Labor union overreach – Letter to The Beach Reporter by Michael D. Robbins

The following letter to the editor was published in The Beach Reporter newspaper ( on Thursday, August 11, 2011 in the Letters section. The Beach Reporter has a strict 250-word limit.

Labor union overreach

For many months now, the other side has had no substantive arguments, so all they can do is throw hate speech and deceptive pseudo-quotations at me.

If having highly paid workers with tons of benefits were the key to honesty and good performance, then the term “featherbedding” would never have been invented to describe union overreach that included incompetent, lazy, disloyal, dangerous employees who are getting overpaid to do practically no work.

Would we have better, more honest firefighters by paying each one $10 million instead of $150,000 to $357,000 per year in total compensation?

Their wildly excessive and unsustainable compensation has created a counterproductive royal family culture of entitlement. An El Segundo firefighter union member with $208,000 total annual compensation was recently arrested at Costco for shoplifting nearly $400 in merchandise. How much money would the union members demand to be honest? We’d really like to know, because apparently the current large payouts are not enough.

Smaller cities and rural areas throughout the country have always been able to get honest, competent firefighters with good work habits for far less than half the total compensation of El Segundo firefighters.

Labor unions like to suppress free market competition. They often use inappropriate tactics including coercion, extortion-like negotiations, implied threats of disruption, and use of campaign contributions like bribes. That’s why they promote the passage of labor laws that stifle competition and institutionalize their heavy-handed tactics. Even FDR, who supported private unions, recognized the inherent dangers of powerful government unions.

Michael D. Robbins
El Segundo

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