The Motley Fool Discussion Boards

Previous Page

Folly in 50 States and the World / Folly in California


Subject:  Re: Prop 32 Date:  10/6/2012  3:26 AM
Author:  TheJTrain Number:  12729 of 12907

Sorry, guess I let time get away from me.

Blaming the Union for every problem sounds more like a management suit...

Quite a leap there, from "forcibly extract dues" to "blaming the union for every problem", dontyathink? For the record, I've never held a management position anywhere in my career.

Your impression that your dues were forcibly extracted is bogus for starters.. You agreed to be a Member

Let me stop you right there, before you get to all the "You did everything I did when I was your age because your situation is EXACTLY the same as mine and that MUST be the only way to do things, right?" stuff. I'm really not sure we're going to get anywhere with this due to fundamental differences in how we perceive unions (the need for capitalization, for a cosmetic - but somehow telling - example). But it's Friday night and the wife and kids are asleep and I've got a cocktail and popcorn next to me so we'll give it a shot anyway.

I "agreed" to be a member because when I had the opportunity to take a certain position (I was already a Boeing employee), that position came with the stipulation that if I wanted to do that job (which was some really cool stuff) I had to be in the union because... well, I was never really told why, just that "that's the way it is" and if I wanted the job sans union I could go pound sand. It was cool stuff and I wanted to do it, so I shrugged and took it.

If the choice of "agreeing" to be a member boils down to either:
a) have a job and be bound by the union contract, whatever it is and whatever it changes into in the future, or
b) quit your job
then it's really not much of a choice, is it?

Allow me to offer a similar "choice", for comparison:
a) have a job and submit to your employer withholding the FICA payroll tax for Social Security and Medicare, or
b) quit your job.
The exact same amount of choice is offered there, which is to say - if you want to put a roof over your family's heads - none at all. So yeah, I'd say "forcibly/compulsory" isn't far off.

So yes, I suppose I did "agree" to be a member, and so does every other Joe who doesn't quit his union job the moment he disagrees with something the union does "on his behalf". But then, I was fortunate to be one of the lucky few who was in a union that didn't have compulsory dues. Even though I had no choice but to be bound by the union contract (which meant I didn't get the bonus my non-unionized colleagues got, but had the same vacation/holidays/etc. - but I was doing the cool stuff, so I didn't mind too much), I could choose not to pay dues in return for giving up my vote on union matters. So I did. Fortunately I still had the opportunity to vote to decertify the union when it came up. And I did. And it did. So yeah, who's got two thumbs and personal union-busting experience? This guy. Got that bonus the next time it came up and I put it right back into a company stock purchase.

But this (and Prop 32) isn't about my personal life story. It's about seeing how lucky I was to not have compulsory dues extracted from my paycheck and wanting to share that freedom with every other Joe who has a job he wants and likes to do but is bound by a union contract. And it's actually even more granular than that. It's not at all about the union being able to extract dues to support the business of the union in its negotiation with the companies that employ its members - that privilege isn't touched at all by Prop 32. Prop 32 only stops any organization that has the power to extract funds through compulsory payroll deduction (that includes unions and companies) from using those extracted funds for political purposes.

An aircraft mechanic pays his union dues in good faith (not that he has a choice, if he wants to keep his job) that those funds are going to be put to good use representing him in negotiations with his employer about his compensation, benefits, working conditions, etc. If the union goes out and spends a portion of those funds on swaying public opinion on a proposition about, say, the death penalty, how exactly is that the union representing him to his employer? Doesn't anyone else see the disconnect there? Maybe Joe agrees with the position the union is advocating, but Bob his counterpart on second shift feels the opposite. Joe won't mind the union spending his money on it 'cause maybe he would have spent it that way regardless; but is Bob supposed to just bend over and take it?

The worst part about it is the circularity of the whole thing. RustyMath here supports Prop 32 (forgive me if I'm putting words in your mouth) and would like nothing better than to have those funds that were taken by the CTA and spent on political purposes in his own account to spend on what he thinks is important - could be political contributions but maybe it would be savings for retirement or college, or maybe it would get returned to the consumer economy that so desperately needs it. But here you have the CTA spending $16 million (almost double the entire spend of the other side, all by its lonesome) in an effort to retain the ability to continue taking money from Rusty to spend on whatever political campaigns they want. Here's a thought - let those hard-working guys and gals keep that portion of their hard-earned paychecks that the unions would lump into the bigger bucket called "dues" but spend on political purposes and let them decide which political campaigns to spend it on - if they even decide it's worth spending it on political causes. If the union's preferred cause is just and right, then they should feel confident that their members will join in, won't they? If they're not confident that's the case, why do you think that is?

For pete's sake, look at the list of opposing donors! It's all the unions in the state, spending their hard-extracted dues money to make sure they can still extract those dues next year and spend 100% of them on whatever they want! Sure wish I could take money from people to spend on trying to retain the ability to keep taking money from them. Didn't Benjamin Franklin warn us about something like that?

Copyright 1996-2018 trademark and the "Fool" logo is a trademark of The Motley Fool, Inc. Contact Us