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UNION: ‘Complainers’ paved the way for safe, humane jobs

Letter by William F. Johnston, Tacoma on Feb. 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm with 18 Comments »
February 14, 2011 9:55 am

Re: “Complainers should face reality” (letter, 2-11).

Those union “complainers” at Tacoma General Hospital are just like the union complainers who griped about the 14-hour work day and the 10-year-old kids working in the factories and mines. They probably are the same kind of union members who complained when workers were routinely killed on the job because there were no safety laws. Not only were they complainers but lazy as well because they “demanded” the weekend and holidays off.

I shall side with the “complainers” who have done so much in the past to establish the safe well-paid jobs many of us enjoy today.

Leave a comment Comments → 18
  1. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    I work more than 60 hrs/wk at my day job and another 20 on my weekend job. I work 7 days a week and haven’t had a day off — including holidays — for over a year, so yeah, they’re lazy and they’re complainers.

    Nothing pisses me off more than driving to work and passing by a group of fat, lazy whiners sitting on a lawn chair next to a sign outside their place of employment that reads: “Shame on ____________.” Don’t get me wrong, there needs to child labor laws, but adults ought to be on their own in negotiating with their employers. If the job demands that someone work 14 hours a day or work 7 days a week, the employer will find someone willing to do that work. If the employee is unwilling to work that schedule, then they are too lazy for the market they want to work in.

    With the relative scarcity of open jobs right now, anyone who thinks they have the security to walk out on their employer and then bitch about the conditions is living in a fantasy world. It’s like when grocery employees strike. Do they really think its they’re so highly skilled that the store can’t find someone who is capable of checking and bagging? Right now, nobody is irreplacable.

  2. Pimp, what do you do in your two jobs? I am very comfortable knowing that hospital workers have decent working conditions so that there will not be any mistakes should I need to go there for a visit.
    If you do not deal with the public in a critical manner where it could mean life or death, then you cannot use your own situation as as example.

  3. It is regretful that so many have been brain washed to feel the need to trash Unions. Reading some history about the labor movement, the industrial revolution, even indentured servitude, would be an eye-opener for the uninformed, and perhaps, even for the ignorant.S hall we go back to the British system of “impressing” men into the Navy? Coal Minors working with no safety precautions. 12 and 13 year old girls permanently deafened in the textile mills of Lowell, Mass.? Toeless glass blowers at Corning? Don’t cry about the union when you take advantage of their efforts every day of your life, whether you recognise it ot not. Better to thank the many men and women who have made the workplace safer.

  4. aislander says:

    I agree with Publico and Olemag: these union workers should completely ignore the realities of current economic conditions, and hold out for everything they can get. You know, like the UAW did with Chrysler and GM. I’m sure the Obama administration will bail out THEIR employers, too…

  5. Slickback, if your day employer was a union shop you wouldn’t need to work a second job. 60 hour weeks were common before unions obtained the 40 hour work week.

    Islander, you are so uninformed about unions. The UAW (unlike non-union management) accepted cuts in pay and benefits during the Government assisted reorganization. In addition, public employee unions in Washington have likewise accepted cuts in pay and benefits (again unlike non-union management).

  6. aislander says:

    Sorry, xring, the pay and current benefits are just the tip of a very nasty iceberg. Pension and health-care obligations are where the real money lies. Why do you think the unions want to offload health care to Obamacare (now that they have a major ownership stake in the companies? Nice…)?

  7. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    Publico & xring:

    In my day job I’m a lobbyist. I’m a salaried employee of a government service non-profit. My job is to get legislation passed that saves taxpayers money and makes government more efficient. I work 60+ hrs/wk in that job because I like it, and there’s more than enough work to keep me busy.

    In my weekend job, I wait tables. I don’t need the second job; I just have it for income security, because I’ve been unemployed before, and I’m never going back to that soul-sucking, shame parade called the unemployment office. I understand the need to take that handout, but I will never understand the desire of some people to so readily accept money they didn’t earn. In addition to that, the weekend job helps make ends meet in the lean months while my wife gets her law practice up and running, and it just serves as extra money in those flush months.

    Now, granted, neither of my jobs involves working with the public in a safety-critical role. But what about police, firefighters and doctors?

    Police routinely work 10, 12 & 14 hr shifts, depending on the agency. It’s standard practice for firefighters to work 24 hr shifts. And doctors (at least while they’re residents — the doctors you’re most likely to be seen by at the ER) often work 24-36 hr shifts. Sure, the latter two may get to take naps during their shifts, but not if there’s an emergency. If that’s what the job calls for, and you know that before you even apply, how can you complain about the working conditions?

  8. witchiwoman says:

    APimpnamedSlickback is a salaried government employee? Of a non-profit no less. Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? I didn’t think lobbyists could be government employees.

  9. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    I’m not a government employee. I’m an employee of a government service non-profit. It’s a non-profit organization composed of governmental entities. Registered lobbyists can be employed by governments, they just can’t represent the government they work for, nor can they run for public office they actively lobbied within one year of being on the rolls as a registered lobbyist.

    Still, governmental entities can and do hire both for-profit and non-profit organizations that employ lobbyists; some doing so specifically for the services of the lobbyist, although very few do so just for that purpose. The non-profit I work for provides a number of services to the governments we represent, including staff augmentation, HR, risk management, and continuing education, as well as lobbying.

    When judges, sheriffs, prosecutors and health directors have mandatory continuing education in their professions, we’re the ones that provide it. When a local government can’t afford to maintain it’s own personnel department, we provide those services. When the state sweeps away a local government’s budget for a certain service and they have to lay off half of their workforce providing that service, we fill the gap.

  10. truthbusterguy says:

    Unions are responsible for driving business out of this country. We need a roll back in union influence. Their political bribes to the democrats are leading to corruption in government. It’s a cycle of life that collects dues, pays off Washington to pass laws that help unions so they get reelected and pass more laws to help unions so they give them campaign donations. dizzy yet????

  11. Brilliant for the gop to teach its uneducated rank and file that unions are bad. Unions which provide you with a livable wage and health care and due process.. you know, civilization. Cheap labor republicans ( Reagan devalued labor) sent our jobs overseas NOT the unions. It is stunning to watch these poor exploited people voting consistently against their own best economic interest.

  12. Aisldr, the unions are the tip of the iceberg; the rest of it is the NON-UNION executives and managers. A few years back when Ford wanted their unions to take a major hit on their health/retirement packages, it came out that 80% of Fords payout in both areas when to NON-UNION executives and managers.

    TBG, back in the 50’s private sector union membership was about 45% and the US was the major manufacturing country in the world. Now membership is below 9% and the US is no longer a major manufacturing country. IMO it’s the MBA’s that have destroyed our manufacturing ability.

  13. In the beginning, what unions did to protect children and to prohibit gross misconduct in the workplace was noble. The unions have changed a lot.
    In some cases, one finds pools of employees more vigilant about their work conditions and whether or not thistas or that one is “in their job description” than they are about doing their job well. It’sthis behavior that has earned them unsavory labels such as whiners and complainers.

    Dedicated workers often spend many hours “beyond the call of duty” to do the best job possible. They always have. Sure they want reasonable pay for their services, but it’s not what drives them. Not the good ones anyway.

  14. that should read “this task or that one is in their job description.” I think someone got jelly on my keyboard!

  15. aislander says:

    sue1234 writes: “Brilliant for the gop to teach its uneducated rank and file that unions are bad. Unions which provide you with a livable wage and health care and due process.”

    I love being patronized by an idiot. So…sue…these unions take those wages and benefits out of their own coffers, do they? And you do know that the result of that “due process” is teachers accused of pedophilia in New York sitting all day in “rubber rooms,” drawing full salary because they can’t be fired? Go somewhere and screw up someone else’s country–this one’s almost beyond salvation…

  16. Sozo, false dichotomy, you are implying that all union workers are not dedicated, but all non-union workers are dedicated ‘beyond the call of duty’.

    Isldr, it is the unions that made American the great, and it is the greedy, incompetent MBA managers that are destroying it. Accused does not mean guilty; if there were evidence that a teacher was a pedophile they would be terminated before that got to jail.

  17. TSkidmore says:

    Reading remarks like “Pimp” (whats that all about) – he would not have to move far to justify slavery….oh- wait – “Pimps” are slave masters aren’t they….easy to see where this anti-union bozo comes from.

  18. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    “My name is ‘APimpNamedSlickback';” and it’s just a stupid name. No better or worse, or more revealing than anyone else’s sn here. Ever seen The Boondocks?

    And are you really equating an at-will employee voluntarily choosing to work in a particular environment to human beings owning other human beings???

    If that was just a poorly constructed thought in your head that somehow managed its way down the tips of your fingers and onto the keyboard, then no worries, most of us here have had those days. If, on the other hand, that was a genuine attempt to join the debate, then go back to the kids’ table and practice on them.

    Really??? Calling me a slavery proponent?… Isn’t this some form of Godwin’s Law?

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