Sunday, September 30, 2018

Janus Was the Opening Salvo

Now that people may opt out of union dues if they feel like it, the attacks continue. There's a new case for the ultra-right-wing illegitimate SCOTUS that will mean unions may no longer represent workers exclusively. Therefore some Koch-based group could negotiate a separate deal for those who choose not to join union.

The goal here, in case it isn't clear to you, is destruction of union. I don't know exactly what the plan is. I suppose, in states that hate union, they could let the union-busters negotiate something favorable, pull a whole lot of people from the real union, and then allow the real union to die on the street like a discarded animal. Since Trump and his thugs regard all of us as animals who can die on the street, I don't suppose that's so extraordinary.

Here's another possibility--those employees who have their lips puckered firmly into the ample posteriors of administrators could finally be rewarded. They could perhaps join exclusive groups that have exclusive perks. Right now, they make the same money as you do if they do the same job. But why not negotiate a special ass-kissers union under which members get a 50% surplus over the regular people who just do their jobs?

And once the union is not the exclusive representative of working people, there could be all sorts of conflicts in the workplace. We'll be at one another's throats fighting over who gets to wash the principal's car. Who gets to spend Wednesdays at the Comfort Inn with the person who dispenses membership to the union with the 50% surplus? Anything is possible under these scenarios.

And let's look at the endgame, if that's not too much trouble. The fact is, in the red states, where there's no union and no collective bargaining, they regularly cut teacher pay, raise health premiums and paint them into pretty tight corners. The wave of wildcat teacher strikes around the country was not inspired because they made too much money and suffered from excessively excellent working conditions. In fact, Time, which vilified us as bad apples a few short years ago, just ran a feature on how tough it can be to make ends meet as a teacher in America.

The times they are a changing, and not for the better. Even as the circus of Judge Biff rules the airwaves, the House voted for $3.8 trillion more in tax cuts. This entire country is becoming about saving money for those who least need it. Those of us who need to work for a living are dead last priority.

So bitch about the union as much as you like, but we are facing an existential threat. I shudder to think what the Koch brothers will dream up next. Maybe they'll make unions illegal and we'll each have to represent ourselves. Principals can become CEOs who pay each individual whatever they hell they damn please. They can hire their dogs as secretaries and pay them more than they pay teachers.

There are no rules or parameters in a country whose motto appears to be "ethics-shmethics." There's an apocryphal Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."

Make no mistake, we are there right this very second. While you still can, don't forget to vote.
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