Labelling unions

Leaders of New Jersey’s public employee unions fear Gov. Chris Christie may simply impose a settlement if negotiations on new contracts fail.

NJ Spotlight reports that a 1968 law authorizes a governor to do so; labor agreements with unions representing about 48,000 state workers expire June 30.

Enabled by a culture of entitlement among some in organized labor, Christie has shrewdly stoked public resentment of unions.

One would think unions are solely to blame (they aren't) for New Jersey being “broke” (it isn’t).

And the fact that governors of both parties have historically written blank checks on behalf of labor peace, while skipping pension fund payments in order to balance state budgets? Details, details.

Meanwhile, an economic “recovery” consisting of spin doesn’t endear union members who anticipate bennies-for-life to those with nothing but shaky Social Security in their futures. And tea-partiers, when not modeling their costume-shop regalia, demonize unions as an obstacle to restoring America to the glories of 1840.

All of this puts me in mind of my father, who was a linotype operator and pressman at my hometown newspaper in Massachusetts.

A card-carrying member of the International Typographical Union (ITU) for decades, he often joked that he was “going to end up in the old printers’ home in Colorado Springs.” He also clerked part-time at the A&P while raising six kids with my mother, likewise a union member.

My dad outlived his union – the oldest in America – by nine years; the ITU dissolved in 1986.

The printers’ home is now a public health care facility.

It’s a Colorado historic site.