Monday, October 04, 2004

Human Nature and my Loyal Union Buddies

People are naturally selfish. We have a natural bent to look out for our own self interest. Some try to mask that inclination to look out for number one at all costs, but some don't. This is not to say that people don't do good things--it is just not natural for them to do so.

Which brings me to labor unions. As a member of the Retail Clerks Union in the early 80s, I took full advantage of all the wonderful benefits my union secured for me. Those benefits included being paid nearly 14 bucks an hour for what was basically manual labor, the best healthcare benefits I have ever seen, and assorted other rights and privileges. Though not a gung-ho union guy, I did my best to balance my union responsibilities with commitments to management.

So you think that if I--the philosophically-opposed-to-unions person--could be a good union member, then the real union stalwarts surely must be better. WROOONG! Remember my premise about human nature and how we have to fight our inclination to do unselfish things? Well, listen to this.

Our union was about to go on strike against the grocery chain for which we worked. So there was me and my very pro-union work buddies looking at missing a few paychecks. Imagine my shock when all of the guys on our night crew were going to blow off their loyalty to the union to work as scabs for big bucks!

I was the butt of jokes for weeks as I was the only one who was going to support the union in this issue. Silly me, I figured it was somehow wrong to take all the good things the union had to offer, then stab them in the back when it was no longer convenient for me!

I will never forget how quickly and easily these wonderful union supporters turned their backs when their natural instincts for self-over-all took over. For me it was one of many lessons in human nature that I have learned over the years.


The Anti-Puritan said...

On my blog, I have just published a post on the issue of same-sex marriage. I thought it might interest you.

Upon your recommendation, I checked out C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity from the public library. Interesting and thought-provoking. In the near future, I may write about my reaction to it.

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