Sunday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. de stijl says:

    I really need to volunteer more. To contribute more back.

    I am going to work towards rectifying that.

    Anxiety kinda fucks with me, but I hope to find a way. I have a lot of free time. And skillz with a zee.

    I can do this. Maybe.

    2
  2. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Shouldn’t that be “mad skillz”?

    2
  3. wr says:

    Score another one for workers in post-Covid America — one day before IATSE was going out on strike, the studios, now including the very anti-union Amazon and Netflix — folded and apparently gave into to the union’s demands. I expect Eddie will be able to judge their success more accurately than me, since he knows so much more about IA contracts and working conditions, but this sure looks like a big W for labor.

    Oh, and evidence that “Hey, we have to cut your pay and worsen your working conditions because we need to give more money to the stars and our executives” is actually not a very good negotiating position.

    4
  4. EddieInCA says:

    @wr:

    Bottom line: The unions got everything they asked for. Everything. We will see the details when the contract it released, but I spoke to business agents from Local 600, Local 44, Local 80 and Local 728. Every one of of them said the same thing “We got everything we wanted.”

    8
  5. Michael Cain says:

    @EddieInCA:
    I’ll have to check Facebook later today. My cousin the Teamsters organizer in Iowa will be ecstatic. He loves all union wins equally.

    3
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A 49 tweet long thread, with links to other long threads:

    Nick Carmody JD, MS Psych
    @Nick_Carmody

    The “brilliance” of Steve Bannon is that he has convinced tens of millions of people to believe that destroying democracy is a noble/patriotic objective as long as it occurs while chanting “America First”.

    In the past,…1/

    Flag of United States The FireResistanceFire Patriot Flag of United States
    @WiseAsASerpent

    Bannon’s use of violent language and threats of “shock troops” is not necessarily hyperbole or metaphor. Rather, it should be seen as part of a larger embrace of political violence & other terrorism by the racist Republican fascist authoritarian movement.

    There’s a lot to chew on there.

    3
  7. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Whenever I come across someone who is anti union, I always ask one question: “What do you have against getting medical benefits and a pension?”

    Funny how many of the same people who decry low wages are also the most anti-union.

    9
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: I have noticed that a whole lot of people are very much in favor of higher wages, pensions (as long as the pension is just a 401K that is no better than their own insufficient 401K) and medical benefits (again, as long as the med benefits are no more adequate than their own) as long as these things come about without the inconveniences of a strike.

    Heaven forbid people might have to wait an extra 6 months for the latest Bourne movie.

    3
  9. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Bannon really is an evil little troll, isn’t he?

    4
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: On some subjects, it is better for me to just STFU. I like commenting here.

    eta: Wow, a working edit function.
    must find a use
    must find a use
    must find a use
    must find a use
    must find a use
    must find a use

    Well, that’s all I can think of to add.

    2
  11. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @CSK:
    Hey, wait just a minute… As an acknowledged evil little troll, I deeply resent your lumping Bannon into Clan Luddite! The very idea that he’s that evolved…

    3
  12. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Oh, so sorry. How about I call Bannon “a loathsome excrescence.”

    Feel better now? 😀

    5
  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A few nights ago I put the Magnificent 7 (Yul Brynner and crew) in the DVD player for some mindless entertainment. After it was over, I mentioned to my wife that it was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 7 Samurai, and how good the original was. She looked it up and found 7S for $17 and ordered it. It showed up yesterday and we watched it last night.

    Damn, it’s even better than I remembered.

    I also mentioned AK’s Yojimbo*, and how it was also remade for the American audience (A Fistfull of Dollars and a Bruce Willis gangster flick whose name escapes me just now). Unfortunately, she couldn’t find it anywhere for less than $54. I’m gonna have to work her a little more to get that one.

    *Yojimbo is also far superior to either of the remakes. The movie starts with an opening scene of a dog running across a dusty street with something hanging from it’s mouth. As the dog gets closer to the camera, one realizes it’s a hand.

    1
  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Hey now, wait just a minute there…

    1
  15. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Please don’t try to tell me you’re a loathsome excrescence.

    2
  16. Mu Yixiao says:

    @EddieInCA:

    There are good unions and bad unions. I’ve worked with both.

    Training, safety, fair wages, benefits: Good.

    Requiring a 2-man, 4-hour call to plug in my work light?
    Refusing to push box because it’s 6″ on the other side of the loading door threshold?
    Not knowing what the green wire is for?
    $5k fine for stepping on the stage during lunch break?
    Protecting a hand that showed up drunk for every show–including Sat 8AM?

    Bad.

    And yes, every one of those happened to me.

    Between IATSE (of which I was a member), IBEW, Teamsters, ACT, and a few others, I’ve worked with probably 100 locals. And they ran the gamut from “Fucking amazing” to “a high school drama club would do better”.

    So… I’m not “anti-union”, but neither do I think that unions are a panacea of wonderfulness.

    That being said, I’m very happy to hear that IATSE got everything they were asking for–because everything I’ve read about the situation showed that they deserved it. The demands were all reasonable and appropriate, and this is exactly the sort of situation unions were created for.

    4
  17. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @CSK: thanks! My feels are improved muchly. That and my second cuppa coffee is very good.

    1
  18. Mu Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I also mentioned AK’s Yojimbo*, and how it was also remade for the American audience (A Fistfull of Dollars and a Bruce Willis gangster flick whose name escapes me just now).

    Last Man Standing.

    I absolutely love that movie. I can’t imagine anyone other than Willis playing the lead in that. And… I never thought “spaghetti gangster western” would be a genre that would work.

    I haven’t seen Yojimbo* or Fist Full of Dollars since college (in a film history class). I may have to pick them up and watch them again.

    Speaking of Kurasawa movies: Have you ever seen Ran? It’s a Kurasawa interpretation of King Lear. Very interesting, and very good.

    ========
    * I can’t say that name without thinking of Usagi Yojimbo–Samurai Rabbit. 😀

    OMG! There was a TV show??

    1
  19. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    That makes me happy.

    1
  20. Moosebreath says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Excellent Twitter thread linked there. One I would like to see get more views.

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    I kind of forgot this, but I was once a union organizer. I’d been assistant manager at Sambo’s in Oakland, which was union. My boss and I both migrated to a Sambo’s in Concord (East Bay) which was not. The effective difference was that waiters had regular breaks – we’d keep on what we then called a ‘break girl’ to pick up stations for 15 minutes at a time. And the manager on duty would break the cooks. (Me working a 7 foot grill during bar rush? Not a good time.) There were other bennies, but breaks were the most visible. So I got my waiters together and called in a union rep, set it all up, and was told – politely – to fuck off because I was management.

    2
  22. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’m fortunate to be able to call Walter Hill a friend. To me, “Last Man Standing” and “Streets of Fire”, and “Warriors” are his best works.

    @OzarkHillbilly: You can find Yojimbo on both Apple TV and Amazon Prime for $3.99. A brilliant film.

    1
  23. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Between IATSE (of which I was a member), IBEW, Teamsters, ACT, and a few others, I’ve worked with probably 100 locals. And they ran the gamut from “Fucking amazing” to “a high school drama club would do better”.

    So… I’m not “anti-union”, but neither do I think that unions are a panacea of wonderfulness.

    I agree with this 100%. I believe certain unions are corrupt (cough, NY Teamsters, cough) and others are just poorly managed. But on balance, unions do MUCH more good than bad when it comes to wages, working conditions, rest periods, etc.

    3
  24. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t know if your home setup allows for streaming, but if it does, you might want to look into the Criterion Channel, which offers tons of Kurosawa along with thousands of other foreign and domestic films you won’t be able to stream anywhere else.

    By the way, the Bruce Willis movie is technically an adaptation of the Dashiell Hammet novel Red Harvest that Kurosawa ripped off for Yojimbo. It’s all one big circle…

    2
  25. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “I haven’t seen Yojimbo* or Fist Full of Dollars since college (in a film history class). I may have to pick them up and watch them again.”

    Fistful of Dollars is pretty good, but I would recommend re-starting with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which is Leone with full ambitions and a budget big enough to cover them all. (Once Upon a Time in the West elevates Leone’s style to its aphotheosis and it’s one of my all-time favorite films, but G.B,U is more fun…)

    2
  26. CSK says:

    Having failed dismally to prove voter fraud in Maricopa County, Trump has now trained his sights on Pima County.

  27. wr says:

    @EddieInCA: “I’m fortunate to be able to call Walter Hill a friend. To me, “Last Man Standing” and “Streets of Fire”, and “Warriors” are his best works.”

    I love Walter Hill’s movies, although I’ve never been fortunate enough to meet the man. I can’t say how important The Warriors was to me as an aspiring writer.

    But despite the fact that my love for Jim Steinman’s songs even eclipses that for Hill’s movies, I could never get in to Streets of Fire. I want to — and I love the songs — but all four of the leads speak in this same whiny drone, with every line of dialogue drooping down at the end and it makes me crazy…

    1
  28. EddieInCA says:

    @wr:

  29. EddieInCA says:

    @wr:

    But despite the fact that my love for Jim Steinman’s songs even eclipses that for Hill’s movies, I could never get in to Streets of Fire. I want to — and I love the songs — but all four of the leads speak in this same whiny drone, with every line of dialogue drooping down at the end and it makes me crazy…

    Yes. Yes. and Yes.

    But I still love the movie. I’m surprised someone hasn’t turned “Streets of Fire” into a Broadway play. Steinman’s songs are just ripe for a big musical. “Nowhere Fast” and “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young” would be show-stopping, standing ovation numbers on stage.

  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I’m surprised someone hasn’t turned “Streets of Fire” into a Broadway play.

    Hey, let’s put on a show! I’ll call Judy and Mickey, and I’m sure Farmer George will let us use his barn.

    2
  31. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Surely we could cast from within the OTB ranks.

    2
  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I’m fortunate to be able to call Walter Hill a friend. To me, “Last Man Standing” and “Streets of Fire”, and “Warriors” are his best works.

    The same director did all of those?? Holy hells. That makes so much sense.

    I haven’t seen Warriors since I was in high school, but Streets of Fire is probably the most-played movie I have. It’s absolutely theatrical–right down to the colors (the colors all represent an emotion). I have exactly one criticism of that movie–Diane Lane’s dress in the final concert scene.

    Unfortunately, I’ve heard nothing but harsh criticisms of the sequel.

  33. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    Fistful of Dollars is pretty good, but I would recommend re-starting with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,

    GB&U is actually my favorite of the three, but… I might have a hard time watching it again.

    There was a girl in my class throughout school who had a serious medical condition (it’s the same one Gary Coleman had, but more severe). In high school she was barely 3-feet tall, and all of her joints had swollen with calcium deposits. She couldn’t walk, and was pulled around in a little red wagon (she preferred it to a wheelchair).

    We were juniors, I believe, when she died. I was friends with her mother, and between the death and the funeral, sat and talked with her. She talked about picking out coffins with her daughter, and making plans for the funeral.

    This 17-year-old, shrunken, deformed girl who had to deal with all the shit that children can put on such a person insisted that, at her funeral, they play the theme to… “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.

    4
  34. MarkedMan says:

    @EddieInCA: When I’ve had to deal with bad unions (ex. UAW in Pontiac, NYTimes printing facilities), I suspect one of the sources of trouble is that the union has negotiated paid time for union reps to discuss specific workplace issues. This can attract people who don’t like to work and so are looking for issues, or actively causing those issues, to bring up.

    I will always remember working on my equipment at the Pontiac facility and getting an odd feeling. After a time I spotted a set of eyes from underneath a conveyor some distance away. It turns out they belonged to a union rep employee who, whenever an outsider came in, took it upon himself to stop whatever he was doing and spy on the outside worker in hopes of seeing them commit an infraction.

    2
  35. dazedandconfused says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Check out Netflix’s Samurai. The history of the place is a hell of a story. The utter lack of fear of death is something I believe only the Spartans achieved in the West.

  36. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    but all four of the leads speak in this same whiny drone, with every line of dialogue drooping down at the end and it makes me crazy…

    Then never come to Wisconsin. That’s exactly how we talk (assuming we even finish the sentence).

    I never thought about it before, but I’ll have to pay attention next time. That might be one of the reasons the movie “feels right”–they’re speaking like I do.

    4
  37. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I agree with this 100%. I believe certain unions are corrupt (cough, NY Teamsters, cough) and others are just poorly managed.

    So, they’re pretty much like any human endeavor.

    Any time some right wing nut starts going off on unions because of corruption, it’s the same selective outrage that means deficits under Democrats matter, or that one black person was once sighted buying T-bone steaks by an unreliable witness so we must tear down the entire system of food stamps.

    4
  38. Mu Yixiao says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I agree with this 100%. I believe certain unions are corrupt (cough, NY Teamsters, cough) and others are just poorly managed.

    I don’t remember any issues with the Teamsters in NYC. I had a couple small issues with IBEW*–but one was the fault of our company manager not giving me accurate information, and the other was just stupid (I’m not allowed to touch my own tails??)

    But on balance, unions do MUCH more good than bad when it comes to wages, working conditions, rest periods, etc.

    I’m not so sure about that.

    My father was as blue-collar as they come. Grew up in Chicago in the 20’s, served in WWII. Drove his own truck and put his pistol in the face of a Teamster who told Dad that nobody could drive because there was a strike (O/Os weren’t required to join).

    When I was in middle & high school, Dad was plant manager at a printing plant. It was a split shop–some union, some not. Every year, management would present the new contract. Every year, the union would come in to negotiate. And every year they would walk out with less than the original offer–which the non-union workers still got.

    I see tech workers at Google, Apple, et. al. trying to unionize. I wonder if any of them realize that, if they do, they’ll be bound by whatever the union reps negotiate? “You can’t be forced to work long hours” becomes “You can’t work past defined hours”. “Everyone gets paid the same” means “everyone gets paid the same–regardless of how much you do or how good you are”.

    Amazon warehouse workers? Get the damn union in there!

    At my stage in life, I can’t imagine joining a union again.

    =====
    * Everything was smoothed over when I mentioned that an old family friend was married to one of them. “You know Britt? Any friend of hers is good with us!”)

    ** The ones who protected the hand who showed up drunk to every show.

  39. Michael Cain says:

    Many years ago the Communications Workers of America struck the Bell company in the area where I was working. The operations support systems all failed in the first few minutes after the union people started walking out. A bunch of us from the Labs — who were all defined to be managers — were assigned to go out and get things back online. Someone had pulled a cover and dumped a fistful of iron filings into every single machine.

    Management’s one non-negotiable position suddenly became, “No union member will ever be allowed in the computer rooms again.”

    1
  40. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    I really need to volunteer more. To contribute more back.

    The trick is to start while you still have that energy. Adjust what you’re doing to have the right impact later. Sorting intake at a food pantry or something may not use your mad skillz, but it starts forming a habit — and it might not trigger your anxiety, if I’m remembering what your issues are.

    Here’s an inspiring tale.

    My friend Joe got into a terrible car accident, was in a coma for a few weeks/months, lots of rehab, just a really fucked up time. Afterwards, he was so glad to be alive that he really wanted to give back, but he wasn’t sure where to start.

    But “New Joe” was going to be more connected with the world, and do more to help other people. It was going to be a turning point. He was going to get this right.

    He asked all his friends, but none of us came up with anything that quite felt right. He goes to a church, so I suggested talking to the priest or minister or whatever they had, but Joe wasn’t really a member of the church, he just went there a lot, and he didn’t want to bother the guy.

    (Seriously, this is what a church is good for. Priest-dude lives for moments like this. Probably wouldn’t care if Joe was an atheist, well, he would care, but he would still help Joe help others)

    Flash forward two years and Joe has done nothing, and sulks that “New Joe” gave way to “Old Joe” so quickly and thoroughly.

    The moral of the story is don’t be Joe. That’s the moral of nearly every story about Joe. He serves as a shining example of what not to be.

    When I am at a quandary, I ask myself “What would Joe do?” and then rule that out. Whenever I am complaining about something, and Joe says “I do that too” I know exactly what needs to change.

    So, my inverse-Joe advice for you is to do something now, and then find the right thing.

    If you can’t find something that works well with your anxiety, find someone who can help you with that. Your therapist might have a pointer, or a random preacher-dude (is there a Unitarian church? No god required), or…)

    But most importantly: Don’t be Joe.

    4
  41. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I see tech workers at Google, Apple, et. al. trying to unionize. I wonder if any of them realize that, if they do, they’ll be bound by whatever the union reps negotiate? “You can’t be forced to work long hours” becomes “You can’t work past defined hours”. “Everyone gets paid the same” means “everyone gets paid the same–regardless of how much you do or how good you are”.

    Workers get to set limits on the union as they create it, and for tech I think it makes sense to focus more on the working conditions.

    – extra pay for on call shifts (otherwise if two people leave the team, you’re doing more work for the same pay)
    – office space (Amazon has “high density seating” where desks are packed tightly together and disease spreads like mad)
    – more bathrooms (Why is this a problem? Why? Sure, there are more men than women and buildings aren’t generally built for that but… they built the building)
    – ability to work on open-source projects outside of work

    A union doesn’t have to negotiate salary if the workers don’t want it to.

    I do think negotiating hours would be a good thing, as the “you’re not a team player if you have outside commitments” keeps coming up, as does understaffed projects that have hard deadlines.

    I’ve worked at Amazon twice — they need a union.

    3
  42. Mu Yixiao says:

    @EddieInCA:

    But on balance, unions do MUCH more good than bad when it comes to wages, working conditions, rest periods, etc.

    For the members.

    What about for society as a whole?

    Since most here lean towards the socialist end of the spectrum, it’s fair to talk about individual sacrifice in the benefit of the whole. Right?

    The current logistics nightmare that we have rests not insignificantly on the shoulders of the Teamsters.

    The factory my dad ran has a railroad spur running right along side it, and everything needed to load directly on to box cars. When Dad was there, the cost of transport by rail was about half of that by truck.

    They shipped nothing by rail.

    Why?

    Because anything that showed up at the destination on a train would not be delivered to the distribution centers. Teamsters wouldn’t let it happen. That was taking away union jobs!

    Rail cargo is a fraction of what it could be–because of the Teamsters. Rail didn’t expand–because of the Teamsters. The cost of goods for all of the US has been kept higher than it could have been–because one union was looking out for itself, rather than looking at the greater good.

    Now we’re at a point where we have a severe shortage of drivers and could really use a great rail distribution network. We have supply shortages throughout the economy, and everyone is hurting. Because the Teamsters wanted what was best for them.

    Hey… the Teamsters are getting a nice pension.

    On the other hand, logistics and distribution in this country aren’t anywhere near what they should be. We can’t get containers out of the ports because the drivers are doing OTR when 100 of those trucks could be replaced with one train. And not only would the drivers still have jobs (and benefits), they’d be home every night to spend time with their families.

    1
  43. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Gustopher:

    Workers get to set limits on the union as they create it, and for tech I think it makes sense to focus more on the working conditions.

    I’m not saying that unions are inherently bad. I just question whether these coder-kids understand what they’re actually getting into.

    I only know about the situations through news stories and forum comments, but… It seems like these kids believe that “If we form a union, we can get whatever we demand”.

    When I was in China, one of the classes I taught was “western business negotiation”. I would separate the class into two “teams”–intentionally putting the higher-ups on the larger team.

    The scenario was this: The small team were company owners, starting a brand new company. The large team were the workers. We used (very basic) US labor laws: No child labor, 30 minutes required for lunch after 5 hours, time and a half over 40 hrs in a week.

    Each side was to present 10 “requirements”. Without fail, every team assumed that what they had right now was the zero point–it could only get better.

    90%+ of worker teams didn’t ask for holidays–because they assumed they’d get them.

    I see these tech kids thinking that everything they have is a given, and they can only get more. They don’t understand that so much of what they have can be taken away. Free cafeteria? Sorry, not in the contract. Ping pong tables? Sorry, not in the contract. Discounts on rent-a-scooters? Sorry, not in the contract.

  44. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’ve worked at Amazon twice — they need a union.

    As I stated above: Yes. They absolutely do.

    But the workers need to go into it knowing all that unionization entails. Every negotiation* requires negotiation. You give up some things to get other things. It’s not “I’m a union member, give me everything I ask for”.

    ==============
    * Except, it appears, the IATSE slapdown this weekend. 🙂

    1
  45. Mister Bluster says:

    Alfonso Veady Half-soldier
    The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

  46. Jay L Gischer says:

    There is nothing – absolutely nothing – that is said about unions or what unions did that doesn’t have a correlate among what corporations and corporate leaders do.

    I mean, minimum cost service calls are an industry standard among plumbers, for instance.

    Arbitrary throttling of bandwidth speed – analogous to shipping – is common among the broadband providers. They want their “pay more for the fast track” with absolutely no technical reason to do so. They want it because they will make more money.

    That’s just two. And yet, as a “leftist” I don’t want to destroy corporations. I want to regulate them. I would like to shift public attitudes a bit, too. But human nature is probably beyond my ability to transform.

    So unions are a thing that will at least advocate for workers – a counterbalancing locus of power. That’s probably better, even though yeah, it’s flawed.

    5
  47. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    Mad skillz with a zed.

    Real question. Do Canadians say zee or zed?

  48. de stijl says:

    @wr:

    Jim Steinman as in Meatloaf Jim Steinman?

    (Googles). Yeah, same guy.

    That really cool!

  49. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I think they say “zed” mostly. They like to listen to the recordings of ZedZed Top.

    1
  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    OK, I have a question for you, one being batted around here at kidlit central: make more and give more vs. doing something personal IRL.

    See, I don’t enjoy being around people*, and I can’t imagine they enjoy being around me. Writing a check is easy, I don’t want to be burdened with other people’s problems because that triggers Function #1: solve problem. Given that most human problems are actually unsolvable, this would just frustrate me. So, I come down on the work more give more side of the equation. But not everyone has my clarity of vision and may feel some inexplicable need to participate in ways involving humans.

    Now, the wrinkle: I have this entirely fictional other person, let’s say, chained to her desk pumping out bestsellers. And if she were to do less of that to go play with refugees, I might have to work harder. You see my dilemma. And the economics of it. Other person is worth more to charitable efforts** as a donor than as a worker bee, clearly.

    What would Joe do?

    *!
    ** And me.

  51. Sleeping Dog says:

    So much for a free and objective press.

    Politico’s new owner, Germany’s Axel Springer, expects the U.S. website to adhere to the parent company’s principles including support for Israel’s right to exist, Springer’s CEO told The Wall Street Journal Friday.

    Placing one subject out of bounds for critical coverage, raises the question as to whether a reader should trust anything. It has been mentioned that the new owner wants to invoke a paywall, why would a potential reader pay for something that maybe less accurate than the Onion or Babylon Bee?

    2
  52. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The factory my dad ran has a railroad spur running right along side it, and everything needed to load directly on to box cars. When Dad was there, the cost of transport by rail was about half of that by truck.

    They shipped nothing by rail.

    Why?

    Because anything that showed up at the destination on a train would not be delivered to the distribution centers. Teamsters wouldn’t let it happen. That was taking away union jobs!

    Generally speaking, Union rules do not spring from the head of Zeus fully formed. There’s a history behind them.

    And so, I would ask: What abuse had the company been doing in the past that this became the remedy for?

    Was it hiring people on the side for sub-union wages and attempting to shove the union out that way (so they can pay everyone sub-union wages)? Was it laying people off on almost no notice?

    There might be a better solution. If the company cared, they would negotiate for it.

    3
  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: From some people I know, that’s a compliment.

  54. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    You know some…strange people.

  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Ran, but I have no clear memories of it. There was an art house theatre in U City that ran a different movie every night, a lot of old classic movies, some pretty off the wall shit too. And of course, the Rocky Horror Picture Show for midnight Saturday showings (actually Sunday AM). The last time I drove the loop in U city it was still there and appeared to be operating, but I have no idea how they were running things. That was a while ago.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: Thanx, but we can’t stream. Our satellite internet can’t handle it.

    Yojimbo is one of my all time favorties.

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr:

    By the way, the Bruce Willis movie is technically an adaptation of the Dashiell Hammet novel Red Harvest that Kurosawa ripped off for Yojimbo. It’s all one big circle…

    Heh.

    And no, no streaming out here. Maybe if Biden can get his infrastructure bill past my Republican Senators. Oh, who am I kidding.

    3
  58. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Joe would be unable to maintain a relationship and so the entire problem would solve itself. He would complain about this, belabor the point forever, and drive that other person away.

    So, you would want to do the opposite and recognize that some people have a psychological need to get their hands dirty, and and actually feel the problems up close, and so long as you still have enough, even with this non-optimal use of that person’s time, maybe don’t worry about it, or think of it as their hobby or self-care routine. Pilates, but with poor people.

    This might be what this hypothetical person does to avoid burnout. You might actually be at your optimum long-term income by keeping this pace.

    I mean, it would be great if you could use the proceeds of a best seller to hire someone to work full time with refugees, someone more skilled than that hypothetical other person with refugees, but…

    Anyway, perhaps Omar: The Refugee Hamster will be a best seller. He’s a Syrian hamster that arrived with just what he could keep in his cheek pockets.

    4
  59. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I see these tech kids thinking that everything they have is a given, and they can only get more. They don’t understand that so much of what they have can be taken away. Free cafeteria? Sorry, not in the contract. Ping pong tables? Sorry, not in the contract. Discounts on rent-a-scooters? Sorry, not in the contract.

    Amazon corporate offices never had free lunch, no scooter discounts, and the ping-pong table was a desk with two pencils taped to it, sticking up, and then a tape net between them. The ping pong table went away when someone needed the office space.

    2
  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I was a carpenter for better than 35 years. The first 15 was nonunion, the last 20 was union. It was a night and day difference. I won’t even try to list all the ways it was different but the 3 biggies were

    #1: The pay was better, generally a lot better.
    #2: I had health insurance, and not some crappy fly by night policy, Cadillac health insurance
    #3: An actual honest to dawg defined benefits pension.

    On the first point some nonu contractors got kinda close to union pay but none ever equaled it. The last 2 are all but nonexistent for nonu carpenters and are nonexistent for gypsy carpenters (hired for a very limited amount of time to get thru a hump on a jobsite). Jobsite safety was far superior on union jobs. I had to take journeyman upgrade classes every year and safety classes too: 10 hour OSHA, forklift, manlift, scaffolding, rigging and many other certifications had to be up to date. Worksite rules… Well the only rule on a nonunion job is, “You work.”

    Just for the record, I worked just as hard as a union carpenter as I had before. Some guys didn’t work quite as hard as I did, some did, a few worked even harder. All were more productive than most nonunion for one simple reason: We all did things the same way.

    Like most carpenters, I eventually hit a wall, a wall of pain that I just could no longer surmount. I have arthritis, I have tendonitis, I have bursitis, I have itises they don’t even have names for yet. I have joints devoid of cartilage. I got carpal tunnel and got it fixed. Collapsed a lung and got it fixed. Broke ribs, a wrist, an ankle, a number of fingers, got metal fragments in my eye, shrapnel in a hand, put a nail thru my left hand and nailed my thumb to a stud. And other things I am forgetting at the moment. And all of the above happened to other carpenters. I probably got injured more than most but that is only because I’ve always had a tendency to push myself just a little bit further, always thinking, “Just an inch more…” Yeah, stubborn is my middle name. Or maybe it’s “stupid”.

    Long story short, if I hadn’t gone union, I’d be fvcked. I get my SS, and my pension, and while it never seems to be quite enough, I can imagine if I was without.

    5
  61. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    There are good unions and bad unions. I’ve worked with both.
    […]
    So… I’m not “anti-union”, but neither do I think that unions are a panacea of wonderfulness.

    I am struck by the similarity of this position to how I feel about police. I conclude that (1) a world without police is vastly inferior to a world with police, and (2) those police need to be supervised and held to a high standard. Seems like it’s about the same for unions.

    BTW, why is it that I never hear anyone characterize themselves as “pro-management”?

    4
  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Cain:

    It definitely worked out well for the machinists at Eastern Airlines. They won all the way to the unemployment line.

  63. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    I am Joe’s failure to act on an a charitable impulse.

    I am Jack’s raging bile duct. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

    I did a Fincher-athon recently. Fight Club held up really well. Every time Pitt confronts Norten Pitt is essentially saying let go. You need to let go.

    Hard punch to the gut.

    Hal Harley-athon too. Highly underrated. Trust is a good start point. Not everybody’s cup of tea.

    I have constructed a warm fuzzy bubble for myself. I own my house outright. Every routine bill is on autopay. I control when and how I leave the bubble.

    Control of when I leave that bubble and to what end is entirely up to me. It’s too perfect. Just because things are calm does not mean it is the correct way. A place where you can relax and pretend you are calm is a pretty fucking cool place to hang out in though.

    Don’t get me wrong – the bubble did and still does good things for me. A safe space to relax and to be in. I love it. But it is confining. I need to grow more – out of this bubble.

    When I decided to be honest I kinda thought that was *the* step. My understanding popped like to 3x. I was so relieved and felt so free. Sadly, I was wrong.

    The first of many. Why is it so fucking hard?

    I let go, godamnit. I should be okay and integrated and coalesced and squared away and all that shit.

    The first of many, apparently.

  64. de stijl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    For me the distinction was between salaried and fee based work.

    My first two projects were on salary. At that time I was kinda psyched. So many new things to learn! This is an opportunity! Drink it all in.

    Second was an off the rails train wreck with a hard deadline. I had an out of control task list that I could not manage in 85-90 hours of effort.

    The way they suck you in is that every part of the plan is dependent on another’s input. A chain. You do not want to be the one who lets a colleague (often a friend) down. That would be super bad mojo. So you work 12 uncompensated hours on a Saturday. And another 10 on Sunday. Who needs weekends? It is pernicious.

    Contract / consulting work was an entirely different story.

    1. I was paid for every hour I worked
    2. I had access to pro colleagues who when asked would give no bullshit answers
    3. I had a modicum of control
    4. I had psychological distance

    The weird thing is that I made my bones on those first two projects and learned a huge shit ton of lessons.

    For me, phase 2 would not and could not have happened until I went through phase 1.

    Life is strange.

    I once worked 107 hours in a week while on salary. I was getting paid for forty.

    1
  65. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The current logistics nightmare that we have rests not insignificantly on the shoulders of the Teamsters.

    Again: the current justice nightmare we have rests not insignificantly on the shoulders of the police. Unless you consider this to be a powerful argument that the police make society worse off overall, you need to reconsider exactly what it is that you should conclude about unions.

    FWIW, if you think logistics networks would be less fragile without transportation unions, you’re mistaken. Management’s default position is always to maximize fragility, because that also maximizes short term profits. Just-in-time inventory systems, vertical integration of unique suppliers, etc. When management has no effective opposition, this becomes the universal approach in a race to the bottom. All of this is true even if certain Teamsters’ policies are ill-advised or even outright corrupt.

    2
  66. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I’ve found that my “volunteer” time is best spent with the oldest and youngest amongst us. I can teach small children and old people to read the difference between fake news and real news. Everybody in between is ready to duke it out.

    2
  67. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    Don’t get me wrong – the bubble did and still does good things for me. A safe space to relax and to be in. I love it. But it is confining. I need to grow more – out of this bubble.

    When I decided to be honest I kinda thought that was *the* step. My understanding popped like to 3x. I was so relieved and felt so free. Sadly, I was wrong.

    Seems more like you were partially right than you were wrong. It was a big step, but not “the” step, or at least not the only step.

    The first of many. Why is it so fucking hard?

    Shit’s hard, man. You build up a set of patterns to protect yourself, you get to a local maximum, and if you want to do better than that, you have to give up a little bit of that safety. No one likes that.

    You sound worried that you’re going to flake out retreat into your safe bubble, and disappoint some people depending on you. (Between the comment I’m quoting, and the one about the everyone depending on everyone driving you to 80 hour work weeks, I’m guessing (perhaps wrongly) there’s a connection.

    Give yourself permission to fuck up if you have to — not if you just want to, but if you have to. You find it easier to be open about your problems anyway, so be open about it and try to find something low-stakes where your incremental effort will be appreciated but where it won’t be devastating if on a given Thursday you can’t get out of the house and be around people.

    A step. Not the step, just a step. If it goes well for a few months, then try the next step. You might not get to use all your mad skillz, at least not right away.

    Btw, Joe is always looking for “the” step. I’m always looking for “the” step, too, but sometimes I’m willing to take a step instead — not as often as a normal, healthy person, but sometimes.

    1