I am virulently anti-union because I was raised in a virulently anti-union household. We were anti-union because we were ardently pro-capitalism. We were pro-capitalism, because we are pro-freedom. And there is no other economic system in the world that promotes freedom quite like capitalism.
My first brush with unions came when I was 19 years old. I had been working as a cashier in a grocery store, paying my own way through college. I liked my job; I liked my co-workers. One day, an all-hands meeting was called, so we made our way upstairs to the meeting room--where we were greeted by a union henchman, there to sign us all up for his little mafia. I sat stone-faced through the meeting, my arms crossed against my chest and my chin set defiantly. We were then dismissed and handed cards on which we were strongly urged to sign up for this bit of socialism.
"No thanks," I said.
The reptile looked at me. "What?"
"No thanks," I repeated.
"Don't you understand we're here to protect you?" he smiled.
"Actually," I smiled back, "I don't need your protection. I'm a good worker. If I'm going to climb the ladder in this establishment, it will be because I earned it, not because you gave it to me. No.thanks."
"Well, what if you are sexually harassed? Say Ralph here," he pointed to the store manager, "wanted to 'meet' with you in the back office? Then what?"
The room was dead silent. I am ashamed to say that I signed the card at that point. I flung it at him and stormed out of the store.
When I got home, my phone was already ringing. My supervisor, Kelly, was on the other end. "What did that man say to you?" she asked.
"He coerced my into signing that stupid card. But I'll tell you what, Kelly. This is a right-to-work state, and I am going to fight it!" I yelled.
"Uh, why don't you come back in and we'll talk before you do anything," Kelly suggested.
Back I went. I walked in, and everyone was waiting in the upper room for this snot-nosed, 19 year old, conservative brat who was causing such an unexpected ruckus. That was me.
There was Kelly, my supervisor, Ralph, the store manager, and the reptile. I stood there with my eyebrows arched, waiting. "Here's your card, Noel," Kelly said. "No one is going to make you join the union."
"Thank you." I smiled in relief. The coming storm had been averted.
The reptile shook his head sadly, absolutely convinced that I was on the losing end of this deal. I just quietly walked away.
My second brush with unions came the following year. I had been promoted to the front office--lo and behold, without any help from the union--and the reptile returned. He smiled and put his briefcase of socialist propaganda on the counter. "Hi," he said cheerfully. I recognized him immediately. I never forget a snake. But it was clear he didn't remember me. "I'm here to see a few people." He rattled off a few names, and mine was among them.
"Well, I'm Noel, and I'm not here to see you. I already had it out with you," I snarled.
"You...had it out with me?" He looked both puzzled and offended.
"Yep. You're here to coerce me into your stupid union. I'm still not interested." I glared. He stared. I hoped he was taking note of the fact that I was climbing the ladder without him. He slithered off to harass his next victims. He never tangled with me again.
Two days ago, my daughter, a college freshman, came home from her history class. Guess what she had been learning about? "You know, Mom, unions did serve a purpose way back when they first started. American workers were being mistreated."
Brett piped up. "They were supposed to alleviate the misery of the American worker. But in reality, they simply transferred the power from management to the union leaders." Excellent point.
Yesterday, in Wisconsin, the teachers were marching. Was there ever a more disgruntled part of our population than teachers? Was there ever a career field more infected with labor union bacteria than teaching? I've never really understood teachers. It's not like they're turning out rocket scientists, but they keep demanding raises and tenure. If the teachers feel so under-appreciated for whatever value they think they're contributing, why don't they pursue a different career and stop sucking off the public nipple?
I know. Crazy-stupid capitalist idea.
And now they're marching--as if the kids will be less educated in their absence. How funny is that?