Attack on unions inspired by hate
I read a number of opinion pieces in The Tech that I do not agree with, but they rarely upset me. However, I found Shawn Mastrian '91's column very disturbing ["Unions rub this working man the wrong way," Feb. 5].
I understand that many people do not support the unions in this country. I even think that there are some good arguments that can be used against them, but Mastrian's diatribe against organized labor seemed to be inspired by some kind of hate rather than any serious thought.
I would like to take some time to refute his arguments, but that would miss the point of my objection to the article. Mastrian appeals to blatant untruths to win over our sympathy. Without any kind of support, he describes union workers as "lazy, apathetic."
He claims that a union placed a bomb in Building 8. What is he talking about? Which union has been tried and convicted for that crime?
He says that as a result of unionization, there are "a few men getting fat off the workers." Evidently, Mastrian is unaware of pre-union labor in the Western world. Miners, for example often worked 60-hour weeks under intolerable conditions, and they hardly had enough to eat. The people who hired them were getting fat off of their labor.
Now, in America, every worker owns a car, a telephone, has medical insurance, and certainly he or she has enough to eat. Even if the smallest fraction of this improvement was due to union activity then I would support it.
Some feel that most of this improvement was due to the organization of labor. Should these changes be abandoned because an inefficiency has been introduced into the market? Mastrian says that unions have served their purpose now and they should be disbanded, but the primary reason that the improved standard of living has been maintained is the continuing activity of unions.
But, as I said earlier, I am missing the point. I cannot argue with Mastrian. He is not presenting arguments against organized labor, because in arguments there are no uses for words like
"un-American," "pinko" and "commie."
I would very much like to see a reasonable discussion of organized labor, even one that concludes that unions are bad. I would like to see an article that is not inspired by hatred. I invite Mastrian to write it.
Soon Mastrian will graduate from MIT, and he will be in charge of a big company, getting paid a lot to hire people and fire people. For him, organized labor is the enemy, and since he has trouble convincing himself that they are the bad guys, he is reduced to calling them names and spewing out lies.
David Hogg '92->