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Saturday, 13 December 2008

Unions and Regard for Innocent Third-Parties

[Written from my laptop after being infuriated by an article in the Herald - not really back yet] [No, neither should you be - Matt]

He's only been Prime Minister for a month but John Key is already putting up with multiple protests at his home; most of which occur when he is away so his wife, children and neighbours bear the brunt.

According to the Herald, Unite Union are the main culprits with the Father's Union doing the weekends outside his Auckland residence. Though the Workers Party Blog seems to be taking the credit for the most recent protest - see here for their own pictures and report of the protest outside Key’s house where they gloat about the fact that they were asked to keep their protest away from neighborhood children but instead allowed the children, too young too understand the issues, to participate.

I have little respect for unions. In my experience those running them are all about the power they wield. They get off on all the attention they gather from disgruntled workers, media, the public; very little of their motivation seems to be about compassion for other people and they have no regard for other people’s civil rights (or other people’s children).

We have had to endure protesting outside our home for the last few weeks led by unionists and they are largely a bunch of rude, inconsiderate pricks.

We live opposite a Pak'N'Save supermarket on a fairly busy road; immediately opposite our lounge and living areas is apparently the ideal spot to attract attention from passing traffic. Every few days we have had to endure chants of "What do we want?” "Better pay." "When do we want it?" "In time for Christmas." "What do we want..." etc. Then all the passing cars honk their horns in response to the "toot to show your support" placards. But worst of all is the guy with the megaphone and the wailing siren. At the close of each round of the chant we have to endure the siren being let off through the megaphone. You can read all about it on the Workers Party blog [yep, them again], see Pay up Pak'n'Save.

Now I have some sympathy for the Pak'N'Save workers. Foodstuffs are not known for their rank at the top of the best places to work list and when Matt had a brief stint as a merchandiser it was the Pak'N'Save stores he most hated having to work in because of how they treated their staff (and the merchandisers). We shop at the Pak'N'Save over the road and the staff there are by and large helpful and friendly and I have no doubt that they are paid pretty lousily so I feel for them.

That said, striking and protesting is akin to throwing a tantrum and is certainly not how I conduct myself if I am asking for a pay rise.

Anyway, last week, going insane from the chanting, tooting and sirens, I mean, I was trying to blog and I couldn't think straight, I kept typing the same words over and over, the kids were getting frustrated trying to read and play and at that point, I was still waiting for surgery on my neck and needed to rest, so I finally walked up my driveway towards the protesters, a couple of my kids in tow.

Smiling nicely I called across the road, in a pleasant tone of voice, "I get wanting to be paid more and I wish you all the best with that, but is there any chance you could tone the megaphone and the siren down? This is a family home [our house used to be a vintner's so people understandably mistake it for a shop] we have kids, the noise is really getting irritating day after day and its kind of wrecking our Saturday afternoon."

The guy with the megaphone and the siren began mocking me. He rolled his eyes, and put his hand on his hip and made a quacking motion at me with his hands and then let three rounds of the siren off laughing at me. I wondered if he had misunderstood, so I pointed out that I was not suggesting they cease protesting or that they put up with lousy pay, just asking if they could keep it down just a little, particularly the megaphone and the siren which really did come right into our home. The megaphone guy continued his mockery and laughing and got a couple of other flunkies to join in and let the siren off repeatedly. I gave up in disgust.

See, inconsiderate pricks.

They were not for one minute concerned that innocent people, children, were caught in the cross fire of their protest. They have no clue about appropriate boundaries or where to draw the line or how to conduct themselves like normal people when confronted with a reasonable request at all.

Their protesting of John Key's private residence exemplifies this. If they really feel the need why not protest his office? Why go after his wife and kids and neighbours?

Simple, if these people go after innocent third parties it’s all the better for them trying to blackmail other people into meeting their demands. There is a word for this; at its extreme end it is called terrorism. In principle, what they are doing is the same as a person who high-jacks a train and makes demands.


  1. That sounds truly awful. Some of these people are so much about their own rights (ie completely selfish) they forget about the rights of others.

  2. I was under the impression that Foodstuffs was more reasonable than Progressive Enterprises. Not that I know that much about the 2 companies.

    I think unions theoretically can have their place, they are able to provide individuals with information that is difficult for them to know, like what the market rate for their services roughly is. But they tend to make claims about what they think wages should be rather than what they are, they are more concerned for those who have jobs over those who can't find employment in that area, and they make unhelpful demands that worsen industrial relations and increase costs without increasing production thus inflating prices that their workers they represent then have to pay for.

    Are you allowed to complain to the police for the excessive noise?

  3. It was the middle of the day so the noise complaint would be unlikely to fly. Also if you read the Worker's Party page on the Pak n Save protest they cited some law enabling them to protest that overrides other laws.

    What Madeleine ommitted and the Workers Party left out too was that when she gave up in digust she decided to take the kids out to get away from the noise. I came home just as she was piling them into the car so she was telling me about her attempts to talk to them as we pulled out of the driveway.

    We were in full view of the protestors and Madeleine said she had gone from talking to them straight to the car, not back inside, so there was no mistaking her or her car yet they still yelled abuse at us for not beeping at them as we drove past them.

    Now that Madeleine has written this and left a complaint on the Worker's Party blog I worry we will wake up to spray painted abuse on our property or a brick through the window. Unionists are frequently nasty people.

  4. The union people that Madeleine encountered clearly have the arrogance that is typical of Marxists: we are right, what we want is most important, and to hell with anyone else.

    I have viewed a number of member's magazines from the Service & Food Workers Union (I call it the Rabid Red Rag) and they're always bleating on about businesses as the enemy of the workers.

    What they forget is that businesses generate wealth for the workers, and that businesses aren't exploiting the workers ( a lie straight from the Communist Manifesto). Rather, it's a simple trade: time and labour in return for money.

    Unions also forget that profits aren't evil, rather they are an entrepreneur's reward for his time and the financial risk he has taken in running the business. No profit = no wealth for the workers.

    IMHO the unions care little about the workers and care much about advancing Socialism/Marxism:

    The Socialists/Marxists in power favour the unions:

  5. Yes down with communism and bossy trade unionists! In Germany in the 30s they had a leader who dealt with communism/trade unionists and also got the motorways running. NZ needs a leader like that!

  6. Godwin proved right in only 5 comments!

    While the Nazi's weren't Communists, they clearly were left wing based on their party policies.

    Further, there is nothing wrong with allowing unions or any self identifying group. No one is saying they should be banned. Madeleine was merely pointing out their bullying behaviour; which, while not necessary for a union, seems to be too common for them.


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