The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Organized labor's shocking power

Today I saw a piece in the Washington Examiner that inspired me to write this post because it shows why the power of organized labor needs to be curbed. Entitled “Metro's absurd, tragic union rules,” the piece describes the case of a former bus driver for Washington's transit system, Ronald Taylor. Back in September 2008, Taylor was driving an empty bus back to the garage, and exceeded the speed limit by a significant amount, going through a red light, hitting a taxicab, killing one passenger and seriously injuring the passenger's wife and the cab driver. When the transit agency fired Taylor (which seems to me to be eminently appropriate!) the union forced them to reinstate him, and tried (thankfully without success) to allow him to drive a bus again rather than putting him where he could not endanger people's lives as a station manager:

…after Metro promptly fired Tabor from his job as a bus driver, it was forced by a labor arbitrator to reinstate him in May 2010, with a year and a half of back pay, on the grounds that it had not followed proper procedure in terminating him.

Not only was Taylor reinstated as a Metro employee, but his union, Amalgamated Transit Local 689, tried doggedly to force the transit agency to put him back behind the wheel of a bus. Taylor at least had the sense not to insist on this, instead agreeing to take a position as station manager, which he lost only this April after pleading guilty to the homicide charge.

At the time of the bizarre ruling to reinstate Taylor — in which arbitrators disregarded an eyewitness account of the accident — transit union boss Jackie Jeter stated that Metro lacked the authority to fire Taylor, and that “if they wanted Mr. Taylor to remain terminated, they should have put on a stronger case.”

The unmitigated gall of the Amalgamated Transit Union! The man sped through a red light, killed one man and injured two other people, and “Metro lacked the authority to fire Taylor”? If this isn't a reason that unions need to be restrained, I do not know what is. Fortunately, now that Taylor has been convicted in a court of law and put in jail, Metro can fire him with no grounds for the union to protest. But why were they forced to reinstate him in the first place?

No comments: