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Please, Sir, I want some more

(This isn't a sports blog, however, the baseball players union announcing August 30 as a strike date is the leading news story of the day.)

In a column detailing the possible strike, leading sports columnist, Mike Lupica, explains what he believes unions are all about: "Samuel Gompers was once asked to define organized labor and said, 'More.' The players say they are only fighting to preserve the status quo here. But they always want more."

Gompers was a Dutch Jew, born in London where, at 10, he was apprenticed to a cigar maker, moved to America at 13 where he began a career as a union leader of a cigar workers local and took over the leadership of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Councils, transformed it into the American Federation of Labor (the AFL of the AFL-CIO) of which he was President from 1886-1924. Gompers worked to better the attrocious working conditions and lives of America's workers, yet Lupica implies that Gompers's ideology was a celebration of avarice.

Instead, Lupica should have followed his Gompers sentence with an allusion to the musical "Oliver!" Trade unionism is not a ideology of greed and rapacity; it is, in an organized fashion, the exploited workers of a company stepping up to Mr. Bumble and asking for more.

In the musical, Oliver was right and Mr. Bumble was wrong. Asking for more is not always a bad thing. And, put in its simplest terms, the baseball players union just wants a free market for its members. That's definitely not a bad thing; that's the American way.


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