Mike Farrell Didn't Cause This Crisis (Though He Made M*A*S*H Suck a Little More). F. Murray Abaraham Didn't Cause This Crisis (Though He Made Fruit of the Loom Commercials a Whole Lot Better). Jerry Stiller…


The stars come out for the Employee Free Choice Act, a.k.a. "card check."

Watch and learn who caused this crisis (hint: greedy corporate CEOs, not wealthy, unionized actors) and what will solve it (hint: higher wages for workers at companies that are already operating at losses).

I think collective bargaining is A-OK. It can reduce transaction costs on both sides by simplifying all sorts of things. And I think unions that function more like sports-league unions by creating a basic workplace agreement that can then be individualized are the way of the future for unions. But "card check" seems messed up on all sorts of levels (especially on the issue of secret or semi-secret ballots).

Most fundamentally, the latest push for unionization uber alles is missing the boat that the nature of work, especially in the private sector, has changed. The whole labor-management split doesn't make the sense it may have 80 years ago. Even public-sector workers don't want their compensation to be tied to the least productive of a group. Etc. For those and many other reasons, unionism is being revealed as a historical phenomenon, not a forward-looking trend. Look it up here.

Reason on card check here.

NEXT: Hasta La Vista, Arnold!

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  1. Giving the card-check bill the name “Employee Free Choice Act” or calling this group “Artists for Workers Choice” have to be in the running for this year’s Orwell Award.

  2. But there are so many contenders, Seamus. And the year’s not even half over.

  3. Is that “Luis” from Sesame Street at :20?

  4. As soon as you can fire an employee for striking, I’ll be in favor of unions.

  5. Yo, fuck James Cromwell. And that guy who did one season on Earth: The Final Conflict and dropped off the face of the planet. And hell, the rest of them too.

    I couldn’t take it for more than about 30 seconds before I started retching. What other no names showed up?

  6. Aw. B-list celebs are so cute when they’re being sincere about stuff. Now that they’re not singing about Obama, they have to keep busy somehow.

  7. Sorry Seamus. The entire run of the Obama administration has that award locked up for the next 4-8 years.

  8. I work for a union company. I was a member of one union for 10 years, and another for 3.

    Let me say this. UNIONS SUCK!

    I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to do something that my employer agreed with, but they couldn’t allow me because of the union. I was promoted many times, but we had to do end run around the union because if anyone greived it then some lazy moron with more seniority would get the job.

    I think unions did a good job in the past improving the working conditions of Americans, but now they just give an incentive to be less productive.

  9. Some actor-union inside baseball:

    The attractive lady of a certain age who bats third from 0:06 to 0:08 (between Salieri and James “Farmer Hoggett” Cromwell — name please, if anybody has it) was a close ally of self-immolating SAG president Alan Rosenberg. Rosenberg, in partnership with two-time loser Doug Allen, ran an extremely hard and damaging campaign in its last contract negotiations, which included a concerted effort to discredit AFTRA, the more moderate actors union, after AFTRA signed its own deal. Attractive Lady of Certain Age was part of the Allen/Rosenberg posse when they did press junkets. The blood between the two unions was bad enough that when I applied (without success) for a flack job at AFTRA the first order of business was described to me as “stopping the swift-boating by SAG.”

    James Cromwell, on the other hand, is a fairly active AFTRA spokesactor. (Not sure why he’s a member, since he seems to do a lot of big-screen work, and AFTRA’s more TV-focused.)

    Now the SAG moderates have defeated the Allen/Rosenberg reign of terror, and by the look of the Attractive Lady-to-Cromwell cut, I’d guess the Rosenberg remnants have made their peace with AFTRA, and they’re all trying to become one big happy workers collective, fighting for the wealth generated by one of the most bloated, inefficient, ready-for-the-receivers industries you ever had a nightmare about. (SAG still doesn’t have a final contract, and given the way Rosenberg’s handled things so far I’d guess the final version will require actors to pay the studios in order to work.)

  10. Actors as a lot are rather stupid. All they do is parrot lines, not come up with anything original.

    Most Americans realize this.

  11. Tim, her name is Anne-Marie Johnson.

    She was, memorably, the chick at the bar in “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”.

  12. Tim, Rosenberg is in this video, in case you didn’t WTFV. Trivia: he was married to Marg Helgenberger.

    And WTF is Elliot Gould doing with these D-list assholes? Gould is technically A-list (at least he was once). This is not an endorsement of Gould’s position, just an observation.

  13. Huh, that’s interesting. Gould was the original Trapper John. Bet Farrell hates him, ’cause Trapper John was one billion times better than B.J.

    And yes, Gould was HUGE in the 70s.

  14. ….Rosenberg….was married to Marg Helgenberger.


    What reason does the man have now to live?


  15. Gould is technically A-list (at least he was once).

    Dood, he hasn’t been A-list since he starred in E/R. No, not the Crichton series, this one.

  16. Yo, fuck actors!

  17. I couldn’t take it for more than about 30 seconds before I started retching

    Beat me by 10 seconds. What a foul collection of statist losers. They didn’t “cause it”, huh? You can take all their integrity and sincerity, stick it in a thimble and still have room for your thumb.

  18. Uh, JW, once you’re A-list, you’re there.

  19. Oh yeah? The next time you go drag, dress up like Jill Clayburgh and see how far that gets you.

  20. I’m too busy going as Marg Helgenberger, China Beach era.

  21. Yes, Andrew. Sadly, it is…

  22. After hours of research, I finally located a list of those on the video.

    It’s hilarious about how inept EFCA’s opponents are; opposing it should have been incredibly easy yet they just don’t have the brainpower to do it.

  23. Are these all actors? With at least 2/3 of them I was just thinking, “who the fuck is this guy?”

  24. “After hours of research, I finally located a list of those on the video”

    How sad for you.

  25. I’m too busy going as Marg Helgenberger, China Beach era.

    Now, if you would go as Dana Delany, you and I could perhaps move over to the Dan Savage thread.

  26. You can’t treat the working man this way. One day, we’ll form a union and get the fair and equitable treatment we deserve! Then we’ll go too far, and get corrupt and shiftless, and the Japanese will eat us alive! –Last Exit to Springfield

    OK, the reference to the Japanese seems dated these days, but the core truth still holds.

    The other terrible thing about the EFCA is the binding arbitration.

  27. I thought Jerry Stiller never worked blue?
    That performance was pornographic.

  28. JW

    +1k on the DD!


  29. You know how you can identify someone who was once A-list? I’ll tell you. Watch SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2, a thoroughly crappy movie. Jump back from the screen in surprise when you see Oscar-winner Jon Voight as the star of the film. What do you say when you see him? C-list dude? No. You go, “My God, that’s Jon Voight! What the hell is he doing in this piece of crap?”

  30. Come on. All unions are looking out for the workers. After all, look at how well the former Americas West pilots are being treated when they merged with US Airways.

    No, unions are never about power, screwing one group at the expense of another (what was that back in the 30’s – oh yeah, the ‘prevailing wage’ stuff – gotta keep ‘those people’ from takin’ our jobs).

    EFCA – it’ll be the best thing EVER. An with my free government health care, I’ll be in a workers paradise.

  31. At one point, I think I heard them call for the unionization of soldiers. That sounds like a really bad idea.

  32. Start a movement for a constitutional amendment which will allow businesses to give card checks to employees for all federal elections.

    Cut and paste all the pro card check arguments and watch them squirm when they try to fight it.

  33. I often think that I could enjoy politics and entertainment more if they never mixed.

  34. “The system is broken! Busted!” Secret ballots for some, self-congratulations for actors!

  35. And miniature American flags for everyone!

  36. Truman Capote was on Carson’s Tonight Show decades ago, and made a provocative statement that when roughly like this: “There is no such as thing as an intelligent actor.” Carson yammered for a moment and then responded approximately, “What about Jill St. John? She’s supposed to have a very high IQ,” To which Capote responded, “Whoever said she could act?”

    This happened decades ago, and I’m sure it isn’t exact in the details, but it captures the essence.

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