Well well well. It seems that after 30 years of abuse it's finally paying off to be the member of a union, and the "I spit on unions - pah! pah! - what have unions ever done except take dues money?" crowd ain't at'all happy about it. To quote chief NYT whiner Bruce Gump, "I’m being thrown out with yesterday’s trash." Mr Gump's complaint? Union members at his company are having their pensions fully paid out while Mr Gump and his fellow non-union members might have theirs cut. Too bad.
Bruce Gump and his neighbors feared for their retirement checks when the federal government took over the pension plans at Delphi, the big auto parts maker where they once worked.
But four months later, Mr. Gump finds himself in a far more perilous condition than his neighbors.
On his street, he is the only Delphi worker whose pension benefits may be cut. His neighbors all belong to unions and have received a lifeline in an unprecedented deal related to the government-supervised bankruptcy of General Motors, the onetime parent of Delphi. (G.M. spun off the parts division as a separate company 10 years ago.)
Mr. Gump and some 21,000 other salaried workers and retirees are furious that their roughly 46,000 union co-workers at Delphi have had their benefits restored, apparently with government largesse, and they have not.
Mr Gump "feared for their retirement checks when the federal government took over the pension plans" because they had been convinced by FoxNews/Talk Radio & Co that govt is no good and that unions are evil. So of course if the govt took over everything would go to hell.
Except it didn't. The govt guaranteed the pensions written into the contracts with the union and the pensions are being paid. Mr Gump and his anti-union friends, who have been hanging onto the union's skirts for years, bad-mouthing them even as they accept benefits they wouldn't have had if the union didn't fight for them, just can't understand why employees who refused to join the union should be differently from union members who paid their dues for years and helped the union fight for things like pensions. Here's a retired finance manager who's all pissed off:
“Why did the hourly folks get what they needed and the salaried folks get nothing, if the bankruptcy process is supposed to be fair?” asked Paul Beiter, who retired as finance manager of a Delphi plant in Rochester. “The U.S. government is taking care of a select group of people and tossing the rest of us under the bus.”
I'm sort of stunned that this has to be explained, it's so glaringly obvbut even more stunned that the querulous NYT reporter, one Mary Williams Walsh, actually seems to believe these clueless, selfish louts have a point.
To put it crudely: They Don't. They think they do because they've gotten so used to feeding off the union's negotiations that they now think they have a right to everything the union wins even if they don't belong, don't pay dues, don't help the union in any way, and even condemn it for being "greedy" or "lazy" or "the reason the economy collapsed".
Oh yes. That's the kind of shit anti-union workers spew all the time even as they pocket the raise the company gives them as a bribe so they won't join the union. I've heard them, I've fought with them, argued with them. I might as well have spent my time talking to a wall. They were convinced it was the union that was holding them back, keeping them from becoming millionaires when what was actually happening was that the union they spit on was keeping them from starving on the streets.
So, Mr Gump and Mr White-Collar Beiter: it turns out there's a difference after all. Maybe you should have taken some of that money you saved by not paying union dues and invested it in the stock market instead. Then you'd be....oh. Wait. I guess that would have worked out even worse, huh?