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Ask Sparky

March 11, 2014

SparkyDear Sparky: My brother-in-law lives in Wisconsin where they lost their union because of something the governor did. Just curious about whether anything like that could ever happen here. I’m not crazy about old brother-in-law but it seems like he’s getting a raw deal.

Signed, Concerned

Dear Concerned: Let me sniff the air a little and see if I can catch a whiff of an answer to your question. Unfortunately, I smell a ‘yes.’ Your brother-in-law’s situation is all too common these days, as states across this great nation of ours—including right here in Massachusetts—roll back the rights and protections of working folks. This is all thanks, by the way, to a well-funded, well-organized effort to crush unions like bugs. So where does this animosity towards unions come from? Let me see if I can break it down for you. You know how dogs hate cats? Well that’s pretty much how conservative politicians and their corporate allies feel about unions. But whereas cats serve no useful purpose at all as far as I can tell, unions are essential. Without a union you’re denied any say at all over your working conditions, and forget about getting a better shake as far as wages and benefits go. And as far as these politicians are concerned, that’s the whole point. So pay attention to what’s happening out there and be prepared to bite—I mean fight—back.