This Looks Familiar

I read today that many teachers in Michigan are calling in “sick” today to protest the right to work legislation pending. This has caused many schools to close, causing parents to miss work, and/or to have to find alternate care for their children.

I remember when the unions did their big stink here in Madison last year, and the teachers did the same thing. I suggested at that time that we call it what it really was – a Wildcat Strike. I don’t know what the laws are in Michigan, but I am willing to wager that this is also a Wildcat Strike.

I am sure it will be drum circle time, tell us what democracy looks like chants, hey hey, ho ho, and all that. Have fun Michigan and don’t worry. They will all go away soon.

22 thoughts on “This Looks Familiar”

  1. The issue of this type “job action” is bad enough, but imagine the damage being done in the class room to the children every day they actually show up to “teach”. This is where we are losing our future.


  2. Delusional history, delusional present. Heard a protestor on the news this morning – this isn’t about jobs, he said, there will always be jobs. Yeah, sure, so yesterday a Detroit battery company goes under & may be sold to China; average house price in Detroit is $10,000; Detroit’s lost over 1/2 of its population in the last thirty or forty years. So, there will always be jobs?

    And what goes on in these people’s classes? Why do none of my students know about the Gulags, the show trials, the . . . well, they aren’t teaching them these in part because connections might be made in some students’ minds.

  3. They are duplicating the British Coal Miners, and they’re going to end up the same way. At least coal has value.

    Good Riddance.

    Of course they don’t know about the USSR, the Gulags, or even the Cold War. And those are educated kids.

    Who sense by the way they’re being lied to…

  4. Who sense by the way they’re being lied to…

    Well so did those OWS kids, correctly, but fat lot of good it did them.

    General cynicism is a good starting point for not getting snookered, but if you don’t know where to start looking for the McGuffin cynicism’s no better than general paranoia.

  5. The public is prepared to accept industrial unions and craft unions but public employee unions are dragging the whole concept down with them. I personally am in favor of craft unions which include apprenticeships, as they do in Germany. I am less sanguine about industrial unions like the Teamsters or the UAW. They go too powerful and have still not learned their lesson. The ports of LA and LOng Beach were shut down for ten days recently by an 800 member union of clerks. They had a longer shutdown a few years ago that succeeded in building the port of Ensenada, Mexico. If Mexico could get control of the drug cartels and stop the violence, the port of Ensenada would grow rapidly. The strike a few years ago was because the shippers and port authority wanted to use GPS devices to identify and shift containers instead of using clerks to climb around the containers and write down the numbers. That strike went on for weeks and cost billions. This short strike led to the loss of ten ships from the port which shifted to other ports.

    That is the behavior that has discredited unions. The British coal miners were even worse but they were more like the public employee unions of today. Ironically, the coal miners have acquired their most serious enemy on the left; the enviros.

  6. Public-employee unions are a whole different thing than industrial & craft unions. If GM management and GM union wanted to raise their costs to an unsustainable level, then people have other alternatives (and wouldn’t have had to pay for GM’s collective folly, absent government bailout.) Even if the Teamsters shut down LA and Long Beach, container freight can go to a Mexican or Canadian port and follow a somewhat more circuitous rail route to get to market. But when it comes to government functions, there either aren’t any alternatives (police, fire, air traffic control), or they involve paying twice for the same service (schools.)

    I believe FDR expressed the view that public employee unions should not be permitted.

  7. Unions killed San Francisco as a port facility – the old docks there – empty except for an occasional cruise ship.

    I have read on more than one occasion that there is some enmity between the craft (and industrial) unions and the public employee unions.

    You are right about Ensenada Michael. But the crime – heck even with I lived in San Diego in the early 80s – we went to Ensenada to see ‘La Bufedora” – they had armed guards with sub machine guns guarding the touristas from the bandiditos – it was a bit disconcerting, to say the least, while I was eating my taco.

  8. I used to go to Ensenada several times a year, not to mention the annual race from Newport Beach. I sailed that race 30 times or more. I knew people in Ensenada and we used to get patients from there. It is tragic what the drug cartels have done The prt unions in LA have no concept of competition., The guy whose sailboat was next to mine in the marina 20 years ago was a retired longshoreman. I could not have afforded his boat.

    I would love to see Ensenada grow but the drug cartels scare me out of going to Mexico at all. I would fly to Puerto
    Vallarta but would never try to drive in Mexico.

    It is amusing to see posts on the “Pure Michigan” facebook page that are recommending a boycott of the state because of the right to work law. The lefties haven’t figured out that the right supports their boycott because of the union goons.

  9. Not to highjack this thread from it’s original subject, but regarding the recent strike in the LA/Long Beach ports (which is did not get as much national exposure as I would’ve thought it would), I suspect this is the last hurrah of organized labor for the west coast ports. Things may get rough soon.

    The Panama Canal is in the midst of substantial expansion/dredging which will allow more and greater container ships to bypass California entirely. Norfolk Virginia is already turnkey ready and other eastern seaboard ports are expected to expand for the increased container traffic.

    The losers of this shift, other than the west coast port workers are the transcontinental railroads and long haul truckers as asian manufactured goods go directly to the eastern US population centers.

  10. “I believe FDR expressed the view that public employee unions should not be permitted.” – David Foster


    “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
    Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.”

  11. Jason…re the expanded Panama Canal…there’s still going to be about a 1-week advantage in transit time for the west-coast-port-then-train-or-truck route, though, owing to the higher speeds of land vs sea transport.

  12. “The Panama Canal is in the midst of substantial expansion/dredging which will allow more and greater container ships to bypass California entirely. Norfolk Virginia is already turnkey ready and other eastern seaboard ports are expected to expand for the increased container traffic.”

    Why would anyone expect union thugs (a synonym for officers) to know about things like Panama canal expansion ? They are concerned with the welfare of the older members who are concerned with medical and pension benefits. No union official worth his pension and double dipping expects this to go on until the younger workers can benefit. This is all about the elderly union members.

  13. @Michael Kennedy – you just hit the nail on the head. All of these union protests aren’t about anything but the current and older union members keeping what they have/getting more. I hate calling it a Ponzi scheme because that seems sort of cliche these days but the men and women who have “put in their time” can’t get fired and have massive benefits that the younger union members can’t even dream of and won’t have to worry about, the way things are going.

    During all of the protests here in Wisconsin and from what I have seen in Michigan, there are never any SOLUTIONS or anyone even pretending that the union product is BETTER or more COMPETITIVE. It is always “this is always how it has been” and things of that nature.

  14. Does it matter whether the teachers show up for work? They don’t seem to be accomplishing much anyway.

    “Detroit public-school eighth graders do even worse in math than they do in reading, according to the Department of Education. While only 7 percent scored highly enough on the department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress test in 2011 to be rated “proficient” or better in reading, only 4 percent scored highly enough to be rated “proficient” or better in math.

    Statewide in Michigan, only 32 percent of public-school eighth graders scored grade-level proficient or better in reading, and only 31 percent scored grade-level proficient or better in math.”

    How pathetic is that? How disgraceful is that?

  15. In the LA Times this morning there is a rant by a labor lawyer about the Michigan protests. Reading the headline, I thought he might be commenting on the threats and violence. Nope. It is about the law itself.

    LANSING, Mich. — I’m a 60-year-old lawyer and part-time law professor. Chanting slogans is not my preferred method of discourse. But on Tuesday, I was in the streets of Lansing marching and chanting myself hoarse.

    I make my living as a labor arbitrator. I’ve spent the last 20 years sitting as a neutral third party in disputes between employers and unions. It is an adversarial system, and discussions are often heated. But the system works because the parties meet as equals. It wouldn’t work if either party were able to dominate. And now that balance is being threatened.

    I wonder if he was the arbitrator who reinstated the Chrysler workers who had been fired for drinking and smoking pot on their lunch hour ? The video by a local TV station was “not sufficient evidence.” He doesn’t sound very “neutral” to me.

    This was a sneaky, cynical, backdoor, lame-duck gimmick. If these bills are enacted, the labor movement in Michigan will be radically weakened, and capital will be able to further dominate the system.

    It is definitely “sneaky” for an elected legislature to pass a bill and for the governor to sign it. The unions lost their attempt to amend the Michigan constitution last month and should not be surprised at this response. Who elected those Republicans ? Nobody ?

  16. The arbitration system is supposedly neutral, but in practice it is only so if the participants running the case are smart about it. Arbitrators are most often chosen by starting with a panel supplied by the American Arbitration Association, usually of seven arbitrators. Each side then alternately strikes a name off the list until one is left. The best case is to get a panel with 4 of the 7 whom you believe might be sympathetic to your arguments. You determine this by researching published cases that they’ve decided in the past. If there aren’t enough names on the list that are acceptable to you, you can request another panel, up to x number of times, depending on your agreement with the Union. This sounds good, but there are problems with it. Since you want experienced arbitrators with lots of published cases to review, most arbitrators are eliminated right away, so they can’t get experience to be picked. It ends up that there are a small number of arbitrators who get the majority of the work. So what?, you ask. These arbitrators will get knocked of the list it they decide too many cases in favor of Management or the Union, so if you use the same one too often, you are going to get cases decided against you. If an arbitrator decided for me twice, I was reluctant to use him again, no matter what the facts of the case or how good it looked on paper, as there would be a “natural” desire on his part to decide for the Union or at least “split the baby”. I violated this once with an excellent arbitrator in his late 70’s (Joe Stone, who was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials). He didn’t give a damn what anyone thought. I won that 3rd case with him.

    Major companies and Unions often hire an arbitrator who sits for all their cases for the length of their labor agreement ….. Chrysler used to do this (I don’t know about currently). There would seem to be a powerful incentive to “be fair” to both sides and split decisions, assuming the arbitrator wanted to be retained when the renew was negotiated. When I worked at Chrysler (in the dark ages), disciplinary and pay cases disproportionately were decided in favor of the Union, while so-called “Management rights” cases went to the Company, bringing about a pretty even split. The same arbitrator was retained for most all of the 14 years I worked there. Discharged employees were almost always returned to work.

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