'Ignorance is bliss'

By ROY PULLAM

Charlie told me that he was a Republican because the Democrats are full of those "damn labor leaders."

He said organized labor is ruining this country. I told Charlie that there are only 11 million labor union members, and they could not be destroying this republic. I added that he should thank the Lord for organized labor.  

Without unions, there would not be vacation pay, a minimum wage, sick days, pensions, the 40-hour week, disability benefits and overtime pay.

I went on to explain that a rising tide lifted all boats. When union workers got more money, usually competing employers had to raise the wages of their employees.

Moreover, unions operate apprentice programs that give individuals who do not want to go to college a chance to earn better than a living wage. Apprenticeships are the most successful training programs in the world, and they do not cost the taxpayer a dollar.

Any red-bloodied conservative ought to be proud that the cost of that training is not coming from his or her pocket.

Each year, union members volunteer thousands of hours to benefit their communities. In Henderson, my hometown, they were invaluable in constructing a pocket park and a Habitat Home this year.

Unions raise and give monies to a number of charities, including veteran burial details, the Salvation Army and the United Way. Their goal is to reinforce the middle class by giving individuals and families a living wage.

What can be bad about that?

Charlie said unions protects lazy and careless workers. I told Charlie that the union workers do not like having to do other people's work, and they certainly do not want someone on drugs, someone who is not working safely or someone who does not report for work.  

I told him that the union workers I know are proud of the job they do, do quality work that scab outfits do not do and earn every penny they make.

I did not make a convert.  I guess it is true that ignorance is bliss.