and unreasonable rules. Rarely have I seen an organizing drive succeed solely based on financial considerations. Essentially, the battle gets tipped in favor of the union because employees want to get even with management. I've long said that workers create a permanent solution to a temporary problem when they elect a union. Unfortunately, once unions get in the door of a company they tend to become a part of the landscape, not the solution that employees were looking for.

Out in the auto plants I quickly learned that most auto workers hate the union almost as much as they hate management. Most auto workers are bright enough to see that their union representatives are lining their own pockets with worker paid union dues. A surprising number of auto workers also understand that the UAW has been so successful in gaining good pay and benefits that they are "killing the goose that laid the golden egg." Most auto company employees are very cynical, and will openly talk about how management and the union work together to "screw the workers" while plants close and workers lose jobs. There is NOT a lot of love for the UAW in most plants in spite of what the media tries to make people believe.

If the struggle between unions and companies was merely a harmless political war that stayed within the boundaries of the organization few outsiders would care. Unfortunately, company/union conflicts often work to destroy a company in much the same way that cancer kills people. The daily battle between union and management blows up over nearly every decision, major or minor, that is made in an auto plant. Many seemingly insignificant decisions that would be made instantly by a single manager in a non-union plant require weeks of meetings involving dozens of people representing both management and the union. Working in auto plants I often had the feeling that I was watching a slow motion murder in a crowded room. Everyone involved looks at an issue, sees the problem, and figures out the solution. But they are afraid to do anything because it might violate a rule or infringe on someone else's turf. Endless meetings are held and in the end the original solution is adopted. But considerable time and resources have been wasted that could have been used more productively.

The result is a paralysis in unionized auto plants that slows down the ability of an auto company to solve problems and to react to competitors. While people in the big 3 argue over silly nit-pick problems, their non-union competitors race ahead, introducing outstanding products at a pace the big 3 can only dream about. Consumers in the marketplace don't care about internal company issues, they only care that companies are able to introduce fresh new, high quality products at an affordable cost. As long as the management/union bickering goes on, the big 3 will continue to lose sales, close plants, and eliminate jobs. Unfortunately, this lack of cooperation hurts everyone in and around the areas where auto plants are located. Many people that have never set foot in an auto plant are hurt by this ongoing war.

Unions are supposed to help their members. But their failure to understand and react to the larger issues of the marketplace causes them to injure the very workers they are supposed to protect by squeezing the lifeblood out of the companies where their people work. The decline of Ford and GM is certainly being hastened by things like high taxes and medical costs, but reducing these expenses will only slow down the rate of death, not stop it. Democrats understand this, and try to solve the problem by erecting barriers to competition such as tariffs on imports. But ignoring the cancer of management/union strife will not help companies in the long run, any more than ignoring the cancer in a human patient does.

So the real question is, can the UAW forget the past and create a new cooperative relationship with the auto companies? Can a leopard change its spots?

Unions are created with the best of intentions to make the world a better place. But the idealism quickly dies. The conflicts that result from unionism create an unhappy work environment. I've worked in and been around many union and non-union companies over the years, and I can say that without exception, workers in non-union companies tend to be much happier and more content than their union counterparts. Sure, everyone has their share of gripes, and there is still the occasional unpleasant boss. But you get this everywhere. I've seen many union organizing drives fail over the years. The reasons given are always the same: people don't want all the complexities and hassles of having to deal with union work rules, even if it means that they will make more money. Good employees don't need union protection. Unions end up protecting poor employees, the people that their co-workers would like to see get canned. Workers hate poor employees just as much as management does, because they end up having to work extra hard to carry their share of the workload. Unions also hurt their image by getting involved in politics in ways that go far beyond their own interests. People don't want to pay union dues to support political actives which go against their own beliefs, and they certainly don't want to pay union dues to in order to give union leaders a lavish lifestyle.

Every year the number of people represented by unions in the U.S. gets smaller and smaller, in spite of laws in states like Michigan which force everyone to join the union when they get a job at a unionized company. Looking at all the good that unions have done the U.S., it is not hard to see why.

Anonymous said...

Keith Richards I appreciate your thoughtful response. I agree with you on many of the problems with unions, but what you fail to explain is your non union shops get the advantage of those who have done the hard work of the collective bargaining and organizing unions. So to me you are sort of a person who enjoys all the work unions have accomplished and now believe you can kill the goose that laid the golden egg and survive with out unions. I think this is increbibly short sighted.
Please don't believe we have to have a rush to the bottom for healthcare, wages and work standards to be competitive. We can do better than this! I think it's far better to get involved in the union than destroy it.

Anonymous said...

Who pays for Saul's travel, car and driver?
I don't think it'Saul, it's the Republican Party.
But as long as it's not union dues...