Scabs weaken union’s stance

Jonathan Crimmins clearly does not understand the role of a union in protecting workers’ rights and wages (The Times Record, “Brothers and Sisters? Bath union threats reveal dysfunctional family.” July 17) While he lists the reasons a Bath Iron Works Machinists Union Local S6 worker might cross the picket line to “scab” (all painfully good reasons), the point of union members holding strong — for the good of all workers — seems to elude him. Scabs weaken the union’s stance, and the union is fighting for every worker. (This is the same kind of thinking that prevents some from wearing masks; the “common good” is dismissed.)

The union’s statement about possible fines to those returning to work during the strike seems rather benign to me. More accurately, it seems fair.

Crimmins also included a quote from the statement that was actually written by the famous author Jack London over a hundred years ago, without attribution:   “No man has the right to scab so long a there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.” If the intent was to make the union sound scary and threatening, it failed. It only reminds us of the long and intensely difficult battles unions have fought over the years to ensure we have safe workplaces and reasonable wages. (Yes, union workers generally have those things.)

By the way, Mr. Crimmins and others might want to watch a documentary called “American Factory” on Netflix. It’s a fascinating story (truly a nailbiter!) about what happens when two cultures collide in business (a Chinese company reopens a shuttered General Motors factory, employing questionable and unsafe practices). It examines the current, systematic war against unions — costing millions of dollars annually — that is being waged by corporate America.

They’d do better to just spend that money on better wages and conditions, but that’s just too sensible.

Lorry Fleming,


filed under: