Just as the city starts to claw its way back from the pandemic, along come union agitators — oops, “organized labor” — to nip the rally in the bud.
Workers at both the big Amazon warehouse in Staten Island and at the giant “Roastery Reserve” Starbucks in Chelsea voted to unionize this week — the companies’ first two units in the city to be saddled with “collective bargaining.”
The last thing the still-struggling Big Apple needs is more private-sector unions on top of the ones that already sap the motivation out of our municipal workers, i.e, everyone “from accountants to zookeepers,” according to a boast on District Council 37’s Web site.
Unions punish not only the companies burdened with them, but their customers, too.
As The New York Times reported, Amazon’s “ability to speed packages to consumers is built on a vast chain of manual labor that is monitored down to the second. No one knows what will happen if the newly organized workers try to change that model or disrupt operations.”
Ever wonder why the Plaza Hotel’s landmarked Oak Room and Oak Bar are closed except for private events? Thank unaffordable contact terms imposed by Local 6 of the Hotel and Motel Trades Council.
Why are Broadway tickets so expensive? Musicians Local 802 has a historical stranglehold on orchestra staffing. There’s even a rule that every show must use a minimum number of performers based on a theater’s size, but not on how many performers are actually needed.
Union featherbedding was a major reason why the Second Avenue Subway was the “most expensive subway mile on earth” — costing $2.5 billion per mile compared to a similar project in Paris that cost just $450 million per mile.
The Newspaper Guild belonged to the cabal of print-industry unions that drove four New York daily newspapers out of business in the 1960s and came thisclose to doing the same to the New York Post in 1993 — a calamity averted only when union locals representing printers, pressmen, drivers and other crafts smartly chose not to sign onto the Guild’s suicidal strike mission.
Unions suck the economy dry in the guise of helping to provide hard-working stiffs a living wage. Public-employee union contracts guarantee members pension and medical coverage unavailable to the general public, and drain precious state and city funds for the benefit of a fortunate few. Meanwhile, as watchdog site Unionfacts.com puts it, “The American labor movement . . . is still plagued by rampant corruption, embezzlement, racketeering and influence from numerous organized crime organizations.”
But my loathing for unions is mostly based on life experience. Time and again, I saw union colleagues scour contract language in search of every loophole to do less work than a job requires. A friend once attended a funeral where, when rain delayed the service, the coffin lay exposed to the elements while gravediggers took a contract-mandated lunch hour.
My father was a shop steward at a Brooklyn factory until he was promoted to management — and swiftly learned that the same union work rules he once enforced made “management” impossible.
During a job in my college years at a Suffolk County supermarket, union representatives did nothing to help workers with genuine beefs but instead pocketed a percentage of our weekly paychecks.
Workers at the Stony Brook college cafeteria where I toiled were inexplicably covered by a health care union. The shop steward was a card-carrying communist party member who sometimes brought the kitchen to a halt just for fun, but did nothing to help employees burned by grease or cheated out of overtime.
Ironically, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz has long embraced labor-friendly woke rhetoric. He pampers employees with stock-sharing “partnerships” and other benefits rare in fast-food operations.
It remains to be seen how much more his Roastery workers will demand. Maybe a limit on how many Nitro Pepper Jerky Cold Brews they have to serve?
Of course, every revolution eats its own. Let’s just pray that these new “bargaining units” won’t devour the companies they mugged — or what’s left of our economy.