Labor Day

Posted Sunday, September 4, 2011, at 3:21 PM
View 49 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • *

    Thank you unions for getting me a day off of work. If only you could reduce costs and unemployment we'd be good.


    I know this is off subject, but you have been avoiding the issue so I'll ask again.

    Why are your character attacks not hypocritical considering how much you rail against other's attacking your character.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sun, Sep 4, 2011, at 4:39 PM
  • *


    While I appreciate your efforts to paint those who don't favor unions negatively, will you also discuss politicians who refer to other politicians as "terrorists" and "hostage takers"?

    Perhaps you'll discuss the way unions treat people who oppose them or even people who choose not to unionize next.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sun, Sep 4, 2011, at 4:41 PM
  • *


    I really hope you are using hyperbole in this blog and you are not so woefully ill informed why some politicians feel there is a difference between public and private sector unions. As a matter of fact, here is a quote from history, let us see if you can place which body said it.

    "In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress -- a right available to every citizen."

    I'll give you a wasn't an orginization that hated unions.

    -- Posted by Sir Didymus on Sun, Sep 4, 2011, at 9:40 PM
  • *


    Do you believe Republican's shouldn't march in Labor Day parades? That is the impression I got from reading your blog, but if you could confirm or deny I would appreciate it. Why or why not?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, Sep 5, 2011, at 9:12 AM
  • or you could start your own blog to discuss the way unions treat people who oppose them or people who choose not to unionize next. Not only that but you could also talk about politicians who talk about others as terrorists etc.....

    -- Posted by president obama on Mon, Sep 5, 2011, at 11:18 AM

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Mon, Sep 5, 2011, at 12:08 PM
  • *


    I'm glad we have found something to agree on. That is almost exactly what I also asked Michael to do.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, Sep 5, 2011, at 12:51 PM
  • ______ plant,

    great, we can look forward to your new blog where you discuss the things you want to.

    -- Posted by president obama on Mon, Sep 5, 2011, at 6:00 PM
  • *


    I'm not sure what you're talking about, you've changed your direction. Initially you supported my question of Michael to be fair, but now you want me to do it instead? I'm confused.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Mon, Sep 5, 2011, at 10:13 PM
  • -- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Mon, Sep 5, 2011, at 10:23 PM
  • *

    I am sure that Hoffa meant take them out for soda and pie. Surely those good people would not do anything violent to tarnish their image? And after all, wasn't there an expectaion for more civil language? This seems mystifying. Call in the mystery machine. I bet it is actually old man Thompson in a Hoffa mask.

    -- Posted by Sir Didymus on Mon, Sep 5, 2011, at 11:56 PM
  • not sure where the confusion is in "or you could start your own blog"?

    -- Posted by president obama on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 12:18 PM
  • could he have been talking about of taking them out of office? Or are you suggesting that he and the other members of the union are going to shoot republican leaders?

    -- Posted by president obama on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 12:20 PM
  • *

    In Wisconsin the issue was unions in the public sector, and for some very good reasons.

    With the union on one side of the table, and the people they got elected on the other side of the table, where does the taxpayer sit?

    Detroit is one of the strongest union cities. They have lost more jobs and more population in the past 10 years than New Orleans. Are unions worse for a city than a hurricane and broken flood dikes?

    As for the term "thug", it is normally applied to people who are guilty of "thuggish" behavior. Did you see what James Hoffa Jr is saying these days?

    Henry Ford gave us the 40 hour week. Common sense eliminated child labor (but maybe you know kids champing at the bit to work these days).

    Labor unions gave us closed-shop states, strikes in the midst of 10% unemployment, union shop rules, broke auto makers, Chicago-style politics, and overseas job outsourcing.

    Just thinkin'

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 5:12 PM
  • *


    Now you're just being silly. We all know from Michael's previous entries that only conservative's rhetoric suggests they or their followers are going to shoot up Liberals, never the other way around. Nothing a Liberal ever says is unacceptable.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 5:15 PM
  • Boomer62

    It's not historical reality that Henry Ford "gave" us the 40 hour work week, nor is it historical reality that "common sense" eliminated child labor. It did take political posturing by such groups as the early Unions.

    No human organization, be it the Right, the Left, Unions, religion, etc is without it's "faults" but rewritting history to serve political sentiment, be it Right or Left, opens the door for governments similiar to Nazi Germany.

    Be it far Left or far Right, when telling untruths is used as one of the main tactics to gain political power, a nation is faced with a much bigger problem than fiscal irresponsibility.

    I for one hope and pray for the day our nation's future is not determined by groups whose rise is based on untruth used to stir emotions of the masses.

    -- Posted by ontheleftcoast on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 7:18 PM
  • *

    Henry Ford offered $5 per day (which was more than twice the going rate at the time) and a 40 hour week in 1926, without any unions involved, at all.

    Children work all over the world, where it is necessary in order for them and their families to eat. It was common in the U.S. until people were better off. It is common today in Africa, Central and South America, and in the Asian nations. The rise of better economic conditions through the benefits of capitalism is what ended child labor here in the workplace, not union involvement. Do you really think all the world needs is unions, and the children will not be forced to work anywhere?

    Unions are more about power for their members than any social benefit. Unions in the early 1900s kept foreigners from getting jobs, blacks from getting jobs, women from getting jobs, and generally anybody but their own members from getting jobs. The only place union membership has grown over the past 50 years is in the public sector where there are virtually no checks on increased labor costs--unlike the private sector.

    The object of unions today is to extract above average pay for merely average work.

    The Sherman Antitrust Act is supposed to make monopolies and cartels illegal if they suppress competition. Why has the Act never been enforced against the monopolies known as "labor unions"?

    Just askin'

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 8:09 PM
  • Can't believe that Hoffa is declaring war on Americans.

    Change we can believe in!


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 8:43 PM
  • *

    I don't know 'leftcoast....I may have to lean on boomer's side on this one...

    I've left jobs that voted to unionize simply because there was a restriction of freedom and individuality in similar workplaces after unionization.

    My personal experience is that unions are organized for the benefits of the organizer(s) and not the workforce in general.

    But, on the other hand; some people believe that the civil war was fought because of slavery.

    -- Posted by Mickel on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 8:50 PM
  • *

    Hey Boomer... just wonderin...

    What is your take is on these fine examples of free enterprise labor relations? - The Pullman Strike - The Ludlow Massacre

    And your buddy Henry Ford's own - Battle Of The Overpass

    I especially like the Pullman Company... they make their employees live in a company town, pay rent to the company only, buy only from the company store, and then wonder why anyone would be upset that the rent goes up and wages go down.

    Not saying that unions are lilly white, and Hoffa is an idiot in my opinion. I've written several times about unions and most folks know how I feel. You can tell from my citations that company/union relations are always on the edge of a problem one way or the other. You can blame the union if you want, but I also blame management. They are the ones that have outsourced the jobs after running their companies into the ground with poor products and cut corners in the never ending attempt to pad the bottom line.

    To make matters worse, laws enacted have created tax advantages that drive work away from our shores in the name of profit. Who gets the blame for that?

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 9:37 PM
  • *

    My guess is that the Pullman strike, the Ludlow Massacre and the Battle of the Overpass, all happened before you and I were born.

    The Battle of the Overpass, the workers wanted the equivalent of $120 per hour in today's dollars instead of $90 per hour. I guess they were hard up.

    I would blame the government for creating the tax advantages that drive work away from our shores, along with the terrible over regulation of business here. If I wanted to produce something, I'd do it in India. Lower taxes, lower labor cost, less easy layup.

    "The do-gooders of this world are in no sense motivated by a desire to improve the lot of the underprivileged, rather they are driven by a hatred of the successful." -- Ayn Rand

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 10:03 PM
  • Having been a Union representated employee, Union Steward, and also a Management employee with the same company, I have seen the business from what would seem the pertinent angles. There is a very good reason Unions are there to protect "the sheep" and also to police the Management's treatment of them. Unfortunately there have been many on both sides that have abused their power and responsibility, just like our Congress and elected representatives. It comes down to accountability, and, Are You?

    -- Posted by fred2 on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 11:10 PM
  • *

    Yep... those examples all occurred before our time Boomer. However I have a couple points I'd like to share...

    Your comment about money and the Ford battle of the overpass is disingenerous in my opinion. Management reacted to their perceived threat of higher wages with violence. The union was trying to inform it's members with a leaflet campaign. In your world when is it OK for a company to physically attack it's workers? When money is involved?

    But that is ancient history, so lets jump forward a bit. Is last December recent enough? Have you heard of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire of 1911. One of those overseas companies you want to take your manufacturing to had an eerily similar fire last December, where people were jumping out of the building because the fire exits were locked. Guess what? No union!

    Like I said, unions are not lilly white, but big companies have shown repeatedly that they don't care about their employees either. Basic human safety takes second place to profits and doing whatever will generate more profit hasn't changed at all in over 100 years it appears.

    I don't agree with Ayn Rand... she has her opinion and you know the rest...

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 11:18 PM
  • *

    wish I'd check my spelling... I meant to say disingenuous... sorry.

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 11:19 PM
  • Basic human safety takes second place to profits and doing whatever will generate more profit hasn't changed at all in over 100 years it appears.

    Posted by Brian Hoag on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 11:18 PM

    Do you really believe that leaders of companies would rather put a buck ahead of lives? That perception (part of the class warfare) does exist. I think that isolated (ignorant) bosses do exist but as far as a companies having policies and strategies that put worker safety and life at risk I don't believe it. The insurance company underwriter for liability insurance would put a stop to that action pretty quickly.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 6:03 AM
  • *

    Good morning Wallis!

    I believe big business DOES put bucks ahead of lives. It's documented! Your energy exploration industry is a very good example of rule breaking and subsequent fatalities in the work place.

    If they think they can get away with it, they will try. I've worked for small business that feels EXACTLY the same way. When they get caught, the finger pointing starts ala BP/Halliburton and the gulf.

    True insurance companies probably help some... but they don't help a whole lot on a drill site in the ocean, or in a mine when management breaks the rules and men die like the Massey Energy explosion. And besides, insurance companies protect the company from loss, not the workers.

    Here is a statement made by a miner the day before he was killed in the Massy mine where 28 other men died... "Man, they got us up there mining, and we ain't got no air," the miner, Gary Wayne Quarles, told a friend, who talked to investigators. "I'm just scared to death to go to work because I'm just scared to death something bad is going to happen."

    OK, so the above statement I used is presented second hand. How about the investigators own words...

    "The story of Upper Big Branch is a cautionary tale of hubris" the report concludes, "A company that was a towering presence in the Appalachian coal fields operated its mines in a profoundly reckless manner, and 29 coal miners paid with their lives for the corporate risk taking."

    If you want to say it's an isolated case go ahead. I'm pretty sure most folks realize that Massey is just like any other big company. They will do what they think they can get away with to pad the bottom line.

    Who protects workers when the company won't make the workplace safe as has been shown time and time again?

    I stand by my statment.

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 7:02 AM
  • Boomer62, have you read "Power Down" by Ben Coes yet? Its an interesting read.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 8:29 AM
  • *

    No I haven't but I will look for it. Thanks speak-e-z.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 12:24 PM
  • *

    Brian, I wathed some guys work on an oil drilling rig once, doing the trip. Those guys are risking life and limb to bring us fuel for our cars. I think they are getting about half their pay for the risk involved.

    After seeing it, I swore I'd never complain about the price of gasoline again. Come to think of it, I never complained before, but just the same.

    I know there are hazardous jobs. But it isn't just about the buck. Have you seen bull riders work. 8 seconds of that looks like a long time. But they do it for the money and glory--no employer is pushing them, and they don't appear to have a union, either.

    The guy in the Massy mine could have quit, I believe. It's a free country--Lincoln freed the slaves a long time ago.

    I have personally been injured on the job a number of times. But I am not blaming anyone but myself. I just wasn't careful enough.

    You are right. There are some people who value the dollar above all else. Is a union or the government going to change human nature? Or should people just have the courage to walk out?

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 12:33 PM
  • *

    I think there is more to it than simple courage Boomer. If you have a job, and there are no other jobs in your area... quitting a job because you know it's dangerous isn't an option. Courage doesn't put food on the table or pay the mortgage. To relocate to a different local for work might involve selling a home in an economy where your house is worth less than you owe.

    With our countries economic woes these days where hundreds, if not thousands compete for the available positions, I can understand why the guy went into the mine everyday. He likely felt he had no choice and he bet his life on the company providing a safe working environment. His bet didn't pay off.

    This time I think we should agree to disagree.

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 1:15 PM
  • I applaud the respectful dialogue between Brian and Boomer. Disagreement and still respectful. It is possible! My two cents worth: I am on Boomers side on this one. I agree that unions served a purpose. I also believe that they have usurped their influence to the detriment of America. Someone please tell me why unions continue to lose membership.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 1:41 PM
  • *

    Great question as usual DB, and of course the answer is never black and white.

    The following WSJ article is short and to the point on the topic.

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 2:39 PM
  • thanks Brian! very informative article. I believe the "organizers" are trying to re-organize.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 3:04 PM
  • Brian - I am glad that I don't live in your World. I do not think that big organizations of people actually kill people for a few dollars. I do believe that at times accidents happen, people get lazy and sloppy but I do not think that pubic companies with Share holders and a Board of Directors sacrifice lives for money that isn't necessary for their life or the life of their family.

    I have worked in "big business" my entire career and I have never encountered anyone as evil as you are implying many of them are.

    Sorry to disagree with you but I do disagree with you.


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 8:02 PM
  • *

    I don't mind a bit that you disagree Wallis. I think it makes everybody think about the issues at least.

    When the accident investigation revealed that Massey Energy, a public company traded on the NYSE as MEE with a board of directors and investors, "operated its mines in a profoundly reckless manner, and 29 coal miners paid with their lives for the corporate risk taking", that strikes me as a bit more than the mere "lazy and sloppy" you imply. We do live in the same world, we just seem to view events differently.

    I have cited 3 recent examples of business practice/management that resulted in employee deaths. I submit your personal experience has no bearing on this discussion. I have never encountered the type of evil shown to occur either, but I believe it happens and have presented documentation to support my position.

    As with boomer, we should agree to disagree.

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 10:25 PM
  • The Massey Energy situation was a tragic situation, However, in all circumstances when life is lost reports will always come back and state Reckless manner. In the Massey situation the company policy was that if any worker at any time felt a situation was unsafe he or she should report that situation as high the chain and necessary and the workers would not be expected to put themselves in a situation where injury or death was the outcome.

    Not a single person in management or any shareholder would trade a few weeks worth of coal production for a life.

    Remember, Corp America believes all accidents are preventable. Therefore, when there is an accident it could/should have been prevented. so by definition when an accident occurs someone is to blame.

    I am not contesting that accidents happen or diminishing their impact. I am suggesting that a few weeks or months of revenue is round off error for a particular asset and most if not all "stakeholders" would trade that revenue, without question, if a life is or was at stake.

    This country is not that barbaric.

    Now if you believe that we are that barbaric or if other posters believe we are that barbaric than I will again state that I do not live in your World nor would I.

    I do not , to the best of my knowledge, know any person that is that vile.

    Wallis Marsh

    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 6:08 AM
  • *

    Union members storm the port authority. More thuggery:

    Hire us or else!

    Brian, I have never received an unemployment check or a welfare check in my life. IMHO unemployment would be much lower if there were no unemployment benefits, let alone for 99 weeks. (If you subsidize something you get more of it.)

    Abolishing the minimum wage would also reduce unemployment. Raising it always increases unemployment. How do I know? Raise the minimum wage to $1,000/hour, and I can guarantee unemployment at 99.5%!! Are you worth $1,000/hour to your employer? Then you're out of a job.

    Just thinkin'

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 10:35 AM
  • *

    Can't believe that Hoffa is declaring war on Americans.

    Change we can believe in!


    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Tue, Sep 6, 2011, at 8:43 PM

    Yeah it's right up there with one of the Koch's declaring war on the President and comparing him to Saddam Hussein. Tit for tat.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Fri, Sep 9, 2011, at 10:55 AM
  • to parapharse Maxine Waters and others of her ilk; the "liberal democrats can go to hell".

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Fri, Sep 9, 2011, at 3:30 PM

    This is very typical of Obama. All form over substance. He has never had the infrastructure to execute on anything.

    -- Posted by wallismarsh on Sat, Sep 10, 2011, at 10:47 AM
  • *

    More thuggery. Pass this bill or else! But there is no bill. It hasn't been written.

    Like the Obamacare bill. You have to pass it to see what's in it.

    Hasn't this government stimulus thing been tried several times already since 2008? It will not work, ever. The reason is simple. They have to pay for it with taxes, borrowing or printing money. None of those actions builds confidence among employers. Then after taxing, borrowing or printing the money, they use half of it to administer the plan.

    In the end, any new jobs "created" will be more than offset by jobs lost because employers are paying more taxes, or can't get loans due to the government crowding them out of the lending pool, or losses due to the inflation of the money supply by printing money or borrowing it into existence.

    There ain't no free lunch boys. You can't keep the ship afloat by rearranging the deck chairs and exhorting the band to keep playing lively tunes. Or moving money from the private sector to the public sector, rearranging the people in the unemployment line.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Sat, Sep 10, 2011, at 4:26 PM
  • *


    I thought you found it "repugnant" to justify one's behavior by using the bad behavior of others. Have you changed your opinion?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sat, Sep 10, 2011, at 5:37 PM
  • *


    Oops I forgot to copy your line that begs the question.

    "Yeah it's right up there with one of the Koch's declaring war on the President and comparing him to Saddam Hussein. Tit for tat."

    My question about changing your opinion should be more clear now.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sat, Sep 10, 2011, at 5:39 PM
  • *


    Let me help you out, you might not know where SWNebr Transplant is coming from. Here is the other line that might clear things up.

    "When someone that I might agree slightly with in some ways tries to use the "the other side does worse, so why don't you go after them" argument to justify bad behavior I find it repugnant."

    The above was something I posted on your The Death of the Republic blog. Here was your reply after quoting my post.

    "Didymus on this I fully agree with you, especially consider the newest conflict one of our presidents has gotten us into."

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sun, Mar 20, 2011, at 11:31 AM

    This way you won't believe that someone is making unfounded attacks on you.

    -- Posted by Sir Didymus on Sat, Sep 10, 2011, at 11:44 PM
  • *

    Are you guys even trying anymore. These latest examples of you trying to prove that I am a hypocrite are just weak. I wasn't excusing behavior by showing an example of another. It was a comparison. I guess it shouldn't really be a surprise though. Wallis points out that a union leader makes some obscene comments so I point out that large Republican donor has made some of his own obscene comments in the same week. It's not an excuse for the first it's pointing out that it is done on both sides. You two somehow find a way to indict me on hypocrisy for pointing it out.

    Or the other possibility. You think what Hoffa said was completely horrible and obscene but what Koch said was just fine.

    -- Posted by MichaelHendricks on Sun, Sep 11, 2011, at 11:39 AM
  • Michael, you lose on this one. Talk about weak. Must be a matter of semantics. You say other folks excuse bad behavior by pointing out others bad behavior, but you are ONLY doing it for comparison. Thats about as lame an excuse as I seen for some time.

    -- Posted by doodle bug on Sun, Sep 11, 2011, at 11:48 AM
  • *


    If there is ever a mental version of Cirque du Soleil, I think you have a great career as a logic contortionist ahead of you. The way you can twist and turn everything that anyone says into a personal attack on you, ignore context, mininterpret, and simply convice yourself that they said something they didn't is astounding. Couple that with your equally uncanny ability to spin, twist, and ignore reality and objectivism in a vain attempt to keep yourself from looking like a fool or the hypocrite you are and I think you have a money making idea here.

    If my efforts to show your hypocrisy are "weak" it is only because it is so obvious I only need to put in half-hearted effort to show it.

    As bjo said on another blog, admitting you have been wrong is not weakness, trying to pretend in the face of reality is foolish. I guess it all depends on whether someone thinks it is better to be shown a fool, than as someone human who can be wrong and learn from their mistakes.

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sun, Sep 11, 2011, at 2:05 PM
  • *


    Again with the putting of words in mouths! I don't exactly know what you are talking about with Koch. But,if he compared president Obama to Saddam Hussein and suggested that Obama should be treated the same as Saddam Hussein then, no i am not alright with it. That is the difference between my ethics and yours. And actually, when you used the term "tit for tat" you sorta did justify Hoffa's remarks using Koch's.

    Please quit projecting your own ethics and standards onto other people.

    -- Posted by Sir Didymus on Sun, Sep 11, 2011, at 2:28 PM
  • *


    Another thought has occurred to me. Since you responded to try to claim you are not hypocritically justifying behavior, does this mean your refusal to respond to my earlier questions about character attacks means you are acknowledging that they are hypocritical?

    If you aren't trying to justify behavior then are you once again misusing an expression? That has to be about 4 this month isn't it?

    -- Posted by SWNebr Transplant on Sun, Sep 11, 2011, at 5:59 PM
Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration: