What Organized Labor Thinks of Workers


To understand Rhode Island politics, one must understand the activities of organized labor (that is, unions), and to understand their activities, one must understand their attitude.  (By the way, one should also know that reporters for the state’s major daily newspaper, the Providence Journal, are unionized under the AFL-CIO.)

This is from a Providence Journal article by Katherine Gregg about a press conference promoting legislation from Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo that would impose a new tax on large companies whose employees are on Medicaid:

“There is a loophole in the Rhode Island health-care system allowing certain large corporations to avoid their responsibility to provide adequate coverage to their workers. Instead they shift employee health-care costs to the state budget from their own balance sheet,” said George Nee, president of the RI AFL-CIO.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Hold on there, a second.  When did it become my employer’s responsibility to take care of my health?  Put from a perspective that sees workers as adults capable of making their own decisions, when did it become the case that when we choose for whom we want to work, we’re picking the people who will take care of us?

We’re not wards of our employers.  They aren’t our parents; they aren’t our masters.  That’s a huge stolen base in our rights and our autonomy.

Why would labor organizations — who claim to be all about the rights and humanity of workers — see us as something like children who need to be cared for?  Because they have a worldview that breaks us all into classes of people, in this case workers and management, and they want workers to feel like they are something more like servants under the protective thumb of a master so that they, the unions, can edge into the relationship promising that only they have the strength to go up against the master.

Once they do that, it ceases to be your job, for which your employer pays you an agreed upon rate, with agreed upon benefits.  It becomes the union’s job, which you get to fill for the moment, as a nameless servant of the boss and a client of the union.  One uses you for labor, and the other uses you for leverage.


Featured image: Ocean State Current stock photo of George Nee.

  • Makaha Ken

    Justin, what you fail to bring forth, even though an employee who might fall under a union still retains their individual rights to accept or reject healthcare packages brokered between the employer and union for the benefit of the employees.

    I worked for state of RI but rejected the union endorsed employee healthcare provided by State of RI due to cost, benefits and co-pay because my wife working for City of Pawtucket was offered a higher healthcare plan with minimal cost and co-pays.

    State of RI still with-held the co-payment for medical and dental healthcare from my biweekly paycheck but November/December annually RI issued me a reimbursement check that I used as a Christmas bonus check for Christmas Shopping so it worked for me.

    Also when I moved to Honolulu, Hawaii the exact same Blue Cross Blue Shield and Delta Dental healthcare medical and dental contract was $100 per month cheaper than back in RI saving me $1,200 per year.

    I understand what you are trying to say but, as adult individuals do not loose our individual rights with unions.