Monday, March 05, 2007

The Kaus Files, A Rant

Mickey Kaus's Kausfiles is a constant irritant. I only started reading it again because I enjoy his talks with Robert Wright on

He's usually just annoying. Like when he advocates rear wheel drive cars even though he lives in California and will never have to drive on ice. Or when he tries to be provocative by defending right wing basilisks like Ann Coulter. But his constant bashing of labor unions just highlights the fact that the guy is dilettante who's never held down a real job in his life (you might say that writing is a 'real job' but the way he does it, one get the impression that it's just a hobby).

People who hate labor unions are people who hate workers and hate worker's protections.

Most employers who complain about unions kind of resent having employees to begin with. They'd much rather have robots or a slave-labor economy where worker-drones are easily disposed of and replaced depending on management's whim.

What they don't want are actual people who need wages to support themselves. Not actual people who need health care, and vacation time, and money for retirement.

The reason that unions are a problem for Ford is because EVERYTHING is a problem for Ford. Ford can't even run the Detroit Lions! They've got lousy cars, and a lousy business structure. The reason that workers aren't unionizing under Toyota, is that Toyota will pack up and move to the next town if they do. Ford is negotiating from a point of weakness, Toyota from strength. The real crime is that the Toyota workers won't have any say when Toyota decides to move to Mexico or China in ten years.

And never mind the fact that unions serve to certify the work being done. The Electrician's union and the other trade unions actually train and test their own apprentices to ensure that work is consistent and meets professional standards. You want to know what you get when the construction industry tries to get around unions? Illegal immigrants doing uncertifiable work for cheap wages. Makes you wonder, huh, conservatives?

And never mind that that other punching-bag of the right, Teacher's Unions is hated and despised because the right secretly hates and despises the whole idea of universal education. C'mon, they're the same right-wing flat-earthers who want Creationism taught as science, and consider art, music, and literature to be "fluff" (or worse-yet, pomo, left-wing indoctrination -gasp!).

My real question though is less a rant, than an actual question: if unions are such a bad idea, then why do actors and professional athletes belong to them? I mean these people are millionaires, right?

I'm guessing it's because collective bargaining ensures that their jobs and pay are protected from managment greed. Just a guess, though.

So I'm thinking, if it's good enough for Kobe Bryant and Meryl Streep, it ought to be good enough for Detroit and much of the rest of the country as well.