Saturday, March 15, 2014

CRAIG EDWARD KELSO, Unions Suck Whale Nuts

At one time in my life a very long time ago, I worked for a firm whose primary function was to raise money for the Democratic Party. I raised funds for congressional campaigns, senators, and even the original Clinton-Gore ticket. 

The firm also took-on raising money for the Chavez group, United Farm Workers, hoping to improve the plight of migrant farm workers all over the United States.

The owners of the fundraising firm were complete and utter bastards. Dicks. Fuckers. Assholes. Evil. Pure ball sweat. They sucked on a level so badly no other level of lowly suckage has ever been achieved. I hated every single moment working for them, causes be damned.

As I worked on a project asking donors give money to the United Farm Workers, citing migrant workers' deplorable hourly wages and conditions, I noticed how our wages at the firm were roughly the same. 

A hilariously seditious thought entered my mind, and then I tested it out a little with some of the people in the office. 

I joked with coworkers, and I even mentioned the irony to my supervisor (the owner’s younger brother). What I found in their responses unnerved me. They giggled nervously as if I'd revealed something glaring.

I had. 

Their uneasiness struck a strong chord. I began talking more and more to coworkers.

This firm preyed on the hiring of parolees, drug addicts, the chronically unemployed, college students, and others who’re easily manipulated – and, OF COURSE, federal tax money was funneled the firm’s way as well for employing these sorry folk. The people who worked there were not political, and they didn’t instantly see the contradiction in working for a firm that agitated on behalf of unionism … though it didn’t have a unionized workforce itself. 

During breaks, in the bathroom, on the way to and from work, I began to explain to the workers how fucked up it was the firm we worked for didn’t practice what it preached. Faster than I expected, the idea spread throughout the office. 

Things got so crazy I was pulled into the owner’s brother’s private little cubicle.

You’re leaving soon, he began. Why do YOU care what these people make? he asked worriedly. 

He was right. I’d lined up another job, given my notice, and was more or less out the door.

I was surprised he brought the subject up so quickly. No pleasantries. No niceties. 

His office was surrounded by windows, and as I sat down, I noticed the working area, the ENTIRE room, along with the floor supervisors, intensely watching our meeting. 

I studied the man before me. 

He was unimpressive. He was dull. He was typical. He was the modern progressive, the modern American Democrat: pompous, intellectually vacant.

I believe in taking your philosophy to its logical conclusion, I answered. You make your living off of unionism and the de-facto socialism of the Democratic Party, so you too should walk the walk.

He grinned knowingly, leaned back in his tacky office chair.

He threatened, These people will never follow you. They have nowhere else to go. Once you get a union in here, everything will change for the worse. The union won’t ever leave. We’ll have to lay off workers. We’ll have to … and he went on and on ironically to refute all his workers' script, JUST OUTSIDE OUR CONVERSATION. 

It was the exact opposite of what his employees implored of donors. I continued in amazement at what I was hearing. 


It was at that point I officially had an ASS FULL of these types of people. He, though just a lackey for his older brother, was everything I hated in a human being. 

I vowed to myself, silently, to do all I could to organize and bring home the vile chickens to roost they raised from an intellectual distance. 

I said little more, gave him my famous fuck you smile, and went back to work.

It was ON, dude. 


Once I get an idea that is so clear, so right, I attack. 

That’s the best verb I can summon. I just go after it. Everything takes a major backseat, and I pursue and pursue. 


It has served me well, mostly, and those who’ve worked with me on various projects have commented on my focus. 

I burned to bring the full force of unionism on the company. What could they say? Wasn’t it THEY who begged and ranted about the evils of private business? Wasn’t it THEY who said moneyed interest was always bad and must be mitigated by union action (which itself was just code for government thuggery)?

I did some elementary research, finding out how much the firm made in annual revenue. Millions. I uncovered the fact the firm had a Sacramento branch as well -- hitherto unknown to us at the other end of the state. In the course of my investigations, I also found out the owner was running for MAYOR of a Southern California city, El Segundo. I made lists of all the firm’s clients, and I began to call them one by one. 

It became crystal clear this firm was making a ton of money off the back of government largess, pushing businesses around. It needed EVERY GODDAMN DOSE of unionism it advocated elsewhere. I made a tri-fold pamphlet, explaining the arguments in favor of organizing a union. I called it A PENNY AND A HALF FOR FAIRNESS, a paraphrase of a campaign we raised funds for, and one of my coworkers sliced pennies in half and poked holes in them, making key chains (I only recently lost it). 

I called the Communication Workers of America (CWA), and the local agreed to get the Labor Relations Board to help us monitor the election.

All we needed was a plurality to win.

The Democrat fundraising firm was TERRIFIED. 

The owner, who, in all my time with the company, NEVER graced us with his appearance, suddenly took a renewed interest in his employees. 

He came down for a visit, slumming. 

Much like his brother, he was large in personal bulk, but ultimately was a small, small man. He too was genetically unimpressive. Had the aura of a pure politician. He began to bring in segments of his work force for a meeting. In groups of five or ten, he proceeded to grill employees on how such an idea of a union was not a good fit for HIS company. Unions worked, it appeared, for EVERYONE else, but not for HIS business. I was mostly quiet, watching the workers’ faces. I really believe I saw a change in them during these meetings. They began to see through this dude and his bullshit. 

He left. 

The week before the election, the owner's younger brother brought-in workers one by one into his office, threatening them with layoffs if the union won.

As progressives are wont to do, a bunch of workers broke off and supported their master, the company. They attempted to infiltrate our strategy sessions. We spotted a rat almost immediately, and so we began disinformation campaigns, planting a meeting place and time in the rat’s ear … only to change it at the last minute. It became a hilariously fun thing to do. We pumped our fellow rat coworkers with so many lies I remember hearing a supervisor tell one of the rats how he could no longer trust her.

Great shit. 

We’d all plan to meet at the bathrooms at such-and-such a time, and then steal the bathroom key so the rat couldn’t follow us. The company blamed ME for the key's loss, but they couldn’t prove anything. The fuck you smile rose to its most powerful state during these times.

The CWA local's union president liked my guerrilla tactics, and so she sponsored me to fly to Sacramento to try and organize that wing of the firm as well. 

Now THAT was fun. 

They were only slightly less pathetic than us, and I’ll never forget meeting a very, very tall transvestite who asked to take a picture with me.

She/he/it was smitten, I guess. The workers there didn’t know what to make of our campaign down south, and because I couldn’t spend a lot of time there I didn’t really count on them organizing … but I knew it was going to freak out the corporate office in El Segundo once they got wind. 

It did. 

The Sacramento branch suddenly earned visits from the owner as well.

I then began to call the famous politicians I’d raised money for. To their credit, nearly every one of them took my call or at least passed me on to a top staffer. And, to their credit, they supported our efforts. One of them, a then-Speaker of the Assembly in California, called down to the owner of the firm and told him he had better not try to bust our union. 

I knew this was all having a tremendous impact because the supervisors and the owner’s brother could not even look at me, and when they did, they looked scared. 

It is MAGICAL to use someone’s own philosophy against them.

Election day came. 

I took the day off, making sure anyone and everyone who needed a ride got one. The owner showed up, making one last appeal to the workers NOT to elect the union. The Labor Board came in, and they set up a booth. Every worker filled out a ballot. 100% participation.

We won, and we won HUGE … by a 3-1 margin!

The look on the owner’s face was priceless. He glared at me, wanting blood. 

Fuck you smile right back at him.

Now it was on to negotiate the contract.

Unanimously, I was chosen to head the committee. It was me, another dude, and the local president against a $500-an-hour entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles!


His offices were in a marble palace. He donned a $3000 suit and smelled like a French whore. I wore sweats and my THIS IS NOT A FUGAZI T-SHIRT tee shirt. What a sight I must have made in the office. I do remember the secretaries looking me up and down as I walked in like I owned the place. 

Fuck yeah!  

We negotiated for HOURS and HOURS. I knew the financials backwards and forwards. I knew how to access a business credit report, the old D&Bs. I could read a fucking spreadsheet. The lawyer, being a good Democrat himself (he wouldn’t stop citing his union street cred), kept telling us how the company was broke. 

I exploded. 

I told him I wasn’t as stupid as I looked, and that these people were willing to strike. He called my bluff, stating that we didn’t have a strike fund and that my coworkers were too poor to strike. He was right, of course. I changed tactics.

Okay, I leaned across the table, but what if I go to the press and I make it my personal fucking mission to ruin your boy’s political career?

The lawyer just about shit himself.

Yes, I will, I continued. I have on my Rolodex all the company’s clients, and I am on a first name basis with ALL of them. I leave in a few weeks, and I have no qualms about slash and burn. I will make it so your boy’s name is absolute dog shit in Democrat politics!

The lawyer began to reexamine his previous denials of certain demands. He gave-in on a whole host. I was on a roll. We got health care. We got a 401k. We got annual raises. We got vacation pay. 


I cannot remember exactly what it was that was a deal-breaker in my mind, but the lawyer wouldn’t give on a certain central demand (I honestly wish I could remember).

Something very weird happened next.


That’s right. This person stepped in and basically said I was being unreasonable and that we should take what the company was offering! And the local president did this in front of the lawyer! I could not believe it. All the work and sacrifice just to have this UNION goon tell ME I was the unreasonable one. 

Now I was shocked. 

What killed me even more was the fact this contract would last THREE years, so whatever we got we were stuck with for some time. I had the company on the ropes. I was going in for the kill. It was the UNION who choked it off.

It was getting late, the union president said. She had to get back home. Could we wrap this up? the local union president asked.

I was furious.

As we drove home, the local president bought us dinner. Steak. Booze. Loosening up, the president explained now that they had the workers, and mandatory dues for three years, the contract negotiation was not important. I ate about half the steak, I was so sick. I felt like I failed the people who put their confidence in me. I didn’t sleep for like three days.

Back at work, I had to present the contract. The workers glowed with excitement. It was a lot more than they were currently getting (nothing), and it seemed significant to them. They noticed I wasn’t happy. I told them if they were strong enough, strong enough to strike, we could get even more out of this lame company, holding the company to its own standards. Murmurs. They were in no mood to strike. They could not afford it. I understood.

They voted for the contract, and the rest is history.

But I learned something valuable. I learned unions care nothing for their members. I learned so-called progressives are little more than opportunists and fakes. Well, I guess I knew all that already, but this experience confirmed both for me.

Unions do NOT raise standards of living. They lower them, and they lower them all around. To their immediate members, they protect the undeserving. They are power brokers who by and large use coercive force of government to exact their demands. who pay their workers well, who offer generous compensation and a healthy work environment, are more productive. The Fortune 500 is filled with such NON-union companies whose workers are the envy of the world.

It doesn’t take force and violence to achieve these ends.

It just takes freedom.

I later learned the owner of the company was struck down with a hideous brain disease, and died at a relatively young age.

Maybe there is a god.

And I mean it.




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