The UAW

Yes, Linda, I’m putting this up just for you.

For those of you who live in Macon, you might have heard Linda call in to WMAC this morning to discuss who GM needed to stick up for its union workers and who was I to talk when I sat in a cushy law office doing $350 real estate closings and drafting contracts, etc., etc., etc. Well, until Linda called in, I was shocked to learn that GM workers make more putting a car together than I made as a lawyer.

And that, I suppose, says it all. Unions, at one point in history, served a great good. But now they are just means by which manufacturing workers can live high off their corporate master’s hog. The companies that are not unionized perform better and more efficiently than companies that are unionized. Unions rarely care much for the corporation’s bottom line. They are much more interested in worker rights and benefits. Of course, at the end of the day, they may be left unemployed as companies like GM go under with the heavy burdens of union collective bargaining agreements sinking them.

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Erick Erickson

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19 Comments

  • Erick,
    You have absolutely zero credibility in attacking unions. If you worked in a law firm where you were underpaid that is your problem because law firms charge large sums of money for pushing paper around. I have paid as much as $300 to close home loans, and every time I have closed a loan in Macon there has been an error in the paper work where the paper work had to be redone. For example, I had already paid our property taxes a full six weeks before closing on a loan and the closing papers had me paying the taxes twice or I should say me and my husband.

    Now to the UAW and GM and Ford and all of the other manufacturing companies who built this Country, and I dare say the taxes from these corporations help build the colleges and universities who indoctrinate people like you with a hatred of anyone that is just skilled labor being paid a living wage. My father was a union truck driver, and I remember him going to work on the graveyard shift when he worked the docks, walking all night on cold concrete and in the winter the temperature gets below zero in Louisville, KY. Erick, you do not know what is like to stand on your feet and work all day, sometimes 16 hours in horrid conditions.

    It was Henry Ford who shocked the United States by raising the wages of auto workders to a wage where they could actually afford to buy an automobile that they helped produce. Because of intellectual morons, we now have a United States where waitresses working in restaurants cannot afford to order off the menu.

    Look around you, Erick, and look how this City and County is deteriorating with each passing day. Do you not realize that the union workers who used to work at B&W pumping $425 million into our local economy by the ripple effect has left a vacuum since closing? I think sadly that you are part of a generation who thinks because you hold a degree and passed the bar that you are better than others who actually work hard for a living. When you take away those in the middle who work and pay mortgages, give to churches, give to other charities and yes can afford to pay builders to build homes and lawyers to close loans, then what do you have left?

    My husband worked 32 year as a union worker, and I take offense at your remarks about union workers. And my husband went to work everyday, maybe missed one day of work a year, leaving the house in time to arrive at work at least a half hour before his shift began. My husband made Brown and Williamson money with his mechanical knowledge because he could work on those multi-million dollar machines when they broke down and get them up and running to produce the cigarettes that rolled out the doors and made millions in profits for the company. Marty, my husband, and a couple thousand other union workers, are the ones that made the company what it is. I can assure you it was not the so-called educated management that walked around with their thumbs up their you no whats half the day! I am sure that you would not have a clue where to start on working on a KDF machine at Brown and Williamson, so you have no expertise in judging what another person is worth. I can assure you that Brown and Williamson lost a valuable asset when my husband retired in 2000!

  • Why do you think many college educated people also worked at Brown and Williamson in order that they could earn a living wage? Perhaps, you should have been a plumber or an electrician if money is what drives you. I think it is out and out jealousy when people like you attack what someone else makes. Why don’t you go after the CEOs and the sports establishment where athletes are grossly overpaid. Pick on the right people and leave hard working union workers alone!

  • Amazing how my disagreement with you on unions means I have zero credibility to point out that most companies with unions are being run into the ground by companies without unions.

    Linda, I don’t think I’m better than you or anyone else. But, I certainly think I have a more realistic perspective of this world than you.

  • The only reason that unionized companies are being forced into the ground is because of our traiterous legislatures like Newt Gingrich who passed CAFTA and NAFTA and allowed corporations to go abroad hiring slave labor to build products. And another thing, is that our traiterous Congress pushed affirmative action laws forcing corporations to hire on quotas, which most times meant less skilled workers had to be hired to satisfy the legalities and that has hurt coroporations.

    I will attack lawyers all I want to because that is my right! And if you want to attack accountants, go right ahead because I have thick skin. I have seen the corruption of lawyers in this town, this state and the United States. Lawyers being elected to Congress has been the downfall of this Country because all they want to do is create more laws! If you had value in doing adoptions, and I am sure you did, good for you!

    There is value in what union workers do, so that is the credibility that you are lacking. You simply do not know what you are talking about. It is corruption, greed and the Federal Reserve that has us in this class warfare in the United States. What do you think will happen to the economy when GM moves all of its operations abroad? Where will these people work? The reason that union companies are suffering is because of the legacy costs that are embedded in every car that rolls across the production line. The UAW made GM enough money to branch out with GMAC and enough money to buy countless other subsidiaries and enough money to build plants abroad, and these benefits were promised to the workers such as pensions and health care. When you buy a rice burner from Japan the profits go to Japan, and yes they can sell cars cheaper because their benefits are nothing compared to what the UAW gets. But when the workers get old and want to retire, how will they retire from these slave shops, Erick? How are we going to pay for the baby boomers retiring, all 74 million of us when we have people like you wanting to drive wages down? With wages going down less will go into the Social Security, right? And we all know that Social Security will be busted by 2040 probably sooner. How can you support the entitlement programs by running all of the middle income class workers, many of whom work for unions. A few years back GM had over 400k union workers in the US and now that number is down to 74K, that is many people not earning over $60,000 a year! That means over 80% of these jobs have disappeared!

    I think you need to be a real lawyer and look at both sides of an issue before jumping in and piping off about something that is not the fault of union workers. In other words, step into the shoes of those that do work on the assembly lines. Had you been born in another situation, and if you happened to work for a corporation who promised you health care, you would fight too if they tried to get you to take 30% wage concessions and cuts in your health care and retirement. If you had worked 25 years for a corporation and had plans to retire with 30 years and out, you would be furious if your safety net was being ripped away. Surely, you would agree that a contract means something?

    So do not take offense at me attacking what you make or what you do for a living. I do not make a killing in what I do because the cost of owning a busniness are so high with software, paper, two telephone lines and on and on. I have had years where I worked and did not pay myself a salary at all! I can assure you I would have not have made it through those first few years had my husband not had a good paying UNION job!

  • Lawyers being elected to Congress has been the downfall of this Country because all they want to do is create more laws!

    On this we agree. And I have looked at the union facts and I’m very anti-union after doing so.

    They’ve served a great purpose, but they have gotten out of touch, which is one reason now only 19% of the country belongs to them.

    Oh, and I’m not a lawyer any more.

  • Erick’s grandfather was president of the Iron Workers’ Union. In the 1960’s Mr. Erickson lived with Erick’s family. He was in the union almost at it’s inception. He spoke no English when he jumped ship in Philadelphia many years ago, went to night school, learned English and studied how to be an engineer. He helped build hotels, banks and post offices from Philly to Atlanta to Miami Beach. His sons, Erick’s uncles, were union bosses. He raised 7 children of his own and two foster children on Depression Era pay. His wife, Mrs. Erickson, Erick’s grandmother had polio, but survived and ran a boarding house in Atlanta raising the 9 children pretty much by herself with Mr. Erickson going wherever the work was. After Mr. Erickson retired but was called back to work on a job, he was injured and ended up with 16 stainless steel pins in his leg and was on crutches and in a wheel chair after that. The union cut his income and that of the other union brothers to the bone after that. Yet he said nothing against the union until he admitted that thousands of dollars that he and all the others of his union brothers had paid to the union to build a retirement village on the Florida coast was in one fell swoop at a meeting in St. Louis of what he called “the young wolves” , i.e., the new union bosses, had been absorbed into the union’s general fund. No retirement village was ever built for those that had helped found the union! Too many unions and the contracts they’ve squeesed out of big companies have milked the big companies dry. Yet with American perseverance, the companies are surviving, without the unions, with overseas laborers, where the price of a loaf of bread is still 10c, where workers are thankful to have a job, even it it’s just carrying water to workers and they don’t mind living in a cardboard box if necessary to survive. Workers in this country have had it too good too long and are not appreciative and think they can still throw their weight around and squeeze more money and benefits out of companies. They forget they have competition overseas now. When Mr. Erickson died, the president of the International Iron Workers Union attended his funeral, so unions persevere, beyond these shores. “Not to worry”, as the Pakistanis and Indians say, workers in this country can continue to persevere, maybe just not in such as fancy a way as they once did. From his grave, Mr. Erickson would still defend the union, even if it happened to be back in his home town in Sweden, Mexico or China.

  • Well, you tell that KM Erickson to the thousands of workers in Michigan sitting with homes in foreclosure right now that depended upon GM and Ford to make their payments that they have it too easy. I am sorry someone in your family had a hard time with their union and there is most certainly corruption with everything.

    You see it is the government with taxation that has at war with one another in a class war that will end with disaster in this country. You see when I have employees who work for me, I realize that if it were not for them I could not get 250 tax returns done in ten or so weeks, and I realize that those employees are the ones making me money. That is what is lost in all of this diatribe, which is the fact that without those guys and gals on the assembly line there would be no cars to sell! Corporate investors can put up money for stock, but without hard workders there will be no return on investment.

    My father, as a Teamster, has been retired on disability for about twenty years but he still meets with many of his union buddies at a restaurant in Louisville, KY and he drives 120 miles round trip for these monthly breakfasts. His union treated him quite well. You just can’t take a bunch of temps off the street and drive a tractor trailer nor can you take just anyone and run machinery at a tobacco company. Skilled labor has a value in society, and what may I ask, which I ask before is our society going to do when people like you say someone is paid way beyond what they earn. How do you know what they do all day to earn that money? Do you think you could stand on your feet for ten hours a day putting seats in a car or putting doors on or making sure the paint sprayer has the correct consistency for spraying cars? Cound you work seven days a week when the company has production quotas to meet, get called in for forced overtime after you already put in fifty hours in a week, well that is exactly how my husband worked for 32 years.

    If you strip away every good paying job in this country and give it to someone who you say lives in a card board box in another country will you be happy when you see more families living in their cars or standing out in the street begging for money or losing their children because they cannot afford to feed them. I do taxes for nurses who make $90k a year with overtime, and administrors who may make over $100k and you are complaining because a UAW retiree who has retired with contractual benefits has to worry about losing their health insurance or the workers getting ready to retire being told well we can’t pay you what you negotiated in your last contract. These people that you are turning your nose up at have children in college or they may be caring for an elderly parent. You are talking about American Citizens who deserve more respect that you or Erick are giving them! Like I said keep on driving down wages of hard working Americans and you will destroy the machine that this Country was founded on.

    How about going after the government jobs where employees work at say the base doing nothing most days, but knock down $80k a year or more. Government is sucking the life out of our economy and trust me it is not the UAW workers who deserve this type of slander against them. Walk in a UAW workders shoes for a while, and then you will change your tune. I know because my brother worked for Ford for 30 years, and I know how hard he worked. He lied about his age, and started at the age of 17, and he was a hard worker who never missed work and earned Ford money. You are talking to someone who knows many union workers and many of my clients worked at B&W, and I know how hard they worked.

  • Another thing, I worked in a sweat shop in Madison, Indiana when I graduated from high school for about six weeks. This was a company called Joyce Shoe Factory that made shoes that sold in expensive department stores in the seventies, and the work was very hard! I found out real quick that factory work was not for me. They put me to sanding soles sitting in front of a big sandpaper wheel, and I changed the paper on this big wheel not getting the wheel tight (no training at all by the way), and the paper flew off and burnt my arms and legs! The room I was working in was no less than 100 degrees in that hot June with no a/c going and worked for $1.65 an hour, which was minimum wage.

    Breaks were scheduled, and you had to work hard for the entire time you were punched in. I know what a sweat shop is like and that is what Erick thinks skilled labor should work like for his
    so-called warped view of what the worth of fellow human beings is. Ridiculous stupid thinking like this is what has destroyed the United States!

  • I apologize for not being as eloquent as Linda or KME or as politically savvy but I worked at a unionized paper mill which just shut down and laid off 540 people. I know that not many worked as hard as they could and all they had to do was file a grievance if they didn’t like something and now all they can say is, “We didn’t know how good we had it”. But they pushed and pushed and tried to get more just because they were “union” and thought they could and now they’re all making less and their benefits, if they have them, are not near as good as they had. All they got after 40 years for some of them was 3 months of insurance continuation and they still had to pay their part. What did the union do for them? And I’m sorry that someone who was mentioned had to work for a tobacco company because all cigarettes do is cause cancer and make people spend money on a terrible habit. …and I’m going home so I won’t even read any of the derogatory comments you’ll be sending out!!

  • http://www.halexandria.org/dward282.htm

    The United States is bankrupt and has been since 1933. The government is the corruption that is rotten to the core because we have been taken over by communism. You fools that blame unions, blame this person and blame that person still have not seen the light. Read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and see how many planks have been achieved. I don’t give a rat’s butt who wrote them, I just know that this is the blueprint for the destruction of the United States, and our fall is here! Right now, not with some religious experience with your march toward false zionist theology. Laugh all you want because that just shows that you are misinformed! As ELO says, “Hold on Tight” because the ride is going to get bumpy.

  • http://www.maxexchange.com/ybj/chapter17.htm

    As you go deeper into the rabbit hole of the Matrix, you can decide do I take the red pill or do I take the blue pill. Which shall it be, do you wish to understand just how far we are toward a one world dictatorship where the United States dissolves and crumbles like the Roman Empire did? Be afraid, be very afraid. For those who claim to have religion but worship the all mighty dollar and profits more than your love for fellow man, you are not following Christ at all!

  • “Then I will draw near to you for judgment
    and I will be a swift witness against . . .
    those who oppress the wage earner in his wages.
    Show me the coin used for the poll-tax . . .
    Show me a denaris, [Federal Reserve Note],

    What God do you follow, Erick?
    whose likeness and inscription is on it?
    Then render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s
    and unto God that what is God’s.”
    (Malachi 3:5 Luke 20:24-25)

  • “Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, but the descendants of the righteous will be delivered. The wicked are overthrown and are no more. Through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. When all goes well with the righteous the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is glad shouting.”
    (Proverbs 11:9-11; 11:21, 12-7

    Sorry, Erick, for getting your name within scripture. I tried to put it at the end. I am only trying to get you to see that you are following the wickedness not goodness.

  • Linda, you do know, don’t you, that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was an anti-semetic text and forgery designed to paint the Jews in an evil light and whip up a frenzy against them and was used by the Nazis as an excuse for their termination — not to mention its present use by Arabs against Israel.

    You do know this don’t you?

  • That is nonsense, Erick. Prove what you write! Read the Protocols and every plank has been successfully established against American citizens. They were written a long time ago, and there is no proof at all that Zazis wrote the Protocols. And surely a scholar like you knows that there were Jews in the Nazi Party, don’t you know that? Prove who wrote the Protocols because it is a fact that they are implemented. And don’t give me that bs about who others tell you wrote them. Do some real scholarly research for once.

  • Read my link about the Wizard of Oz above, and you will learn a good deal more than you will reading Harry Potter books. Read the truth about the evil people who have bankrupted our United States. I mean surely you know that we are broke don’t you, and have been since 1933.

  • You’re absolutley correct about unions, Erick. They serve no purpose but to drive up costs and drag our economy down. Working in the construction industry I can tell you without a doubt, that companies using union labor are some of the most inefficient and difficult to work with. I stand against unions on principle alone, but having worked for and with companies that are unionized has only confirmed my stance.

    When a guy who sweeps the floor at Armstrong makes $30 and hour, you know something is seriously out of balance. A company whose payscale is that out of whack cannot possibly keep from passing that cost on to us as consumers. The employees of the company I work for have tried to unionize on several occasions and have, I can proudly say, been told that the doors would close before that ever happens.

    Oh and stop following that wickedness, Erick.