Friday, September 18, 2009

United with whom

There is a tendency among Greens to view labor in a classic, Marxist way. That they are struggling in opposition to their capitalist masters and that all good progressives have to support their work. I only buy part of that line. Unfortunately, I have had enough bad experiences with bad unions to question such overall approval.

The best example I know came in NY where a customer, as local trucking company, was about to go out of business. The owner, one of those executives who would put on coveralls and get in the middle of a dirty diesel engine to make sure that things were done right, called in the shop steward and informed him of the shut down. When asked why it was happening, he said that theft from shipments was so high that he could no longer get any insurance that he could afford. At which point the shop steward asked "How much pilferage could you stand?" There are crooks everywhere.

But you don't have to be a crook to do a lot of damage. Now, I am wondering what will happen with the union connection to the Democratic Party. As anyone who follows this blog knows, I have been adamantly opposed to King Coal, to mountain top removal mining, to coal fired power plants... and that is still the major use of coal.

Now, Richard Trumka, one time president of the United Mine Workers of America, born of a coal mining family, heads the AFL-CIO. For all the good that Trumka has done for the movement, and that is a lot, if he chooses to use the power of the unions to convince Democrats to continue coal's dark path, then he will be using that power to destroy the future, not to build a better one.

As an ecology advocate, I am holding my breath, but I don't have a lot of hope.

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