US Trades Unionists As Dumb As UK

Just when you thought that Ritchie was the apotheosis of ignorance and stupidity in his TUC papers along comes a US trade unionist to prove us all wrong:

Damon Silvers is policy director of AFL-CIO, the US labour federation

He says:

We have seen the smiling face of the credit bubble that promises infinite riches – money enough to pay City and Wall Street bonuses, to fill tax coffers without taxing those bonuses

I\’m sorry, but when have Wall Street or City bonuses ever been untaxed?

The marginal tax rates in both cases are around 50% (Wall Street pays NY State and NYC income taxes on it for a higher total rate than London I think).

This is good too.

\”The AFL-CIO has endorsed President Obama for a second term because we see his economic vision pointing towards a future that works, while Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan represent the political power of the winners in the losing game of financialisation.\”

Labour unions endorse Democratic candidate. A complete surprise, eh?

12 thoughts on “US Trades Unionists As Dumb As UK”

  1. Tim, they might seem stupid, but those union bosses trouser a lot of cash for people whose public utterances would suggest some sort of chromosomal abnormality.

    Take self-described communist Bob Crow, please. He was on the radio recently demanding the return of the closed shop.

    He also benefits from a package worth around £150,000 in salary, bonuses, and expenses to hold champagne lunches at swanky Mayfair restaurants.

    There seems to be a lucrative market for dishonest, childish, left-wing posturing and class war rhetoric.

    PT Barnum was right.

  2. Steve, like him or not, Bob Crow’s not stupid. His job is to get his members high pay and secure jobs. He’s good at that. And that’s what he gets paid for, not “dishonest, childish, left-wing posturing and class war rhetoric.”

    He’s done more for his members than a lot of managers have done for their shareholders. Now, as someone who has endured tube strikes every summer for 20 years, I don’t like the man. But it’s a mistake to call someone stupid when his “clients” can afford a few days unpaid holiday every summer (often coinciding with World/European Cup games).

  3. Hi Luke, I agree with you.

    I don’t think Bob Crow is a stupid man. I was (incoherently) trying to make the opposite point, that while trade unionists may say things that seem stupid or dishonest, they’re simply meeting a demand and profiting very nicely out of it.

    Bob Crow wouldn’t be earning £150K a year if he was as daft as he sounds.

  4. There are two takes here, aren’t there? 1) Union bosses are cynically exploiting their members’ stupidity; 2) union bosses are lying in their members’ interests and doing well for their members. I suspect Bob Crow is the second. I suspect the dude above may be the first.

  5. Luke

    I’d agree that Bob Crow isn’t a stupid man, as an ex RMT member I have benefited personally from the unions ability to get a good deal for its members, however the situation on the tube is more complex than that, there are wider issues than just pay. On the rest of the rail network the union has managed to get good pay and conditions without much strike action and paradoxically privatisation is a large factor in that, our situation with BR was much less favourable.

  6. Is Bob Crowe really intelligent or just a bully boy. I suspect the later. It doesn’t take much intelligence to work out that when you threaten someone and they cave in that you can do it again and they will cave in again and again and again.

  7. SBML
    The union isn’t just Crow, to extend Luke’s analogy he is more like a clever manager who deflects attention from his team with his in your face approach. Meanwhile the backroom staff are getting on with the day to day negotiating stuff, this is where the RMT are most effective. It’s a well run union with good local organisers, don’t assume that just because some of the leadership are far left that it gets results by bullying.

  8. To add to Thornavis, it’s worth noting that the RMT has in fact accepted massive changes in working arrangements of all kinds, but that these have generally been supported by pay rises from the employer, in the “mutually beneficial agreement” way that categorises commercial transactions in general.

    Describing the rail industry’s approach as “being threatened and caving” is the kind of ignorant bollocks that Boris spouted in 2008, until he actually became mayor, realised that TfL’s approach was the correct one and that his stump speeches were nonsense, and then shut up on the issue forever (occasionally floating driverless trains, but saying nothing about and doing nothing to current arrangements).

  9. Thornavis. So Crowe is still thick as it doesn’t need much intelligence to deflect attention. It’s the back room staff who are the intelligent ones then.

    JohnB. So RMT has done a lot of good for it’s members in quiet. Good for them. But the public see the nasty face of the RMT when they stop the tube from running because the drivers have to work a few more hours for their very high pay. Not good PR.

  10. SBML @10
    “But the public see the nasty face of the RMT when they stop the tube from running because the drivers have to work a few more hours for their very high pay. Not good PR.”

    Not good PR – but as your previous sentence pointed out, good money. Crowe is a Millwall supporter, motto (for the benefit of our overseas readers and writers) “no one likes us, we don’t care.”

  11. and when the driverless trains come in, what will John B say then…. it is worth comparing the frequency of metro trains on shared routes in Munich and London. I do not think the comparison will show that London is a commuter paradise. Bob Crow is living on borrowed time…along with his dinosaur members.

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