My grandfather was a union enforcer, a knee-capper. At places like John Deere, Farmall and J. I. Case, he kept union members in line, doing and voting as they were ordered.
They called him “Hound Dog” because, if he were on your scent, he would track you down. That was never the good news because he was very good at this job.
Hound Dog was just one cog among many in the vast machine of union coercion and lawless strong-arming. For decades, that machine has been known for its acts of violence. In the past, as in the infamous Kohler strike, it dynamited non-strikers’ cars, fired shotgun blasts into their homes, terrorized workers’ wives and children, and literally broke the necks of their opponents -- as in the tragic case of William Bersch. Equipment was sabotaged, cars overturned, and multiple persons beaten by thugs known euphemistically by the unions as “morale builders.”
The morale builders of today are no different. Just this week, in Longview WA, hundreds of longshoremen, armed with baseball bats, stormed the new terminal, smashed windows, damaged railroad cars, dumped tons of grain, and took people hostage. They shut down ports from Seattle to Tacoma.
So when James Hoffa, Jr., the loud-mouthed barbarian-with-a-bullhorn who stands atop the current pile of union thuggery and goondom, calls his army to war, as he did in the recent Detroit area pep-rally for President Obama, I take him seriously. When he calls on his lackeys to “take out the sons of bitches” known as the Tea Party, I don’t hear the joke. Given President Obama’s proud embrace of Mr. Hoffa, the rhetoric of war has become the left’s ostensible new civility.
When Hoffa says that middle-class Americans are looking for a fight, he’s completely wrong. They’re not looking for a fight; they're looking for jobs -- millions of them -- jobs that unions like his have helped destroy, and which the far-left president he backs is powerless to produce. Indeed, that president has destroyed them by the millions. His progressivist nonsense makes it so.
I’m proud to say that Hound Dog eventually quit his union job, denounced the tools of violence, and became a riverboat captain on the Mississippi. He became a genial, jovial, raconteur -- a PG-rated version of Garrison Keillor. He was proof that if you get the man out of the union, you might get the union out of the man.