Monday, February 11, 2008

Philly Unions: Now I Understand Why So Many of You Don't...

Most every time I post about the innate evils of the labour unions, I get a spattering of emails from masons, teamsters and carps that are assuring me they're good guys and that they vote red regardless of what their union PAC urges.

ANYWAY, I just read an article that may elucidate my strong anti-union feelings for all of you non-Phillites. I guess while posting in the past I never took into account how different the union power is here compared to the rest of the country. The Man is one of the contractors mentioned in the article that has to work "under the cover of darkness," that has been chased, harassed and that had to remove the lettering on his truck to minimize all the aforementioned.

Even if you aren't interested/vested in labor union influence, I MUST urge you to read this article in its entirety. This might be one of the best, well researched, succinctly written articles I have read in a LONG time. The article is in this month's quite left-leaning Philadelphia Magazine. When I saw the title, "The Last Union Town", I assumed it would be an article waxing poetic about how wonderful it was that Philadelphia' unions were still so important. No, this author (Matthew Teague, whom I intend to email as soon as I finish this post), names names. He details incidents and he goes back to the very first union (Philly), the first union strike and use of the word "scab" (Philly), the first union court case (Philly) and the first union intimidation and harassment (Philly). Truthfully, I'm thinking this guy should have some protection after writing this. I don;t think either the Philadelphia Inquirer OR the Philadelphia Daily News would have the stones to publish this article...

"...Some business owners say certain unions — and not all unions are alike — run an efficient shakedown operation: If you don’t hire us, at three times the lowest bid, protesters with picket signs and insinuations might show up at your burger joint....

...Likewise, the city’s reputation has long suffered among groups who book events at the Convention Center, only to encounter union entanglements. For instance, due to labyrinthine union work rules, multi-step tasks must be done in a certain order; masonry workers might stand around waiting for carpenters to build a new form to hold their cement, while the carpenters wait for laborers to demolish the old form, and they in turn wait for the electricians to shut off power. Meanwhile, everyone is paid. Even worse than the cost is the embarrassment for the city..."

I know, it's 11 pages...but it's SO worth the time. SUCH a good read and I'd love to hear what you think after you've read it (and the comments after the article are quite telling also):

The Last Union Town, by Matthew Teague Philadelphia Magazine, February 2008

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