Center for Labor Education & Research, University of Hawaii - West Oahu: Honolulu Record Digitization Project

Honolulu Record, Volume 10 No. 9, Thursday, September 26, 1957 p. 7


“Evils of Unionism” as Seen Through Eyes of Big Bosses

Although unionism is accepted today, on the surface at least by big employers here, the dailies editorially lament how shackled and un-free organized workers are— whenever these papers have an opportunity to sound off.

In Vancouver, B.C., Columnist Barry Mathers of the Vancouver Sun, analyzed the "evils of unionism" which employers and their fronts constantly harp on.

He took up the employer line that organized workers lose their liberties as individuals and become dominated, also regimented.

"How true this is!" he declared and went on to rip the argument to shreds.

"Before the unions came a man was free to do an honest day-and-a-half's work for an honest day's pay. He was at liberty to stand on his own heels and bargain with the boss. He could he pushed around at any time. Nobody regimented him against it.

"The unions have changed this. Today not even the non-union employe is free from the evils of unionism.

"As a result of union people dragooned into accepting raises, many non-union people have been intimidated into accepting raises, too.

"The good old six-day week that we employes knew so well and were so attached to, was scrapped!

"In its place the five-day week was foisted on us!

"Instead of being free to work 70 hours in six days, we were quickly dominated into working 50 in five!

"And from the very moment the Union got us we had to take more pay!

"To show you how unions treat you—for every $20 a month raise the union forced on us we had to pay, I believe it was as much as $1 a month in dues!

"The fate of union members' wives must be particularly trying.

"In place of the happy times of long hours, low pay and personal insecurity, the unions have dominated entire families, indeed, entire communities, into a better standard of life."

Locally, as IMUA might argue, unions have changed the pattern of the American Way of Life.

There is no glory at the waterfront, where "star gangs" no longer exist. The ILWU changed that. In bygone days a foreman with powerful vocal cords had the freedom to yell down into the hold to speed up his gang and he threw out his chest when the bosses told him he had a "star gang." He had the freedom to pick his men and he enjoyed the privilege of hiring men who brought eggs and chickens, or split their pay with him, TO compete for jobs in the good old American way, a system which the unions eliminated—the shape-up.

The young no longer can tire themselves out by racing with machines. They don't look 60 with marks of a veteran longshoreman, when they reach 45. They not only live, long enough to collect pensions, they spend money that keeps the grocery store, doctor, dentist, hardware store, dry goods store, sporting goods store and all the other businesses prosperous.

Unions have not only forced workers to live longer but, live more actively. Workers were given voice in community affair's, and they were indoctrinated to fight for rent control, against sales taxes, to campaign for politicians who they think would help them, and fight for constitutional rights—all of which their enemies claim are not union affairs.

p /> I do not say that at odd hours a patient must be given the regular hot dinner or supper. Few people would expect this.
But what is so complicated about opening and heating a can of soup, making some toast, or preparing instant coffee or tea? Why cannot a night nurse do these simple things after the kitchen to closed? Is it just too much trouble?

It is only common humanity to feed the hungry. If our hospitals are too big, too complex, too impersonal to do these small kindnesses for the sick, something is very wrong.