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You've probably seen this thing before.  I seem to recall either reading or hearing about it some years ago, and reading between the lines it seems to have been written shortly after the Obama election in 2008.  But I saw it in my Facebook feed last night and it irked me enough that I couldn't get to sleep until I had written a response.

It wasn't until later that I realized that actually this anti-Obama meme offers a good reason why we need strong Unions.

But first, the meme itself:

THE BEST EVER LAYOFF LETTER !
No wonder this guy is the boss, he is sharp!  You can't be any fairer than this guy...

Dear Employees:
As the CEO of this organization, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barrack Obama is our President and that our taxes and government fees will increase in a BIG way.  To compensate for these increases, our prices would have to increase by about 10%.  But since we cannot increase our prices right now due to the dismal state of the economy, we will have to lay off sixty of our employees instead.  This has really been bothering me since I believe we are family here and I didn't know how to choose who would have to go.  So this is what I did.  I walked through our parking lots and found sixty "Obama" bumper stickers on our employees' cars and have decided these folks will be the ones to let go.  I can't think of a more fair way to approach this problem.
They voted for change... So I gave it to them.
I will see the rest of you at the annual company picnic.

Now, I'm sure all of us can see loads of things wrong with this little fable and I ticked off some of the ones that struck me in my comment.  But the underlying message of the piece was this:

"I'm pissed because my man lost the election, so I'm going to take it out on everyone who voted for that damn Socialist!"

And underneath it, a more important message: "YOU BETTER VOTE THE WAY I TELL YOU TO, IF YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR JOB!!!"

Perhaps some Republicans are okay with that ... just so long as the boss telling them how to vote is a Republican too.  I don't think they really get the idea of the shoe being on the other foot sometimes.

It was after I had posted my response that one more thought occurred to me.  The whole little parable about the poor CEO and the Obama-inflicted layoffs demonstrates a big reason why we really need strong unions.

If he were really perplexed about needing to lay people off, he could have done it by seniority, on the reasoning that the workers longest with the company had the biggest stake in it and had the most experience and were therefore the most valuable.  Or he could have done it by reverse seniority, reasoning that the workers with the most years had the highest pay rate and could be replaced by newer, cheaper workers.  Or he could have crunched his production numbers and laid off the least productive workers.  I'm not saying any of these approaches would be fair, but they at least would have a reason behind them.

Instead, the boss in the story arbitrarily fired the ones whose politics pissed him off.    Even the old Roman practice of decimation, eliminating every tenth man, makes more sense than this.  He might as well have fired every one with a "My Little Pony" bumper sticker.

Yes, the story is very likely fictional.  That's why I've been calling it a fable.  But it's also why we need Unions, because in a lot of places a good contract is the only thing protecting workers from this kind of arbitrary bullshit.

Although I have to admit that that in one way the CEO of this memo is sharp. He laid off 60 workers and tried to spin it so that they'd blame Obama instead of him for being an incompetent manager.

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