Monday, 24 November 2008

Why I Hate Unions

For those unassociated with the US military....we have these "stores" on each post or base or station....referred to as "BX's" or "PX's" or "NEX's".....which act like a big Wal-Mart (more or less).

Down in Italy, we have a pretty fair presence of US Navy folks....so there are a couple of NEX facilities. Its a pretty tough store to keep stocked, and those kindly folks in Texas who manage the purchasing and shipping business do a damn good job in keeping the latest fashion, the latest music, and the latest electronic toys going out the exchange services.

This week on Friday....across every single military store throughout the world, it will be the largest one-day sale that they see all year-round. Sales are usually fairly dramatic.

A funny thing has happened this past week in Italy.....involving the Italian union workers who work in the NEX stores in Italy. They got together and are fairly upset that their biggest demand in union negotiations simply haven't been met. That demand? Well....the workers believe that since they work in the store.....and they are Italian citizens.....they should be allowed to buy anything in the store....tax-free....just like the GI's.

There is a natural problem here. In every country, we maintain a SOFA agreement which the US and this other country sign. The folks allowed to shop in the stores? Well...it's limited to the GI's, their families, any member of the US consulate in that country, and any other NATO military member. Its all tax-free sales.....and the rules are established mostly by the host country.

The Italian law basically says.....only GI's, their family members, the consulate folks and the NATO military members....can shop....NOT the civilians of that country or the civilian host country members who work at the stores.

This has been explained to the union members....but they really don't care. They believe the US should negotiate this into the contract and demand the right for themselves to shop....tax-free.

To make this kinda interesting.....our good friends....the union guys who work in the NEX facilities are deciding that this Friday....which would be the highest sales day of the year.....will be a strike day. At best, the facilities might be able to round up thirty to forty percent of the store workers who are US military member wives or husbands.....and thats it. The NEX crowd won't comment on how this would work or if they would just shut the doors and be closed all day.

I am mostly anti-union, for reasons like this. Even when you explain the law to people like this....they aren't able to comprehend how they fit or don't fit. I hate to tag union members as "losers", but they really fail to grasp the big picture of how things work or their position in the "cog".

What will happen on Friday in Italy? My guess is that the NEX facilities will quietly open.....and be overwhelmed with customers and few clerks. To make the hostile crowds happy.....the NEX facilities will likely hand out gift coupons and promise a full staff on Saturday and Sunday.....when all of the Italian workers finally show up. The money normally spent on Friday.....will come on the weekend. Things get worked out in some fashion.

But the union guys? Well....if I were there.....I'd say fine on the deal of union guys buying anything at the NEX facility and then invite the Italian tax guys to visit each clerk at home and collect the state tax there. After a week of visits.....the union guys would shut up and probably demand that they don't have the right to buy anything at the NEX. Then the NEX could refuse this tactic and actually demand a pay decrease for the NEX to reverse the shipping deal. This would infuriate the union even more.....and thus draw out a negotiation for at least two or three years, with weekly visits by the tax guys. Life would be interesting, at least in my scenario.

How To Beat Them (The Extremists in Islam)

This past week...a couple of Malaysia's top Islamic dudes....mostly old guys who don't watch Baywatch, drink Mountain Dew or cruise on a Harley......issued out some edict to forbid yoga. It was the typical old Muslim dude written document....basically saying that the exercise includes Hindu spiritual elements....which equate to Hindu worship.....and that this fancy exercise stuff could destroy your faith as a Muslim.

I had a long pause here....pondering the significance of this statement.

Being from Bama....and having grown up without the privelages of Yoga.....I can't say an awful lot. To be kinda honest....over thirty odd years connected to the Air Force.....I didn't have any connection either. So I am devoid of Yoga and lack in formal knowledge of the exercise. Its difficult for me to stand up and approve of some Muslim edict that I find questionable.

The thing though....that does bother me....if there is some kind of exercise....and it could destroy your faith in anything....then I'd be kinda worried about your standing amongst other religions. Then I kinda turned around and looked at the Olympic medal count of Muslim countries....which is above zero....but less than ten.

I start looking around at weight lifters in the world.....looking for one big-named Muslim guy....and there just ain't any.

I started to look around for a major soccer team within the Muslim world.....and there just ain't any.

I started to look around for a Muslim Tour de Farce member....someone in the ranking of "Bad Boy" Armstrong....and there just ain't any.

I started to look around for NFL football players who claim they are Muslim and have changed their names.....but then kinda find examples of them skipping out on normal Muslim practices....and you just can't find a pure Muslim dude.

I started looking around for Muslim professional bowlers....and there just ain't any.

I started looking around for a major NCAA Bama or Ole Miss Islamic football player....and there just ain't any.

I started looking around for a Muslim gymnast.....and there just ain't any.

I even started looking around for a fine Islamic horse who might have won the Kentucky Derby, and I just can't find any.

So it came to pass....as the clouds parted and I suddenly wised up....that Muslims just aren't into sports....and if these Mullahs in Malaysia are correct.....any sports diminish their abilities in Islam...then we have the greatest weapon of our lifetimes to finish off radical Islam. We could have grasped this back in 2003....if GW had just had a lick of intelligence. Tame the damn fools with sports....and they will become like us....fat and lazy eventually....and addicted to NCAA football.