Labor unions claim to champion the Worker, confronting management in pursuit of “fair” compensation. However, the real enemies of organized labor have always been competing non-union workers.
We need look no further than the word “scab.” This pejorative reference to someone who crosses a picket line was coined for a single purpose, to coerce behavior through intimidation.
That’s the only way a union can function. The only way to prevent people from filling vacancies left by strike is to – well, prevent them. That is why conservatives tend to oppose organized labor, not because there is anything inherently wrong with collective bargaining, but because we detest coercion.
The case is vividly made in an ongoing development as instructive as it is amusing. The Huffington Post has been under strike for weeks, and nobody seems to notice.
[The] strike has been called by two legitimate unions: the Newspaper Guild (an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America) and the National Writers Union, Local 1981 of the United Auto Workers. The two unions, and hundreds of bloggers throughout the country, are trying to get a share of the riches pocketed by the owners of the Huffington Post via its sale to AOL, and, as important, set a standard for fair treatment in the future…
This strike can be won. But, the many bloggers who call themselves “liberals” or “progressives”–people who collect money from unions and/or ask for labor’s political endorsements–have to stop crossing the Huffington Post electronic picket line. But, they continue to work for–scab– at a workplace that is being struck and boycotted.
Part of the unions’ frustration stems from the nature of an “electronic picket line.” It’s a hell of a lot tougher to intimidate people when you can’t physically obstruct them, shout them down, or pay a “visit” to their house.
[A] campaign–to publicly identify and praise people who support the strike and publicly identify the scabs–is about to commence in earnest.
Why do the unions want to “identify the scabs?” So they can be effectively bullied into acting against their self-interest.
That’s perhaps the most amusing aspect of the story, leftists nakedly perusing self-interest. In shrugging off the strike, HuffPo bloggers are affirming a fundamentally conservative principle.
Here are three of the justifications from a few of the scabs I have spoken to or emailed with directly–all of whom have received labor money and/or labor political endorsements.
… I’ve determined that she [Huffington] is too important to me and I don’t care whether I’m scabbing or you call me a scab.
Ok, you are a scab.
I get five times as many people to read what I write about [X topic…] so I’m not going to do this.
“This” being honoring the picket line.
I’m an independent contractor who writes where I choose whether the place is organized or not.
Perhaps the lamest of the excuses I’ve heard.
Hilarious, isn’t it? What these HuffPo contributors are saying is, Listen, I’m getting value out of my consensual relationship with The Huffington Post. I’m sorry you’re not. But that’s you’re problem.
Indeed, why should anyone refuse to work if the work benefits them? More to the point, why should anyone be kept from working if the work benefits them?