the answer to the unasked question
Beautiful Nevada has always struck me as a precocious teenager of
changling face and fickle mood. At the turn of a card, she can become
frighteningly ugly while still flashing that hypnotic smile.
She was battle born a sexy Scorpio and lives by the sting to this
very day. A gritty survival made this abused child greedy. Pleasure
provides her only motivation.
She makes her living selling the illusion of gratification,
exploiting others while mostly pleasing herself.
She has not progressed far from the tent-infested mining camps of
her birth. Indeed, she remains pockmarked everywhere by modern boomtowns
filled with prospectors extracting gold from mining pits or casino pits.
To adolescent Nevada, the game's the thing and we prefer to play 24
hours a day. To let the good times roll, the perpetual party must be
controlled, the plantation order maintained.
If customers are mere raw materials, then fieldhands are
disposable. Which brings me to the Paycheck Protection Act (or Workers'
Rights Initiative, depending on the labeling whims of the week).
Why would we not rise as one with unbridled joy that someone from
on high wants to lay a little cash on the great unwashed?
Well, for one thing, we know from hard experience that when cheered
on to rise as one, it's usually so someone behind us can steal our chairs.
When offered money for nothing and the kicks for free, we have learned to
inspect for the joker in the deck.
The Paycheck Protection initiative petition now proselytized by the
Republican Party promises to save aggrieved Nevada workers from having
their hard-earned union dues spent on gasp politics.
Didn't you know that our streets are daily filled with people
marching and chanting for such needed legislation? Haven't you seen them
Neither have I.
Answering questions no one cares enough to ask is a rude practice
usually limited to car salesmen and hate-radio hosts. But don't we need
protection from profligate union bosses who might spend, say, two dollars a
month on follytix?
Not really. No Nevada employee has to pay union dues in the first
place. Here in the workers paradise, you can labor in a union shop and
receive free union representation and all the pay and benefits won by it.
Under our Right to Work Law, you can take the ride without buying a ticket,
courtesy of dues-paying union members.
That unfair subsidy was
imposed on them by a 1952 business-funded
ballot question which won by 1,034 votes. Union victims of that
cruel act have long needed paycheck protection from it. For 46 years,
their dues have provided welfare to non-union freeloaders.
"Right to Work" is perhaps the cleverest advertising slogan ever
devised, largely because it sold something which has never existed. If you
have a right to work, then why can you be fired at will under Nevada law?
The net effect of such statutes over the past 50 years has been to
shrink Big Labor from 35 percent to 15 percent of the national workforce.
In Nevada, just over 20 percent of jobs are unionized, primarily reflecting
Las Vegas growth.
The Nevada GOP has purchased saturation-bombing radio schedules all
over the state promoting this unpublished petition still being drafted by
lawyers. All to rescue nameless persons who have not asked for salvation.
Power. Control. Adolescent Nevada boomtown mining camp card game
greed. Maximizing profits becomes easier if you control the government.
While Little Labor is weaker than at any time since WWII, the movement
still managed to put $35 million into play in the '96 elections.
That's a lot of money on a crapshoot which resulted in winning
neither chamber of congress. Could the reason lie in the fact that business
interests spent somewhere between 11 and 19 times more, depending on whose
research you read?
The results of 1996 nonetheless showed that the old fighter still
has legs. So the minions of big business are moving to break them.
When you join the National Geographic Society or American
Association of Retired Persons, you get a magazine subscription, some issue
advocacy and a few perks. Applying the principles of the GOP anti-union
drive to these organizations, every subscriber should get to make editorial
and management decisions. No more pictures of naked hippopotami. Put pants
Modern Maturity would never print another edition under such
anarchy. And that's the point of it all silencing worker advocates by
bleeding them of their resources. Burden them with new mountains of
expensive paperwork, the costly staff to compile it, lawyers and
accountants to review and consult on it.
That's not nearly all. It would further require an expensive and
expansive new taxpayer-funded state bureaucracy, complete with attorneys
and auditors, to conduct oversight and compliance.
While I'm all for creating new jobs, the money for these will come
from only one place: worker and taxpayer paychecks, which I thought
everyone was in favor of protecting.
If you don't like an article in Newsweek, can you get part of your
subscription price back? Union members can do just that. Under federal law,
those who choose to pay dues can already withold them from politics.
Voluntary support is allocated by majority vote.
Unions are already the most heavily regulated private organizations
in this country which imposes the most repressive labor laws in the
industrialized world. Attempts to impose additional micromanagement by
government serve only to further weaken worker power to fight shrinking
paychecks and dwindling opportunities.
Taking the only organized voice of workers out of the political
game produces legislatures committed to maintaining this plantation in the
style to which its owners have become accustomed.
Never sign nothing was a rule old gamblers lived by. It remains a
good one today as adolescent Nevada fights growing up.
Be well. Raise hell.
1998, 2008 Andrew