Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Iraq Symposium Idea

Instapundit was looking for some ideas on helping improve the situation in Iraq that weren’t the same old – same old. I’ve long held an idea that I think is worth a look. I think using unions in Iraq could change – maybe even radically - the sectarian violence that is currently plaguing Iraq.

Many Unions have the word “International” in their name – why not put that “International” idea to the test in Iraq? Good jobs with good benefits are things sought by all people. You would think that unions and their higher wages would be most welcome in a nation with an average yearly salary of $3,600. A couple of points about this idea:

1. Teamsters could help bring order to the shipping and transportation industry. I’m sure the trucking companies would pay more if that extra payment brought a sense that the job would get done in a timely and professional manner. And I’m sure that the Teamsters could figure a way to spread the word that an attack on a truck driven by a Teamster is an attack on all Teamsters and they will be going all Jimmy Hoffa on the people who did it. That should help make the distribution of goods and services more reliable and thus more affordable throughout the country.

2. Unionize the jobs in the oil industry and make sure the people filling those jobs are local people from the nearest “Local”. This would give the workers a sense of ownership and it could also decrease attacks on oil producing facilities since the “local” people would be more aware and more willing to protect the facilities because they are invested via their union jobs. A healthy oil industry is key to the economic well-being of the country and unionizing the jobs could help greatly in meeting that end.

3. It is tough enough to unionize a company here in the United States - in many cases it is a long bitter struggle. That would obviously also be true in Iraq but for different reasons. However, union officials are usually not people to shy away from a fight when it comes to the principles of union jobs. Making unions a key component to the rebuilding of Iraq could emotionally involve union folks in the US and thus tie a key element of the Democratic Party to the long-term success of our mission in Iraq. It has been my experience that the words "union man" and "cut and run" don't go together.

4. The idea of union “Locals” could help bring more religious tolerance to the country. It is unions who use the word “brothers” to describe their membership. Over the past century and a half in the US – it did not matter what ethnicity, skin color or religious affiliation a person had – what mattered was that the person was a brother in the union. Hopefully the same would be true in Iraq. Can you imagine the impact it would have if it mattered not if a person was a Sunni, Shi-ite or Kurd but whether a person was a brother in the union? What a great example that would be for the rest of the country.

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