Last night, I reported the story of the striking IAM machinists requesting charity and unemployment benefits. Also last night (and published this morning) I requested information from the Texas Workforce Commission. I haven't heard back yet (I'm not holding my breath, either), but it's early.
On the radio when I heard the story, one woman called up in defense of the "good" union workers. That would be: the ones striking but not asking for charity. She was after the machinist who called saying he had been one of the strikers, but had crossed the picket line when he ran out of savings. Both of them had, at the core, an idea which sounds so nice, but is wrong.
That idea is this: not all the union members are bad for this. Don't blame the ones who aren't asking for charity.
They're wrong. They're very wrong. What's more, I don't think their world-view allows them to see why, but I'll try to explain it.
Lockheed Martin is building the F-35. The Machinists are a vital part of that operation, and that fighter is a vital piece of our future National Defense strategy. By striking, they are attempting to harm the future national security of the United States of America. More over, as the radio host mentioned last night, they're are incredibly ungrateful. The contract offered to them is, on examination, more than fair, and far better than most workers would get. To strike over a moderately increased premium and an increased deductible- especially in a time of 14.5% Real Unemployment- is simply selfish.
So into this mix, there are roughly three groups of Machinists. There are the good actors, the bad actors, and the worst actors. The good actors are those who either never went on strike, or quickly crossed the picket line. Whatever their reasons for so doing, they are doing what they can to mitigate the damage caused by the union.
The bad actors are those (92%) who voted for the strike, went on strike, but have refrained from requesting any kind of assistance. These include the caller from last night. To you, sir, if you see this: what you did was wrong, if you'll examine it, you'll see why. You admitted on air last night that you knew the offer from Lockheed Martin was a fair one, and that the increased pay and other benefits at least outweighed the increased cost, to you, for your health care. Yet, despite that knowledge, you placed greed- yours and your union brothers' and sisters'- above decency and above National Security.
Then there are the worst actors. Those are the ones who voted for the strike, went on strike, and now are seeking aid from already strapped charities as well as Unemployment Benefits. Common decency demands that this not happen; a trait they obviously lack. Those charities exist to provide assistance to those who really can't work, or to those who, though working, can't feed their families. They do not exist to allow machinists to stay off the line a little longer to try to wring yet more money out of Lockheed. Seeking unemployment may even be illegal- especially if you do not admit, up front, that you are a member of a union and that you are on strike.
On top of this is the union itself. I understand that union has a vested interest in the strike succeeding, and so has a vested interest in assisting union members. However- suggesting that they throw themselves on charities is just wrong. Suggesting that they apply for unemployment benefits borders on (if it does not cross the line) suborning perjury.
You see, when you apply for Unemployment, you have to explain why you're no longer working. Voluntarily having left your job (except for a very, very few very, very narrow circumstances) means you do not qualify. So many will be tempted, at least, to claim they were laid off, or fired, or some other thing happened to separate them from work. Then you must swear/affirm that everything in your application is true. Swearing you've told the truth to the State when you are lying is a crime. It is a big no-no. And the Union is, at minimum, tacitly encouraging this behavior.
This needs sunlight; it needs to stop. Please share this as far and wide as you can.