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September 01, 2003 - Commentary


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September 01, 2003 - Commentary
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                                                                                                 September 01, 2003


                     Labor Day Reflections: Big Business, Beware of Big Union!




Let me start off by saying I hope everyone is enjoying this long weekend.  I know I have so far, and hope to continue enjoying it.


The history of Labor Day goes back to the year 1882 where a labor group known as the Knights of Labor held a parade in NYC. By the year 1894 the U.S Congress passed a law officially making the 1st of September Labor Day.[1]  All of this being noted let me now go into the gist of todays commentary.



For many Americans now-a-days, if you say the word corporations the first thoughts that come to mind are;


1)      Greedy

2)      Corrupt

3)      Non-worker Friendly


Yet todays unions are just about as bad. 



Witness how some of the Unions have spent their member's monies.  Much of the funds go to supporting candidates that the membership does not always approve.   In fact according to an op-ed at the Heritage Foundation[2] some 1.27 million dollars were collected by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees of which approximately $400,000 were spent opposing Republican candidates. While this in itself may not seem so unusual consider the fact that that one third of that union's membership went out and actually VOTED for that candidate. It would seem to me that the union does not exactly express the wishes of its entire constituency. 


Another glaring example is the WEA[3] This union's president will earn close to 240,000K this year, the average staff worker for the aforementioned union will earn a bit over 100,000k while the average salary of a teacher nationwide is around 40,000k.  In light of the continually publicized disparities between executives and the workers in the private sector this almost unknown chasm between union leaders and its membership seems rather hypocritical in this writers opinion.


I am reminded here of the United Federation of Teachers.  That union recently moved from its headquarters from one location in NYC to a more pricey location on Park Avenue,[4] leaving behind a good deal of office furniture and equipment, while the very schools that they consistently cry over went without many supplies.  And they say corporations are wasteful!



Gone are the days when the unions fought for decent wages, the closing down sweatshops and ultimately put into place the mechanisms that eventually led to child labor laws. Today instead,  what one finds in their place are huge organizations that in some ways have actually come to mirror the very corporations from which they say they are trying to protect their workers.


On this note I shall leave you. But I also want to leave you with a quote from a friend of mine whose husband  sort of puts Labor Day into an interesting perspective;


     "It used to be that the holidays got in the way of my work, but now working gets in the way of my holidays." Paul S. of Kansas








[1] The information provided by the MSN Learning & Research Page September 1, 2003

[2] see the News & Tidbits page for a link to this article

[3] See the News & Tidbits Page for a link to this article

[4] For more information on this move go to the NY Post Archives page