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HuffPo Brushes Off Blogger Strike as Hypocritical “Scabs” Keep Writing
Posted By Walter Hudson On May 12, 2011 @ 9:00 am In Email,Feature,News,The Concession Stand | 4 Comments
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?
Presumably, the union argument is that individual sacrifice leads inexorably to some future collective benefit. Were that true, individuals would freely and enthusiastically choose that path. They would not need to be compelled through pejorative attack, or barred by picket lines. A strike would not be a sacrifice, but an investment.
Clearly, individual HuffPo contributors are making a different calculation. They are comfortable with their working relationship as-is, and see no value in altering or endangering it. Whether or not their calculation is correct, the fundamental question is whether they are entitled to act accordingly.
To that, the union answer is an emphatic thuggish no.
“…as a matter of absolute principle, I will not cross a picket line(…)”
… crossing a picket line is not acceptable. Whatever the reason(…)
…being critical [of the union] does not equal having the license to cross a picket line.
What is the “principle” which sanctifies picket lines? Why is crossing a picket line “not acceptable?” To whom must one petition for “license” to work, other than their employer?
Whatever answers union leadership may provide, what informs them is clear. Crossing picket lines undermines the entire union narrative. It tells the employer, the strikers, and the public that the job is worth the pay.
People intrinsically know that no one works for less than their labor is valued. The test of that value is how quickly someone fills the position when vacant, and how quickly another employer pays more for the same work. This is apparently an economic reality which even Arianna Huffington understands.
… she said, there are plenty of people willing to take [the bloggers'] place if they [strike].
“… no one really notices,” Huffington said. “Go ahead, go on strike.”
The only way for unions to effectively function is to distort market forces through coercion. That’s why they hate right-to-work laws, because they quite literally hate the right to work. It’s also why government unions are the largest and most powerful, because government is funded through force, and thus insulated from the market.
Labor unions are virtually impotent without the ability to coerce. That’s what frustrates the leftist author here quoted. Without the ability to physically obstruct those who want to work, an “electronic picket line” doesn’t present much of a deterrent. Without the ability to effectively isolate and ostracize their competition, unions must actually convince people to disengage from beneficial economic activity. That’s a tough sell, as it should be.
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