My Turn: The spectacle in Wisconsin
It has been a remarkable, eye-opening experience watching the events in Wisconsin unfold over the past few weeks. If we learn nothing else from the actions of the politicians and unionists, we cannot help but come away with the conclusion that the vast majority of these folks have become so insulated and entrenched in their version of business as usual they are oblivious to the perception they convey to the rest of the nation.
I realize unionism is a large influence in the lives of otherwise clear-thinking people. I am also aware that, for an alarming number of members, unionism is a religion. Moreover, that danse macabre which involves the up-and-down jabbing of pickets is their sacrament. At one time, the strike was their sacrament, but the advent of contracts with no-strike clauses has led to a rethinking of strategy. Hard-core unionists, still reeling from years of concessions and a decline in membership, defiantly insist that the back of managementís hand is stinging from the impact of laborís cheek.
One of the most amazing elements of the Wisconsin spectacle was the departure of one party of the legislature in order to avoid a vote. Is this the example we wish to set for the next generation? Shall we teach them that if they know they will fail a test, then stay home and avoid the confrontation. Should we keep the team on the bus (or drive them over the state line) rather than play a game we expect to lose? If Republicans had pulled this stunt, they would have been portrayed as evil, spineless, cowardly poltroons. The Democrats get a pass.
Meanwhile, the public sector unionists in Wisconsin are convinced that taxpayers should gratefully festoon their selfless, devoted public employees with generous wages, healthcare and pensions. Any attempt to require an employee to contribute to the costs of his or her own long-term well-being results in such gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands as to close down the schools. Having doctors sign off on bogus sick-leave forms is a nice touch. The next time a student attempts this ruse, the schools have no moral authority to admonish the miscreant.
There should be no public sector unions. By definition, the public sector workers are protected by an armada of labor laws, many of which are the results of the sacrifices made by the truly courageous pioneers of the labor reform movement who, unlike their modern-day sycophant counterparts, performed without a net. Many of the early activists died for the cause. They deserve better than to have their efforts melded into some neo-socialist movement.
Curiously, unions have never created their own companies, despite an apparent insight as to how firms should be run. If unionists were sincere about their philosophies concerning relations between management and labor, they long ago would have formed large manufacturing and service organizations in their own image. Instead, they latch onto established organizations that have invested money in the operation, whereas the union brings no food, yet demands a place at the table. Nowhere else in nature do we witness parasites exhibiting disdain and resentment toward their hosts, only to claim greed when they finally run the host out of town. When organized crime does it, we call it extortion. When organized labor does it, we call it collective bargaining.
Gov. Scott Walker is to be commended for his actions. Not only is he making the difficult decisions (itís called leadership) to balance his stateís budget, he has revealed the unionsí true agenda. I doubt that he could ever have imagined that simply doing the job for which he was elected would lead to a national debate over taxpayer-funded labor unions. History will be kind to this gentleman.
Bruce La Rue lives in Mt. Ulla.
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