Unions Pulling Together to Let The People Suffer

People here in our county are already starting to get irritated by the power outages that are predicted to last until tonight – with the last few households in more remote areas not getting turned back on until the weekend. Yesterday morning, our county had more than 1/5 of the outages in the entire state of Pennsylvania. Obviously, New York and New Jersey are in far worse shape with the most optimistic predictions being that they’ll have most power back on at the end of next week.

Regardless of the clear need for all of the skilled workers they can get, it turns out that NJ utilities are turning away the needed assistance. Why?

Crews from Huntsville, as well as Decatur Utilities and Joe Wheeler out of Trinity headed up there this week, but Derrick Moore, one of the Decatur workers, said they were told by crews in New Jersey that they can’t do any work there since they’re not union employees.

The crews that are in Roanoke, Virginia say they are just watching and waiting even though they originally received a call asking for help from Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

The Alabama news site says that most of the crews found that New York was willing to accept the help regardless of their union membership, but some have already headed back home after New Jersey crews turned them away.

I guess for some union members, it’s more important to only work with those who agree with you than to ease the suffering of customers who can’t cook, can’t heat their homes during this cold snap, or can’t communicate with the outside world as their phones lose power.

25 thoughts on “Unions Pulling Together to Let The People Suffer”

  1. You know… if it were my neighborhood, I would escort that crew in and anyone who wanted to stop them otherwise would have words with me.

    And I would not be unarmed. Lets see them roll out the squad cars to arrest the guy trying to get power back on.

    1. I suspect the unionized police will be happy to do just that, while the liberal media plays the story as “rightwing gun nut threatens unions during disaster – see, we need to ban guns NOW!”

      1. Not to mention, I have a sneaking suspicion that the kind of work they would need to do isn’t something the individual crews can do without cooperation from the utility.

        1. They cant string up lines and get everything ready for the utility to come to a lockout and get everything back up and running?

          1. Local utilities subcontract for extra help during major outages, therefore it really is up to them to say yea or nay to e.g. non-union linemen. Presumably the local or state government can override that, but I see that pretty unlikely when Gov. Christie is touring with Obama and Bloomberg is devoting public resources to the marathon while Staten Islanders freeze in the dark.

            1. Something you may have noticed.. they were requested to come up, and then turned away.

              1. I’m not defending the unions’ actions. You questioned how they were able to do what they did. I was just trying to explain. I learned something about it back when I worked for the public utilities’ lobbying association.

                Some other perspective I gained in that job (and some others since): a lot of the career public employees just wear blinders and ignore the existence of the private economy. They reinvent many wheels (public wifi was big during my stint) because they don’t even ask themselves whether it’s already being done by private actors. Most are basically good people, they just live in a fantasy world where it’s still 1952 and the union workers are patriotic heroes that defeated Hitler and came home to build America.

      2. During the Verizon strike, it was very obvious that Law Enforcement in NY and NJ was on the side of the strikers. LE watched and did not intervene when a female replacement worker (my friend) was physically assaulted by a striker.

    2. Unfortunately, if you were a resident of New Jersey, you would very likely be unarmed. That’s the way they like their peasants up there…

      1. As a former subject of the Gestapo State of New Jersey I have to agree.

        Unless you are a cop or are very wealthy and politically connected (or are a criminal) you are not going to be armed in NJ. I once was almost arrested for having a bb gun on my own lawn!

        Now I walk around carrying a 1911 in the freedom loving Commonwealth of PA.
        Much better now……

  2. I was a member of a union when I was 19, for about 3 months.

    I have no respect for people who join unions. A man (or woman) who refuses to let their work speak for itself, who refuses to work as a means to get more money, who indignantly chants and waives signs as a demand for more stuff, and who relies on the force of government to get away with it, is not man (or woman) at all. They are a child.

    You want a raise? earn it by providing greater value to your company. You want better working conditions? Negotiate your terms with your employer like an adult.

    I view Union members the same way I view 13 year old girls (or boys), loud, irritating, lazy, and unjustly self-entitled. At least 13 year old have the excuse of being 13 years old.

    But even private sector Unions seem like Boy (or Girl) Scouts compared to the parasitical leaches that make up Public sector Unions.

    While there may be some justification, however pathetic, for private sector Unions, Public Unions are a logical contradiction and represent a blight on society.

    1. I have no respect for people who join unions. A man (or woman) who refuses to let their work speak for itself, who refuses to work as a means to get more money, who indignantly chants and waives signs as a demand for more stuff, and who relies on the force of government to get away with it, is not man (or woman) at all. They are a child.

      Perhaps a bit overstated; I respect plenty of people who join unions, because often it’s the only way for them to get a job in their vocation.

      I despise laws that make unions mandatory for any job, and I’d be happy to see every union in the nation busted tomorrow morning – or at very least see every one of them made completely and practically optional*.

      But I don’t despise the rank-and-file membership, automatically.

      I’ve known too many people with great pride in their work who were union members because it was unavoidable in their profession to do that.

      (* My libertarian tendencies applaud voluntary cooperation to achieve a goal; likewise they recoil at the use of intimidation or state power to achieve the same.

      If unions could restrict themselves to the former, they’d be un-problematic.

      Problem is they all seem to want to use state power, and have so often used intimidation that they’re all suspect of it now, even when not using it.)

      1. I agree, but the kind of Union we might both support has little to do with the Unions we have today.

        Perhaps in some far off future, we can rehabilitate the term to mean something cooperative and productive.

        But for now, the term Union is most accurately represented by a fat man (or woman) demanding they get whatever they want or else.

  3. Well, on the other side of the Storm, we up here in Ohio Land sent off a ton of Workers ahead of the Storm to the East Coast, and then we got hit. So now, there are Electrical Workers from the Carolinas working on the West side of Cleveland. And the only thing anyone cares about is getting their Juice back, not the state of their Union Dues.

    It does make one wonder how many of those Union Bosses in Jersey have Power coming from Portable Generators that they have “appropriated’ from the Electric Company.

    1. I’m in the south western part of Ohio land and work for a utility. We have a bunch of our linemen and transmission folks on the east coast right now.

      Here, we have agreements with utilities all over the country: we need help they send it; they need help we’re there. Maybe it’s in the Jersy unions contract, but here the agreement is between companies and the union membership of said companies does not come in to play.

  4. Story has been retracted, and vigorously denied by Governor Christie’s office. Whether that means it didn’t happen, I leave the viewer to decide.

    1. It’s interesting that the story I linked has changed significantly since I linked it. They now have the claim from the NJ folks that they didn’t actively turn away people, but there’s also another southern worker who went on the record to say that they were given paperwork from that union that they would have to join before being allowed to work.

      It could be a mix of things – the southern guys weren’t officially told not to come, but they were pressured to believe that they would not be welcomed if they didn’t join the union. That way, the union can say they didn’t refuse the help, but they could also keep out those they didn’t want to work with if they didn’t get new members. So, yeah, effectively to someone on the ground who just left their families to help out, they were turned away, but officially, on paper, there’s no record of any such refusal.

  5. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/who-is-telling-the-truth-nj-utility-says-it-didnt-block-non-union-help-alabama-utility-contradicts-their-statement/

    “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addressed the Alabama utility controversy during his afternoon press conference on Friday.

    In short, he says the Alabama workers were on their way to New Jersey and called someone (it’s unknown who) while in Virginia. That’s when they were told they couldn’t help if they were non-union. Christie says they were given “bad information,” and such a requirement does not exist.”

  6. We need to get rid of all the unions so we can all work for minimum wage without any benefits and can be fired for any reason.

    1. Or better yet, we need to organize mathematicians and software programmers like myself, because I’m tied of working for minimum wage! Oh, wait, I’ve *never* worked for minimum wage, even when working straight out of college.

      For that matter, working hourly without benefits can have its advantages (I’m currently unemployed, and it’s nice having my own insurance independent of my employer), and living under the shadow of “my employer can time me for any reason” has never been a problem for me.

    2. Oddly enough, never been in a union job, never worked miniumu wage, and been promoted based on competence rather than seniority, at a relatively rapid rate. Get pretty decent benefits, too.

  7. Woody, right, because in various none union jobs people are abused and fired all the time, and only union jobs are protected by law, and everyone else get paid min. wage.

    Just like Soviet Russia was the workers paradise and USA and their capitalist system tortures people.

  8. Just sounds like a case of a low level union functionary getting all butthurt, and the story exploding out of proportion. The IBEW and others have already stated, no union card required.

    In GA, the IBEW advertises itself more as a classical trade union, offering training as well as workers. I’ve not had the chance to talk to a member, but it seems from the outside that the local decided to play the right-to-work game and try to make themselves the attractive alternative to potential employees and potential employers.

    Unlike the CWA, who I have had direct experience with and have no use for.

  9. Let’s hold our breath until the IBEW union punishes those of its leaders involved.

    Might be a while, like forever.

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