Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Union Ding Dongs...

When I was a teenager (in the early '80s) my first official job with my working papers was with a supermarket in Philadelphia.  This was my job to help pay me through college.  It was unionized with the Retail Clerks union.  Started at minimum wage as a CSA (Customer Service Agent… in other word, a bag and cart boy).

After a year I got my annual union-negotiated pittance of a raise.  Sometime after that, the minimum wage increased.  My wage increased to that new bottom level.  Next thing I know, new people were being hired, and getting paid at the same rate I was.  But, they had no experience.  I'd been there for well over a year and was already working my way up to full retail clerk.  Shouldn't I get paid more than the newly hired CSA's?  Nope.  Union didn't think it was worth fighting for people like me in that predicament.

Flash forward to four year on the job.  Union says we should strike because we weren't getting the same wages as other supermarkets in the area.  I was young and stupid.  I went along with the vote to strike.  Stood on the picket lines outside the store.

Strike ends.  How?  Supermarket closes down the location.  I'm out of a job after four years of working my way up with income and experience.  Can't find another job at other area supermarkets.  Not hiring.

Six months later, I get a call from my old supermarket company.  They remember me from the old store, loved my work ethic. Got an opening for me at a store in the suburbs.  Same union, too.  The catch?  I was to start as a CSA agent again.  At minimum wage, again.  I told them thanks but no thanks.

A few years later I worked for a retail music store.  No union.  One day, a union rep came to try to get us to "organize" to get better pay.  We all basically told him to go pound sand.  I eventually ended up getting to Assistant Manager on my own, thank you very much.

Today, I see the likes of unions acting like Ding Dongs (pun absolutely intended), and now 18,500 people are out of a job while Hostess Brands goes bankrupt.

I see SEIU picketing outside LAX on one of the busiest travel days of the year because one company's employees dared to vote to decertify, and ended up getting better deals with the company's management directly.

I see California public employees unions illegally influencing the vote on Nov 6 to pass Prop 30 (which  now raises sales taxes for "the children" aka, schools… problem being, the proposition was written so that none of the money will be sent directly to the school.  Instead, it'll most assuredly go towards two things: the ridiculously over-paid public employee unions' pensions, and the multi-multi-billion dollar boondoggle "bullet train" to nowhere).

So, here's my take on the modern day unions.

Imagine my longest digit on my right hand firmly, proudly and defiantly raised up in the air.

(effin' idiots)

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