Crime, Unions, etc.

Richard Swerdlin swerdlin at GTE.NET
Mon Aug 18 15:48:03 MDT 1997


----------
> From: John Bush
> Subject: Re: Crime, Unions, etc.
> Date: Friday, August 15, 1997 12:39
>
> On Thu, 14 Aug 1997, Richard Swerdlin wrote:
>
> >         The existence of governmental mechanisms for assistance in
> > promoting a solution, does not negate the added flexibility reflected
in
> > private ones.
> That is not what I was talking about.  Government regulates business
> environments to prevent hazardous workplaces.  They prevent slave
> like labor.  That is what labor unions were formed to do.  All of the
> current functions of labor unions have nothing to do with their
> original goals.
>
> >         Life is not static.  If certain unions have created a gap
between
> > members and officials, they are likely to wither in time.  The extent
of
> > such a gap however is not always easy to measure.  No organization can
be
> > all things to all members.
> And they are withering on the vine.  What are we down to now, 15%
> union membership?  Even less?  Unions are dying all around us, and
> the others ought to go quickly and quietly...before they do too much
> more damage to UPS and its employees.
>
> >         Here in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, there are unions or
> > organizations with members being police officers, firefighters, etc.
While
> > not  angelic, they do serve to make top brass think twice about
arbitrary
> > actions.  This seems to reflect a "checks & balances" notion.
> Whatever.  I'm in the DFW area as well, and have not heard of any
> such organization making a substantive difference.  The only ones
> that can do that force union membership and are run by goons and
> thugs.
>
> >         I myself have never been a "union" member, but I have belonged
to
> > various "associations".  These associations have been useful in
securing
> > better conditions for teachers & students.  They have made state
> > legislators more aware of educational problems.
> >
> >         Crime knows few limits.  It should be countered, wherever it
> > occurs,
> > whether it be blue-collar or white-collar in nature.
> And how does opposing unions fit into this?
>
> >          My reference earlier to the November election results merely
> > reflects the idea that it is time to move on.  Handwringing
accomplishes
> > little.  I did not become ill over the results of previous presidential
> > elections, even though my vote may have gone to a losing candidate.
Over
> > the years I have paid little attention to campaign rhetoric, which
tries to
> > give the impression that every election is a Great Divide.  It has been
> > comparable to the reaction of a judge who often hears that "this
particular
> > case" is the "most heinous" one in the county.  Not surprisingly, I
have
> > not been impressed with claims of "mandates" by winners.
> While I will agree that it is time to move on, I believe the move
> should be quickly away from unions...period.
===============================================
REPLY
===============================================
JB:

        Unions or comparable associations have been involved in aspects of
work, which rightfully transcend the element of salary.  Work week,
benefits, safety, etc. are also of concern.  Contracts are likely to
contain work rules or procedures for handling problems that arise on the
job.

        In line with the above, a worker does not have much influence, when
standing alone.  That influence is commonly boosted by joining a suitable
group.  Relevant phrases are two key ones: divide & conquer;
and, in unity there is strength.

        The above also applies to various white-collar situations.  The
Ohio Education Association did well to investigate problems in that state.
It was interesting how the Cincinnati ISD thought elementary women teachers
should leave after a given month of pregnancy.  Apparently the sight of a
bulging belly would have been too much for pupils to take.  The OEA thought
differently.  Let the teacher make the decision to resign.  The same school
district tried to discourage handicapped teachers from working.  In one
case it was a matter of a teacher minus a few fingers.  In court contests
the disrict was unable to show that pupils would be shortchanged by less
than "normal" physical conditions.

        In the Denton-Dallas-Ft. Worth "Golden Triangle" (as dubbed by the
chambers of commerce).  There are unfortunately various squabbles involving
relations in law enforcement departments, fire departments, etc.
Again, an employee standing alone is in a weaker position to counter a
charge, than one who belongs to an association.  This makes it more
feasible to obtain good legal counsel.  This makes it easier to maintain a
more positive image.

        Chief Windham (Ft. Worth) has been in a series of personnel
squabbles.  A few weeks ago a reporter mentioned that there had been over
two dozen instances in which suspended or fired employees had been
reinstated by the Civil Service Review Commission.  This suggests that
there remains a need for adequate representation of interests by concerned
parties.  Chief Windham also recently made negative remarks about "many"
officers not doing their job properly.  Perhaps Windham is
right.  Perhaps he is wrong.  A compunding element in Winham's situation
has been the squabble over the attempt of Windham's son-in-law to obtain
employment as a police officer.  Currently the commission is holding
sessions to decide whether or not Windham used undue pressure
to secure a position for his son-in-law.  While several examiners had
rejected the son-in-law's application, they were overridden by a superior
officer.  Relatedly, some Ft. Worth officers claim they were punished for
not supporting the application.  Suffice it to say, Solomon may be needed
to resolve this human relations mess in the police department.

        Here in Denton, there had been a move to close the central fire
station, located downtown.  This surprised me, since there had been some
bad fires downtown.  As a group, firefighters promoted the retention of the
central fire station.  They succeeded in boosting support for same, even
though there was a tight budget municipally.

         In all of the above, there is obviously an individual interest.
However there is also a public or community interest.  The existence of
various associations does serve, to a point, the notion of checks/balances.


         Corruption in labor unions gave many a black eye.  The government
probably could have acted sooner in prosecuting criminals in the labor
movement.  In that basic spirit I had mentioned that crime needs to be
countered, whether it occurs in the ranks of employers or employees.

          Unions or associations were not created by the mere writing of
pamphlets or manifestos.  They were responses to conditions.  While times
change, various problems remain.  On this pragmatic basis, I doubt that
unions will disappear.

Sincerely,
Richard Swerdlin
(swerdlin at gte.net)



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