LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Of unions and nonprofit bogeymen

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to Dr. John E. Stapleford’s opinion piece printed in the Delaware State News Sept. 7 edition entitled “Court ruling a game-changer in mandatory union dues.”

First off, far be it for me as a patriotic constitutional defending citizen to tell anyone that they have to join a union. That is the last point that Dr. Stapleford and I will likely ever find agreement on.

As a former union member, however, I know what it is like to belong to a union that lost its teeth under President Reagan’s administration. Whereas it may be true that there might be a lot of teachers in Delaware who don’t want to belong to a union who wears dentures, I highly suspect Delaware Department of Correction employees long for the good old days of the strong unions that brought the American laborer 40-hour work weeks, decent health benefits, pensions and working conditions as safe as possible.

Labor’s employment condition have suffered tremendously over the last 30 years so I wonder how Dr. Stapleford can possibly feel justified in repeating the exhausted mantra of the Republican Party that turned unions into bogeymen bent on the destruction of the free enterprise system.

Whereas they still have plenty of people out there duped with that refrain, less and less are impressed as they struggle to survive in a heartless marketplace where they have been reduced to unappreciated drudges who can’t even look forward to a decent retirement.

One case in point. Once upon a time in America, employers would hire additional employees when it became apparent they were overworking their minions by mandating they perform mandatory overtime for month after month after month. Ah, but in this era not long removed from the times when the gullible worker’s chant was “I’m lucky I have a job” it is obvious a calamitous repetition of history will likely have to be repeated.

I perceive this both as a hobbyist futurist and as a capitalist because philosophically I maintain that the relationship between labor and management has always been symbiotic and spoils when one or the other party exerts too much pressure.

I hope that last remark will serve to abate any rabid presumption from the alt right wing that I don’t realize the abuses and excesses of unions. After all, once upon a time I was a Teamster.

Seriously, I look for abuses and excesses whereever I can find them and I have seen a lot. Since Dr. Stapleford has chosen to commit to print a contrarian opinion to mine, I contend that begs the revelation of a little something I know about a subject near and dear to him.

Have you ever wondered what nonprofit organizations are all about? Do you know how they are structured? What goods or services do they produce? How much profit is really in a nonprofit? What type of people can be found working for a nonprofit?

I became interested in nonprofits shortly after my military service when one wanted to hire me. It was a large, nationally known nonprofit and I was immediately attracted to them because of the impressively high amount of money they wanted to pay me. After a little research I told them I didn’t want the job. Ever since I have had a passing interest in nonprofits and because I’ve researched a few I am extremely careful when it comes to my charitable giving.

Understand that most nonprofits aren’t charities in name or deed. Secondly there is a lot of profit to be made by nonprofits. It’s just a matter of where the money they take in is channeled. Thirdly, they largely produce intangibles. As a capitalist I don’t like intangibles; well except for God. Lastly, I’ve been shocked by the number of lawyers I’ve seen employed by the nonprofits I’ve looked at. I really had to wonder about that. Excuse me for being paranoid but it has served me well where I have been.

I am not impressed with Dr. Stapleford’s opinion of unions or his status as chairman of the Caesar Rodney Institute, a Delaware nonprofit.

Carol Hotte

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