Monday, March 16, 2009

In My Opinion, Steve Is "Blowing" It on This One

I probably agree with Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow more often than not, and that includes the bulk of yesterday's column, where he laments the strong-arm tactics of a hotel workers' union that has helped draft an amendment that might well kill the proposed city-owned convention center hotel even if voters were to approve it in May.

But his opening paragraph just had me saying, "No, no, no!" It goes like this:
For some time, I've been thinking the pendulum needs to swing the other way on unions. Their decline has become bad for America.
I couldn't disagree more, Steve.

I've never exactly come out as a fan of unions on this blog (this post pretty much says it all for me, but type "unions" into the search bar at the top of the page and you can skim everything else I've written on the subject as well), but now I have another good reason. As I said a while back, I'm a big fan of doing what the current administration in Washington is not doing, which is growing the productive class, likely at the expense of the unproductive class (and its seamy subsidiary, the parasite class). What's going on in Washington at the moment, with bailouts, the Porkulus bill, etc., has truly defined this conflict for me.

So what's my beef with unions with regard to said conflict? It's simple: They tend to make the productive class a little less so. Between the autoworkers in Detroit who got paid not to work, the people who collect retirement benefits for a longer period of time than they actually spent working, and the people who are getting undeserved perks just for working for a specific amount of time--regardless of quality of work--people in unions may not even be allowed to be as productive as they might like because of union rules. (That's not to mention the union bosses, who have pretty much dropped out of the productive class and become as self-serving and bureaucratic as their counterparts in the federal government. And taking lavish trips on union members' dimes during a recession doesn't help, either.) And for me, it still goes back to that incident in high school, where the meat-wrapper guy at the grocery store griped up a storm because he had to spend 15 seconds scooping potato salad into a plastic tub for my dad and me because nobody else was working near the deli--all because his union contract said he didn't have to. I'm sorry, but any "perk" that involves not helping customers that you are ostensibly here to serve is not a perk that belongs in anyone's contract, union or not.

As for the rest of Blow's column, he rightfully takes the hotel workers' union to task for 1) potentially sabotaging not only this hotel, but also doing something that would dissuade other developers from doing business in Dallas, and 2) doing it in the heavy-handed way that makes so many people dislike unions in the first place. What's wrong with earning a contract to work somewhere on your own merits, as opposed to borderline extortion and thuggery?

Still, I could have done without the puffball intro. Maybe Steve didn't really Blow it, but he sure diluted his message.

Road rant: I'm back from an enjoyable time in Waco, and tomorrow's post will concern a recent state traffic law that I really don't like. Stay tuned.

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