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Updated Nov 21, 2012 - 12:33 pm

Unions' interference making our lives difficult

In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, file photo, Twinkies baked goods are displayed for sale at the Hostess Brands' bakery in Denver, Colo. Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union will go into mediation to try and resolve their differences, meaning the company won't go out of business just yet. The news came Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, after Hostess moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court citing a crippling strike last week. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Before I begin a denunciation of unions and unionism, let me say that in my life I have belonged to four unions.

They are: the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, the Musicians Union, (I played guitar on the air and at personal appearances) and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Buffalo N.Y. They organized everyone in radio and TV)

In fact, when I left Buffalo for Los Angeles after only three months on the air, I had risen to a union position from which, union leaders told me, I could never be fired.

Let's see, Los Angeles or Buffalo. It was a tough choice but I chose L.A. None of these unions ever negotiated a contract of mine. My unionism did provide medical plans and the promise of retirement income.

Today a number of unions are threatening strikes -- strikes on the busiest holidays of the year. Walmart employees want to picket outside 4,000 of its stores to discourage perhaps hundreds of thousands of customers from entering the store for Black Friday bargains.

US Airways flight attendants, 6,700 strong, voted to strike over a contract impasse. That strike is not immediate but how many potential passengers reading about a strike will cancel reservations and move on to an air carrier with less potential for stoppage of their holiday trip.

Everyday passengers don't know that the National Labor Relations Board hasn't sanctioned a strike, nor is there any immediacy to those threats.

The average Joe Passenger just knows there's something in the wind at US Air so, "Honey, we'd better change airlines."

And how can we resist the Twinkies bakers union problems. After renewing a contract with the Teamsters, one of the toughest unions in America at the bargaining table, Hostess Brands was forced to shut its doors, laying off over 18,000 workers.

Almost 20,000 out of a job for Christmas, perhaps for Christmas yet to come. The bakers union, among other things, has refused to take a pay and benefits cut in order for the company to stay alive.

A deal that was accepted by the Teamsters. Already the company has given in to union demands that insist a driver who delivers cupcakes may not deliver bread and the two must never be on the same truck.

Ridiculous as that may seem it was decided in prior negotiations.

What's the point of this denunciation? Fewer than 12 percent of Americans belong to unions and the number is decreasing by the day. In a time when one would think unions and members would do all they can to shoulder their part of the economic load the rest of us must carry, they choose to make all of our lives more difficult.

We are fortunate. Living in a "right to work state" does have its benefits.

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About the Author


Jay Lawrence is a "true" conservative believing that less government is better government. Jay graduated from Columbia College in Chicago and went to WJPS in Evansville Indiana. Then on to bigger and better, Peoria. Illinois. Jay made it to Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Cleveland before coming to KTAR. Lawrence enjoys all sports and has played most, but has been a baseball fan above all and enjoys the Diamondbacks particularly when they win, tolerates the team when they lose. Favorite memories are opening day for Major League Baseball in the Valley and sitting in row three along third-base line when the D- backs won the World Series. One other memory he'll always carry with him, the time he spent with the Beatles and stood outside a nightclub finding dates for the Fab Four in Cleveland. Lawrence's musical tastes are eclectic, from classical to rap with country thrown in. He'd be just as likely to attend a Phoenix Symphony concert or ballet as he would a George Strait concert.

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