August 24, 2012 by Ish
As I am a Detroit native, with family ties to all three of the Big Three (which has really just been Big Ford and “those other two” for decades), it frequently shocks people to learn that I am almost reflexively anti-union. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with collective bargaining (freedom of assembly), demanding the best wages and benefits you can get (freedom of contract), and the ability to use strikes or protests as leverage in a negotiation (freedom of speech). I just cannot stand it when unions decide to turn themselves into monopoly syndicates: card-check, closed shops, corrupt leadership, cronyism… all that and more is bad in and of itself.
Then there is the sheer idiocy of some of the things they do. To wit:the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department employs a “horseshoer” but keeps no horses.
And the local union president says it is “not possible” to eliminate positions, even though the department employs far more workers per customer and per gallon handled than do many other cities. The city pays $29,245 in salary and about $27,000 in benefits for this horseshoer position — so just shy $60k a year — for a man who makes horseshoes… for no horses.
I have taken a few basic lessons, and have done a wee bit of Western trail riding in the past… but, I feel that we need an expert horseman’s commentary to do this justice. So the city is paying a man $60k a year to make horseshoes… for no horses. What are your thoughts, Mal?