Well, I guess it depends on who you think needs and deserves support, Mike. Again, according to Rachel Maddow research, the ten largest political contributers break down into seven that give to the Republicans and three that give to the Democrats. The Seven are corporation or corporate organizations of some sort—I'd imagine the NAM. The stuff is probably available of the Maddow blog for the 21st of February if the details are all that vital to either of us. The other three are Unions. The notion is that the Unions attempt to offer some sort of parity in lobbying power for labor.
I don't see that as crooked or underhanded, though there certainly have been some tough and certainly occasionally crooked unions around. There have also been some fairly underhanded and dangerous companies around who've done their best to break unions and to punish people who've supported them over the years. I grew up in Ohio, where the notion of strikes certainly raised the very real possibility of anti-union violence by some of the steel companies and some of the auto companies, for example.
I personally was very badly treated on one occasion in Boston for refusing to cross a picket line. I got treated badly on another occasion by another Union for refusing to go on strike, by the way. I knew and felt an obligation to those patients, and didn't feel that I could abandon them.
I believe that it is the right to collective bargaining and the right to unionize that distinguishes us from some of the countries where there are essentially slave labor conditions. Some of the same companies that in this country with our laws are forced to treat labor with at least some respect, will and sometimes do transfer their plants where they can essentially run things for close to slave wages and under much more dangerous conditions. Nike has been mentioned in this regard from time to time.
Again, There are some really great companies that don't do this sort of thing and wouldn't dream of it. Then there are companies that do.
There are also some unions that aren't particularly good, too. Some, I'm told, are in the hands of criminals, and some exploit the membership.
A large number, like most organizations, have creaky management who continue to do the same things in the same ways they've done them for years. These are really stodgy unions, who've gotten sort of hidebound and silly, like some of the Lodges that they used to poke fun at in The Honeymooners. Even those tried to perform a protective function, even if they didn't do it as well as I would have liked or you would have liked.
Simply having a single shop union can work out, but it's generally better to have a larger one because there's more support in case there's a serious quarrel with the management. And these do happen from time to time.
This current quarrel in Wisconsin would be an example of that, in my opinion, because the issue seems to be the right to have collective bargaining at all. The state unions appear to have said that they're willing to cave on the money issues, but that they're not willing to give up the right to collective bargaining. If they give that up, they're sitting ducks, and that's pretty simply a poor idea.
Trading back and forth what the working conditions and rewards are is one thing. Giving up the right to have the discussion is something else entirely. And for the only unions to be asked to give up that right to be the ones who didn't support the Republican Party in the last election is adding insult to injury.
I don't see the Unions as being more corrupt than the companies, and if I understand your thoughts about government in general, neither of us see Unions as more corrupt than the current coalition. Though perhaps I am not framing this clearly, and haven't seen this from your perspective.
And, once again, I invite anybody else who has thoughts on the matter to comment. I've found this a civil discussion and I'm enjoying it so far, and I hope that we can continue it.