Posted on | February 23, 2011 | 12 Comments
“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.
Head-busting union goons — like the SEIU thugs who recently roughed up a Tea Party supporter in Denver — are surely grateful to know they have Capuano’s enthusiastic support. Because of the decline of union membership, most young people today know little of the coercion, intimidation and outright terrorism by which Big Labor has always operated, and it still goes on to this day. As Karen Kerrigan noted in a 2002 article, “According to the National Institute of Labor Relations Research, there have been over 9,000 reported acts of union violence since 1975. These incidents have included intimidation, sexual and racial harassment, physical violence, vandalism and even death.”
Big Labor likes nothing better than having its Democrat buddies in charge, so they can use the force of government to extract money from the pockets of the unwilling:
Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.
As Mike Hendrix at Cold Fury points out, this creates a “nice, tight, and very vicious little circle”: Taxpayers are forced to pay more to government employees, who are in turn forced to pay dues to the unions, which then give money to elect Democrats, who then give generous concessions to unions — and round and round we go!
Da Tech Guy was at the rally in Boston and got this video of a union member who expressed the basic rationale of Big Labor:
“You want to go make seven, eight dollars an hour, go make seven, eight dollars an hour. You know, we fight for what we believe in here so we can make prevailing wage and have benefits.”
Implicit in this assertion is the belief that the only way anyone can ever receive higher wages is through the “collective bargaining” (or to say it more honestly, the organized intimidation) power of unions. That this belief system amounts to a license to commit extortion against employers, and an authorization of violence against uncooperative workers, is self-evident.
The labor-union mentality involves a vast galaxy of false and pernicious beliefs that require more time to explain and unravel than I’m willing to devote to the topic here. However, the net effect is to convince workers of their own lack of individual agency, so that they think their working lives have no value except what they can extort through “collective bargaining.” Where that mentality can eventually lead may be surmised from Da Tech Guy’s Examiner column:
The basic union argument was that Wisconsin was trying to bust unions. A former nonunion ironworker who now was in the union talked about how he found himself protected by the solidarity and the contracts of the union and made a strong case for his side.
On the other side a gentleman from the former Soviet Union equated the union side to the old communist apparatchiks of his youth where the benefits were actually shared by a few.
UPDATE: As only Jeff Goldstein can say, “What? Too soon?”
Once you decide that the ends justify the means, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself pondering what Hayek meant to explain in “Why the Worst Get on Top.” This is why the pervasive corruption of labor unions (e.g., the Missouri local president who embezzled nearly $70,000 from an SEIU-affiliated union) should never surprise us. Do we really expect to find honest men in charge of an extortion racket?