When we do not understand the cause in our human lives, we can look to the Animal Kingdom for clues, insight and an explanation of human nature in the driving, evolutionary, animalistic and ruthless behavior, that is evident in the preservation of the individual being in purpose and want.
When a male baboon becomes the leader
of the troop, he will seek out any baboon infant that is not his and
kill it by crushing its neck in his jaws.
The mother of the doomed
infant will run, hide, and fight to save her baby — but the baboon
leader will kill her if she does not hand over her infant for killing
— and so, after an appropriate fight, the infant is handed over by its
mother to discover its end. The baboon leader kills the infants because
they are future competitors who do not share his bloodline.
may think it is too much of a leap to connect baboons breaking the neck
of competitive infants and how unions murder their young, but the
intent, purpose and destruction of the troop are identical and
There was a time in American when Unions meant something. The working
man had a voice in the workplace and found protection in the law and
the solidarity of others and was celebrated in the political process.
In 1935, playwright Clifford Odets produced a play called “Waiting for Lefty” that ignited and inspired the call for unification of workers in America:
Waiting for Lefty is a vigorous, confrontational
work, based on a 1934 strike of unionized New York cab drivers.
Explicit political messages dominate the play, whose ultimate goal was
nothing less than the promotion of a communist revolution in America.
Appearing at the height of the Great Depression, the play’s original
1935 production was a critical and popular sensation….
More than most dramas, it is the product of a particular tune and
place–for its overriding concern was to influence that time and place,
not to create “immortal art,” and certainly not to create diverting,
light-hearted entertainment. It faced its grim times squarely and
offered its audience a stirring vision of hope.
In this sense Waiting for Lefty is seen as an important dramatic work that offers historical evidence of the social power and aspirations of theatre.
“The Union Label” used to indicate a sign of quality and caring in the
production of American goods in an ever-expanding world economy.
Then came the PATCO strike
in 1981 when Ronald Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controllers Union and
thus began the long, slow, decline of real Union power in America.
With his busting of the 17-month strike, Republican
President Ronald Reagan sent a message to the labor movement that he
and his big business backers were in charge. It was Act One in what
would be a decade of unprecedented greed for Corporate America at the
expense of U.S. workers.
Yet despite their defeat, the 13,000-strong air traffic controllers
union demonstrated inspiring militancy, unity and
determination–conducting an illegal strike against a popular president
with little support from other unions.
We still have unions in America but they are weak and wanton and when
in negotiation for higher wages and better working conditions, Unions
today are too quick in offering up the necks of their young to the jaws
of power in order to preserve the old order and lock down the
protections of the established workers.
In New York City alone, I recall many recent examples of
The recent, failed, MTA Strike
where Union givebacks were more beneficial for the company than the
workers. It was shocking. New hires were less protected than those who
currently served their vicious masters.
I am also reminded of the NYPD’s recent union negotiation
where the established elite hierarchy were protected, but new recruits
had their starting salaries slashed so much the requirements to become
a New York City Police Officer had to be lowered to fill the classes:
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association last week charged
that the NYPD dropped its 2.0 college grade-point-average requirement
in order to garner enough candidates to fill its just sworn-in class of
recruits under the new, drastically reduced starting salary.
Paul J. Browne, the NYPD’s chief spokesman, vehemently denied that the
department had relaxed the academic requirement.
“It’s not true,” Mr.
Browne asserted. “The Police Commissioner instructed the Chief of
Personnel that there would be no lowering of standards.”
Al O’Leary, a spokesman for the PBA, asserted that the NYPD eliminated
the 2.0 GPA requirement this class. He added that the department was
struggling to recruit and retain officers under the previous $36,878
starting salary, which was reduced based on a binding arbitration award
issued in June.
That award provided incumbent officers 10.25-percent in
raises over two years in return for several concessions, chief among
them a reduced pay scale that will cost new officers $48,000 during
their first six years of service compared to those hired in 2005.
The New York City firefighters also gave in to city demands and the
result was a punishing of future, yet-to-be-hired, FDNY recruits:
The Uniformed Firefighters’ Association has already agreed
to a 50-month contract, which provides a 17.52-percent wage increase
funded in part by a cut in starting pay for new hires and other
The first two years of the contract replicate the PBA
raises and concessions; the last two years of that deal give
Firefighters raises of 3 and 3.15 percent. City negotiators have
asserted that those additional years have set the new pattern for this
round of collective bargaining.
When the New York University adjuncts union — run by the ACT-UAW
— negotiated terms with the university, those who had been teaching at
NYU for a long time were richly rewarded with prosperous contracts that
protected seniority and guaranteed reappointments, but lost in the
hubris of such an extravagant contract was the non-protection of newly
At NYU, new adjuncts are set on probation — without Union protection
— for a period of 10 semesters. For those of you who don’t remember how a university operates,
summer semesters don’t count in the Union equation and so 10 semesters
of probation works out to an astonishingly punitive probationary period
of: FIVE YEARS!
NYU can also fire you at will and not reappoint you any time during
that FIVE YEAR probationary period and you have no recourse, grievance
process or Union protection.
NYU adjuncts desperately needed to unionize because they were not being
paid a fair wage even though they were teaching 70% of the
undergraduate courses. It is alarming, however, to realize how quickly
the old guard Union and the established adjunct faculty made out like
robber barons while future adjuncts and new hires were sacrificed to
suffer cemented into a never-ending probationary purgatory.
Are Unions dead in America?
If so, did they earn their deaths by offering up the necks of their
young or is this just the natural evolutionary progress of industrialized nations?
we come so far as a nation that protecting workers is no longer an
issue that needs to be resolved with collective bargaining agreements?
Are we destined to become a nation of work-for-hires and independent
Other than protecting the aging, power, majority in the Union, what is
the advantage of sacrificing the interests of new hires who seek the
protection of the Union in order to keep the Union alive beyond the
prosperous lives of the present membership?
Why even join a Union if the result is an immediate death blow on your
neck by not just one pair of jaws, but two: Your Union elders and the
company hiring you — and both demanding undying loyalty from your