Taming the Union Beast

October 14, 2010 03:32

I used to be a huge union cheerleader — that is, until I actually worked for a couple of them.

by Robin of Berkeley

Upon starting my first union job (America’s favorite: SEIU), I inadvertently riled up my coworkers.  An old-timer took me aside on day and clued me in: “Robin, you’re pissing everyone off. You don’t make small talk. You’re the first one here in the morning and the last one to leave. You’re making everyone else look bad.”

It wasn’t exactly hard to make some of my colleagues look bad; they were doing a bang-up job of it themselves. Case in point: one day I heard loud yelling in the hallway.  Since our agency worked with very disturbed children and families, I figured an errant client had infiltrated the building.

I dashed over and discovered two secretaries — one white and one black — screaming expletives at each other while throwing punches. It turns out that the white female returned from a “liquid lunch” at a local bar and agitated the black woman.

The instigator was new to our department, although well-known to the agency. Rather than try to fire her, the county would simply transfer her from department to department, with no advance warning of her boozy predilections.

It’s no wonder that the supervisors didn’t bother going through the motions of trying to fire people;  it was next to impossible. During my tenure there, a caseworker was involved in a scam wherein he overpaid clients, and then collected a kickback. An intrepid supervisor tried to axe him, but the firing was overturned by the Civil Service Commission.  Soon, the dude was back on the job for life.

I can’t resist one more real-life example: A young man and woman were found au naturel, copulating in the storage closet. They were sent home with a stern warning.  The love birds were back on the job the next day, as though nothing had ever happened.  However, I don’t think that the older woman who found them in the act was ever the same.

Fist fights, drunkenness, public coitus. . .   what would it take for someone to be fired from this union shop?   I never found out. In the years that I worked there, no one was ever sacked.  The managers had long since given up trying.

These evocative memories returned to my mind’s eye upon hearing of the new documentary, Waiting for Superman. Apparently, the flick exposes the disastrous consequences of teachers commandeering union jobs for life.  While many educators are caring and competent, there are inept, even cruel, teachers that no school district can shed.

On the one hand, it’s admirable for unions to protect workers from abuse. But problems arise when the power of unions swells to elephantine levels.  Thus, the anointed protectors — the unions — can become abusers.

From their noble roots championing the eight-hour workday,  many unions have mutated into something dark and insidious. Some unions, such as SEIU, have become virtual arms of the Obama Administration, press-ganging the Democrats‘ agenda like street thugs. Scratch the surface of the most mean-spirited—even violent—actions against conservatives, and you may find the union label.

The rapacious union beast has ballooned since Obama’s election. Not surprisingly, the former SEIU chief, Andy Stern, has been one of the White House’s most frequent visitors. An emboldened SEIU even threatens expansion outside the United States; this union wants to organize the world’s labor force, raising the chilling specter of a world without borders.

The title of the film,  Waiting for Superman, connotes that we need a Superman to rescue us from the union monster. Like the creature engineered by Dr. Frankenstein, this monster has also escaped from its dungeon and is wreaking havoc on all of us, especially our children.

Personally, I’m praying to Forces more potent than any superhero. And I thank Him for brave people such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who have the intestinal fortitude to go up against the Teachers Union. May we see many more brave souls like Christie committed to tethering the corrupt and unchecked union beast.


Robin is a recovering liberal, and a licensed psychotherapist in Berkeley, California. She has written about 70 articles for American Thinker, and has also penned material for Front Page Magazine, NewsReal, and Bookworm Room. Robin has been interviewed in a number of talk-radio venues, including those of Michael Savage and Rusty Humphries. Check out Robin’s personal blog.

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