Police Arrest Unions

Unions in the United States have been losing ground for years. Recently, things have been looking a bit brighter due to union interest from millennials in the gig economy. Unfortunately, the cops could arrest that forward movement.

The police are one of the most heavily unionized sectors of the labor force. Their unions are powerful and fight to protect their members, including bad cops. The public, and especially millennials, never had much tolerance for bad cops. As it becomes apparent how many bad cops are still on the job because of their unions, the backlash is not going to be pretty.

The problem is not limited to to the police. Unions are strong in government workers, and every government worker can tell you about colleagues that should be fired but cannot be because of their union.

There is a lot of good unions can do in terms of working conditions, fair wages, health benefits, etc. But that is not what makes it into the news. Unless unions can figure out how to be on the ‘good’ side of getting rid of bad actors, their progress will be arrested and they will continue to decline.

Et Tu, Star Wars?

Somewhere, somehow, America’s unions lost their cachet. Even into the 1970s, Hollywood made heroic union movies like Joe Hill and Norma Rae that succeeded at the box office.

How the tables have turned. Star Wars, The Last Jedi, is an example. In one of the biggest films of the year, the heros put in a call for help to their friend Maz Kanata. It is a quick scene and when Maz, the proprietor of a popular bar appears, we find her in the thick of battle, dodging bullets and so on.

“Are you OK, Maz?”  “Yes, it’s just a little union dispute.”

Most of the people that worked on the movie were union members yet they had no problems slipping in a joke dissing unions. It is a testimony to how poorly unions are regarded that the union-disparaging joke enters the canon of one of the most popular film series ever.

The union’s PR situation will continue to deteriorate until they get some leadership that understands how the public forms its perceptions in the age of social media (and Trump). Maybe they can interest Steve Bannon in the job – he may be unemployed soon.