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.