Accentuating the Extremity

Bob Kerr sounds a familiar argument, although I find it no more persuasive in print than in pixels:

I know as well as any keen observer that labor unions cause hair loss, teen pregnancy, sexual dysfunction, adolescent obesity and poor gas mileage.
I have heard repeatedly from the dashboard sages how unions are plotting to make a mess of darn near everything, with the possible exception of the union hall and the detailing on the expensive imports all union bosses drive.

It’s no more persuasive when the writer provides his name, but at least the reader knows from whom it’s coming.

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George Elbow
George Elbow
15 years ago

Bob Kerr writes that “Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst “slammed the judicial brakes on Governor Carcieri’s plans to hit some state employees with heavier health-care costs.”
What a dope.
I guess it is OK in Bob Kerr’s eyes that the TAXPAYERS take the “hit” for the ever increasing cost of the state employees’ healthcare.
Is it not enough that Taxpayers have to take the “hit” on their own healthcare? Is it really fair that we have to take the hit on Union member’s healthcare too? How about we all pay our own F’ing way?
Kerr’s argument is like that of those who say white men TODAY should hang their heads in shame for the sins of slavery committed generations ago.
[The rest of the comment deleted for (1) language and (2) failure to comply with previously requested boundaries. We weren’t kidding, George. You make a good point, why undermine it with boilerplate that we’ve all seen again and again? — JK]

15 years ago

It’s an act of desperation. When you try to defend the indefensible you inevitably move in the realm of the absurd. That just causes more noise to drone out the voices of reason. Just think of how far you would get when your boss asked you why you think you deserve a raise and you outlined what you did decades ago. What once was good has become that which it hated, a powerful dictator with complete contempt for the other side.

15 years ago

Kerr is right on one count: unions were the key to a lot of positive labor reforms in the past.
The problem is that we’re not living in the past. The days of heavy manufacturing are largely gone.
There is still a role for unions. It’s taking on the sweatshops.
Unfortunately, many unions today want to target Fortune 500 companies (that’s where the money is) and public sector employees (you can exert political pressure to get increased benefits).
It less about protecting the “little guy” working in sweatshops (many of whom are immigrants) than about extracting increased concessions for already well-compensated public employees.

Tom W
Tom W
15 years ago

1) Asking Studs Terkel about unions is a bit like asking John Reed (if he were still alive) about communism.
2) How many people really read Bob Kerr’s column? Whiny leftist drivel …
3) Kerr obviously doesn’t understand, or is willfully ignorant, of the profound differenced between private sector unionization and public sector unionization … and that when people in RI complain about unions implicit in their remarks is that they are talking about public sector unions (who are also screwing Rhode Island’s private sector union members).
4) As they wax reminiscent about what unions did in the private sector back in the 1930’s, has it occurred to Terkel and Kerr to ask what unions have done lately for private sector workers, particularly those who are already members. They could start with auto workers, steel workers and airline workers, the minority that are still employed, that is.
Or perhaps Kerr could look up some of those former Brown and Sharpe workers here in RI. That extended strike did them a lot of good!

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
15 years ago

Terkel is one of those people who never left the Great Depression-he still thinks in boilerplate left wing terms.I read a few of his books.Division Street:America was alright-the others not so much.He carefully selects the “voices of America”he presents to make his points from the left.
Joseph Mitchell,who was basically apolitical as far as I could tell,wrote exquisite portraits of everyday Americans and everyday places in the landscape.He wrote for The New Yorker(I know,I know)for about 30 years from the thirties to the early sixties,when for some reason he just stopped writing,but kept his job for another thirty years.Best journalistic essayist I ever read.

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