02 Mar 2004 Supposed Red Collar Worker Gets Me Hot Under Collar
My husband David has coined a new term: “red collar worker.” It is to refer to those persons who want to be cared for cradle-to-grave without breaking much of a sweat, figuratively or otherwise, in the workplace.
It is perhaps appropriate that he coined the term after I told him I had gotten hot under the collar after receiving an e-mail complaining that my recent “What Conservatives Think” newsletter piece on overtime regulations did not adequately represent the point of view of the AFL-CIO.
The sender of the e-mail claimed to be a blue collar worker, but his e-mail contained one of those warnings (“The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential, proprietary, and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited…”) one usually only sees on e-mails from lawyers and other professionals. Still, blue collar or not, I won’t reprint his message here, since he went to the trouble of including the legalese guarding future generations from exposure to his opinions. But I think everyone can gather what points he made from my response:
You are correct that our newsletter is not an unbiased source of opinion representing the left-wing AFL-CIO, and I believe it would be difficult for us to be any more clear about the fact that we don’t represent the left than by naming the publication “What Conservatives Think.”
As to the issue at hand: The AFL-CIO doesn’t have any problem with low income workers getting more money, as long as professionals making large sums also are treated as if they are blue collar workers. With the decline of the manufacturing sector, organized labor needs to recruit from among those it historically as derided as “management,” or risk becoming an anachronism.
Or more of one.
Furthermore, the AFL-CIO is closely allied with trial lawyers who benefit financially from the fact that the current regulations are difficult to understand. Organized labor is involved with these lucrative lawsuits. In other words, they are in this for the money. I am not.
I quoted the first paragraph of the main page of the AFL-CIO’s page of complaint about this legislation in my newsletter. I did not “quote shop” for something to make them look bad. Furthermore, I put a note at the bottom of the piece to permit interested persons to easily go to a government chart comparing the old rules with the new ones. Anyone who wants to decide for themselves if the AFL-CIO is more correct than conservatives are about this can easily draw their own conclusions.
As far as who would be hurt by opposing what the Department of Labor wants to do: How about children? The old laws actually prohibit flex-time in some circumstances and thereby prohibit employers from giving flex-time to parents who want to work more one week than the next in order to attend a kid’s soccer game or nurse them through an illness. I ask you: what business is it of the federal government to stop an employer from giving flex-time to a Mom or Dad who wants it so they can be a better parent while still earning enough to provide for their families?
Short answer: It isn’t their business.
And, finally, why not cover everyone with the overtime rule? Because if salaried employees aren’t allowed to work long hours to create businesses that need workers, no one will hire the people who blame big business for all their woes.
P.S. You no doubt suspect “big business” paid for our work on this. It didn’t. Nor did small business. We believe what we write, and received no money on this issue from anyone.
(Note to blog readers: If the “Dear Madam” has thrown you off, that’s just something I write when a man sends me, Amy, a letter beginning “Dear Sir.”)