Sunday, February 20, 2011

Advocacy

From Dictionary.Com, here is the definition of the verb, advocate:

-to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers.

The word, by its very definition, suggests there are opposing stances that must be reconciled in some way. This also suggests that there are two interested parties with two different viewpoints, on how to find a solution to a problem.

Many times the relationship of the two parties is not an equal one, meaning one side has power and control while the other side must adhere to the one in authority. The one that must submit will sometimes, seek a more egalitarian approach to the relationship. If the side that has power relents and cedes some of it to the other, it often leads to the desire of the weaker one to obtain more. If this is done enough times, they may eventually seek to completely subvert the one in authority and assert themselves into complete control.

This principle can be applied to many different situations and issues.

Let's look at one issue, which is one being followed closely right now....the standoff at the state capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. But first let's look at a little history.

The 2010 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race was won by the Republican Scott Walker with 52% of the vote, over the Democratic candidate Tom Barrett with 46%. Walker was the Milwaukee County Executive and Barrett is the Mayor of the city of Milwaukee.

I am not well informed on the fine details of this race, because I do not live in Wisconsin. But I do know that the state has historically been a hotbed of progressive ideology due to strong union activity and the influence of University of Wisconsin-Madison. I also know that it is also the home state of an early 20th century progressive leader, Robert LaFollette Sr, who was originally a Republican but later helped form the 1924 version of the Progressive Party.

So it's easy to see why progressivism is deeply embedded into the psyches of many people in this state. In fact, I think it can be safely said that it is a cultural tradition, passed on from generation to generation. For this reason alone, the location is quite symbolic.

Now here comes Scott Walker--campaigning on fiscal responsibility, spending cuts, and mathematical realities. Like many others doing the same thing in other states, he wins the election. Then, he looks at the books he has inherited from an unpopular Democratic governor (Jim Doyle) who was once a teacher and later a trial lawyer. Both professions have a very strong symbiotic affinity for unions. So as you may guess, for the eight years he was in office he let the union write its own ticket.

At one time many years ago, some unions had purpose. They were advocates for people who badly needed them. They were once a necessary entity back when child labor laws were sorely needed, when corporate interests were served by heavy exploitation of workers. Ten year old boys were working in coal mines under dangerous conditions, because the parents couldn't make a living wage otherwise. Families were dependent on their children's incomes so much so that they were compelled to risk their safety, while the corporate fat cats were living well and educating their children.

But now, the unions have become parasites. They only exist to make their leadership rich. They do it by making workers believe that they are not getting their fair share of the pie, and deserve more. They do this in a time when, we have labor laws and minimum wages.

Auto workers and steel workers are but two examples of unions laborers who have secured great wages and benefits over the years. They make living wages better than or equal to some educated professionals. Historically, the UAW and USW are two powerful unions that have used coercion and strong-armed tactics over the years to secure those perks. And they have used the same tactics to usurp much of the authority from management and ownership.

But while these unions are as rough as any Gambino mobster, they do not wreak nearly as much havoc and cause nearly as much damage to our society as the public service unions do. One example is the teachers union. It is directly responsible for the dumbing down of America, it is directly responsible for educating the masses to believe that unions are there for the workers. They have taught multiple generations that without the unions, workers were without advocacy.

The other unions I mentioned are those who fight their battles within the realm of the private sector. The result of their greed and thuggery is pricing American products right out of the market. Why else would the bulk of textiles now come from overseas? Who wants to pay $200 for a pair of jeans and $60 for a tee-shirt to wear with them?

But public service unions like the NEA and the AFT suck their blood directly off of the taxpayers. And when politicians are in bed with these leeches, those unions use classical conditioning to make their members believe that they need union representation to protect them from the greedy taxpayers, many of whom are barely making it in this poor economy. This only serves to create a sense of entitlement among the teachers, they feel as if they are owed this because the union tells them this.

Keep in mind that these are educated professionals, many of them with Masters Degrees. They are not GED forklift operators we are talking about, they are people we have entrusted to educate our children and grandchildren. And they act like we owe them the world.

The bottom line here is simple.

Unions are dying off and the leaderships of these organizations know it. They know that if they make the kind of concessions Gov. Walker and the GOP-led legislature are proposing, they will be weaker than they have already become.

They want the public to believe that it will be grievous for teachers and other public service employees to contribute to their own healthcare and retirement, like we all must do. They want us all to believe that they are the only advocates capable of defending the jobs and reputations, of these civil servants.

But I say they aren't advocating for them at all. Because if they were, they'd be trying to save the jobs of those will most certainly be laid off, if these concessions are not agreed to in this proposal.

The state is broke and headed for a California and Illinois kind of fiscal meltdown, if something doesn't give. The Governor is not trying to bust the union, he is trying to save jobs of people who will not have them next month, or next school year.

If it were me, I would bust them up. Because I do not think union bosses (who produce nothing of any real marketable value) should be getting taxpayer money, for any reason at all. But out of the kindness of Gov. Walker's heart, he is only asking that the benefits be exempt from collective bargaining. They will still be allowed to (ahem) "advocate" for the workers on salaries and wages.

So be ye not deceived here. They are going to lie endlessly to persuade the dumb masses, into believing that they are there for those who cannot (ahem) "advocate" for themselves. But I say, the best advocate for a worker is the worker. If he/she shows up everyday and commits himself/herself to doing a good job for those who sign the paychecks, he/she becomes an asset to the company or whatever entity they work for.

Management has a responsibility too. If they have workers who they see are valuable assets to the organization, it would be wise to work hard to retain those people by keeping them happy. Too many times in a down economy, we hear employers tell workers they should be thankful they have jobs, so get to work and shut up.

Management and labor need each other, so it is wise to have the ability to work towards the best interests of the organization as a whole. When that happens, everyone wins. In tough times, however, all sides must be willing to sacrifice something to maintain stability and solvency.

In the case of the Wisconsin public service unions, they are not advocating anything of the sort. They would rather see jobs lost, they would rather have taxes raised on the private sector citizens, than give one little inch for the greater good of the citizenry.

4 comments:

Chuck said...

For years I have found it fascinating that union leaders dig in their heels and refuse to give concessions at the risk of losing jobs.

LASunsett said...

It does boggle the mind. But even more surprising, the rank and file will support that stance.

Catherine Barry said...

About 2 or 3 years ago someone showed me a website where Soros recruited for pay, protesters to protest President Bush. He recruited, paid, trained in the Alinsky tactics and transported them... pretty sweet deal for a lazy lib who doesn't like working a real job. I just wonder when I see all the protesters in the capitol, are there really that many morons in Wisconsin who don't understand what "Broke" means, or are a bunch of them "professionals" bused in from out of state?

LASunsett said...

//I just wonder when I see all the protesters in the capitol, are there really that many morons in Wisconsin who don't understand what "Broke" means, or are a bunch of them "professionals" bused in from out of state?//

IMHO, I think it's mostly out of state troublemakers with no other purpose in life right now. With unemployment so high, there is probably an ample supply of people who are willing to take the pay + expenses to move around and do this. That is not to say there are locals, but the more people are presented the more intense it looks for the cameras for swaying public opinion.

And....they are probably getting paid under the table. Unemployment and tax free supplement isn't a bad gig to produce nothing and live in a party atmosphere.