By Tom Quiner
My new musical, The Pope of the People, is in the middle of its three weekend run. It’s a musical about the impact of John Paul II on Poland and the world.
The musical drama depicts the famous strike led by Lech Walesa at the Gdansk shipyards. Mr. Walesa made 21 demands on behalf of the fledgling Solidarity Labor Union back in the early 80s.
My liberal friends have taken great delight in pointing out my sympathy for Solidarity, and lack thereof for American unionism. The suggestion is that unionism is unionism, right?
I think not.
Mr. Walesa called for rights like freedom of speech and access to a free mass medium, rights Americans enjoy.
He called for management based on merit, not party affiliation, something American Unions certainly don’t embrace.
Polish laborers had it tough. So did American laborers. Our labor unions deserve credit for improving working conditions for the common man. But today’s public union employees live better than Solidarity’s communist masters!
Good grief, the health insurance for Wisconsin’s public union employees includes coverage for Viagra, paid for by taxpayers.
They pay little for their health insurance. Taxpayers pick up most of the tab.
They enjoy defined benefit pension plans. Most taxpayers have defined contribution plans which provide less security than the former.
In some respects, today’s unions remind me more of the communists than the Solidarity union. After all, in states without right to work laws, workers often get stuck paying compulsory union dues, a good chunk of which go to support “the party,” also know as the Democrats. So much for choice.
If someone wants to donate to the Democratic Party, fine. But they shouldn’t have to do it against their will. They shouldn’t have their money taken from them before it even touches their hands to support efforts to liberalize abortion and gay marriage laws, as Democrats are attempting in every state.
I won’t even talk about the players union in the NFL where millionaires are going on strike.
No, there is no comparison between yesterday’s Solidarity labor movement and today’s American labor unions.
[Be sure to see The Pope of the Pope of the People this weekend. Check the website for showtimes: www.thePopeofthePeople.com.]