What is This, Some Kind of Joke?

"A teabagger, a union member, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a dozen cookies. The CEO immediately takes 11 cookies for himself. The CEO then turns to the teabagger and says, 'Watch out for that union guy, he wants part of your cookie."

My friend Allan (the liberal) sent me that joke. And I thought it was kind of funny. Then I heard the punchline.

"The teabagger pulls out his gun and shoots the union member. “Damned socialist,” he states proudly. “The CEO worked hard for those cookies.

Not so funny.

I'm a Union man, as strange as that may seem for a hyper-conservative. I believe in the idea of collective bargaining. I do not believe in my union leadership. But then, I don't believe in my state or federal leadership either.

Yes, at one point (and indeed in many cases still) the CEO worked hard to get all the cookies he has. I respect that. But I want some cookies too, and until I start my own business that means convincing the CEO to give me cookies to do stuff for him.

Now the CEO didn't get to where he is by just giving away his cookies. The board of directors and the stockholders would have his head if he did. And rightly so. And as an individual I have no leverage to get as many cookies as I can for my time and energy. but if I and my co-workers unionize and stand together we are more likely to get what we want instead of getting trod upon by the rich and powerful.

The problem comes in when we (the workers) have to pay people like lawyers and negotiators and set up people to administer the workings of the union. It's almost a universal phenomenon that when given power, the empowered will inevitably use that power for personal gain. The government does it, the corporations do it, and the union heads do it. When we find it we prosecute and we vote in people with (hopefully) more integrity.

Collective bargaining is about the weak standing against the strong. The small against the monolithic, free men against an oppressor. All most union folks want, is to live their lives, raise their kids and work in a relatively safe environment while being paid on par with their skill . You know. Something more than the average burger flipper, which is still more than your average CEO wants to pay us. Would you work with high voltage or up a skyscraper or with toxic substances for minimum wage?

But let me makes myself clear. I do not believe that politicians, bureaucrats or lawyers should have a union. They are not laborers, they are not craftsmen, or builders; they do not produce and provide no usefull services. These are the people that give unions a bad name.

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