September 19, 2014

Labor unions show selfish disregard for nation

Danedri Thompson
Columnist
The labor unions need to get in line behind the rest of us.
According to a Washington Post story, labor unions are warning Democratic leaders that they are in danger of losing support of union members if they don’t award “special protections under the Affordable Care Act” to unions.
Yes, the Washington Post used the term, “special protections.”
Members of labor unions should be ashamed of their union leadership rather than threatening the White House and Democratic members of Congress.
The cooperation of unions and Democrats has been an unholy alliance, at least in my lifetime. At one time, labor unions boasted that their goals were to better conditions for all workers. If that was ever the case, I haven’t seen it in my lifetime. Now it appears their goal is to further their own power at the expense of everyone else in America.
It’s selfish and disgusting.
How dare they advocate for a law and rules that they don’t think they should have to follow?
I say all of this as a not-proud, but forced former member of a labor union. I was a Teamster, and admitting that publicly is almost embarrassing. In my defense, I didn’t have a choice. Flight attendants, airline staff, and of note locally, railroad employees, aren’t governed by state laws where unions are concerned. I am proudly no longer a member of a labor union, but no one issued me a bumper sticker, like those mindless union members often sport on their vehicles.
According to the Post, leaders of two major unions are complaining that the Obama administration betrayed them with promises to address the peculiar needs of union-negotiated insurance plans. The labor leaders complained that union health plans will now be subject to new taxes and mandates.
To them, I say: get in line. Guess who else will be subject to new taxes and mandates because of the new law? That would be individuals and small business owners.
It baffles me that many union members advocate for special privileges for themselves knowing their friends and families will have to suffer.
Of course, there are plenty of people just thrilled that now they don’t have to pay for birth control. Trust me, they were flaunting it in their Facebook status updates like they’d won some sort of prize.
Lost in their enthusiasm was the simple fact that nothing is free. My friends celebrating their “free” birth control pills should be sending me a thank you note. Apparently, I’ll be paying for them. You’re welcome.
If I sound angry, it’s because I am.
I can’t fathom asking my friends and neighbors to give me special privileges of waive some of my fees knowing that expense was going to fall to others, who may be less able to fund my needs. I take responsibility for myself and am always willing to help someone in need. The key word there is “need.” Not want.
In the Post story, Donald D. Taylor, the president of Unite Here, a union representing more than 400,000 hotel and restaurant workers, said union members will likely be less enthusiastic about Democratic candidates due to the lack of special carve outs in the health care law.
“You can’t just order people to do stuff,” he said.
Um. Right. Because you advocated for a law requiring that everyone not only have health insurance, but that they have certain plans that include certain provisions. Those provisions make health care more expensive for everyone.
I don’t think I’m special. I don’t think I deserve any more or any less than anyone else. So I’m baffled why the unions and some individuals think they do. The unions don’t deserve better access to health plans just because. And I shouldn’t have to fund the birth control of people with several baby daddies.
Demanding that I pay extra so you get what you want is not being charitable.
It’s being selfish.

Comments

  1. jeffabarber says:

    First off, isn’t the Washington Post a “Leee-beral” rag? What are you doing reading the WP? That’s as bad as me listening to Limbaugh being an A-hole and then asking if all Repubs are A-holes? Second, you talk about Dems partnering with unions. That’s because they’re partnering with the people. Repubs partner with big business because, well, they only love big business and rich people. That’s why they protect them and give big corp the same protections you rant about in your opinion piece. “Corporations are people too, my friend”. Ring any bells? If the unions were really as bad as you say, why are they being broken by repub Governors? Why do big corps get to be exempt from the EPA? ETC, ETC, ETC. If you enjoy any benefit that you have at work, now…. Then you better thank a union. As for your BC comments, wouldn’t you rather pay for BC instead of all those slimy, lazy, all-they-want-is healthcare, welfare recipients? “I shouldn’t have to fund the birth control of people with several baby daddies.” Really? I think if you have several baby-daddies, you’re doing it wrong. I’d rather pay for your BC so you don’t end up with several baby daddies and my tax dollars don’t pay for several babies. I appreciated your rant, though I feel mis-placed. How about WOLF-PAC.com?

  2. L.Ledbetter says:

    “If I sound angry, it’s because I am.”

    It doesn’t sound as though you are angry. It sounds as though you have a serious case of confirmation bias.

    It sounds as though you are bitter and unwilling to seek answers outside your email inbox and your facebook feed.

  3. 1. Republicans are breaking public unions because as a society we can no longer afford the unbalanced and over generous retirement benefits given to many public union members. Many states have state employees paying little to nothing towards their healthcare. We can no longer afford the status quo.

    2. And…if you pay attention to politics you will see that Democratic governors and mayors are doing the same thing as Republicans….because they have to in order to pay the bills. The Republicans let it be known what they are doing…but if you look at Liberal places like Chicago and NY the labor unions are losing ground quickly.

    Also if you are naive enough to believe that only Republicans support big business then shame on you. The Democratic machine takes in much money from larger corporations also. Obama gave big business a break from Obamacare while the little guy gets no break.

  4. L.Ledbetter says:

    This piece is not about public unions, its about collective bargaining in general. There is a long list of things that society can no longer afford. The wages and benefits of middle class government workers is pretty low on the list.

    I am curious about this “…unbalanced and over generous retirement benefits given to many public union members.”, and how society can’t afford it. Got a link?

  5. L.Ledbetter says:

    Here is the irony in this: The same people that rabidly defend corporation’s manipulation of market, law and tax code as “good business”, label the same behavior in the working class as “Lazy and selfish”. And then they are astonished that they can’t shake the pro-big business label.

  6. Judith Rogers says:

    Who is showing selfish disregard for the Nation? There is a huge need for unions NOW. I believe the average worker has never felt the “trickle” – all they have felt is going from middle class into poverty.

    ****************************************************************

    The rise and fall of widely shared prosperity
    February 11
    By ROBERT REICH

    Why has America forgotten the three most important economic lessons we learned in the 30 years following World War II?

    Before I answer that question, let me remind you what those lessons were:

    First, America’s real job creators are consumers, whose rising wages generate jobs and growth. If average people don’t have decent wages, there can be no real recovery and no sustained growth.

    In those years, business boomed because American workers were getting raises and had enough purchasing power to buy what expanding businesses had to offer. Strong labor unions ensured that American workers got a fair share of the economy’s gains.

    Second, the rich do better with a smaller share of a rapidly growing economy than they do with a large share of an economy that’s barely growing at all.

    Between 1946 and 1974, the economy grew faster than it has grown since, on average, because the nation was creating the largest middle class in history. The overall size of the economy doubled, as did the earnings of almost everyone. CEOs rarely took home more than 40 times the average worker’s wage.

    Third, higher taxes on the wealthy to finance public investments — better roads, bridges, public transportation and basic research, plus world-class K-12 education and affordable higher education — improve the future productivity of America. All of us gain from these investments, including the wealthy.

    In those years, the top marginal income tax rate on America’s highest earners never fell below 70 percent. Under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, the top marginal rate was 91 percent. Combined with tax revenues from a growing middle class, it was enough to build the interstate highway system, dramatically expand public higher education and make American public education the envy of the world.

    We learned, in other words, that broadly shared prosperity isn’t just compatible with a healthy economy. It’s essential to it.

    But then we forgot these lessons. For the last three decades the American economy has continued to grow, but most people’s earnings have gone nowhere.

    What happened?

    Many of us bought the snake oil of “supply-side” economics, which said corporations and the wealthy are the job creators — and if we cut their taxes, the benefits will trickle down to everyone else. But nothing trickled down.

    Meanwhile, big corporations were allowed to bust labor unions.

    Our roads and bridges were allowed to crumble under the weight of deferred maintenance, our public schools deteriorated, and public higher education became so starved for funds that tuition rose to make up for shortfalls, making college unaffordable to many working families.

    And Wall Street was deregulated, creating a casino capitalism that caused a near-meltdown of the economy six years ago and continues to burden millions of homeowners. CEOs began taking home 300 times the earnings of the average worker.

    Part of the reason for this extraordinary U-turn has to do with politics. As income and wealth concentrated at the top, so did political power. Some captains of industry and of Wall Street played leading roles in this transformation.

    But why didn’t they remember the post-war lessons that broadly shared prosperity is good for everyone, including them?

    Perhaps because wealth is also relative. How rich someone feels depends not just on how much money they have but also on how they live in comparison to most other people.

    As the gap between America’s wealthy and the middle has widened, those at the top have felt even richer by comparison. Although a rising tide would lift all boats, many of America’s richest seem to prefer a lower tide and bigger yachts.

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