published Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Patterson: United Auto Workers fairy tales

Mike Patterson

Once upon a time, in Chattanooga a young girl made her way to work, picking flowers to add to her basket of posies which she plucked with fingers and cheeks so rosy.

“Where are you going,” came a sudden voice from the shadows, “on such a bright day as this?”

“Just to work, kind sir,” she answered, “and off I must go or my shift I will miss.”

“You don’t want to go there,” said the voice with a growl. “Not without my help.” And he stepped from the bush as she let out a yelp. “So you work at the factory,” said the half beast/half man, “toiling on the line of assembly for the company plan.”

“That is my job,” said she. “Which I do every day, and for which I’m rewarded with benefits and pay.”

“So you believe,” said he, “a bill you’ve been sold, bundled in a bow with the lies you’ve been told. The truth is your superiors design to oppress, to use and abuse, which crimes I can redress. Bring you with me to your factory, and I can bargain for you collectively.” He squinted his red eyes at her. “More pay you will see and benefits too, will be your reward for paying my due.”

“Actually,” said Volksmaiden, “entry-level workers at Volkswagen AG make almost exactly what comparable workers get at unionized General Motors.”

“In addition,” she continued, “the President’s signature health care law has undermined your argument to be able to provide me with superior health benefits. In fact, three major labor bosses have written a letter to Congressional leaders complaining that the legislation they supported has now made the type of health plans that unions negotiate ‘unsustainable.’”

“Well,” stuttered the beast, “what I can promise to thee for accompanying me is peace of mind and job security.”

“Uh, I don’t think so,” replied Volksmaiden. “According to, the unionized Big Three Detroit auto companies have shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in the last dozen years, in large part because of burdensome union work rules, while non-union factories like we have here in Chattanooga have created thousands of jobs throughout the South.”

“Uh, uh … OK, it’s true,” growled the beast. “It’s not for your benefit I am here, you see. It’s the King, the King! Who’s hungry for fees!”

“Tell Bob, no thanks,” said Volksmaiden. “Now if you’ll excuse me,” she said, “my ride is here; it’s a Passat, driven by my grandmother. It was Car of the Year, you know, according to Motor Trend. A success, Mr. Wolf, that for you spells….

…The End.”

Matt Patterson is editor-in-chief of

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The incestuous relationship between organized labor and government has been a malignancy festering our politics for four generations. It is only now becoming so obvious that even the Low Information voters are beginning to understand the damage it has caused. Municipal bankruptcy and fleeing industries are now the new normal and yet unions still try to claim relevancy in the face of all this decay. Unions had their place a hundred years ago, but the days of child labor and the Triangle Shirt factory are history no one alive can tell you about.

August 21, 2013 at 9:52 a.m.
charivara said...

But the incestuous relationship between big business and government, at the expense of workers, is not malignant? Talk about Low Information voter! How about No Information voter?

August 21, 2013 at 11:31 a.m.

BOTH relationships are malignant, charivara ... the problem is that the unions (and government) are seen as "non-profit" entities that are considered inherently more noble and trustworthy than business ... when in fact, those in business and government are just as susceptible to greed and self-service as any CEO.

When unions put as much emphasis on matching the productivity of their members to the wages/benefits they are asking for, they will regain some credibility ... but don't plan on that soon; more productivity means fewer dues-paying workers at least in the short term, which works against the interest of union leadership.

Reliance on unions, or government, or even deep-pocketed employers to secure your future FOR you, is the most pernicious form of "outsourcing" there is ... you are placing YOUR future in the hands of others, often with little or no recourse when those others get it wrong. Yet that is the Progressive model that, because it is considered "non-profit" and altruistic, has been blindly accepted (after almost a century of its promotion) by millions.

Such "outsourcing" is THE fundamental problem we face today; virtually all our other socio-economic dysfunctions are symptoms of it.

August 21, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.
ChurchSox said...


I believe unions still have a place in industry. They're just doing an astonishingly poor job of filling it.

August 21, 2013 at 12:36 p.m.
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