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Its Democracy Stupid

Elijah Grajkowski is not being straight forward. He does not want the right to join or not join a union, he wants the right to be a parasite and not pay for the union.

Elijah knows very well that federal law requires unions to represent all employees, not some, not only those in a union, but all employees.

So, in a all practical senses he is in the union either way. What Elijah objects to is having to pay for the services he receives.

This would be akin to claiming that I don’t want to be a Wisconsin citizen and thus should not pay for using the roads every day. Elijah, of course, is not saying he would not use the roads, but he just does not want to be forced to pay to use them.

Someone complaining about being forced to pay to be in a union is like someone being forced to pay taxes to fund elections. Yes, both could be framed as one being forced to pay, but just as I pay city taxes for my right to vote in civil matters, likewise, I gladly pay my union dues for those same rights in the workplace.

Its what Democracy looks like.


2 responses to “Its Democracy Stupid

  1. Annie K. ⋅

    Oh. How interesting. For 3 years I was a non-union employee surrounded by Union workers. My pay was vastly different than theirs, I had no benefits at all. I had no grievance options – HR did not deal with me i the least. There were just a handful of us in this situation. I needed the job, have a brain but I’m not really very employable for a number of reasons, I had heard about this word-of-mouth. I had HOPES that it would lead to a “real” job if I gave stellar performance. The Union tried to force my job to be eliminated. I think they go into it legally, but they did not succeed. When the Union people got (what seemed to me) huge increases in pay/benefits I got nothing added to my already low wage. No one felt any obligation to represent me, they were many of them openly hostile to me for being there as if I was part of some assault, an aggressor. Really these middle aged men and women (most of the really belligerent Union ones were older, the younger ones were more of an “ignore he” type of mind set) anyways they were openly “mean” about it. I tried (counter to my online persona) to be really nice and “win them over”. Some let up, many didn’t.
    They felt The Boss was trying to annoy the union and play headgames by wedging in a few non-union workers. Turns out, he was. But I was not in on this, I was not some rich guy’s wife playing union-games. I was just a person of low skill wanting hours and work that fit my family.
    IN the end the hard work I did “hoping for better” was a waste, the Union people were in strong situations with excellent pay and benefits. Many of them (true) would “milk the clock” and absolutely would not deal with anyone 10 seconds after their contract time was up for the day. I get really annoyed at rhetoric that portrays Union people as saints.
    My experience was that they were extreme protectionists e: their own jobs, very very hostile and competitive amongst their own ranks about bumping and seniority, and those who had performance/behavioral issues were more inclined to litigate and call their union Reps than to even consider any change in behavior. Some of the people sorely needed mental health help, let alone improved workplace behavior.

    I admit the guy you’re writing about sounds like an ass, but…the scenario you described where in Unions are a Humanity-luvin’ brotherhood who want to help all, I sure have seen things differently in my own life. More than once in fact.
    People should have a right to unionize but Unions are just another form of collective human behavior. That behavior also drives Corporations, political parties and racist country clubs.

    The biggest problem IMO in these terribly polarized days is that there is
    no longer any possibility of Problem-solving. Unions or political parties can no longer be up-graded, fine-tuned or have any chance of de-corrupting once corruption sets in.
    We’re now in a position of All or Nothing, so the Unions MUST be deified, white-washed as Innocent Victims (rather than systems that maybe could have used a bit of honest self-reflection and tweaking) and so forth. I never was into Cheer-leading and dewy-eyed Team Spirit in High school. I’m not now either.
    AFSCME wanted me dead, in the most flaming manner possible, many members let me know to my face because I was less scary than the man who hired me and was actually making decisions and they could go home “feeling like a man” and like they had really “stood up” –
    they did not want to “represent me”. Period.

  2. But as you yourself acknowledge you represented some future selves of greatly reduced pay. no benefits, and no representation. The unions actions in that sense seem very rational.

    My point was definitely not sainthood by any any means. It was unions are workers only means of a voice and vote in the workplace. Something you articulated rather well in your example.

    Just as our electoral system has problems so do many unions. We, ok some right wingers on Fox, generally do not argue the solution is to get rid of our right to vote. Unions – some better some worse – fulfill or should that in the work place.

    Like or not you were put in the position of scab proper and I really can’t fault union members too much on how they responded. Its hard to be nice to someone whose “true job” – from the employer perspective – is to put cracks and eventually break the union.

    That must have been a very uncomfortable situation to be in.

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