Debunking A Union-Hating, Walker-Loving Columnist

Scott Walker ABC This Week

Another syndicated scribe has taken to slashing and burning unions. He’s a Tribune News Service columnist. With apologies to the intrepid Carrie Nation, I’ll call him “Hatchet-Man” (HM). He wrote a lengthy piece, laughingly titled “Unions don’t like concept of fair play.” His name isn’t important. [Editor’s note: The author’s name is Jay Ambrose.] Just another highly paid, right-wing propagandist.

The guy groveled at the feet of Governor and would-be seeker of the Republican presidential nomination, Scott Walker. Walker is yet another Koch addict who has managed to turn Wisconsin into a Right-to-Work (RTW) state. In currying the favor of Walker and union-busters everywhere, the “columnist” wielded his ink-stained hatchet with a mean-spirited, misleading and largely erroneous take on today’s unions.

It’s not that I’m particularly concerned that one of my favorite institutions is being attacked. Whack away! I am equally unconcerned about my right to set things straight. That’s what I do for PoliticusUSA. Let’s agree on one thing, shall we? If you didn’t want a union shop and yet, somehow, one managed to squirm its way into your company in a RTW state, you should be paid non-union wages and benefits and the union members should be paid union wages and benefits. I mean we all want “fair play”, right? No? You don’t want to pay dues, but you expect all the moolah and benefits? Whatta leech! The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the weekly wage numbers for non-union workers at 79% of union workers.

Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), is also a Hatchet-Man target. Ms. Weingarten was quoted by a Wisconsin online news service uttering this pithy and dead-on observation, “If you want good jobs, then you must stand up for the workers who hold them. If you want a strong middle class, then you can’t take out the unions that built them. If you want higher wages, then workers need a voice.” Certainly sounds reasonable to reasonable people.

In his response, HM insists Walker neither reduced jobs nor hurt the middle class and, by golly, he did give the workers a voice and an extension of rights. As for the latter, I’ve already identified the so-called anti-union parasite’s “rights.”

HM must be highly clairvoyant considering Walker just signed the enabling legislation a few days ago. But, if the other 24 right-to-work states are any guide, the bill will create deep resentments (as intended) within the workplace and will do great harm to the middle class when major corporations continue bringing in their union-busters who make huge money by using deceit and lies to keep unions from darkening corporate doors. As for not reducing jobs, it may surprise you that RTW has been around since 1947. Most RTW states have had the law on the books for more than 30 years, so there’s a body of evidence to debunk the suggestion that the job picture will suddenly become rosy.

The inestimably valuable Economic Policy Institute (EPI) did a comprehensive study on the subject and discovered that all RTW states did not experience employment growth after passing the legislation. Oklahoma was given as an example where manufacturing and relocation reversed their upward trend and went the other way. In rebuttal, RTW, as all rogues invariably do, messed with some numbers.

The National Right to Work Committee asserted that non-agricultural employment in RTW states averaged growth that was twice as fast as in non-RTW states. The declaration is true with an asterisk. These stats are based on “average” instead of “median” figures. Average is when you lump all the numbers together and divide them by the number of participants. In salary averages for instance, if a couple of people earn a million a year and the rest of the included workers make $7,000 a year, depending on numbers, the “average” could be as high as $50,000, when the overwhelming percentage of participants make around 7K.

Median is a much more objective figure. In median household income for example, one-half of households are below the median; one-half above. In the RTW case, some states did, indeed, go crazy with employment increases (most not related to RTW, by the way), while others tumbled into the abyss. But with “averages” the RTW Committee managed to make the numbers look like every RTW state benefited. That was clearly not true.

And for you non-union, non-thinkers, virtually all states are “at will” states, meaning you can be fired if the boss doesn’t like the way you part your hair. Union members can only be fired for “just cause.”

A still worthy, timeless read on the subject is the 1993 tell-all non-fiction work, “Confessions of a Union Buster” by reformed buster, Martin J. Levitt. He tells all the inside secrets of how he was able to build up a sterling record of successfully keeping unions out of all but 5 of roughly 250 union-hating, filthy rich corporations. It’s still available on Amazon. There are also Levitt interviews on YouTube.

Levitt was predictably attacked by the anti-union hacks as a liar, cheat and fraud in revealing how the ‘kill unions’ game was, and still is, played. Let’s concede their point. It still doesn’t change the nature of his job.

HM then went on to decry Weingarten’s outrageous salary of $375,174 PLUS $182,701 in expenses. Why, that’s over a half-mil a year! Now, let’s do a little comparison shopping here. Let’s start with the average compensation for the CEO’s of the Fortune 500 list, union-busters included. TEN MILLION big ones annually and I would dare say there are many hundreds more, maybe even thousands, of upper management types that far outdistance 500 grand. Hell, Salon reports that in 2012, David Koch made $3 million an HOUR in investments alone.

HM was thrilled that an earlier bill signed by the governor allowed teachers to drop out of their unions. A third of them did (Brains, A; judgment, F.) Be that stupid, but don’t irreparably harm your fellow teachers in the process. This bit of news served as an entrée into the issue of a United Federation of Schools (UFS) charter school that failed miserably in Brooklyn. There’s no challenging the fact that the school was an embarrassing disappointment, especially since it was the brainchild of a teacher’s union.

A Wall Street Journal article quoted a former teacher as saying that the UFS Charter School, was an exciting place to work with an exceptional and carefully chosen faculty, a high degree of enthusiasm and a promising student body.” The core reason for the downhill slide was the loss of the best teachers who had an agreement with the public schools that they could retain tenure if they returned after 3 years. That’s when the slide started.

Of course, other charters and private schools can cherry-pick the best and brightest and expel the troublemakers. Forbes cited a Washington DC charter expulsion rate 28 times greater than DC public schools. And there’s the matter of accountability. Still, charter schools manage to trail public schools in numerous categories. Forbes cited for-profit charter numbers from a 26-state Stanford study that charter reading scores were about the same and math scores were worse.

Huge charter money goes to mostly Republican legislators who are bent on destroying the public system.

So there’s your column as it should have been written.

13 Replies to “Debunking A Union-Hating, Walker-Loving Columnist”

  1. I’m in Texas. A RTW state.

    Wisconsin is probably thinking about that failed recall by now.

    Oh, well.

    Welcome, Wisconsin, to the Republicans’ mad tea party.

  2. The White Supremacist Origin of Right to Work Laws
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Vance Muse is the founding father of the right to work movement. Not surprisingly, he was also a virulent racist, saying, among other things about unions:

    “From now on, white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes whom they will have to call ‘brother’ or lose their jobs.”

    As “Right To Work” becomes law in Wisconsin, a reminder of its inventor’s racist past

  3. When somebody refers to the right to work, it should be combatted with the actual meaning: “the right to work for less!!!!”
    I can’t understand how Scott walker was reelected over and over! He is a puppet for the Koch brothers, trying to destroy unions and our government, turning everything into private for profit. Their belief system is “profit before people”….

  4. I was pretty baffled that he’d won the recall, too. I mean, the lame excuse that the Democrat didn’t run a stronger campaign is inside-belt-way propaganda. Scott Walker-Koch was hurting Wisconsinites before that so any worker, any union worker, would have been chomping at the bit to get rid of this bought-and-paid-for Koch-puppet.

    Yet…he somehow still won thanks, for the most part, to voting machines with owners that have strong ties to the GOP. The election results contradicted the exit polling data by a huge margin.

  5. What RTW actually means is that people will have the freedom to pay or not pay union dues. When an individual sees his dues money going to candidates he does not like and will not vote for without a say in the matter, he has a right to get upset. If he lives in a RTW state he can express his displeasure by dropping out of the union or never joining the union.

    Unions, particularly public employee unions, have become bloated, corrupt, undemocratic organizations. They support one party for a reason. Money. They want the politicians to take taxpayer money and give it to them. This relationship is bankrupting communities all across the country. A line has to be drawn. Our country’s taxpayers cannot afford to keep giving more and more resources to people that work for the government. We have almost reached a dangerous tipping point where union members hold a balance of power in government. They can elect people who will give them more and more money and they in turn give it bac…

  6. In the Red States- the middle class suffers and the Welfare Queens- turn out to be mostly white.

    In fact just about every red state- takes in more government money than it pays out.


    The Republican War on the Middle Class- is successful.

  7. As their hero the Gipper once said “Facts are stupid things.”

    (I remember you from Addicting Info from years ago, Moongrim. Welcome. I’m glad you’re here.)

  8. A worker in a union shop does not have to belong to the union altho they do have to pay union dues. They may also opt out of paying those dues used for political activities.

    “In Communications Workers of America v. Beck (1988) the Supreme Court ruled that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) restricted unions from collecting dues for political activities if a union member chooses to opt out. The required dues can only be used for collective-bargaining and other representational activities.”

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