Who is really more selfish?

February 26th, 2007

In an opinion piece for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, viagra canada cialis sale Michael King ranted that a young teacher was misguided for not wanting to be a member of his union:

“I was shocked at his reaction. When in the world did belonging to an organization that had the political power and economic clout to provide its members with a decent wage and benefit package become a bad thing?

I think Milton’s response represents a common attitude that I’ve seen in other young people. This generation seems determined to gamble its future on its ability to succeed as individuals, viagra rather than as members of a collective group.”

In an amazing inversion of logic, he lauds unions while accusing conservatives of being selfish:

“The inherent me-obsessed selfishness of the conservative/libertarian personal economic philosophy will ultimately be undone by factors beyond anyone’s control.”

I find this hillarious. His whole argument is based on the presumption that people are BETTER OFF if they join together in unions.

Which is more selfish, banding together to extort more money from your fellow citizens for your personal gain (whether you’ve earned it or not) or wanting to be judged by your own accomplishments and contributions…even though that means you personally might not benefit as much?

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Casper  |  February 26th, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Oddly enough, I’m willing to bet that if he described any other “organization that had the political power and economic clout” to do anything, other than a union, it wouldn’t be favorably.

  • 2. James  |  February 26th, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    “The inherent me-obsessed selfishness of the conservative/libertarian personal economic philosophy will ultimately be undone by factors beyond anyone’s control.”

    I think this quote is a 12 out of 10 on the unintensional comedy scale. You’re not a unique human being. You’re a faceless drone that needs to be led around and told what to do.

  • 3. goof  |  February 26th, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    I am astounded, at the level of inorance displayed by young people on their blogs, and this one is no exception.
    Reading like a script from a Jerry Springer Show, this emotional drivel, of personal afront terrifies me for the future. Not only mine, but yours too!
    You do not communicate anything to discourse, other than a most juvenile, immature smear at the author you are failing, miserably, to engage in debate.
    You call unions selfish. Prove it.
    Ask an auto worker, an electrician.
    Unions are vital, and have been worldwide for centuries, and will continue to be.
    You failed to show how unions are bad in this particular case. You just make snide comments at the author.
    Try that in a real business meeting sometime, and see how far you get.

    Banding off to extort money, is your final definition of what a union is.
    Any idiot can tell you that the unions, specific to this nation, were created to protect the health of workers and to end the use of child labor. It had nothing to do with ‘better off’, nor does it even come close to what you’re assuming is an ethic for work.
    Chinese clothing sweat shops, started in America, it’s not some commie plot.
    It’s not your concept of..:”f I do better, I will get paid better, than the other guy.”
    Nothing could be farther from reality.
    You will not make money, not matter how hard you try, unless you have some basic methods working for you. One is not luck.
    Any work, union or prvate requires a viable marketable skill.
    I am sure you are not the only one with that skill, nor can compete with how unions can improve that skill, not only for you, but those you work with…making a whole company that much better, than the competition.
    Having a PhD in orbital geometry will certainly get you noticed at NASA, if you think thats a great home based business…get your apron ready for a life at Burger King.
    Let’s assume you have, both a skill and market for that skill.
    Can you, in Stevens Point, that, like all cities and towns, has a specific and unique geographic and demographically controlled economy; using your own words make a contribution within that town, with any degree of success?
    Are you that good? Will it be that easy?
    Let’s also assume that there is a union company, marketing the very same skill you are offering.
    You charge $49.99, they charge $29.00 for the very same “widget.”
    Yours is better because of what?
    It’s not cheaper and does the same thing the other widget does?
    Oh I know, you have the more ethical widget.
    It’s a ‘green’ widget. Ok thats fine.
    The other guys just got that gazillion dollar contract to supply widgets to the Navy.
    Both widgets float. They got the bid, why?
    They donated more money to a political campaign? They bribed a Congressman on the appropriations committee?
    They don’t make a better widget?
    Your the guy who is being more American, being more fair in competition, your the guy not extorting money from co-wokers paying union dues ( I assumed thats the extortion, as you never mentioned it in your post)
    No they got the contract for one reason.
    They are a union shop, they have to guarentee the employees a safe, stable, funded company that can continue making those widgets, you can’t anymore because the last tornado took out both you and the union plant.
    I might assume you are claiming that the author, was using unethical tactics to brainwash the girl into joining the union. Intimidation!
    The 1940’s B&W movie of teamsters threats of violence, Hoffa style ?
    Or is it because you got turned down for a union job, when you spouted off in a meeting, about your superior ethics and conservative family values.
    It would certainly never be an issue that you’re disabled.
    So I can only conclude you have a bug up your butt about something you know little about.
    You talk neocon spin, not an original thought, just another person opinion, you hijcaked as your own.
    I’ve seen this same posting on two other website, nearly verbatum.

    Liberalism is not union. Conservatives is not union.
    Union is no child slave labor, buildings that burn, that don’t have locked exit doors.
    A safe place to work. Machines that won’t kill or maime you. Fair and equal treatment where the manager isn’t forcing you to pay him a cut, to keep your job. Being fired for just cause, not beacuse the owners brother needs yours.
    You, like so many other may want to play that Fox News ‘gotcha’ moment and make snide remarks, but remember cyberspace is forever, Elliot, and everything you write will be looked at by future boses, courts and your loved ones.

    Bloggin is fun, but if you voice an opinion, be prepared for rebuttals.
    Some will not be the expected liberal,
    “Youre a facists war mongering white asshole.”
    or the really moronic , so far off the deep end personal attack, like
    ” How did you cripple yourself? Drunk again?”

    Keep bloggin, but create your own entity.
    Repeating the spin, will get you lost in all the other copied spin, and what’s ethical about that.

  • 4. jj  |  February 26th, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    I have many friends and family in a local Milwaukee union as I was also employed there for 10 years. What goof describes is what the unions USED to be. Now they are an entitlement that breed mediocrity. Most of the employees, sans those rare self-motivating types, do as little as humanly possible to meet the minimum requirements of being employed there. The term used was “Hide and seek for a Grand per week”.

    When someone screws up so heinously that the behavior cannot be ignored, the get fired and then the union gets them their job back with all back pay, including overtime. So their “discipline” amounts to little more than a long paid vacation. Real examples: Man photographed roofing his house while on disability – reinstated with 6 months back-pay. Two off-shift employees that had a second set of badges. One would clock the other in so he could go to the bar and get paid. Then the next night they would switch. Both reinstated with back pay because they had an “illness”. I could go on and on and on.

    Thanks – but I’ll take my chances.

  • 5. Scott Enk  |  February 26th, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Why is it somehow all right for the rich and powerful to organized themselves into corporations, trade associations, and the like (including organizations that lobby for and otherwise seek policies that better their own positions at the expense of working people–including the Republican Party and its ilk?), but somehow “greedy,” “selfish,” or even “un-American” when working people do the very same thing to protect and advance their own rights and interests?

    Unions and the right to form and collectively bargain through them for better pay and working conditions are not only all-American–they’re among the main reasons why America’s now-endangered middle class took root and grew. The time of the greatest growth in prosperity for the greatest number of Americans “just happens” to be the time that working people and their unions were strongest in America. Just as that king of hypocrites, Ronald Reagan, asked in 1980, are *you* better off than you were four (or, more accurately, six or 25) years ago?

    Most of us aren’t. Might that just have something to do with the most organized assault on America’s workers and American living standards–and on unions–we’ve seen since the 1920s?

    I, for one, proudly salute Michael King and his courageous column in the February 26, 2007, _Milwaukee Journal Sentinel_.

    As any basic economics textbook will tell you, a truly free market can exist only when the parties involved have relatively equal bargaining power. Does anyone *really* think that a lone, unrepresented wage-earner has any fair chance to strike a fair bargain with a multimillion-dollar corporation, especially in our deliberately pay-stagnant, job-scarce, “Bushed” economy?

    For far too many committed, high-quality American workers, this one included, doing a good job has done a lot for employers‚Äô and executives‚Äô bottom lines, but not much for most of those who really make employers profitable–us workers!

    American workers, and America’s middle class, have been under siege for most of the last 30 years or so, especially under the likes of Reagan and George W. Bush. Unions and their members and supporters are among the most vital bulwarks in stopping our nation’s headlong rush under such “leaders” back to the days of Herbert Hoover, if not William McKinley.

    For “free enterprise” to be truly free, it must be fair enterprise. Like pro-worker legislation, labor unions are a vital part of keeping our economy and our nation, to use a famous phrase from elsewhere, “fair and balanced.” In our modern, industrialized world, one where most of us must work for others for our livelihoods, unions are integral to any real democracy.

    As King in essence asks, as I’ve asked so many of my fellow workers over most of this time, look at history. Left to many employers, most of us would still be working six or seven days a week, for 25 cents an hour, with few benefits and even fewer rights. What will it take before America’s endangered middle class stops swallowing the Jack Bauer and Horatio Alger myths?

    To those who think that their being good workers will somehow help them maintain their living standards in modern America, I say: Guess again. Wait until your bosses decide to lay you off when your pay suddenly becomes too high for their greedy tastes, or perhaps simply when you reach a certain age. (Yes, this has happened to many of us, this worker included–thus are many working people ‚Äúrewarded‚Äù for their hard work, commitment, and loyalty. Don‚Äôt laugh. It can happen to you or to someone about whom you care.)

    As King justly notes, what will your misplaced faith in the myths do for you (and your family) then?

    It is long past time to start encouraging union building, not union busting, in America. The right to form and collectively bargain through labor unions is not only a right (ostensibly)protected under United States law, but one recognized as a fundamental human right by many international organizations. But many employers in our “free” country now brazenly ignore this right and the law.

    This is wrong.

    This must stop–*now*.

    We must thus not only enact the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, but end such grossly unfair practices as the inequitable and pernicious legal doctrine of “employment at will,” replacing it with a “just cause” standard.

    Indeed, we should go much further than the Employee Free Choice Act would in penalizing employers that violate workers’ sovereign right to form and bargain collectively through unions by providing for mandatory prison terms and confiscation of corporate *and* personal assets for scofflaw employers, executives, and managers, with such assets redistributed to wronged workers. Only when we make the cost of violating workers’ rights clearly more costly than any perceived benefit to employers of doing so will we once again start to see workers and their rights again respected in our “free” country.

    We must also explicitly protect Americans’ rights to engage in lawful political (and other) activities as they choose without fear of employment discrimination.

    Let’s take back our country, our economy, our rights, our futures, and the American dream. If that means that we must make the coming years an era that will make the 1960s look tranquil, so be it!

    Scott Enk


    For some good reading on the issues that affect us all–yes, you included–take a look at such fine books at David Sirota‚Äôs _Hostile Takeover_ and Thom Hartmann‚Äôs _Screwed_, as well as the Web sites of such organizations as the National Workrights Institute, Workplace Fairness, Working America, and American Rights at Work!

  • 6. Administrator  |  February 27th, 2007 at 8:05 am

    I think there was a time when unions served their purpose.

    However, I have two things against unions:

    1.) Extortion is at the heart of the way Unions operate.

    2.) Unions reward good and bad work equally (much like communism did) and any system that rewards good and bad work equally shows complete ignorance of human nature and what motivates them to achieve and suceed.

  • 7. James  |  February 27th, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    So what does Scott think, everybody should get a corner office and executive salary? Make it guarenteed and I’ll personally (oh how horrid) that I just retired at the tender age of 30. Call me a horrible person, but I won’t be alone in doing the minimal or absolutely nothing if pay was not conditional on my product, and it was impossible to fire me.

  • 8. Scott Enk  |  March 1st, 2007 at 2:16 am

    As the experience of many proven workers who have long and continuously upgraded their skills and knowledge has shown in recent years, doing so and doing an ever-improving good job is no guarantee of advancement, or even security, in many workplaces in modern America.

    Many employers now want only the young, the gullible, the malleable, and, above all, the *cheap*. Indeed, many highly talented workers have found themselves among the first, not the last, to be laid off because greedy, untrammeled employers, in their lunatic drive for profit at *any* cost, now target such high-quality employees as “too expensive.”

    I know–it was done at least once to me, rated highest in performance among my department’s nonmanagement employees *by the very employer that made me among the first it laid off*. What sort of motivation, what sort of incentive, is that to succeed, much less excel? What a mockery. What a powerful reason why every worker, including white-collar workers, needs a strong union. (Ever notice how employer concern about costs vanishes when it comes to *executives’ and managers’* salaries, benefits, and perks?) Can *you* say “overqualified”?

    That term, like “fit,” when used by employers, is usually not a reason for not treating workers fairly, but an excuse. “Overqualified” makes no sense–if you need a doctor, a lawyer, a police officer, or a firefighter, do you ever worry if that person is “overqualified”? Employers must pay people what they are truly worth. (Yes, that would mean raising a lot of “ordinary” workers’ pay–and cutting that of a lot of executives and managers.) Like other forms of discrimination, age discrimination is now rampant in our “Bushed,” deliberately job-scarce economy.

    If there is to be any further downsizing, let it be of excessive executive and managerial salaries, perks, powers, and egos. Now that, to use an infamous corporate euphemism, would truly be “rightsizing.”

    Markets are made to serve people, not people for markets. When markets harm people and their rights, the market is what must be reformed and changed. Without unions, laws protecting workers’ rights, and the like, you and I and most other American workers would again be working six or seven days a week, for 25 cents an hour with few benefits and even fewer rights. Think about that.

    And, yes, support the Employee Free Choice Act, a vital step toward restoring working people’s most basic rights in America and toward rebuilding our endangered middle class and the American dream.

    The February 27 edition of _The Washington Post_ includes an excellent article about the bill and why it is so important to you and to all of us. Writer Lance Compa justly calls this bill vital to real workplace democracy. (He also notes the interesting “concern” that many employers are now expressing about workers’ rights and democracy in the workplace–*not!*)

    You can read the article at this link:


    Right on!

    Write on–today. Let’s keep taking back our country, our economy, our rights, and our futures.

    Scott Enk


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