It would be nice to be surprised, but I'm not. It would be nice not to be disgusted, but I am. Oh-for-two, in sports parlance.
On page 12 of NEA Today is a 1/2-page article slamming Wal*Mart. Why my union, which should be worrying about my pay and working conditions and nothing else, has an article about a corporation completely unrelated to those topics, or even to education, should surprise me. But I know why. It's because NEA couldn't care less about Darren. The NEA cares only about itself, and it feeds off my mandatory dues to satisfy itself. It's a blood-sucking leech, and that disgusts me.
What do they have against Wal*Mart? They're anti-union, the Walton family donates money for voucher initiatives, and wages are substandard. Yet how is it their profits soar? Oh, I know! They provide goods and services that droves of Americans seek! And they offer a number of jobs that are miniscule compared to the number of people who want them. People vote with more than ballots, they vote with their feet and with their wallets. And apparently there are lots of votes at Wal*Mart--except votes for unionizing.
Singling out a company by name? With my money? Am I the only one who sees anything wrong with this picture?
So I get frustrated and turn the pages of the magazine, and what do I spy on page 55? Why, a short blurb encouraging me to join Costco, a Sam's Club (and hence Wal*Mart) competitor. I have nothing against Costco, and apparently they're quite the good "corporate citizen", but it shouldn't be the place of the teachers' union to denigrate one company and promote its competitor.
Wal*Mart/Sam's Club: $28,000,000 in cash so far, plus more in goods http://www.walmartfacts.com/community/article.aspx?id=1331
Costco: offering members the "opportunity to donate directly to the American Red Cross" http://www.costco.com/Service/FeaturePage.aspx?ProductNo=11034068
NEA: $1,000,000 (to be raised and given, not just given from current funds) http://www.nea.org/newsreleases/2005/nr050907.html
I wonder if Wal*Mart will try to make any points off these data? Nah, they're too busy providing services that people actually want--unlike the NEA.
Update: OK, this story isn't about the NEA in particular, but it is about a union that uses temporary employees as paid picketers outside a Wal*Mart in Henderson, NV. The closing says it all:
Yes, the UFCW is outsourcing its picketing to non-union workers, at a sub-standard pay rate with no benefits, in unsafe conditions, with no transportation or means to leave the premises, in order to protest the poor jobs inside Wal-Mart, where workers make twice as much.
To quote Glenn Reynolds: Heh.