HOW IT STARTED
I was a golf course builder in Michigan back in the early “70s”. I remember it was the year of “1972” and oil was discovered in Kalkaska, Michigan. The word spread like wildfire. Before a barrel of oil was out of the ground, the union “goons” from the Detroit area converged on Kalkaska. This was a sleepy little town about (40) miles East of Traverse City, Michigan. Not much went on in this little town until “oil” was discovered. Traffic really increased and the buzz of “instant wealth” soon hit the media.
In the meantime, I was building the “Gaylord County Club” just West of Gaylord. At that time, I owned a couple of pieces of heavy equipment and had maybe (10) employees. We were truly a “Mom and Pop” company trying to make a buck. Well, as it happened, while the Union goons were in Northern Michigan they attempted to unionize everyone that was in their path. This was like a swarm of locusts converging on a fresh patch of beans.
On a Friday afternoon, I left early from the job and drove 3 ½ hours back to Schoolcraft, Michigan to complete some paperwork. The “goons” came to my job, and stopped everyone from working in order to tell them the benefits of being unionized. My foreman, Bob Cook, told them that I was in Schoolcraft and would be back on the job on Monday.
What does any of this have to do with today’s business climate and the condition of our country? Read on. One of the “goons” called my home that Friday at 5:00 PM and my wife told them that I was resting. They thought I was some old goat. Well, on Monday, I left the house at 4:00 AM to be on the job (200) miles away at 7:00 AM.
When, I got to the job, the “goons” had my men all lined up and talking to them. I pulled up in my Caddy Eldorado, slammed on the brakes, jumped out and bellowed out ” get the blasted dozers started and get to work”. One of the goons came up to me and asked me “are you Mr. Sauger”. I told him to “get out of my way, you are obstructing my job and I will deal with you later”. “Now get off of the property”
We, met for lunch later and they told me that they wanted my operators to join the Heavy Equipment Operators Union. I said “fine, if you can provide me with specialty operators that can build a golf green, I will hire them”. I also told them that I wanted a labor bond. I explained that I was the only one with any risk and “if” their operators screwed up, I would lose money and not them. So, I wanted the union to back up their claims about super talented workers by bonding their performance.
Now, I want to fast forward (35) years. Here we are trying to compete internationally with other cultures and countries that pay their workers about (30%) of what the American worker makes, but they deliver consumer goods that equal the quality of American goods. You can argue that point until the “cows come home” but it is a reality. Go to ANY outlet and find anything manufactured in America.
So, where are we? Reality sets in. We are a Nation that owes more than we take in. We give more to those that cannot, will not and some un-fortunately cannot provide. Our welfare rolls and our food stamp problem has gotten out of control. We encourage those poor un-fortunate folks to have more babies because it is financially re-warding. No wonder the “breeding stock” that hangs around is just waiting for the US Postal Service to deliver the “bread”.How do we break this cycle or are we relegated to watching it grow and grow until it is the ONLY segment of society left?
Kalkaska, Michigan was not a “black mans” war. It was not a demand for social services. It was plainly a move to control the profits of the capitalists by those that had nothing invested but deemed themselves the power of the movement. What happened? My job was completed without any interference from any Union Organizers. The equipment in Kalkaska was burned up and the end result was that the cost of producing the oil meant higher gas prices. Smart? You answer that one.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? I think so. But, it really involves changing the guard in Washington. We have to eliminate career politicians. We must have those in Congress have the same benefits that you and I have. We can no longer allow someone to go to Washington for one term and get benefits that you and I will never realize. Are the politicians “angels from heaven”? I think not. I am a firm believer that “they work for us”.
Once we restore “common sense” in Washington, then and only then can we attempt to balance our trade with other countries and reduce our debt. If, we start to reduce our debt, we will take the pressure off of our commercial sector and start generating tax base dollars, sales tax dollars and have less dollars that we have to spend on our National Debt.
Think about this for a minute. We buy a barrel of oil for $75.00 We pay for it with credits. Nothing is paid for with cash. If, you don’t understand that, then read “The Creature at Jekyl Island”. So, when we owe $75.00 of credit and we have NO ONE to buy our goods because they cost too much, then our trade deficit grows. Hmmm, wonder how the $25.00 an hour “toy maker” in Nashua, New Hampshire is doing being un-employed from his toy maker job while his counterpart in Bangkok is busy making toys at $ 5.00 an hour and working overtime.
Complain, second guess, advise, I really don’t care. The rest of the world is NOT dependent on the US anymore. They take our military help and our handouts, BUT, they can manufacture toys that your kids enjoy and our “union” workers sit idly by complaining. They have to be part of the solution.
Now you see how the Union Goons with their attitude over (35) years ago set the tone for our economic problems today. Granted, it is more complex and our educators will have a different slant or blame scenario, but take it from an old man. We have to make sure that the “dog wags the tail” and not the opposite.
Respectfully, Regis Sauger