The Reasonable Union Representative

By Steven William
web posted May 1997

 To be printed and read by those applying for the position of Union Representative in their local ridings.

Fellow Workers of the World, dear Brothers and Sisters--

I won’t stand up here giving you my history in the world of socialist politics. I won’t belittle your intelligence by trying to fool you into thinking that because I have experience in the field of collectivism that I will be an asset to you, the individual laborer, who’s income is what makes the union go round. For to supply you with a resume of my "experiences" will only serve to work against you, to include my"self" will only end up being good for myself. How, you may ask?

First, know this; that whomever wishes to apply for the position of union representative has three intents –

  1. To help out others they believe can’t help themselves, i.e. to be responsible for those who wish their responsibilities away.
  2. To personally acquire the firsthand experience of dealing with an employer, and as such, earn a little insight into the relationship between employer and employee.
  3. To gain favor in the eyes of the union and hope someday to shuffle along under the socialist umbrella.

The third intent is, of course, is the most injurious to you as individuals; those who will ignore your rights so that the greater good benefits. And whenever you hear a candidate for the position speak about his or her past experiences like they are of immeasurable value, like anyone who hasn’t sat at the collective bargaining table won’t be as useful, like anyone who doesn’t have special contacts in union circles will be lost, then it would be extremely wise of you to ask what, precisely, is this person’s input in the union movement, to which you’ll likely hear an answer that is spurious at best:

Q: "What feature in this collective bargaining agreement is the result of your rationale, the result of your presence at the table?"

A: "Well...I helped calm some of our negotiators down. They were really starting to get angry. One guy almost got physically violent, he was so mad."

The first intent I named is no favor to you workers either, let me assure you. To help others who have not asked for help is, however noble, an interference to your productivity. It assumes that unions know what is best, and anyone against union policy is therefore anti-union. It is critically wrong of anyone to think that when someone acts against the interests of the union then s/he is asking to be assisted and educated in the ways of it. I know many that are not interested in learning about grievance procedures but who violate union regulations every shift. I ask you, what do you call it when someone knowingly and intentionally violates the very agreement that is designed to protect him or her? And as a union representative, would you then bring it to the attention of your superiors and have the worker disciplined, or would you simply forget it and go about your business? If you’re one who believes in deciding for the good of others, then your solution is simple; report the person, tell on him or her, quickly, so that swift collective justice will visit anyone who goes against union grain.

The second intent is the one I am grounding my candidacy on. As an objective and honest individual, I will not stand here snapping off my resume-of-a-socialist in the hopes that you’ll compromise your earnings for my favor. I can’t promise you glowing changes in policy where I know stagnation is the rule. I can’t promise "I’ll work hard to bring each worker what they deserve" where I know my presence is a mere conduit for collectivism. My goal here is to see for myself how the relationship between employer and employee goes, and to relate to you that information. Which brings me to what I can promise you, to keep you well informed. To the best of my knowledge and ability, I promise to remain objective about what goes on in and around the situation between you and the employer. For if you not well informed, how then can it be expected you make a well-informed decision. Your money makes this union possible, not some other union’s, and your presence is what matters, and as such it is your right to demand that information be free of bias; it may not be possible for unbiased information, but it is still your right to demand it. And it is your decision that matters, your vote, not someone that had no hand in production.

It is as reasonable a promise I can make given the circumstance. As a union representative, a person who speaks for others, I realize that the position will compromise my personal principles, whatever they may be. But I’m not doing this for you, as I have said, I’m doing this to improve my own situation. Having said that, providing objective information for your convenience will allow you the opportunity for your vote to count, for your decision to matter, and consequently for you to improve your own situation. Your first important decision would be to vote for me.

Best of luck.

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