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Letters to the Editor

No sympathy for professor

Tom Furlong April 13th, 2011

Cardigan-clad, University of Oklahoma professor Kurt Hochenauer is so predictable (Commentary, “Workers under attack,” March 30, Gazette). That’s what happens when ideological statements come to you from the Democratic National Committee fax machine in your bunker basement.

Like his liberal union/Democrat buddies, he mourns the demise of collective bargaining in Wisconsin and soon in Oklahoma.

His credibility is seen sadly lacking when he says, “conservatives have waged war on the American worker through union busting.” Pardon me, Kurt, but it was Jimmy Carter who got rid of collective bargaining nationally, not conservatives! If Kurt thinks his credibility is further enhanced by quoting the oft-wrong Paul Krugman, he’s got another think coming.

If you want sympathy for your views, Kurt, go visit the Peace House.

—Tom Furlong

Oklahoma City

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04.13.2011 at 07:31 Reply

It should be noted that that death of collective bargaining in a government sector wasn't a bad thing in the Carter era because government jobs did not compete in the private sector at that time.  However, as more and more state and federal governments begin to turn to private industry to subsidize their contracts; those government jobs have become threatened.  In this situation, the union isn't the bully; it's merely en entity trying to keep its members employed.  

Think of it like insurance.  If the state passes a law that says your insurance company no longer is allowed to pay your bills, then you’re going to stop paying for the insurance, right?  With that in mind, you can clearly see how passing a law which results in the defunding of large unions will eventually bleed into all facets of organized labor, even those operating in the private sector.  And while I have to agree with the idea that there are a lot of union employees out there who are making more money than they’re worth, once you destroy the unions there won’t be anyone left to stand up for those who aren’t making what their worth.  And more importantly, there will be no one to protect critical employee benefits.  Which anyone can tell you is worth more than the wage itself.

Ultimately without the threat of a strike, all government and private sector employers will begin increasing their budgets and profit margins by cutting necessary benefits.  The first and probably most expensive benefit that will be killed is healthcare.  When that happens, the entire cost of that will get dumped onto the employees.  This becomes a form of taxation on the poor and middle class.  Now you’ll argue that governments and businesses are being taxed by having to pay for these programs, but you know that’s not right.  Dare I mention the numerous loopholes corporations employ to get out of paying tax?  So I’ll grant you this.  The world can do away with unions and collective bargaining the minute corporations (viewed as people) are taxed at the exact same rate as our people.  Actually, I’d say that the destruction of labor organizations would result in seriously damaging or crippling the healthcare system as we know it.  Because when all these people who can’t afford to buy their own policy but still require medical treatment can’t pay their hospital bills, the hospitals are going to look to state and federal governments for funds to cover those expenses.  And as everyone and their mother knows, Our government is BROKE!

What must be understood here is that the presence of a union in the market place helps keep non-union businesses in check.  Those businesses who don’t want someone looking over their shoulder tend to make employment policy that keeps their people just happy enough to prevent unionization.   This means that once you’ve eliminated the threat of unionization across the board, every business and government will begin cutting benefits to their employees.  And with time, the Great U.S. of A. has become China; where the divide between poor and rich is so vast that the idea of middle class is unfathomable.  So I find it odd that conservatives who profess to champion the cause of the middle class would continue to press legislation guaranteed to diminish the quality of life of that middle class.  


04.15.2011 at 12:11 Reply

Mr. Furlong, I think you'll find that people pay more attention to your arguements when you stop trying to berate others using characterizations like "Cardigan-clad" and implying that those with opposing views hang out in bunkers.

Seriously, you could have made your whole point with one or two sentences.  But for some reason, you tacked on a bunch of childish insults which in my view really detracted from your point.  Not to mention making your own credibility suspect.