Definitions Are Important

The people of Wisconsin are still protesting.  They are still mad as hell at their governor for trying to foist this fake “cut collective bargaining to fix the budget” crap on them.  If he was actually trying to fix the budget, he would have fixed it by now.  But I think everyone knows that he wasn’t trying to do that.  He just has this innate republican hate of unions, brought about by a lack of understanding of them.  So I think what he and his cronies need is a little dictionary lesson about what unions are.

There are a boatload of dictionary terms dealing with everything from mathematics to textiles to medicine, but for the purposes outlined above I’ll go with this definition  4.  a number of persons, states, etc., joined or associated together for some common purpose.   It makes the point eloquently that unions are not there for the benefit of fat cat union leaders (what makes them fat cats, and the Walker not a fat cat I cannot tell) but for the benefits of the entire group of people.

But the IUOE has an even clearer definition.

A union is workers joining together to pursue policies and goals beneficial to one and all. Nothing more, nothing less. In other words, a union is you and your fellow workers, acting in concert to better your everyday working conditions.

It goes on to say that the union is there to give a voice to workers, and that unions are an alternative to working under unacceptable conditions and suffering in silence in the workplace.  It gives workers the right to change work conditions should they need it.

Cribbed a bit of that from the IUOE site, but the cribbing is worth the effort.  The site goes on to explain the basics about union elections, union dues, and not that hyperbolic crap that the right would have you believe about dues either, and strikes, noting that most workplace negotiations never get to the point where members feel the need to strike.

That kind of information never seems to make it out to the right political fringe of this great nation.


Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain, or freed a human soul.

Mark Twain


Viddy of the day: Cornel West on Philosophy and the Funk of Disappointment


And maybe we need to look just for half a second at what exactly collective bargaining is, and how it works.  Ok, maybe a little more than ½ a sec. 

But not that much more.

According to Cornell University Law School,

“Collective bargaining consists of negotiations between an employer and a group of employees so as to determine the conditions of employment.”

Now, tell me, what exactly is nefarious and nasty there?  Why try to destroy that? The only reason I can think of is political.  Destroy it so that the employer has the upper hand in all dealings with all employees, because if they have to deal with them as equals, they might lose, and the employees might make more money, and do better for themselves, and make their communities stronger for it.

This clearly is not in the best interests of business, whose sole interest is their own financial strength and security.


Final point, and a really quick one.  In this Wisconsin/Ohio/Indiana union fight over collective bargaining rights, one thing has not, at least so far as I can tell, been brought up.  There is federal law regarding collective bargaining, correct?  Does not federal law always trump state law where federal and state laws overlap?  Doesn’t section II article VI of the constitution have any bearing here?  That’s one point I’d like to hear spoken of. 


That’s about it from here, America. Have a good night.

minor department of redundancy department edit 3/8/11


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