The generic concept of “The Union” might be big and on the big scale it might over-reach and when you look at it only in the largest context it might sometimes be as irresponsible as some of the smaller of the big corporations, when you look at what it really is – the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the individually powerless $18,568 teacher’s aide in Fond du Lac or the $23,559 traffic warden in Milwaukee or the $48,152 cop in Appleton, or the $22,233 radio sportscaster in New York in 1980 – “The Union” is the only protection you have when the drunken boss comes in to fire you because he doesn’t like you, or because he got elected on a promise to his puppet-masters that he’d fire you and everybody else like you so as to soften this country up to pit the urban middle class against the rural middle class so nobody’s paying attention as the corporations reduce everybody they can to subsistence levels while they take the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the mere thousands of bucks stolen from the fired or the de-unionized or the retirement-delayed, and turn them into more millions to stuff into their own pockets.
Hey, Keith Olbermann can be a smug pain in the ass; on the other hand, he's knowledgable, consistent to his principles and doesn't hesitate to piss off the powers that be. It appears that he has a problem I've shared, great bosses who have lousy bosses. His new blog is up and it's got some interesting stuff in it. If I had been his boss, would I have shoved him out the door the day we made the decision? Probably not --I understand why MSNBC might have been nervous about a prolonged farewell, Lawrence O'Donnell has done a decent job and Rachel Maddow has stayed on target. I have no fondness for Ed Schultz, since he brings his right wing radio host who became a liberal schtick to the air at a time I am looking for something to watch. On the other hand, 2-3 hours of TV news over dinner is more than enough for this Irishman.
Olbermann's initial piece is about the Wisconsin brouhaha, and the place of unions. Like a lot of us, he had a union card or two as he trundled through his career. And, since being in the union saved his job once when a drunken exec decided to fire him because he didn't like him and thought that Keith's argument with his direct boss was grounds for firing and some character defamation, he's invested.
I'm sure Keith Olbermann is still a pain in the ass to his bosses. I suspect that I have been one to my bosses; I'm fairly sure most of the contributors here have been difficult to control at times... However, while I pride myself on not bowing to any Moloch-like Wannabe Toughguy or Gal, there are times when I wish there were rules enforced by an agreement to protect people like me; at the end, our only recourse is to sue, and that's not good for your wa or your karma. Although, it can be lucrative and a lot of folks are forced to do so.
Here's another thought -- unions may have problems, but in a company versus the union argument, justice will probably side with the employees. There are times when union work rules result in some injustice, but for the most part, the scales of justice are very heavily weighted toward the employee and the employee's representative.