September 16, 2011

More work for less pay = road to recovery?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:22 pm

SF Tourist attraction is background for stike photo, Kazoo for the cause, and bullhorns deliver the strikers’ messages.

A noisy racket at 7:40 a.m., on Wednesday September 14, 2011, in San Francisco’s Embarcadero district was designed to remind guests at the hotel across from the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street that they had crossed a picket line when they checked-in. It also reminded one columnist of some San Francisco history and that it was time to take some photos and to collect whatever tidbits of information about union busting were available and not worry about a topic for the next installment of his continuing series of assessments of contemporary American Pop Culture.

One of the strikers described a recent confrontation with a critical citizen passerby who disparaged the strikers’ efforts. She replied by offering the opinion that by supporting the management’s position he was actually supporting Osama bin Laden’s efforts to destroy America’s economy. The citizen went and got a cop to provide the arbitration for the street debate.

The early morning commotion included the use of a kazoo amplified by a bullhorn augmented by some chanting and a striker who used another bullhorn to state her grievances. Nearby some of the famed cable cars prepared to “climb half way to the stars.” So did the noise level. (We have to fact check and see if it was Keith Moon who played drums on the recording of “Stairway to Heaven.”)

Later on Wednesday (according to information found via a Google News search), the workers held a rally and agreed to return to work while continuing to express their grievances to company management.

San Francisco tourists (and some of the city’s younger residents?) might be unaware of the fact that Fog City had been, during the Thirties, the site for one of the few general strikes in the annals of the American Labor movement. Do the folks, who are planning the protest in Washington D. C. for October 20 of this year, know about the general strike that was held in San Francisco?

When Teddy Roosevelt would mumble the word “Bully,” was he offering conservatives attitude advice on how to respond to complaints about working conditions such as those described in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”?

During World War II, there was a Broadway production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” that featured juvenile actors. Will the repeal of child labor laws speed the demise of union?

The description of the striker’s involvement in the curb side example of freedom of speech reminded this columnist of a pro-management conservative in Los Angeles who also happens to be well versed in martial arts. He often cites kung-fu movies as being an example of how individuals should be prepared to fight their battles with management alone. Is the legend about one lone Texas Ranger single-handedly backing down a mob based on a true incident?

The fellow in L. A. ignores the implications of the axiom: Negotiate together or beg alone. He seems blissfully unaware of just how unrealistic those movies are. In a film, Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee may beat-up a group of thugs but the bad guys always come at the hero one at time like the “take a ticket and wait for your number to be called” customers at a busy deli. In real life (fact questioning trolls are referred to Hunter Thompson’s book on the Hell’s Angeles), if a karate expert blundered into a confrontation with a motorcycle gang, they wouldn’t fight him one at a time. They would swarm over him (insert bear, bees, honey metaphor here) and beat the crap out of him.

Fact checking trolls who challenge this are invited to go into a biker’s bar and learn first hand how inaccurate the kung-fu films’ level of reality is. Do the actors in those quaint films belong to the actors’ union? Can’t they fight their own labor disputes by themselves?

Reality has never been a serious consideration for those presenting the conservative point of view and it never will be. Fox Views (News?) has legally established their right to tell lies as part of their efforts to report and let the audience decide. If they really want you to decide about important issues, then we have a question: How would you rate Fox’s coverage of the Murdoch hacking scandal?

We know of one particular conservative in L. A.’s South Bay area who asserts that the voices in his head have the call waiting feature.

If annual awards for hypocrisy are ever initiated, conservatives will be expected to dominate the yearly results.

Take Uncle Rushbo and Sean Hannity (please, take them!). Earlier this year they indulged in diatribes railing against unions. Were we surprised to hear Mike Malloy mention that those two fellows were members in good standing in the very same union to which Malloy pays his membership dues? Do wild bears . . . . Conservatives and hypocrisy go together like . . . what? Conservatives and hypocrisy go together like bikers and free concerts at the Alta Mont raceway!

We haven’t listened to Uncle Rushbo lately but we are curious to know if he is explaining how extending work hours and reducing wages can provide a logical basis for starting an economic recovery. How the heck can people be out in the malls spending America into recovery if they have to put in extended hours at their desks to earn less pay? Oh! Yeah! Run credit cards up to the limit! What conservative doesn’t approve of that solution for a way to handle a tight budget crisis?

Are the Republican members of Congress going to use the classical “sit down strike” strategy from now until a Republican is elected President? Isn’t that like holding the recovery hostage and using that as a basis for a “You’ll get a recovery, when you elect a Republican President” type (implied) ransom demand?

If the Republicans use the union tactics of a sit down strike to bust unions, shield the rich from taxes, and regain the White House, would that be an example of irony or hypocrisy?

Speaking of San Francisco how did William R. Hearst’s efforts to break the union strike at the L. A. Herald Examiner work out?

In an effort to track down an appropriate closing quote from either Eric Hoffer or Harry Brudges (gotta help the conservative trolls earn their pay by providing them with deliberately misspelled names), we stumbled across the fact that Woodrow Wilson (wasn’t he a Republican?) told congress: “The seed of revolution is repression.”

Now the disk jockey will play Woodrow Guthrie’s “Sticking to the Union,” Roy Orbison’s “Workin’ for the Man,” and the “Cool Hand Luke” soundtrack album. We have to go make plans to attend the San Francisco Public Library’s 47th Big Book Sale September 22 – 25 at Fort Mason. Have a “never heard Herb Caen’s name mentioned once” type week.

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