Fox News reported: “As New York City finishes cleaning up the mess of the recent debilitating blizzard, it also faces allegations that union workers entrusted with cleaning up the mess of snow decided to stage a slowdown as the blizzard hit. The plan was to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts, several sources and a city lawmaker told the New York Post. The lawmaker, City Councilman Dan Halloran, underscored those claims in an interview Thursday on Fox News’ ‘Your World.’ Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department — and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan — at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.”

How interesting. Why is it when union members or union officials act in (actual or perceived) self-interest, it’s taken as a matter of fact, if not a moral virtue? But when an entrepreneur, employer or business owner acts in self-interest — and makes money in the process — it’s condemned as evil and socially harmful?

Union officials make hundreds of thousands of dollars. If they’re such big altruists, why don’t they pass those salaries on to the workers? By itself, there’s nothing wrong with this fact, except that unions would not enjoy the power they do without protective government legislation.

In a genuinely free market, unions would be free to form, and business owners would be free to accept the terms of unions, or not. Government would not be involved. Voluntary negotiation would rule, not government coercion. If a business owner decided to negotiate with a union, or fire everyone who joined, it would be his or her decision to make — and to live with the consequences in a free market. It’s called: Freedom of association, applied to business. That’s what capitalism is.

In some parts of the country where there’s a lot of snow (Vermont, for example), people hire private workers to plow their driveways and roads.

It works just fine. In my own residential area of coastal Delaware, where two surprise blizzards have hit us in the last six months, the local private sector got the side roads (for which the government is not responsible) cleaned in a hurry at a reasonable price. In a city like New York, there’s no reason why people couldn’t do this; it’s just that it’s unthinkable, and unions would probably make it legally impossible, because unions hate competition.

This is what most people don’t understand. There are two types of unions: Voluntarily-based ones, and ones protected by government legislation that grants unions the benefit of government force. Unions, as we know them, are essentially government-protected monopolies. If you want to hire a private company to shovel your show in a pro-union city, a union could stop you. The very same union workers who can stop you, using government force, can refuse to shovel the snow.

The liberals and socialists who have always advocated unions over the private sector, over capitalism and over private business — even over the rights of workers who don’t want to join unions — are associated with humanity, compassion and reason. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unions, as we know them, are representatives of political pull, of brute government force, and institutionalize the shoddiness of workers who cannot ever be fired. Increasingly, unions are nothing more than legalized thuggery. What other group would propose forcing members to join, and force members to reveal which leaders they select in “secret” balloting, as currently proposed in legislation before Congress?

Of course the unions in New York are unhappy. Government has told them they’re entitled to what they want, and when they don’t get what they want, there’s hell to pay. The more you give them, the more they will demand. It’s the same with automakers’ unions in Detroit, whose Boss-in-Chief, Barack Obama, made sure their jobs and benefits were left intact with the infusion of tax dollars into their pockets. They respond with campaign donations in the next election, donations which will not be subject to the same federal restrictions as private business.

Unions, the coercive kind as we know them, represent the ugly side of humanity. They are the product of “group think,” in which members who would never act a certain way individually feel empowered to act like thugs, collectively. Group think is the dark side of human nature. Human nature at its best is represented by man, the thinking and self-responsible individual.

It’s no accident that the Communist collectivists of the 1930s chose unions as their vehicle to impose the will of the mob on the mind of the productive. Similarly, it’s no accident that Barack Obama’s chief constituency are the power hungry union bosses who are really nothing more than legalized mob rulers.

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Dr Michael Hurd

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

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