Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Great Scott! The Test(e)s of Will

Welcome to the wild world of local union politics, where (potentially unbalanced) people with gripes take on power-corroded insiders. In this war of ill wills, there are no winners — but members seem to be the losers.

In California, Operating Engineers Local 501 appears to have a showdown of “big swingin'” proportions. George Scott, an embittered former employee, is airing the leadership’s dirty laundry on his campiagn site, (check it out now before union rules force him to put it behind password protection). Scott’s homepage even says his union is the place “where real engineers hang with” an unfortunate depiction of a man’s testicles.

Scott’s campaign materials do mention the serious issue of member dues being abused, including a flyer which highlights a series of questionable automobile expenditures by and for union bosses:

$$ Spending YOUR Dues Money $$
UNION buys Ford Mustang GT’s as Business Agent vehicles…
UNION buys 300+ horse power Chevrolet Impala SS as Business Agent vehicle…
UNION buys Chevrolet Tahoe 4×4 for Business Agent who complained the
Ford Explorer 4×4 which was bought for their use road too rough…
UNION buys new Saturn, in less than two weeks, trades it back in and took HUGE loss…
New Ford Crown Victoria sold to retiring President for a song, and disgustingly well below Kelly Blue Book…
Office staff wrecks personal vehicle, then allowed to drive a Union vehicle…
Resulting in a wrecked Union vehicle too…
Office staffer punctures oil pan on Union vehicle while site seeing in the desert…
Your dues pay for the likes of this! We have to regain accountability!

Then there’s a favorite of ours, the ol’ golf outings. Scott informs 501 members of charity golf events held by the union’s leadership:

When an event of this type is held in state or locally I personally view it as a great opportunity for our Local Union. However, what about participating in a charity golf event in Chicago or New York? Why do I ask? I ask because it’s happening. There are Stationary Local’s in Chicago and New York, each hold their own charity golf events, and they reciprocate with our charity event. I’m in agreement with the purchase of a foursome for their charity events. My question… is there a benefit in sending two to four representatives from our Union to Chicago or New York to play a round of golf? Consider this, two to four round trip airline tickets to Chicago or New York, maybe three days two nights hotel accommodations or more, of course we don’t stay at Motel 6, three meals a day, and we don’t eat at Denny’s or IHOP, transportation costs to and from the airport and the golf tournament, and let us not forget after hours entertainment which consists of drinking at the local bars with the local Chicago or New York Union Staffs buying rounds back and forth.

This isn’t the first, or last, time a riled-up person will try to reform his union. We can only wish such folks well as they try to hold union bosses accountable. But leave the test(e)s of wills out of it.

Categories: Ending Secret Ballots