Looks like Indiana may become the next "Right To Work" battleground. While I dislike being made to join an organization with political goals very different to my own, sometimes I'm greatly tempted by Enrico Fermi's deeply-held belief at all change was for the worse; the amount of bad blood, grotesque posturing and pointless protests these kinds of fights create may be worse than the ills of old-time unions. Public-employee union fights are the worst -- perhaps they have too much free time? -- but I believe membership in them is voluntary in Indiana; we'll see more UAW types, I'll bet.
--But I talk about that, in part, as a long-time member of one of the weakest skilled-trade union locals on the planet, so don't for a minute assume I'm not mostly concerned it will make my life more complicated. (Mind you, there's no exclusive jurisdiction left for my shop -- meaning most anyone can do our work, the problem being if they'd work for less than we're paid, they aren't going to be very good at it. And, in fact, the non-union shops around here pull down about the same wages and benefits, some a little better, some a little worse. I might not like the price but it's approximately what the market supports. Still would be nice to get a raise -- we volunteered to not take one that would have happened in 2008 and haven't had one since.)
There's yet another way, though; even in a no-right-to-work state, you're not obliged to pony up for the political activities of a union you had to join if you wanted the work: you can opt out of the fluff and pay only the financial core, the costs of collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment, and not bear the burden of helping to stuff cash into Senator Pork's slush-fund or bus ijits to jam up the Statehouse halls. There is a downside: if you go fi-core, you can't hold a union office and you can't even vote on contracts; whatever the boys and girls paying for the full ride want will have to do you.
--But when the blowhards go on TV and say there's only their way or hell-on-earth, or wax magnanimous and "admit" the only-only choices are mandatory membership, rah-rah rallies an' all or right-to-work under the grinding heel of capitalist oppressors or the outstretched hand of a modern-day Hank Reardon, understand they're blowing smoke. They don't know what they're talking about -- or they don't want you to know.
I'd kinda bet on the latter.
And remember -- "You can't get blood from a turnip," but while "gold won't always get you good mercenaries, once you get good mercenaries, they can always get you gold." It cuts both ways.
Update: Speaking of unions -- and I believe they're an open shop -- the Star's newsroom's own Newspaper Guild staged a little rally across the street from The Building That Still Looks Like A Newspaper (ignore the aching void where presses once roared and rumbled). Ah, there's a quandary for the modern, Left-leaning Editor! Some of Ruth's commenters trot out predictable 1930's sloganeering, but this animal is starting to show signs of slightly different stripes. Anyway, it's an "I'll pop popcorn" moment for me, no matter who wins. (I still think the Guild otta just cut out the middlemen and go into the news biz themselves. Ghu knows, the Star appears to be getting right out of it.)
5 weeks ago