“Michigan Right-To-Work Union protest mob
attacks tent in Lansing”

I was just watching “The Five” on Fox, and wanted to see what all the “ruckus” was about. Bob Beckel pointed out that Michigan ranks 46th of the 50 states in unemployment (currently 9.1%). Beckel also described what unions, he believes, have been instrumental in improving labor conditions. For example, he listed child labor laws and a five-day work week. This is true.

At the time when unions were first formed, they played a powerful influence in providing these conditions. However, Andrea Tantaros countered with this statement: “In America, you should not be forced to join an organization.” Andrea called unions a “protective racket.” That is true. Think of how Obama has cozied up to the likes of Andy Stern of SEIU (Service Employees International Union). There is more about what I witnessed re SEIU below.

Here is a portion of what Reuters reported:

Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature approved a ban on mandatory union membership on Tuesday, dealing a stunning blow to organized labor in the state that is home to U.S. automakers and the symbol of industrial labor in the United States.

As more than 12,000 unionized workers and supporters protested at the Capitol in Lansing, the state House of Representatives gave final approval to a pair of “right-to-work” bills covering public- and private-sector unions. …

As some of you may recall, I described what I observed in two hospitals. In each instance, I noticed that an SEIU representative had cornered an LPN or RN, and was lecturing her, wagging her finger at her. The LPN/RN tried to back away, but the SEIU rep took her arm and held on to it, and talked to her some more. I was out of range, unable to hear what they were arguing about. I assume that the SEIU rep was pressuring the nurses to participate attending an SEIU meeting or encouraging others to develop a strategy to force the hospital to pay them higher wages. At yet another hospital, I recall a picket line of nurses and orderlies marching around the back of one of the best hospitals in the Pacific Northwest.

I wondered what their beef was. Particularly at the “best hospital.” I have met and dealt with many of their staff and nurses. They are all excellent, of course. Yes, it is expensive to live in a large city, with rents rising and mortgages more difficult to get. However, perhaps they could do away with a few items — such as buying lots of cosmetics, buying a full package of HBO/Showtime/Starz. Perhaps they have three or four TVs and want a DVR on every box. A friend I know has made many purchases like those described above. She also has a large collection of jewelry in two jewelry chests. I offered one day to help her separate the chains and lay them out neatly. I kept wondering why she bought so much jewelry. That’s just one small example of some of the “niceties” of modern life that, of course, we’d all like to enjoy. But everyone can give up some of those items. For example, I bet my friend is buying more jewelry, and probably has set up a DVR with one of those “enhanced packages” so she can get every channel she wishes to. I haven’t seen her in a while, and wonder what I’ll say if I do. I’ve decided, should that occasion arise, I’ll just say “Hi,” and walk on by.

I am glad that unions helped established those laws. Would we ever have had such improvements in workers’ conditions, such as “child labor laws and a five-day work week”?

Here’s an example of Pinkerton guards trying to bust up a union:

The history of union busting in the United States dates back to the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century which produced a rapid expansion in factories and manufacturing capabilities. As workers moved away from farm work to factories, mines and other hard labor, they faced harsh working conditions such as long hours, low pay and health risks.

Pinkerton guards escort strikebreakers in Buchtel, Ohio, 1884
Children and women worked in factories and generally received lower pay than men. The government did little to limit these injustices.

Labor movements in the industrialized world developed that lobbied for better rights and safer conditions. Shaped by wars, depressions, government policies, judicial rulings, and global competition, the early years of the battleground between unions and management were adversarial and often identified with aggressive hostility.

Contemporary opposition to trade unions known as union busting started in the 1940s and continues to present challenges to the labor movement.

Union busting is a term used by labor organizations and trade unions to describe the activities that may be undertaken by employers, their proxies, workers and in certain instances states and governments usually triggered by events such as picketing, card check, organizing, and strike actions.

Labor legislation has changed the nature of union busting, as well as the organizing tactics that labor organizations commonly use. …

So. There are many large companies that provide excellent compensation without having to deal with unions. Costco treats its employees well. I’ve also noticed that Costco goes out of its way to hire as many females as males — in fact, I think there are more females than men at the Costco nearby. Every time I have a request, they are always glad to oblige. For example, last night I told the cashier and customer service rep that I didn’t want any more of the boxes they cut up. (I have several of those already and am trying to figure out how to get rid of them.) So, one of the customer service reps allowed me to drive my electric cart out, while she pushed a cart out that contained a few file folders I’d wanted to get. I had also asked her if she would mind opening the box for me, and she did. Those kinds of customer service are exceptional.

I also regularly use their drug store, because it is the least expensive, best-managed pharmacy I’ve ever gone to. By the way, one reason I use Costco, besides its good prices, is that I have become aware that certain generic drugs are bought at certain stores. (For example, I used to buy generic drugs at a Walmart store, and I noticed that their generics were of the cheapest quality they could buy. Furthermore, Walmart USES YOU AND ME (sorry for “shouting,” but it bugs me) — WalMart uses our TAX DOLLARS to force their employees to use Medicaid (for their children), as well as other social services that are already bursting at the seams with OTHER people who truly need the help.

So, I’ve decided, I am not going to shop at WalMart anymore. That’s tough for me to say, since they often have the cheapest prices. But I can get the same products at Costco. Besides, at Costco, I can return any product they sell at any time. However, at Walmart a couple years ago, I had tried out some electronic equipment, but decided to return it. Luckily, I got to the store on the 15th day. WalMart has a policy that permits exchanges and refunds for 15 days. Costco doesn’t.

Those are just more of my experiences with unions vs. non-unions. WalMart should get its act together. Perhaps they’d have to train fewer employees if they provided better health care packages.

Let us know about your own experiences with unions and their members.