136 How does this make you feel?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 11 months ago

By now I'm sure you've all seen the report of the theft at Fletcher’s Tire and Auto. I deliberately waited a week or two to let it sink in before I said anything about it.

How many, many times we have seen the same thing? A business looted by its own employees? Logical inconsistencies in a "robbery" which point toward an employee. Too many things done trying to make it "plain" what happened, but which actually make it plain that someone wanted people to think it was plain. All the usual bumbling.

Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!

That's not the issue though. There are a couple of things that really strike me when I read about things like this. See how you feel about them.

First the obvious one: Would you place your whole life on the line for a few hundred bucks? For that matter, would you do it for any amount of money? Imagine what it's like, going through life branded as a thief.

And the other question: When you hire on with an employer, what do you owe that employer? Nothing but your time? Is there nothing else that you owe someone who gives you a job? No loyalty? No feeling of being a part of something?

We all make choices in life. To me, those are a couple of big ones.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 11 months ago

Tom, A big "YES" to the question for an awful lot of people "Would you place your whole life on the line for a few hundred bucks?" I've seen them do it for a dime bag of dope. They are a large part of the decay that is leiterally eating at the core of this nation's character. They have become parasites to the system and play it for all it's worth.

As to the second question "....what do you owe that employer?" The last several generations have been taught that the "employers" are tantamount to slave masters who will simply use up their employees for a few bucks and then discard them. Thank you very much AFL/CIO and other unions for promting and instilling this view in the minds of so many willing and gullible people. Not to say that there are not uncaring and unscrupulous employers, as we all know there are. But not every employer falls into that catagory and even if one finds themselves employed by one, they have the right to quit and seek employment elsewhere. That's one of the great aspects of freedom and personal responsibility, at least in a Right To Work state.


Bernice Winandy 3 years, 11 months ago

Tom, to the question, "Would you steal?" No, I wouldn't because whatever I would get in the robbery would not be enough to quell my guilty conscience.

A great deal has been said against unions. I admit that they had reached a point in some areas where some union employees were taking advantage of their employer. However, at the same time, I believe that there were many union employers who felt it was their duty to give their best on the job.

Unions are being "broken" today. It would be interesting to see what happens to the middle class as a result of no unions or unions without pull.

Please remember that it is because of unions that employees got health insurance and pension plans to say nothing of a livable wage.

There needs to be a balance between the capitalist and the employee.


Kim Chittick 3 years, 11 months ago

Tom, to answer your questions: There is NOTHING, no thing and no money great or important enough to prompt me to jeopardize my good name, my reputation, and most of all, my freedom.

Once one has been found guilty of theft, it matters not how many years have passed, if something goes missing, others will always look askance at the ex-convict.

As to your other question. I am, for the most part in agreement with you. We all have choice and free will, if a position doesn't suit you, you are well within your rights to tender your notice and move on. However, when you accept a position in exchange for a paycheck, you owe that employer a certain level of fealty, as well as your best efforts for the time that you have agreed to be in their employ.

Finally, with regard to the particular situation you mentioned, when I read this story, it just broke my heart as I imagined the lives that will be permanently changed and adversely affected by this guys bad choice. Make no mistake, if he is guilty and it sure sounds as if the evidence indicates it is so, then I have ZERO sympathy for him. He planned ahead and deliberately, and he should suffer the consquences. I just think about the others that his decision affects. He is young, so I imagine his parents will be affected. And so many young people now have little ones of their own; does he? Does he have a wife or a girlfriend?

Such a sad, stupid decision for a few hundred dollars.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 11 months ago

"Such a sad, stupid decision for a few hundred dollars.'

Sums up my feelings on the whole subject. And what gets me about it is the the chances are if you met the person he might very well be wearing a air of $195 Nikes. It seems at times that people just want, but the other side of the equation is left blank; there's a plus sign and an equal sign, but no minus sign to remind them that what they will feel inside even if they aren't caught isn't going to feel good.

Is there any feeling worse than guilt?

Bernice, it's obvious that you feel the same way too. I wonder? Is there any way to see inside the head of someone who steals?

As to unions, they are a good thing. They allow individuals who are helpless against a ruthless employer to join together and demand they be treated like human beings. As long as the union is limited to a single company, or a single large site, such as a manufacturing plant, all is well. The hostility level is low. Fair bargaining takes place. There is a give-and take because no one wants to harm the business that provides him with a living, and even the employer gains because ills that would otherwise fester are cleared away.

Unions are the result of unfair practices by employers, but I worked for a retail chain in my early years and learned a lot. It was like many other chains except for one thing: The man who founded it was perhaps the most honest and forthright man I ever met. He was a mutli-millionire who started his business in the very depths of the depression. Within a year he had a second store, and by the time I met him he was opening number 23. He taught us one thing: Give that customer what he came in the door for: Good quality merchandise at a fair price, and the absolute truth about what he was getting--even if you had to send him across the street because what he really needed was over there. When Blue Shield and Blue Cross came out in--believe it or not!--1954, we got it without ever asking for it. A union organizer came by the store one day. He left shaking his head. We were polite to him, but we told him we didn't need him.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 11 months ago

When unions become too big they are a drain on society, one we cannot afford. I just read Lee Iacocca's biography, and learned of the real situation in the auto industry. The unions were not only company-wide, but were industry wide. All they had to do to squeeze Ford was threaten to strike only Ford. That meant that GMC and Chrysler could capture the market for that year while Ford languished, deep in debt because it had borrowed to buy startup materials, unable to make money to pay its debts, and in danger of going out of business. They unfairness of that situation cannot be gainsaid. It is plain and simple extortion.

We need fair and honest laws which protect both workers and employers. Laws that do not permit unions to grow beyond reasonable limits. For example, in construction it is fair that there should be a carpenter's union, a mason's union, a painter's union, and so on, but there should be no contruction worker's union. Why should tmhe pay of a painter be tied to the pay of a carpenter? They do different types of work under differing conditions. Nor should it allowed for a union which is not directly involved in a strike to walk off the job. If the people in astore go on strike, why should deivery workers refuse to deliver goods to or from that store? It;s not their salary or benefits that are involved.

Right to work laws are NOT the answer, by the way. When a shop is unionized, it should be by secret ballot, and whatever the majority of workers decide should carry the day. That is the democratic way. Right to work laws do not allow secret ballots; thereby making anyone who votes to join the union to be unfairly targeted--which is exactly what happens. Once a shop becomes a union shop, and all employees enjoy the benefits and salary bargained for by the union, then all employees should pay into the union that won those benefits for them. That's only fair. Under Arizona laws I have seen people who sat back, enjoyed the hard work of others, and received benefits they did not deserve. That's wrong.

Right to work laws aren't needed if laws forbidding unfair union practices are written and enforced. They take the easy way out instead of working on the actual problems.

I personally do not need a union, nor would I voluntarily join one, but that's because I am a natural worker, a person who identifies with his employer, someone who gives his all because his focus is on the job, not the salary he gets for doing it. But when I began teaching and had to be a member of NEA to teach I did not object because that was the decision of my fellow teachers. Anyway, I was happy to leave it to others to worry about details; all I wanted to do was work.


Bernice Winandy 3 years, 11 months ago

Tom, if all employers (or owners of businesses) were like the one you first worked for, there would be no need for unions.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 11 months ago

True, Bernice, true.

That company is still running. It stores have spread from the original one in Rhode Island to I do not know how many, now located all the way north and south of it as far as Pennsylvania. It is example of private enterprise, solid as a rock and still growing.

Why? A simple honesty and fairness doctrine. It does not try to put its competitors out of business with dirty tricks, shoddy merchandise, and underpaid employees. It has build a better mousetrap and the world is slowly finding its way to its door.

Would that other retail businesses could learn that lesson.


Pat Randall 3 years, 11 months ago

If you want to join a union fine, but when the people who run them call for a strike who suffers? They don't, they still draw thier pay.
After the strike is over and the workers get thier raise how long do you think it takes them to make up for what they lost while not working? My husband worked on road construction for several years and the union wanted to run your life. There was a strike at a grocery store in Globe and we were told not to buy our groceries there. I told my husband when the union pays for them I will buy them where they want. He was in the laborer's union and one day was told to move a truck. Guess what, he couldn't do it because he wasn't a teamster member.
I hope Arizona always stays a right to work state.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 11 months ago

"There was a strike at a grocery store in Globe and we were told not to buy our groceries there."

That's exactly the kind of thing I object to. It's wrong. Negotiations should be between a union and the employer, and other unions should stay out of it. It's that kind of thing that caused the giant backlash against unions.

As to things like the one that Roni ran into, I do not believe in unions EXCEPT where they represent all the people in a company. Where you have five or six unions, you have trouble. Industry-wide unions create more problems than they solve.

As to "right to work" I think the law is in error. If a shop is unionized, it should be the whole shop--as long as the majority of the people want it. If i were writing that law, it would have to be a two thirds majority too. But if two thirds of the workers voted to create a union shop, then everyone would be in it. That way everyone shares the work and shares the benefits.

Lest you misinderstand what I said before about there being carpenter's unions, mason's unions, and painter's unions, but not construction workers union, what I really should have said that the negotiations for pay should not insist that everyone get the same amount. So yes, the skilled people in a company should get more than the unskilled, but if a truck needs to be moved by a laborer it should not be a big deal. It's only when a company uses practices that break agreements that anyone should get excited. So if a truck is in the way, move it. But don't hire a laborer to drive a truck. And the company union should be THE union, even though different people get different wages.

There are a lot of screwy things in state and federal laws. If we could ever get a Congress that wasn't dominated by one party we could work out fair and equitable rules and be done with it. But with this bouncing back and forth from one extreme to the other we'll never get anything done.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 11 months ago

Tom, I sense your views on Right to Work tend to go against this nation being a Republic, not a Democracy. In a democracy then the majority (of workers) who choose to unionize would then require even those that were against unionization to become part of the union to continue employment at the "unionized" workplace. But in a Republic, the minority (those who do not favor unionization) should be protected from the "tryanny of the majority" by not being forced to become a union member simply to retain employment at the "unionized" workplace. It's called "open shop". We had that in the Fire Department when it was first "unionized" in SoCal. We never had any axe to grind with those who chose not to be union members for whatever their reason. The reality was that the union was recognized as the representative bargaining unit by the employer and those that were not members simply had to accept whatever the union had negotiated on behalf of it's members. The non-union members were not allowed to negotiate for themselves individually. Personally, although I went along with the program, I was never accepting of the "union" and it's thuggery, for lack of a better word. Can't tell you how angry it made me that my dues went to fund the campaigns of individuals I wouldn't vote for to fill the job of dog catcher. California is now suffering a fiscal crisis largely due to those "unions".


Tom Garrett 3 years, 11 months ago

"Tom, I sense your views on Right to Work tend to go against this nation being a Republic, not a Democracy."

Absolutely not. I firmly believe that the wisest thing for a people to do is to choose the wisest among them to get together and use their wisdom, experience, education, and training to solve problems that most of us can't get a grip on.

My only feeling about a republic is what Tom Jefferson said, namely that whatever government we have it rules by the consent of the people.

And I see your point about the dangers of the "temporary majority" that our forefathers worried about. It's an odd thing, by the way. We often say, "Hey! Majority rules!" thinking that our forefathers meant it as a natural way of life, but as you know they were worried to death about it. In fact, it's what we have now--a "temporary majority" every four years. It's killing us.

But look at the whole term. It wasn't a "majority" that our forefathers feared; it was a "temporary majority." So if we say that in order for a union to form in some workplace it must have the support--in a secret ballot!--of at least two thirds of all the workers, we avoid that. And the law should be that any time the number of people supporting the union falls below two thirds it's history.

But you're right about the dangers of unions that misuse their powers. The laws need to be firm, but fair. It's a problem. Always will be until we get out of the "winner take all" mode of government.

[I hope you weren't waiting for me to offer solutions. My solution to anything is to find a way to get our government back on track. :-) ]


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