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An apology and a poor choice of words: Union + crybabies

I didn’t record my interview with Lynn Hulsey and neither did she. If I did or didn’t say it- it doesn’t matter, it’s in the paper- so it must be true.

“Crybaby” is a strong term- and applying it to the hard working people in Dayton’s proud union shops is in no way how I feel. I have friends who work hard at the truck plant- and, no, they aren’t crybabies.

There is no excuse for my poor choice of words- and I’m sorry.

I ask that you read all three candidates’ positions- and forgive me for one word- and then decide-but, here in all it’s glory is my faux pas.

Three Democrats seek March win to challenge Turner [1]
He said labor unions have a role, such as making sure pay is fair, but not by “protecting people who are incompetent.”

“In fact, one of the reasons that people don’t look at coming into Dayton and putting in their manufacturing plants happens to be the idea that our local auto unions are strike-prone and a bunch of crybabies,” Esrati said.

I am going to clarify my position on unions, since Charles Sanders has made issue of it when I’ve heard him speak.

My father was a member of the Newspaper Guild. I walked the picket lines with him as a kid. He writes about his feelings in Dear Son [2]. I believe in the right to organize, to strike, to protect the rights of employees, to seek safe and fair working conditions, and to keep the balance of power between employers and employees. Slavery ended in this country long ago- however, I still believe that college athletes are a perfect example of why unions are needed- and I would like nothing better than the universities to be forced to abandon the subjugation of “student/athletes” for their gross financial gain.

However, I also remember a woman whom I dated who routinely missed half of her workdays- yet, kept her job due to her tenure with union protection. At some point, unions, just like sports teams, must realize that everyone has to pull equally- isn’t that why we unionize? To give the many strength to battle on equal ground?

However, I am absolutely against union involvement in politics. How dare an organization support policy outside the workplace that may or may not be against my own personal believes and force me to contribute? Take for example the many devout Catholics who belong to unions that support pro-life candidates? Is that fair, or legal? This is why I don’t believe that unions should be involved in politics outside of the workplace.

I hope this clarifies my position, and my apology for an extremely poor choice of words.

Let me have it. I deserve it.

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In my “Dear Son,” I tell the story of how I sued my union (unsuccessfully) in 1968 when it was taking my money to support Lyndon Johnson while I supported Eugene McCarthy.
The union was just taking a dime a month from my dues, but that dime soon became enough to do serious damage to Ohio in the defeat of Gov. John Gilligan.
Why not read the book?

In the 'burg

If I read the quote correctly, all you said is that one of the reasons companies don’t come to Dayton is their idea (or perception) of local unions .

You didn’t say that it’s a valid perception, just that it exists.
And it does.

There is a lot that unions can do to correct that perception if they want. They can start by fixing some of the issues you pointed out in your “mea culpa”.

Jim Crotty

Why apologize for telling the truth David ? Your experience with that old girlfriend was not the exception – it was the rule. How can I ever forget the lessons I learned during my early years of industrial laundry runs in just about every major plant in Dayton and then Toledo (the experience that gave me a new-found desire to return to, and appreciate, college). “Stop working so hard, punk !” Do you know how many times I heard that ? And how about the expected and extended paid vacations during plant shut-down time. Not to mention an entire industry of trial lawyers in Dayton who’ve done quite well representing the endless supply of bogus Worker’s Comp. cases. GM was the favorite pocket for fishing trips.

There is absolutely no denying the fact that unionized labor is the #1 obstacle that U.S. auto manufacturers face in competing in the global marketplace. With that said, the only thing more embarrassing were the fat, happy and incompetent auto execs – who believed their gravy train had no end – who allowed the situation to develop the way it did in the first place.

Greg Hunter

There is absolutely no denying the fact that unionized labor is the #1 obstacle that U.S. auto manufacturers face in competing in the global marketplace.

Sorry Jim, but problem with American Automakers was design and engineering. They did not make a car that lasted long enough to give to their children, so they could become brand loyal. GM, Ford and Dodge cars are boring, pieces of crap built by financial accountants. The Japanese honored engineers, while America sent its best and brightest to Wall Street to rig the system.

Sure the unions bear part of the responsibility here as they knew they were making crap and all they wanted was more for them. Unfortunately as a town we let all that manufacturing go away without replacing it. We are reaping what we have sown.

J.R. Locke

I have 6 years of experience working in non-unionized shops and a little over a year working in a unionized shop and I can tell you that the “stop working so hard you punk” happens in every place I have ever worked. So I wouldn’t just call it a union problem, it is a U.S workforce as a whole problem.

I will say that Mr. Esrati is partially right in that quote. Unions may have about as much respect in this country as congressmen, which isn’t much.


in England during the Edwardian era “stop working so hard punk” (as well as petty theft and so forth) was called “getting your own back”. It was discussed in Robert Tressels’ “Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” (or at least the abridged version in the WSU library).


Greg Hunter

I think there has always been an on going struggle with “how hard to work”. I found this gem of a book online – The Right To Be Lazy

A strange delusion possesses the working classes of the nations where capitalist civilization holds its sway. This delusion drags in its train the individual and social woes which for two centuries have tortured sad humanity. This delusion is the love of work, the furious passion for work, pushed even to the exhaustion of the vital force of the individual and his progeny. Instead of opposing this mental aberration, the priests, the economists and the moralists have cast a sacred halo over work. Blind and finite men, they have wished to be wiser than their God; weak and contemptible men, they have presumed to rehabilitate what their God had cursed. I, who do not profess to be a Christian, an economist or a moralist, I appeal from their judgement to that of their God; from the preachings of their religious, economics or free thought ethics, to the frightful consequences of work in capitalist society.

Jim Crotty

Point well made Greg, in several areas. From an engineering perspective I couldn’t agree more, and this coming from a Honda owner and a prior employee of a Japanese-owned and managed manufacturer.

Regarding the question of “how hard to work,” I would like to state the following with those who like to call themselves “executives” in mind. The ones who sit up on high and assume they have a right to define hard work for their employees while they know damn well “it is he who learns to play the game that wins the big money:”

Hypocrisy is the balm that temporarily numbs the sting of guilt always felt by the self-entitled narcissist.


[…] ever known. ¬† This despite the fact that he aligns himself with the Democratic party while referring to union workers as crybabies. ¬†Esrati is many things, but savvy isn’t one of […]