Friday, February 15, 2008

State Of The Unions...

I am a member of three unions. Because I have to be. And because there ARE benefits to being in a union. It's not all roses though. One of the "benefits" of a union is "solidarity," which is great if you are trying to get a new contract approved, but not great when you are asked to forgo having a personal opinion.

Today, the Service Employees International Union which had already backed Obama in CA and NV, did so nationally. For those of you not in a union, what happens is, the bigwigs who run the union decide to endorse whichever candidate THEY think is better for the UNION. While, thankfully, the performing arts unions I belong to do not do this, the teachers' union ALWAYS endorses people and not only sends out fliers TELLING you who to vote for with little or no justification, they also have these LOVELY automated calling devices to leave recorded phone messages at your house from union leaders telling you what to do. As my parents will confirm, I've never been a big fan of being told what to do, so if the union would like to encourage me to vote a certain way, a pamphlet explaining why might be of better use. Then again, how bout you don't waste the paper and just decide who YOU personally want to vote for and I will do the same. That said, everyone is not ME. While teachers are required to be educated, this does NOT mean they are smart or make good decisions! And members of the SEIU may have little or no education or may not be willing to or have the time to invest in learning fully about the candidates in a particular election. Maybe they like being told who to vote for. But you know what? That undermines the principles of democracy. Of course, so do electoral colleges and superdelegates, so what the hell, right.

But back to TODAY. I fail to understand why the SEIU or ANY union would back a candidate in a primary election. It seems stupid. OBVIOUSLY a union won't back a Republican (at least a smart, non-theological union won't), but why back Obama now? Clinton could still win, and if she does, are you putting yourself in a good position with her, SEIU? I wouldn't think so. If you tried to mass your 6 million members against me in a primary election, I wouldn't be so keen on helping you in the future. And part of me hopes that if she does win, she DOES make you pay for your silly decision to endorse a candidate. It's likely that all of your members would benefit from having a Democrat in office, but it's up them to decide for themselves which one.

In summary, if someone in your union tells you who to vote for....tell them where to shove their ballot.

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