When Life Gives You Unions…You Make Unionade!

by Steve MacDonald

Unionade - the mixture of current events and circumstance

Hurry up and drink, the ice cubes are coming up on a break

Every time I buy a new vehicle–my newest one is eight years old, its driveway companion is twelve so this does not happen often–I suddenly find myself noticing how many other people drive the same car (Truck, Van, or SUV.)  It probably works the same way with sweaters or Democrats who cheat one their wives…

So given recent events in Michigan I am not surprised to find myself “finding” more stories with a labor union theme.

Once upon a time there was a violent pipe-fitter named Vinnie who blamed his abuse of counter-protesters on his wife Collette for not being there for him to beat on instead…(/where is he going with this?)

Anyway, the Google gods just happened to dump a story into my electronic lap about Supermarkets in New England, and while there is no one named Vinnie, nor Collette, nor are there tales of violence, there was some evidence of union “spousal abuse” where the spouse is the consumer who gets less for their dollar when the cost of union overhead drives price pressure into their wallets.

From New Hampshire Business Review (NHBR), Dateline – December 14th, 2012,  Kathleen Callahan writes about growing competition for supermarket customers in New Hampshire.  Several things in this article pop out at me.  First, Shaw’s Supermarkets are struggling and its parent company has considered selling them off.  Not only am I not surprised, I can explain that, because I know why I don’t shop there.

The reason I never shop there is because the same gallon of Milk that they charge over four-dollars for can be obtained at Market Basket for $2.49.  I have teenage boys.  We go through about 10-15 Gallons of milk a week.  The difference pays my electric bill.  The difference for all those full carts of groceries over one month might cover my mortgage.  (You think I am joking, I am not.)

But taking a “cheap” shot at Shaw’s was not why I brought you hear today.   We’re talking about sweaters and Democrats who cheat on their wives–eh, um, I mean when life gives you Unions you make Unionade…or somthing.

While writing of Market Basket, which has stormed New Hampshire, opened its own distribution center,  and is buying property (instead of renting) and building new stores at a frenetic pace, the NHBR article observes that…

“… the company’s workers aren’t unionized. (…)  it can offer lower prices than its competitors, he said.

The three major costs a store can have are rent, labor and debt, said Livingston. So “if you can open a store and not have any debt, no union labor and no rent, you have a significant advantage over your competition,” he said. “That seems to be a trend in the most successful supermarkets in the country.”

I admit I didn’t know that Market Basket was non-union, but I did know that Labor was one of the biggest expenses–something my School board should think about when the unions start talking about “investing in education”–which is a code for “yea, we know wages and benefits suck up most of the budget but how about some more?”

Market Basket unlike my school district, has competition.  They need to find a way to stay in business so they can engage in commerce, employ people, pay taxes, and so on.  They do that in a number of ways, one of which (obviously) is to appeal to customers with better pricing by keeping operating costs low.  And the lack of union presence has helped.  And service does not suffer.  No one gets me through a checkout line faster than Market Basket, no matter how busy they are and I appreciate that almost as much as I do the savings.

And it is a lesson we need to learn when it comes to public service.  The cost of doing the peoples business has gone to excess–gotten obese even.  The weight of debt created by salary and benefits packages demanded by unions does to government what the same labor costs do to any business.  They make it cost more to do the same things.   The lack of competition in government is no excuse.  Politicians need to accept that the same unions that brought down Hostess can bring down a city, a state, and a nation.

If that’s the plan, then maybe we should just change our name to Collette and get used to telling the neighbors about how we keep falling down the stairs becasue it’s not going to be pretty.


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